Guidelines for Speech
Tongues are powerful. We are told to keep our tongues from evil. Tonight, we want to examine how we can keep our tongues from evil. When we speak, we must:
Be Prepared to Account for Your Words (Matthew 12:34-37)
Our tongues speak “out of the abundance of the heart.” What we say is an indication of our hearts.
We shall give account for every “idle word.” “Idle words” denote those words which are unproductive, useless. “Idle” was used of people who were unemployed, standing around doing nothing. “Idle words” do nothing-they are better left unsaid. We shall give account for every such word we speak.
Do So in the Name of Jesus (Colossians 3:17)
“In the name of” means “by the authority of.” We need to talk the way the Lord expects us to talk. A good rule of thumb is this, “Would I say this if Jesus were standing here?”
Speak the Truth
Scripture affirms our need to speak truthfully. Exodus 20:16. Proverbs 6:16-19. Revelation 21:8.
God places emphasis on truth. Jesus is “the way, the truth, the life.” Truth, in Scripture, is often that which is right. Therefore, when we speak in truth, we do right.
One reason God places so much emphasis on truth is that Satan does not (Jn 8:44).
Speak to Build Up
Paul makes clear the kind of speech we are to have: It is not to be evil, i.e., hurtful, and it is to be helpful; it’s to build up, not tear down. This rules out much conversation:
Matthew 15:19. 2 Corinthians 12:20.
Slander is speech that harms someone’s reputation; it’s spreading rumors. Potiphar’s wife hurt Joseph’s reputation with her life (Gen 39).
Proverbs 11:13. 2 Corinthians 12:20. 1 Timothy 5:13.
Gossip is telling things whether or not they are true; gossips are those who say, “Have I got a story for you!”
Think Before We Speak
James 1:19. If our minds would think before our tongues spoke, we could avoid many problems.
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.