Let's Talk Week 7: Cat Got Your Tongue?
Becca: Guys, I went to Made for brunch today.
Erica: I’ve heard of that place. How was it?
Becca: It was so good. Bottomless mimosas. I got these biscuits and fried chicken smothered in gravy. It was so good. Oh, and it was right next to that place where you went on that date last night. How was it?
Justine: You guys, it was perfect. I really think I like him. I don’t know, but...
Grace: Hey, actually, I think, right across the street, that’s where the new Cat Cafe is. I’ve been meaning to bring Harley there. They’ll give you little catuccinos and they let the cats walk around while you’re eating.
Charlotte: So, Brittany, I love that shirt. Where did you get it?
Brittany: Thanks. Actually, it’s new. I just got it from Anthropology. It was on sale for only $75.
Grace: What? You’ve cat to be kitten me. I got this kitty kraken shirt at Goodwill for $3. Isn’t it perfect?
Erica: Goodwill? Never would’ve guessed.
Justine: Oh, my gosh, you guys. Have you seen baby Sampson lately? Is he just not the cutest thing you’ve, like, ever seen?
Brittany: I love him.
Grace: So cute.
Justine: So cute. Oh, my gosh. All the ladies are going to love him when he gets older.
Justine: He’s just so cute.
Becca: Oh, speaking of babies, Grace, how is your new job at the preschool? Are you loving it? Does it make you want to have babies of your own?
Grace: Guys, you know I already have a baby. My fur baby. Let me go get her.
Erica: Becca, have you decided if she’s in on the Savannah trip or not?
Becca: I don’t know. Guys, what should I do?
Justine: I would not invite her. I mean, did you hear the way she was talking about her cat the whole time? All she’s going to do is talk about her stupid cat. I don’t want to hear that on a trip. Just, no.
Erica: Guys, it’s not like she can go anyway. Who’s going to take care of her cat?
Charlotte: Yeah, but it can’t be that hard to take care of a cat. Cut her some slack. She’s not that bad.
Justine: I mean, I beg to differ. Did you hear that ‘cat to be kitten me’ line?”
Narrator: Pause. Sometimes we forget how powerful words really are. So let’s dialogue. Let’s unpack this together. Let’s talk.
What a powerful video that is, for sure. Can we give our creative team a big round of applause because they do a fantastic job doing these bumper videos? I think that video is so powerful because, if we’re honest — and I want to also welcome those who watch via the mobile app and internet. You can be honest, as well, as you watch, and everybody here. We’ve been that person on the couch and we’ve also been that person in the hallway hearing something said. We all have experienced that. That’s why that’s just such a real moment when we watch something like that because it’s like, “Yeah. I’ve done that. I’ve been on the other side of it. It’s not fun.”
So, as we end our series, “Let’s Talk,” where we’ve been talking about the power of our words, we can see, right there on that video, how powerful words can be. And we’ve been talking about the fact that out of our tongue comes words that speak life or words that speak death. We either speak blessing or cursing with our tongues. We want to be people that speak life. So, as we end the series, I want to talk about the importance of speaking life. I think that it’s huge that we think about that. We live in a society right now where there’s very little positive speech anywhere. It’s almost all negative, all the time.
I literally don’t watch the news at all because it’s just negative. I mean, you don’t flip on the news and they’re telling you, “Oh, this young man helped a lady across the street.” You don’t get any of that. It’s just all negative. We, as Christians, are not called — and sometimes it’s easy to go, “Well, here’s where the world’s at, and it’s really bad. I’m a little bit above here, so I must be better. Look, we’re called to be people that speak life. So, I want to talk about that.
But here’s the risk that you have whenever you do something like this. I mean, especially when you show something like this, and it’s like, “Whoa, that’s tough,” — you run the risk, when you talk about speaking life, because you also have to talk about the ramifications of what it looks like when you don’t speak life, that people will say, “Oh, he’s just getting on us, giving us a hard time or whatever.”
Listen, I can assure you this: I never come up here with the attitude of, “Let me give everybody a hard time,” or anything like that. I genuinely just want to say, “Hey, what does God’s Word say?” and let’s talk about it. So, here’s what I’m hoping. And it may be ambitious, but I’m hoping this. I’m hoping that rather than leaving here today going, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t do that as much,” I’m hoping that everybody leaves here slapping five going, “I want to be a person and I want to be a part of a church that speaks life.”
That’s my hope. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish. So, let’s get to work. I’ve got a couple of verses I want to read out of Proverbs 26. At the end of the message today, I’m going to come back and give a little bit of context about this. But just these three verses are pretty profound. And then we can sort of talk about it for a little bit, and then we’ll come back here at the end and talk about more of the contextual analysis.
Solomon says, “For lack of wood the fire goes out,”
I mean, that seems to be fairly intuitive there, right? I mean, if you’ve got a fire and you keep putting wood on it, the fire probably will keep going. If you have a fire and you don’t put wood on it, it will go out. Believe it or not, I used to be a Boy Scout back when I lived in Cynthiana, Kentucky. The first scout outing that I went on, guess whose job it was to keep the fire going? Guess who didn’t keep the fire going? I went from a Boy Scout to a boy out in about two hours. Anyway, for lack of wood the fire goes out. And then listen to what Solomon says:
“And where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.”
