What is the Meaning of Ephesians 4.29-30

“How to Stop Useless Speech” To Stop Unwholesome Speech, Speak to Build Others Up

Ephesians 4:29-30

INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 4.29-30

Ephesians 4. Our text this morning will be verses 29 and 30. I want to thank the _____’s for opening their property for us on this rare occasion we could not get the hall.

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We have been slowing going through this very practical section in the book of Ephesians. And my concern as we go through these verses is that if you are convicted that you choose to do something about it and that you respond in an appropriate way. This would be the same with any section of Scripture, that we make sure that we are responding to truth that is heard. That we not only hear the word of God but that we listen to the word of God. That we hear and obey.

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I would like for us to notice the similarities between verses 28 and 29. Let’s read verses 28-30

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Ephesians 4:28-30 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

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But did you notice the similarities?

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  • A part of our body occurs in each of verse. In verse 28, the former thief is instead to perform with his own hands what is good. And this morning we will deal with the words that proceed from our mouths.
  • The word “good” occurs in each verse. Verse 28, a former thief is to perform with his own hands what is good.” And in verse 29 no unwholesome word is to proceed from our mouths but only such a word as is “good” for edification.
  • As well we have a focus on giving at the end of verse 28, the thief is to have something to share with one who has need. And the word share there looks like the Greek word for give. It means to share a portion. As well at the end of verse 29 our speech is to also give something … Are proper speech will give grace to those who hear.
  • And finally this is all focused on those who have need. At the end of verse 28 the former thief is to share with the one who has need. As well in verse 29 our speech is to be for the edification according to the need.

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And you remember as we pointed out last week, that after the word need in the New American Standard we have in italics the phrase of the moment. And the translators have told you they are interpreting this. We are only to give a word as is good for edification according to the need of what? The translators think it’s the need of the moment. But given the similarities between the verses, it’s the need of the individual. For example verse 28 at the end of the verse it is the one who has need. So somebody has a need.

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Similarly in verse 29, instead of the need of the moment, we should understand this as the needs of others. Only speak such a word as is good for edification according to the need of others…. And this last line of verse 29 proves that the focus is on the need of others, “so that it will give grace to [who?] those who hear.”

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And so our text this morning will be verses 29 and 30. And these verses are to be taken together. At the beginning of verse 30 in the original language, we have the word for “and.” … So read from verse 29 … ” Only speak such to word as is good for the edification for the need of others so that will give grace to those who hear and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you are sealed for the day of redemption.”

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And so the very last phrase of verse 29 and all of verse 30 make up two motivations for making sure we have proper speech.

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What are two motivations to make sure that we have proper edifying speech? Number one, at the end of verse 29 you make sure you have edifying speech so that it will give grace to those who hear. And the second motivation to make sure that you have proper speech is verse 30. There is the possibility that if you do not have proper speech that you will grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

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So the big point of this passage is this: to stop unwholesome speech, speak to build others up. In order to stop unwholesome speech, speak to build others up.

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  1. To Stop Unwholesome Speech, Speak to Build Others Up (Eph. 4:29-30)

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  1. Put off: Unwholesome speech

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So first we must put off unwholesome speech. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.”

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It is almost common knowledge today that women speak more than men. It is estimated that men speak 7000 words per day. How many for women?

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According to psychiatrist Louann Brizendine, the average woman speaks about 20,000 words per day, which is almost 3 times as many words as men speak.

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And just to give you an idea, I speak around 6000 words in an average sermon.

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Either way, we are all speaking plenty of words every day. How many of those words will fulfill this command in verse 29 and 30 and how many of those words will fail to fulfill this command? “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.”

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Proverbs 10:19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.

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James 1:19 But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;

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Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

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  • Stats on swearing

How many words that we speak each day are unwholesome words?

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[1]One analysis of recorded conversations of random people[2] reveals that roughly 80–90 spoken words each day were swear words, with usage varying from between 0% to 3.4%.

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A three-country poll conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion in July 2010 found that, when talking to friends, Canadians swear more often than Americans and British. But Britons are more likely than Canadians and Americans to hear strangers swear during a conversation.[3]

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Obviously, using the name and titles of God inappropriately is obviously sinful. Equally obvious are using words that are offensive to other people.

