"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Every Idle Word (12:36-37) INTRODUCTION 1. The standards of God are much different than those of the world - cf. Isa 55:8,9 2. A striking example of this difference pertains to one's speech... a. The world thinks lightly of certain kinds of speech (e.g., allowing profane speech in the name of free speech) b. Whereas Jesus taught us to take all speech seriously - Mt 12: 36-37 3. Speech is important, for it reveals the heart of man... a. Out of the abundance of heart the mouth speaks - Mt 12:34 b. Thus speech reveals the sort of treasure stored in the heart of man - Mt 12:35 4. For this reason... a. Our very words will be taken into account on the day of judgment! b. We ought to give careful thought concerning the words we use c. It is imperative that our speech be in keeping with God's standard and not the world's! [In this lesson, we shall review what the Bible teaches concerning acceptable and unacceptable speech. We begin by cataloging some types of speech that are condemned in the Scriptures...] I. IDLE WORDS FOR WHICH WE SHALL BE JUDGED A. SOME OBVIOUS EXAMPLES OF UNACCEPTABLE SPEECH... 1. Using the Lord's name in vain - Exo 20:7 a. That is, without an attitude of sincere reverence b. One can be guilty of this in two ways: 1) Using the Lord's name in swearing or cursing 2) Using vain repetitions of His name c. Applies also to the name of Jesus, for His name is to be held in honor - Php 2:9-11 2. Words that are evil - cf. 1Pe 3:10 a. Lying words, or those that cause trouble among brethren - Pr 6:16-19 b. Deceitful words - Ro 16:18 c. Filthy language - Ep 5:4 B. OTHER EXAMPLES OF UNACCEPTABLE SPEECH... 1. The overuse of words - Jm 1:26; Pr 10:19; 13:3 2. Words spoken in haste - Pr 29:20; cf. Jm 1:19 3. Speaking evil of others a. Of those in authority - Exo 22:28; Jude 8 b. Of those around us - Mt 5:21-22 -- Such speech is known as reviling, and is clearly condemned - 1Co 6:9-10 4. Flattery - Ps 12:1-4; cf. Ro 16:18 5. Rash oaths - Mt 5:33-37; Jm 5:12 6. Any unwholesome word - cf. Ep 4:29 a. Including some euphemisms (An inoffensive expression substituted for one considered offensive) b. Some examples of euphemisms (darn, shoot, gosh, gee) c. What is wrong with such expressions? 1) They mean the same thing as the more offensive words 2) It is the same wrongful emotions behind the euphemism or its equivalent 3) They reflect an attitude of heart contrary to the proper spirit of Christian conduct - cf. Ep 4:31-32; Col 3:8-15 [Often our speech is one of habit...but such habits reflect "the abundance of the heart", i.e., what has been allowed to reside in the heart and reveal the true nature of our hearts when so used. As we attempt to store up "good treasure" in our heart (cf. Mt 12:35), here are...] II. SOME PRINCIPLES OF ACCEPTABLE SPEECH A. TWO BASIC GUIDELINES... 1. Our speech should lead to edification - Ep 4:29 a. That which encourages and builds up b. That which extends grace to others - cf. Col 4:6 1) E.g., words which cool down heated conversations - Pro 15:1 2) E.g., words that are a delight to those who hear - Pro 15:4,23; 25:11 2. Our speech should be characterized with thankfulness - Ep 5: 3-4 a. An attitude becoming of saints - cf. Col 1:12; 2:7; 3:15,17;4:2 b. While murmuring and complaining is not becoming - cf.
Php 2:14-15 B. SUCH SPEECH REQUIRES FORETHOUGHT... 1. The righteous will give careful thought to his speech - Pro 15:28 2. The righteous will be concerned about what comes out of his mouth a. For he knows that his speech reflects the true condition of the heart - Mt 12:34-35; 15:17-20 b. And he looks to God for help, even accepting the rebuke of others - Ps 141:3-5 CONCLUSION 1. It has been my purpose... a. To remind us of Jesus' words in Mt 12:36-37 b. To raise our awareness of how easy it is to sin in our speech c. To remind us of the graceful speech that should proceed from our mouths 2. I hope I have stimulated your thinking to give careful consideration to God's standard; may each of us possess the same desire as that expressed in the prayer of the Psalmist: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Ps 19:14)