Now, we’ve got to stop here for a minute because a lot of times when we read these passages, we sort of breeze through them and don’t take a moment to really let them settle in. First of all, we probably need to be asking, “What’s a whisperer?” I mean, we probably think of somebody going, “Psst, psst, psst,” but there might be more of a profoundness to that word. We’ll look at that in a minute. So, wherever this whisperer doesn’t exist, quarreling ceases. When you’re reading the Old Testament — and you’re also reading the New Testament — most of these books are written with a corporate view in mind. They’re not written from an individualistic standpoint. They’re written from a corporate view. So, the idea here is that when there’s no whisperer in the group, in the community, what happens is there’s no quarreling. In other words, people get along. People function right. But when somebody’s whispering, whatever this whisper is, they bring quarreling. When they’re out of the community, there’s no quarreling.
So, who is the whisperer? Who is this person? Bruce Waltke, a great professor, exegete and Hebrew scholar, has a commentary on Proverbs. He also has commentaries on many other things. But as he looks at the Hebrew word that we translate “whisperer,” he says, “A whisperer is a person who wrongfully attacks another’s rights, reputation or authority to secure his own will.”
Whoever this whisperer is has an agenda, and their agenda is for self. They don’t mind to attack somebody else. They don’t mind to tell lies. They don’t mind to distort things. They don’t mind to speak out of turn because they have an agenda. Maybe their agenda is to get a job at work. Maybe their agenda is to hurt somebody else. Maybe their agenda is to get something that they want in life. But this whisperer is a person who does this and their tools are innuendos, half-truths, and facts distorted and exaggerated beyond recognition. So, wherever this person exists, what you’re going to have in the community is quarreling. This is a biblical truth and we’ve all experienced this. I mean, wherever someone is, if you’re in a group — and it may be one person or it could be a group of people. Wherever they are that are doing things, are selfish, they’re only thinking about their own self, and don’t mind to step on somebody or say something negative to get ahead, what happens is there is quarreling in that community.
Then Solomon says, “As charcoal to hot embers and wood to the fire,” — again, picking up this fire imagery — “so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.”
Do you want to have a bunch of problems in a community? Have somebody who likes to quarrel. Do you have somebody who likes to quarrel? It creates a lot of problems.
And then he says, “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels.”
Well, that’s interesting. That’s an interesting phrase that it’s a “delicious morsel.” It’s almost like we want to hear the negativity. Somebody comes along and says, “Hey, did you hear what somebody did?” You’re like, “Do tell. Give me something so I can pray about it.” You know? Anyways.
“The words of a whisperer are like a delicious morsel; they go down into the inner parts of the body.”
It’s like they cloud the way we perceive and look at other people. So, let’s talk about this. First of all, as Christians, we’re called to be people who speak life. We’re called to be people that speak life. This is who we are. We’re not supposed to lower our standards just because the world’s really negative, as long as we’re just a little bit above. No. We’re called to be people that speak life. And I want to highlight something here out of Luke. And if you’re new here today, and maybe you have some ideas about Jesus, this will help you out, maybe. If you’ve been in church a long time, this might help you out as well. I just want you to hear who Jesus was. In Luke 15, normally we know Luke 15 for the parable of the two boys. We call it the parable of the prodigal son.
Luke 15 starts off and says, “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.”
That’s interesting. First of all, I love — and I’ve mentioned this before. But you’ve got to love it. “Sinner” wasn’t even a good enough term for tax collectors. They had to have their own name. I mean, that’s great, isn’t it? It couldn’t just be, “All the sinners gathered.” It was, “The sinners and the tax collectors.”
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near...” — listen to what Luke says — “...to hear him.”
Think about this for a second. The marginalized, the fringe wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. I think a lot of Christians think that if the marginalized and the sinners came to Jesus, He would blast them. He’d tell them how bad they were. He’d tell them, “You sinner,” or whatever. No. They wanted to come hear Jesus because Jesus, when He spoke, made them feel valued and like they had dignity. They wanted to be around this guy. They wanted to hear what He had to say. Now, the good church folk were in here, too.
It says, “And the [church folk] Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’”
Interesting how, as things change, nothing really changes. Right? But the people are there to hear Jesus because He speaks life. Are we people that speak life? I’m going to be transparent here and be honest. I have an issue, personally. My OCD is so bad it’s alphabetized. CDO. I like everything to just be in order. I think it’s because my dad was a dentist and he breathed all that funky gas. Had made all of us crazy. I don’t know what it is. Anyway, I like everything to be in order. If you come into my office, all my books are there. If you push a book in, I notice it. I don’t know why I notice it, but I pulled the book back out. My kids do that. If something’s like this on my desk, they turn it this way just so that they can watch me turn it back. I walk in and know. I don’t know why that’s the way it is, but I’m that way. I’m just being honest.
