• Matt Beaney

#329 – SPEAK IN LOVE (15/4/21)


On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we see that Jesus wants to teach us how to use our words.


Speaking the truth is no longer truthful when it is not motivated by love. Speaking because someone has hurt us is not love. Speaking because we feel that we should say something is not love. Speaking because we want to help this person or help those that they are hurting is speaking from love. Here are two texts to help us,

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”(Matthew 5:33-37)
‘Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.’ (Ephesians 4:15)

i) Speak the truth

This includes two things: Honesty and alignment with biblical truth. Christian are honest - Our “yes” and “no” are to be binding on us. Secondly, we speak the truth that is in alignment with the teaching and values of God's word.


ii) In love

However, and this is the emphasis that I want to make today, we have missed it if we are not speaking in love! God makes very clear the relationship between love and our words,

‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.’ (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)

In essence, before we speak, we are to ask, what will truly benefit this person?


iii) Leads to growth

Our reading makes clear that ‘speaking the truth in love’ comes with a great promise of growth,

‘…We will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.’

A church community or family or friendship that is rich in truthful speech will be a mature and Christ-like community.


RESPONSE

Let’s learn to speak the truth in love. If we desire to see church growth, the road is loving, biblical speech. To this end, before speaking, let’s take time to pray that God would give us His wisdom and loving perspective.


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - SPEAK ON TARGET

Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

Do you have an occasion that you'd like to share, when said something that you wish you had not?


Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we see that Jesus wants to teach us how to use our words.


Words are very powerful. Words lead to right or wrong thinking. Words lead to salvation or damnation. Words lead to health or corruption. Words lead to love or division...


Earlier in this series, we saw that Christians are ‘the salt of the earth’ (Matt. 5:13) and ‘the light of the world’ (Matt. 5:14). This has a massive bearing on how we use words. Jesus taught,

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfil to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.’ (Matthew 5:33-37)

Jesus was confronting a culture in which one’s word was more or less binding depending on what one swore on; If, to use a more contemporary example, I swear on my mother’s life then I really must do what I say!


Speak on target

The word ‘sin’ (Hamartia) means to miss the target - like an archer missing the target. To sin is to fail to hit the target of God’s will. In our use of words, we are to aim at the target in three regards:


i) Truth - Complete truthfulness is the target of our words. We don’t lie or exaggerate. We do what we say we’ll do etc.


ii) Alignment - Complete alignment with God’s truth is the target. We no longer just give our opinion or what pops into our heads unfiltered. We endeavour to speak what is according to God’s will revealed in scripture. Therefore, we seek to study God’s word.


iii) Love - words for the good of others is the target. Is what we’re about to say or write going to help this person or this situation?


Listen in order to speak

We’ve all failed with our words. We’ve failed to speak when we should have spoken. We’ve spoken when we should not have spoken. We’ve failed to listen and make people feel valued. We’ve lied. We’ve failed to keep our commitments. If you are truly sorrowful. If you repent of your sin. If you will listen, you will hear God say with complete honesty, “You are forgiven”!

With people hasty words can never be forgotten they can only be forgiven. With God, your words are forgotten and forgiven. They are nailed to the cross. The indelible stains have been washed away.

Those who keep hearing this - hearing the gospel - will be the kinds of people that speak on target!


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?

2. When and why are you tempted to be untruthful?

3. Do you have any practical, recent examples of adjusting your views and speech in alignment with God's word?

4. Our speech is to be loving - for the benefit of others. How does 'hearing' the gospel regularly help one to do this?


Serving, Investing and inviting

The way that we speak is a vital way of serving, investing and inviting. Let's take a moment to share and pray about this.

1) Do you take a genuine interest in others by asking good questions?

2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?

2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?




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