Sermon – February 17, 2019
We are said to be made in the image of a God who creates using just his words; it should come as little surprise that Scripture has much to say to us about the nature of our speech. What’s more, given that the fall has marred the image of God placed in us, it is also unsurprising that we struggle to speak rightly before God and the world. Proverbs, as the very wisdom of God, seeks to help us understand how to speak better, applying wisdom to the use of our lips. Today, let us consider how to speak more faithfully, and what the effects of that speech might be.
The nature of wise speech:
1. The wise speak patiently. Proverbs is firm on the fact that fools speak too often, and too rashly, and the wise watch their words very carefully. Friends, be careful that you don’t rush to speak, and learn to happily close your mouth as often as possible. Be patient with your words, don’t give in to the pressure for immediacy, for such pressure is a breeding ground of sin and broken relationships.
2. The wise speak persuasively. Our words always mean to move people – to change their minds or to change their actions. How do you use your persuasion? Do you persuade people to the important things in your life, and, just as importantly, how do you persuade people? Proverbs presses us to understand that soft answers and kind words have tremendous potential to move people, and that the use of harsh words is often a cover for a sinful heart/
3. The wise speak perceptively. Finally, let us be aware of our surroundings when we speak to people. We must answer and speak with an understanding of the situation and the person to whom we speak. The Bible refuses to give us pat answers when it comes to how we are to speak. Rather, it seeks to have us understand the fear of God and speak with insight into every situation.
The effect of wise speech:
1. Wise speech promotes peace. Friends, does your speech promote peace? Or, after speaking into certain situations, do you find that they are almost always blazing with fire? If your speech is really wise, you should generally promote peace when you speak.
2. Wise speech provides life. Proverbs often depicts the speech of hte wise as being life giving and a source of blessing for those who hear. There is no greater demonstration of this then the proclamation of the gospel. It is through our speech that the gospel is spread and eternal life is given. The wisest speech you can give to others is the knowledge of Jesus as the Christ, broken for our sin and resurrected for our justification.
3. Wise speech procures blessing. Finally, friends, realize that God cares much about how we speak to one another. While the speech of fools leads to disaster and calamity, the one who speaks wisely finds the blessing and delight of God. Mastering such speech is indeed difficult, but the reward is eternal!