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Now, let me clarify. I am not here to define what is and is not a cuss word. We could get into euphemisms and the like, but I’m not here to change culture. However, let me point out that certain words, even in the King James Bible today, are considered vulgar and inappropriate even by lost people.

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But when push comes to shove, cussing and swear words are not even the main focus of verse 29.

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EXP: The word unwholesome there can literally be translated as rotten. It is used to describe bad fish in Matthew 13:48. What happens to a dead fish when it sits out for too long? It becomes rotten. But it also has the idea of useless outside the New Testament literature.

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For this context, the meaning is clear. Notice the contrast in verse 29 between this unwholesome word and a good word. You can either speak an unwholesome word or you could speak a word that is good for edification.

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The focus in this context for unwholesome has the idea of something being unprofitable. “Let no unprofitable word proceed from your mouth.”

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So obviously profanity and swear words are unprofitable. Crude jokes are unprofitable. And obviously gossip is unprofitable.

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And what about trying to always keep up with the popular slang words of the day? Is it really that cool anyway to be able to say all of the popular words and try to fit in with your worldly friends?

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So as you analyze your speech throughout the day, how much of it really is edifying? How many of your words that you speak each day have the actual purpose …the design of building up other people?

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Or are you flippant in the way that you speak? Is it easy for you to keep on speaking and not to limit your words? Do you know what it is to control your language in some way?

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And when you do speak do your words have purpose or are they useless? Our words may not be sinful, but how many of our words are actually profitable?

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If lost people protect other lost people from words that you use, you ought not use them.

Lost people in Scripture are described as having filthy speech.

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Romans 3:13-14 13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”; 14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”;

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But a good tree will always bear good fruit. Your speech tells others whether or not you have trusted in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.

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Is your throat and open grave? With your tongue do you keep on the lying? Is there the poison of snakes behind those lips? Is your mouth full of cursing and bitterness?

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You may struggle in this area, but are you convicted and seeing improvement?

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And are you empowered by the Holy Spirit to give grace? Do you know what it is to speak a needed word and to see the effect of God’s grace in another person’s life?

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Speech is an indicator of salvation … there is a difference between the words of the righteous and the words of the wicked…

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Proverbs 10:20 The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little.

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So does your speech or your improved speech betray the fact that you are a child of God?

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So, let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth. If you have trusted Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, then you have the power of the Holy Spirit residing within you. And if you purpose by the grace of God to put off unprofitable speech, God will do a work of grace in you.

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But it takes you doing it and it takes God doing it. This is not going to be magical and “proof” one day it happens and you no longer struggle in this area. It’s going to take you working at it.

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So how many words do you speak every day that have no direct purpose. You haven’t thought through what you are going to say first before you say it?

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“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.” That takes purpose.

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TRANS: Instead, only allow certain words to proceed from your mouth. Your heart, underneath the control of the Holy Spirit, is the filter that allows only certain words to proceed from your mouth.

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  1. Put on: Edifying speech

Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of others

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The word that comes out of your mouth must be good, or it could be translated as beneficial. Only let beneficial words come out of your mouth. They are actually a benefit. They are not neutral … They actually add something positive to somebody else, whether encouragement or rebuke, instruction…but it’s helpful.

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Check yourself. Are the words I am about to say going to benefit the person who hears me?

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Proverbs 15:7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools [do not].

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Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of understanding.

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So do you know how to use your words in particular situations? Do you know how to make an anxious person’s heart glad again?

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Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.

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If someone is angry, do you know how to turn his anger away or do you choose to speak back at him to encourage that anger?

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Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

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You might consider yourself someone who can teach others. Do you know how to add sweetness to your speech so that others increase in their learning? Proverbs 16:21 The wise in heart will be called understanding, And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

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And one of my favorites in Proverbs on speech is Proverbs 25:11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.

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Learn to use your words at the proper time so as to minister grace to those who hear.

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Words are so incredibly powerful. And I fear that many of us are walking about as nuclear bombs and you are playing with your words and you think so little about how your words are affecting others.

