OF THE HEART
GOOD TREE – BAD TREE
Matt 12:33-37 “Make a
tree good and its fruit
will be good, or make a
tree bad and its fruit
will be bad, for a tree is
recognized by its fruit.
You brood of vipers, how
can you who are evil say
anything good? For out
of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good
man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Last time we saw that words have power. It was the word of God that spoke the world into existence and created all living things.
Psalm 33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made…
Gen 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Our words also have power (and I’m not referring to positive confession here). And so we are told:
Prov 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death…
With our careless words we can build people up or tear them down. We can also build up the kingdom of God or tear it down with our gossip and slander.
Watch your thoughts,
they become your words.
Watch your words,
they become your actions.
Watch your actions,
they become your habits.
Watch your habits,
they become your character.
Watch your character,
it becomes your destiny.
The mouth is the overflow of the heart
James 3:9-12 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Matt 12:33-34 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
OVERFLOW OF THE HEART
You cannot bump a glass of
water and spill poison:
Rom 3:13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
James 3:8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
“Never trust your
tongue when your
heart is bitter.” –
Samuel J. Hurwitt
OVERFLOW OF THE HEART
And so we struggle to keep a rein on our tongues, because they are simply an outlet for what is already in our heart.
James 3:2 We all stumble
in many ways. If anyone
is never at fault in what
he says, he is a perfect
man, able to keep his
whole body in check.
James 3:7-8 All kinds
of animals, birds, reptiles
and creatures of the sea are
being tamed and have been
tamed by man, but no man
can tame the tongue…
OVERFLOW OF THE HEART
Some professing Christians speak no differently than unbelievers.
Col 3:7-8 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Rom 3:13-14 “Their
throats are open graves;
their tongues practice
deceit” … “Their mouths
are full of cursing and
Swearing is the crutch of
the conversational cripple.
Obscenity or coarse joking
Eph 5:4 Nor
should there be obscenity, foolish
talk or coarse
joking, which are
out of place, but
Prov 4:24 Put away perversity from
your mouth; keep corrupt talk far
from your lips.
Col 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
Hated by God
Prov 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: … a lying tongue … a false witness who pours out lies…
But mastered and practiced by Satan
John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil… not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Prov 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who
lies will not
Flattery is complimenting people
with an ulterior motive in mind:
Jude 16 …they boast about
themselves and flatter others
for their own advantage.
Gossip is saying behind
their back what you
would not say to their
face. Flattery is saying
to their face what you
would not say behind
A flattering mouth
works ruin - Prov 26:28
There’s nothing more tiring than a
person who is always talking about
themselves and their achievements.
People run when they see
someone like that coming
Prov 27:2 Let another
praise you, and not
your own mouth;
someone else, and not
your own lips.
“Don’t talk about yourself; it
will be done when you leave.”
- Wilson Mizner
But enough of me talking about me, now you talk about me.
“A gossip is one who talks to you about others;
a bore is one who talks to you about himself;
and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself”
- Lisa Kirk
It was because of grumbling that God was angry with the Israelites in the wilderness:
Num 14:27-29 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall - every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.”
1 Cor 10:10-11 And do not grumble, as some of them did - and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come.
We too will be judged if we are always grumbling and complaining:
James 5:9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Sometime we do the right things but grumble about doing them:
1 Pet 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Phil 2:14-15 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
Four of the cruellest people in the world are:
a healthy person jeering at an invalid
the wealthy laughing at the poor
the intelligent mocking
a simple person
a young person making
fun of the elderly
even behind their
backs, destroys our
capacity to respect
them when we speak
face to face.
“While the laughter of joy is in full harmony with our deeper life, the laughter of amusement should be kept apart from it. The danger is too great of thus learning to look at solemn things in a spirit of mockery,
and to seek in them opportunities for
exercising wit.” - Lewis Carroll
Prov 22:10-11 Drive
out the mocker,
and out goes strife;
quarrels and insults
are ended. He who
loves a pure heart
and whose speech is
gracious will have the
king for his friend.
Don’t argue with a fool – they’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you on experience.
