Trinity Bible Church 11/20/05

(Taken from C.J. Mahaney’s message “Encourage” SGLC 11/11/05)


Introduction: Eph. 4:29; 25; 31; 5:4

    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. (ESV)    


    Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Eph. 4:25 (ESV) 


    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Eph. 4:31 (ESV) 


    Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.  Eph. 5:4 (ESV)  (see also vs. 19)


Paul is addressing speech and communication, to the apostle, speech is vital!


"Speech is a wonderful gift of God. It is one of our human capacities which reflect our likeness to God. For our God speaks, and like him we also speak. Speech

distinguishes us from the animal creation. Cows can moo, dogs bark, donkeys bray, pigs grunt, lambs bleat, lions roar, monkeys squeal and birds sing, but only human

beings can speak." John Stott


This is all a sober reminder of the Savior’s declaration:


 “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  [35] The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  [36] I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  [37] for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:34-37 (ESV) 


We can easily see that God has given words value.  On average each person speaks about 25,000 words daily.  How many of my 25,000 words each day are encouraging? How many are careless?


"We need to recognize how 'wordy' our lives actually are. Talk seems so normal, so ordinary, so unimportant, so harmless. Yet there are few things we do that are

more important. Words are powerful, important, and significant. It was meant to be that way. When we speak, it must be with the realization that God has given our

words significance. He has ordained for them to be important. Words were significant at Creation and at the Fall. They are significant to redemption. God

has given words value. So we must do all we can to assign words the importance Scripture gives them." Paul Tripp War of Words


Our times together should be the context for encouragement.  Encouragement is the result of edifying words!


Brothers and Sisters, we have a COMMAND from God. “Let no…but only” Eph. 4:29

The grammar is the same as that found in the 10 commandments and other commands found in the Bible. This is non-negotiable with God!




What speech is forbidden according to Eph. 4:29? 

Speech that is corrupting, another way to say it is speech that is rotten.


{unwholesome talk NIV, NASB, foul or abusive language. NLT, evil talk RSV, Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth. AMP}


Examples could be found in vs. 31:

Lying and vulgarity; also speech which is bitter, angry, full of malice or slander.


Any words which deters growth in godliness or hinders the cultivation of godly relationships.

C.J. Mahaney


Think about all the proverbs concerning our words and their effects.   Death and life are in the power of the tongue. (Also consider the passage from James 3:2-10)


Corrupt words penetrate the heart and soul, and they spread!  They have the potential to not only corrupt us, but another, and another…


* Can I ask each of you to care about your church?  Let us purpose to protect the church!

We need to examine our words and our speech carefully.

We need to assign the same importance to our speech and communication that God does!


II. EDIFYING SPEECH …”but only such as is good for building up


Corrupt words enter the souls of others and cause “rottenness”.

Edifying words enter souls and “build up”.

We are commanded to speak words which are good for building up, strengthening, provoking.

Not merely polite and courteous. Not flattering or man centered.

Edifying words are rooted in scripture and are God centered.


Did you know that all members of a local church have a “Job Description”?

It’s found here in Eph. 4:29!


If a person is genuinely regenerated, God is tirelessly at work in them, but many are unaware of God’s gracious work or worse yet, they are more aware of God’s absence or their own sin.


Edifying words point people to the activity of God in their lives.

This activity can be called “evidences of grace” (C.J. Mahaney).


Your job description is to make sure others know how God is at work in their lives

Tell them what you see and you will leave behind an edified soul.


But what does one say? 

A good starting point is to look at the fruits of the spirit and the gifts of the spirit.  Are any of these graces evident in the person you are talking to?

(Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; and Rom. 12:6-8)


Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) 

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  [23] gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 


1 Cor. 12:4-11 (ESV) 

    Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;  [5] and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;  [6] and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.  [7] To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  [8] To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,  [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,  [10] to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  [11] All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.


Romans 12:6-8 (ESV) 

    Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;  [7] if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;  [8] the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.


I think that with just these 3 lists we should be able to find something by which we may encourage just about everyone!


III. APPROPRIATE WORDS”as fit the occasion


It must be appropriate for each individual.

This requires knowledge concerning people’s lives and situations.

We must LISTEN before we speak!


This also requires discernment.


1 Thess. 5:14 (ESV) 

    And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 


It won’t help to admonish the weak or encourage the idle!

Our words must be appropriate for the occasion. This is a learned skill and takes practice!


“A word in season, how good it is”


IV PURPOSEFUL WORDS “…that it may give grace to those that hear


This is the biblical purpose for every conversation. 

Think about this for a minute, God will use our words for His purposes!


What does that person need?  Comfort, conviction, assurance, discipline…?

Listen to them and carefully craft your words appropriately and God will minister Grace!


We all need more grace don’t we?


God promises to impart grace when our words are edifying and appropriate.

It is He that imparts grace - when we speak this way we can rest in this promise.


Some forms of Grace are: Justifying grace, sanctifying grace, comforting grace, sustaining grace, convicting grace, correcting grace, etc.


These are some of the categories of grace that we need to have in mind when thinking about how to encourage others.


When trying to bring correction please also declare the gospel.

This is always the most effective and powerful way to impart grace!

Never attempt to correct without reminding the hearer of the gospel.

Whatever sin that is present - is ALREADY PAID FOR!




  1. Know this, someone needs encouragement today.
  2. Take Eph. 4:29 into EVERY conversation (must be memorized and meditated on)
  3. Invite others to evaluate your speech, “am I fulfilling this verse?”
  4. Review before each church service and small group meeting, (and Pot Luck dinner).
  5. Let this verse guide you, not only before a meeting but after, use it to evaluate yourself.


(For further study) 


You may ask, “Why don’t I have more wholesome speech already?” 

The absence of encouragement or encouraging speech is usually due to pride and self-righteousness. We’re too busy thinking of ourselves and how much better we are.

Or thinking about how others never notice all the good things about me!

The fruit of pride = corrupt speech.

The fruit of humility = edifying speech.


When we examine our words we discover the condition of our hearts.

Our words report on the condition of our souls.


"Our use of the tongue is a sure evidence of the condition of our heart. It is the

hinge on which the door into our souls swings open in order to reveal our spirit. In

effect our words are like so many media people rushing to file their reports on the

condition of our soul." Sinclair Ferguson


James 3:2-10 (ESV) 

    For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.  [3] If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.  [4] Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  [5] So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  [6] And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  [7] For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,  [8] but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  [9] With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  [10] From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 


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