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Think through! Think through what you’re saying. Speak slower if you have to so as to be careful to survey your own heart before you spew out filth that harms those who hear.

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The Effect in the Home

Your words are having great effect in your home. Mom and Dad, the words that you use towards one another are not only affecting your relationship but they are also affecting the spiritual health of your children.

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Kind and compassionate parents who are kind and compassionate towards one another, will also produce children who are kind and compassionate, generally speaking of course.

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If your children or your spouse are walking on egg shells attempting not to set you off, you my friend are a source of depression in the home. You are a source of anxiety. You can help create depression and anxiety in your kids’ hearts.

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If your children are overly aggressive and angry or they have retreated back inside of their shell, where they seem overly anxious and worried about the silliest things or they can’t sit still and can never concentrate, it is likely that the parents are having a negative effect on their kids. Parents may not be actually yelling at the children, but a constant display of sinful word choices from parent to parent …. That affects the kids spiritually.

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One of the best things that you can do for your kids is to have kind and compassionate marriage. When the parents have a gracious and kind and merciful and understanding relationship and mom and dad do not have to walk on egg shells or be afraid with each other, the children will perk up in their hearts and climb out of their shells and become more respectful have better relationships and will increase their ability to take on responsibilities and will rise to meet the parents’ expectations.

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And the effects that the parents are having now can continue on into adulthood, unless of course the power of Christ overrides the negative effect that they experience in the home growing up.

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Parents, this is why it is essential that you grow in Christ. You must seek the solutions to your sin problems, for the sake of your relationship with God and your relationship with your spouse and your relationship with your kids … And your kids’ relationship with their future spouse …. And it just keeps going and going. Are you going to choose to grow in Christ today or not?

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Are you going to choose to draw near to God that he might draw near to you so that you speak in such a way that is gracious and kind and loving tenderhearted and merciful? “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” and learn to have a positive effect with your words.

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And if you have a problem with speech, you need to sit down and consider and plan how you can build up others. Look up verses on speech and ask the Lord to give you an excitement over the power of words and how you can properly use them.

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Your words need not only to be good and beneficial, but they also need to be for edification. That means to build others up, and not tear them down. See to it that you speak beneficial words. These beneficial words will build up others. And it is all according to the needs of others.

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Too often you speak out of your emotion, empowered by your sin nature. Endeavor not to allow your sinful impulses cause you to open your mouth! Keep that tongue in its grave until your heart is walking with the resurrected Christ!

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Are you aware of the needs of others? Give with your words. Spread knowledge. Alleviate anxiety. Encourage the downhearted. Lift up the fallen. Put on display with your lips the mercy of God.

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But if you are not thinking about what people need, you will continue to give them what they don’t need. And it’s all because your sinful heart will continue to spill out its filth. But if you actually had compassion and grace and you focused on how to help other people and to give to them what they need, you by the power of the Holy Spirit will be able to speak a word that meets their need and you will minister grace to them and not anger or even neutral words, but your words will always be comforting or encouraging in some way.

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Do you want this? Do you really want this? Then plan ahead to give to others even as Christ has given to you his eternal salvation. He speaks tenderly to your stubborn heart. Give tenderness to the little hearts in your home.

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TRANS: But why should you speak to build others up? First, you can actually give grace!

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  1. Reason #1: Speak to build others up to give grace to hearers

The reason for focusing on your speech in this way is so that you can actually minister grace to those who hear you.

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Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

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Be careful to allow the power of the Holy Spirit in your heart to prevent useless unprofitable words from proceeding from your mouth. Be careful to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to concentrate on how you can help others in their time of need so that you can build them up … if you do this, then you will give them grace. You should do this so that you can give grace.

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The idea of grace here is to enable somebody. To give them the capacity the strength that they need to continue on. God gives this grace to you. He himself enables people to accomplish his will.

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Christ came to give grace and salvation. When he came, out of his infinite love that is directed toward us, he died on the cross an excruciating death, in order to minister divine grace to us. We do not deserve God’s favor toward us.

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And in the Christian life, God’s enabling grace is sufficient. His enabling grace and empowering grace is sufficient in our weakness. His grace is our strength.