Prov 20:3 It is to a man’s honour to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
So a fool loves confrontation and quarrelling:
Prov 17:19a He who loves a quarrel loves sin
People try and avoid a quarrelsome person:
Prov 21:9 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Prov 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
Q: How do you stop a quarrel?
“A quarrel is quickly settled when
deserted by one party; there is no
there be two.”
“It takes two
but only one
to end it.”
And the Bible tells us the best way to stop a quarrel is not to start it in the first place.
Prov 17:14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
What causes quarrelling?
PRIDE - Prov 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
COVETOUSNESS - James 4:1-2 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
WORLDLINESS - 1 Cor 3:3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
Some Christians like to quarrel about controversial topics:
Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.
2 Tim 2:14b Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
1 Tim 6:4b He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions
And Christians leaders must not be quarrelsome:
1 Tim 3:2-3 Now the overseer must be … gentle, not quarrelsome…
2 Pet 2:10-12 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand…
Jude 8-10 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand…
We should overlook insults
Prov 12:16 A fool shows his
annoyance at once, but a
prudent man overlooks
“You are confronted again
and again with the choice
of letting God speak or
letting your wounded self
cry out. Although there has
to be a place where you can
allow your wounded part to get the
attention it needs, your vocation is to speak from the place in you where God dwells.” - Henri J. M. Nouwen
We should return blessings for insults:
Luke 6:8 bless those who curse you…
Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
1 Pet 3:9-10 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
Be gentle in your responses:
Prov 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Don’t talk too much
Prov 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Prov 20:19b …
avoid a man who
talks too much.
those who have
nothing to say
longest time in
doing it.” - James
DON’T TALK TOO MUCH
Rather we should guard our lips:
Prov 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
DON’T TALK TOO MUCH
Try listening more and speaking less:
“God has given us two ears, but one tongue, to show that we should be swift to hear, but slow to speak. God has set a double fence before the tongue, the teeth and the lips, to teach us to be wary that we offend not with our tongue.” - Thomas Watson
SLOW TO SPEAK
Think before you speak:
Prov 29:20 Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
We should be quick to listen and slow to speak:
James 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry
SLOW TO SPEAK
The Lord has enriched our speaking
1 Cor 1:5 For in him you have been enriched in every way - in all your speaking and in all your knowledge
So we should try build one another up with our speech:
Eph 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Quote Scripture and spiritual songs:
Eph 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
BUILD ONE ANOTHER UP
Prov 12:25 An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” - Mother Teresa
“Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips.” - Blaise Pascal
“Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them, and bitter words make them bitter, and wrathful words make them wrathful. Kind words also produce their image on men’s souls; and a beautiful image it is. They smooth, and quiet, and comfort the hearer. They shame him out of his sour, morose, unkind feelings. We have not yet begun to use kind words in such abundance as they ought to be used.” - Blaise Pascal
Speak up for those who cannot defend themselves:
Prov 31:8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
SPEAK FOR THE OPPRESSED
Acts 20:2 He travelled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece
Bring healing with your words:
Prov 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Prov 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Prov 10:11a The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…
Impart spiritual knowledge:
Prov 20:15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.
Prov 15:2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Prov 16:23 A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
Prov 18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
Speak the truth:
Eph 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one body.
But do so in love:
truth in love,
we will in all
things grow up
into him who is
the Head, that
THE TRUTH IN LOVE
Witnessing about Jesus should be the natural overflow of the heart:
Acts 3:20 “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Don’t quarrel, but instruct gently
2 Tim 2:23-25 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth
Your speech should be seasoned with salt. Be gracious to unbelievers.
Col 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Resolve to be an example to others
1 Tim 4:12b … set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
We are ambassadors – we speak on behalf of Christ. So speak as if speaking the very words of God
1 Pet 4:11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.
Are your speech and thoughts acceptable to God?
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. (NASB)
Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
ACCEPTABLE TO GOD
Always remember that we will be judged by our words:
Matt 12:36-37 “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
So be gracious, kind and show mercy to others in your speech; one day you’ll require mercy when you are judged:
James 2:2 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
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