The bible has a lot to say about the speech of the redeemed and unredeemed mouth! The unredeemed mouth is characterized by.......
• Evil “.....But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” [Prov 15:28]
• Sexual immorality [Prov 5:3]
• Deceit “Their tongue is an arrow shot out; It speaks deceit....” [Jer 9:8]
• Curses “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression...” [Ps 10:7]
• Lies “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,...” [Prov 12:22]
• Destruction [Prov 11:11]
• Vanity [2 Peter 2:18]
• Flattery “......a flattering mouth works ruin.” [Prov 26:28]
• Foolishness “.....the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” [Prov 15:2]
• Carelessness “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,” [Matt 12:36]
• False doctrine “.........devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,” [ 2Tim 4:1]
• Evil plots “The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him” [Ps 37:12]
• Gossip “A talebearer [means gossiper] reveals secrets...” [Prov 11:13]
• Hatred “An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire.” [Prov 16:27]
• Too many words “A fool also multiplies words......” [Eccl 10:14]
On the other hand the redeemed mouth is characterized by.......
• Confession of sin “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]
• Confession of Christ “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Rom 10:9-10]
• Edifying speech “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” [Eph 4:29]
• Praising God “.....let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips....” [Heb 13:16]
• Blessing our enemies “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing...” [1 Peter 3:9]
• Kindness “......on her tongue is the law of kindness.” [Prov 31:26]
• Graciously “.....And sweetness of the lips increases learning.” [Prov 16:21]
• Proclaim the Gospel “And they were preaching the gospel there.” [Acts 14:7]
Our speech will always determine what’s truly in our heart! How we speak to others will determine how much we truly love Jesus Christ.....How we speak to others will determine how much we truly love the Gospel. How we speak to others will determine how much we truly love the local church. Why do I say that? Remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees’ “.....For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” [Matt 12:34-3]. One of the toughest muscles in the human body to control is the tongue! James spoke very clearly about the dangers of the tongue in his letter. This is something we Christians need to get right, on a daily basis! Why? The world is watching you to see if this Christianity is real or not! They’re watching you to see if you preach what you sow. Think about it.......your neighbour, employer, co-workers, peers, unsaved family...the community is watching everything you and I do!
I think a great example of how we are to act in this fallen and broken world is characterized in this portion of scripture! This is for you and I....and the church desperately need to apply these truths to their lives today. Right now! To be perfectly honest the world see’s the church as nothing more than a group of hypocrites meeting together on Sunday to hide from the reality that they live and act no differently than their unsaved neighbour or friend on a day by day basis. So we have this letter! Paul addresses the church about the importance of genuine character in the life of the believer. Paul knows this isn’t going to be easy but we are commanded by God as His ambassadors to speak in such a way that we glorify Christ at all times. What do I mean by that? If you are truly born again, people will see a visible difference from your old nature to new nature. Paul comes to a very important aspect of the new nature. Look what he writes in [v5-v6] This is how the new nature is supposed to speak! This is how you and I is to behave in a fallen world under the bondage of darkness. Let’s look at what Paul tells us first in this portion of scripture!
“walk in wisdom towards those who are outside redeeming the time” [v5] What does that look like? It’s properly evaluating circumstances and making godly decisions. Remember what the Proverb says? “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” [Prov 1:7]. It’s having a reverence and awe of His mighty power! The world outside at large doesn’t fear the Lord and sadly many so-called Christians don’t fear the Lord any more then the outside world does. That’s why our lives are to exemplify our Saviour Jesus Christ. If that means we have to give up personal pleasure over serving the Kingdom with your life here then so be it. We are to walk worthy of His calling out in our lives. Why? The outside world [which is referring to unsaved people] is watching you. If the outside world can see through your hypocrisy...the only thing this does is bring animosity and resentment to the truth of the Gospel. See! We know and have attained something that they desperately need........God’s saving grace found in Jesus Christ. They need to see the power of God working in our lives...which is done though our lives.