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And we can minister that same empowering grace to others with our speech. Are your words in keeping with the grace that God gives to you? Does your speech enable others or does it disable? Let your speech minister grace to lift up the downhearted and to encourage those who are weak.

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TRANS: So you should speak in order to build others up, first because, you can actually give grace to them, and second now … You better be careful to speak good words that actually build up other people who are in need, otherwise, you’ll grieve the Holy Spirit. The second reason to build others up with our speech is because otherwise we grieve the Holy Spirit.

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  1. Reason #2: Speak to build others up, otherwise you’ll grieve the Holy Spirit
    1. Motivation: The Holy Spirit has sealed you.

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Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

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Ephesians 1:13 teaches that the Holy Spirit has sealed the believer.

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What that means is that the believer is secure. And it says here in Ephesians 4:30 that the believer is sealed for the day of redemption. That day is the future day of the return of Christ.

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The one who trusts alone in Jesus Christ and turns from his wicked sin is secure in the arms of Jesus for all eternity.

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John 10:27-29 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

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We are safe in the Father’s hand.

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What an inestimable privilege to be safe and secure in the Father’s hand … And that, for all of eternity.

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Now in light of the that, imagine grieving this Holy Person who has sealed you safe and secure until that day. Imagine grieving the Holy Spirit!

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When you speak in a way that tears down those who hear you, you are grieving the Holy Spirit of God. You are actually causing grief to Him. Would you like to be found in the position of grieving the Holy Spirit? You have got to endeavor by the power of the Holy Spirit to minister grace with your speech.

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ILL: Christ died for your sin. Throughout Christ’s life on Earth, the Holy Spirit empowered him for ministry. And in the end of his earthly life, he died and was raised from the dead.

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Imagine someone dying for you on this earth. Let’s say they take the bullet on your behalf and they are paralyzed for the rest of their life. Any request that they would have from you within reason, no doubt you would give it to them.

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The Holy Spirit of God has told you something here about himself. The Bible says that the apostle Paul is empowered here by the Holy Spirit to pen down the exact words of God. So the Holy Spirit is telling you something here about himself. He is saying that you grieve him when you allow useless unprofitable speech to come across your lips.

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And so the way this is constructed here tells us that in order to be motivated to have proper speech, one would do well to study and meditate on the Bible’s teaching of the sealing of the Holy Spirit. “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit with your unprofitable words. He has sealed you in Christ until Christ’s return!”

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Therefore, if you understand who it is who indwells you as a believer and who really …. it is who has secured you until the return of Christ … If you really understood that, you would be motivated to speak words that are good and beneficial in that build up others in order to meet the needs of others.

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For proper speech, think about the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

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As we conclude here, let me give some other tips.

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Tips

  1. Don’t watch or listen to bad speech. Radio and television are filled with not only cuss words swearwords, but useless speech. Turn it off. The more you hear it the more likely you are to speak it.
  2. Get some accountability. Approach somebody about helping you. It can be me or any other member of this church, but you may need to get some help.
  3. Know when you’re most likely to use unprofitable language. When is it you are most tempted? Be careful in those times.
  4. Know that you are speaking in God’s presence. If you knew and really got a hold of the fact that the Holy Spirit is in you and he is grieved, you would care more.
  5. Pray better. The more divinely you speak to God, the more humanely you will speak to man, for we are made in the image of God. The more divinely you speak to God, the more humanely you will speak to man, for we are made in the image of God. Be diligent to pray better.
  6. Make plans to give grace through your speech. Actually sit down and plan how you can encourage somebody with your speech. What can you plan to say to somebody else that will help them? Do your words tend to be fire and they tend to be the gasoline? Okay, sit down and consider how you can speak better so as to minister grace and not evil.

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 4.29-30

May the Lord help us with our speech!

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We need God’s grace in this, let’s sing 248 … Grace greater than our sin

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Go to BibleTrove.com Home Page from What is the Meaning of Ephesians 4.29-30

Go to New Testament Books Page

Go to Ephesians Main Page

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  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profanity#Statistics

  2. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/pps/4_2_inpress/Jay.pdf

  3. http://www.angus-reid.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/2010.08.04_Swearing.pdf

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