As John MacArthur said in his commentary “What Believers are gives credibility to what they say.” What John is saying is that! Believers are to exhibit a carefully planned, consistent Christian life to those outside the church [the body of Christ]. How? By“redeeming the time” Seriously, what are we here for? As John Piper said “to collect sea shells and play shuffle board when we get old.....No, he said.” This life we live is not about you and me and what we can get out of it. It’s all about the making the Gospel known to all generations...training men and women to do the work of the ministry. Everyone us have been called into ministry whether you like it or not! And the one thing each and everyone are called to is the proclamation of the Gospel. Jesus said in [Act 1:8] “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
We have [ALL] been given a mandate by our Master and that is to use the time we have by redeeming it for Him and His Gospel. Moses prayed this prayer about life! “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” [Ps 90:12]. Paul wrote......”the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” [Rom 13:11-12]
What is our purpose of existence? To glorify God with our lives...how by displaying and telling the world about His great love found in Jesus Christ! Opportunity is passing and we need to make the best us of our time to those outside! But we also need to be extremely careful. Look what Paul writes next! “let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt,” [v6]. There are two key elements that must happen in order for us to redeem this time wisely to those outside.
1. May your speech always be done with “grace” This means to speak whatever is..... Wholesome, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complementary, gentle, truthful, loving and thoughtful. Remember what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus? “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” [Eph 4:26]. This is to be our daily speech no buts or excuses! Why? This is what the new nature looks like!
2. May your speech always be “Seasoned with salt” It’s not only to be gracious but also have an effect on people. Salt can sting if rubbed into a wound and it also can prevent corruption. This is how we are to speak to those outside the church walls with truth and love. A prime example of what salt looks like is an interview I read with Tim Tebow. Jake Plummer who was the former quarterback had this to say about Tim Tebow "I think he's a winner and I respect that about him," Plummer told 910-AM. "I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I'll like him a little better. I don't hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff." Tim’s response to Jake’s comment compared his relationship with Jesus to marriage. "If you're married and you have a wife and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife 'I love her' the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? That's how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ."
We are to speak in a manner that isn’t rude or hurtful.....even when the world may speak poorly of you and me! This doesn’t give us the freedom to speak as the world speaks! “seasoned with salt” Jesus said "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” [Matt 5:11-16]
This is what the Christian life is supposed to look like! We are to follow the example of a Tim Tebow and speak with grace and salt! Why? The answer is found in the following sentence! [v6b] “that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Does this statement sound familiar? Where have we heard this before? Look back to [v3-v4]. Our speech is everything when it comes to the Gospel! Our speech is everything when it comes to the transforming work of the Gospel. You are no longer the same! The old man has been crucified and the new man is transformed into the image of the Son. “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” [Rom 6:6]. Remember what else Paul wrote....“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” [2 Cor 4:16]
Our lives are under the microscope of this world and they desperately need to hear what we have to say! The Gospel must go forth and our desire should always be for people to hear the blessed truth of the Gospel. But in order for them to be receptive we need to demonstrate in and through our lives....By how we live, speak and act to the same circumstances of life as a person that is on the outside. We must know how to say the right thing at the right time as the Apostle Peter said.....“.....always being prepared to make a defense [an apologetic answer defending your faith] to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” [1 Peter 3:15]. In order for someone to ask you....it needs to lived out in your life because He has transformed you and you are no longer the same.....that will be evident.....And when that is evident they will ask!
So my question to you would be.......Has anybody asked you lately for the hope that lies within you? If not! There is a good possibility that you are not displaying the characteristics that Paul has mentioned here in this text.
How do we change so that people will ask? Pull Jesus out of your pocket and wear Him on your chest for the whole world to see. When you are doing that...... your speech will change and your mouth will speak the truth in love. Seasoned with salt flowing like a river of grace to a lost world that desperately needs Jesus Christ. But it begins here and now! Walk...live...proclaim the love of Christ by using every breath that He gives you for His glory! Redeeming the time because time is running out! As David Platt said “we are plan A, and there is no plan B.” And he also went on to say “The message of biblical Christianity is not ‘God loves me, period,’ as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is ‘God loves me so that I might make him—his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness—known among all nations.’ Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centers around him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is.” David Platt. So let’s get out there and redeem the time wisely for Him and His precious Gospel.....Keeping in mind by asking the same thing David requested in his prayer... “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” [Ps 141:3]. May we live to bring Him glory by impacting this world with the Gospel that saves to the uttermost.