So, I like everything to be — you get in my car and people go, “Wow, your car’s really clean.” It’s great. My kids get in the car with me after school and they’ll be like, “Daddy, your car is a lot cleaner than mommy’s.” I’m like, “Yeah, I know, man. She needs to clean her car.”
Anyway, I’ve got an issue. So, what happens is, when I come home and have been gone all day, and I come in, one of the things that just drives me up the wall is how my kids don’t seem to want to clean their rooms. I have a choice — and I want to so bad — to walk in and go, “What is up with this? Do you not realize that all of this stuff is God’s and you are a steward of it and you’re doing a bad job? I’m a pastor and you’re a pagan. Get the oil, Mindy, so we can anoint them.”
I don’t know. But I have to stop in that moment and say to myself, “Okay, Chip. If you walk in there every time and that’s the speech that you give, you’re not speaking life to your kids. You’ve got to get past some of those things. You’ve got to speak life.” All I’m asking is for you and me to sign up for the fact that we’re to be people that speak life because here’s the flip side: If we don’t, if we are gossipers, back-biters, innuendos, negative about people and all that, what it does is it destroys these things. That’s just what it does. It’s not even a question. This is just the truth. This isn’t me trying to say, “Don’t do this. Try harder not to do this.” This is me going, “This is such a better way to live. It’s so much better to speak life because friendships, relationships — did you know more churches have been split and more churches have had problems over gossip, back-biting and all of that negative speech? That’s what destroys stuff. Small groups. You get small groups and people get mad. People have left church and small groups because people have said stuff. It destroys.
Look at what Scripture says about friends: “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
Listen, I’m not going to do this, but if I were to get a microphone and say, “How many in here have said something about somebody that you were close with at one time, and because you said some things that you shouldn’t have said, it’s no longer there? Or you had somebody that said things about you that you were close to that has separated? Or you know somebody that that happened to?”
Everybody in here would have a testimony because we know that this is true. So, it’s not a matter of me saying, “Don’t do this. Don’t do this. Don’t do this.”
It’s a matter of me saying, “Why would we not want to live the way God wants us to live? Why would we not want to be people that speak life to people, that speaking blessing to people and give dignity and value? That nothing, no corrupt communication, comes out of our tongue?
Or how about this one: “When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret.”
That’s easy to do, isn’t it? Sometimes you’re mad at somebody and you’re going, “Tom, you’re no good. And do you know what Sally even said about you?”
It’s like, “Uh-oh. Zip.”
“When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret. Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation.”
See, this stuff can affect us. It’s not a matter of try hard. It’s a matter of let’s just live out who we are. We’re children of the Lord. We’re to be people that speak life. It’s just important. But here’s what sort of catches us up a little bit sometimes and gets our tongue: The wickedly deceptive potential enjoyment of corrupt communication, things like gossip, is what makes it so tempting. We just have to reject it. It just is. There’s something about that negative thing that you hear that you want to hear more of, that you want to read more of, that you want to see more of. There’s something that is so wickedly deceptive because there’s sort of a sick enjoyment that we get out of this.
This is such a true statement, isn’t it? Gossip can travel over the entire world and back before the truth can get up out of bed and put on its pants. Right? I don’t know how. I don’t know why it’s like that, but it’s like that. Isn’t it? Think about that. It’s like that.
This is the renegade translation, The Message, but listen: “Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy.”
Or, as the ESV says, “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels.”
I don’t want to get into a theological debate with anybody here. Everybody here is welcome on this particular issue. Just a few days ago, we had Halloween. We have a neighborhood where the parents get out with tables. It’s just a great place. It would be weird if our kids weren’t out just having fun, so we go out. And if you’re mad at me, I’m sorry. But that’s the deal. You can have those opinions here. We love everybody. But what we do is, because we have so many kids, Mindy and I have an excise tax on the candy. That’s the way it works. We get a percentage of the candy for ourselves.
That’s sort of a joke, but we do take some. So, there will be a piece of candy and I’ve never seen this gum before. You put it in your mouth and you’re like, “Mmm. Man, that is good. Agh! Let me try it again. Mmm, that’s good. Man, that’s nasty.”
Okay? It’s that cheap candy. It’s a delicious morsel. Right at the beginning, it just seems like, “Yes!”
But listen to what Scripture says: “They go down into the inner parts of the body.”
What this means is when you and I listen to junk about other people, even if it’s true, and we constantly are feeding the negativity, guess what we can’t do anymore? We can’t objectively see that person for who they are. We’re clouded. I was in high school. In high school, I had some friends. I knew this person that I knew, but I didn’t know them. I just knew who they were. All of my friends told me about that person. That person, everything they did, I interpreted what they did through the lens of what everybody had told me about that person. Then I met them and I realized everything that had been said about that person was absolutely untrue. Now, if you would’ve polygraph tested me, if you would’ve asked me about that person, I could’ve told you all these things about that person that I knew were true because I had heard them, but they weren’t true at all because I didn’t know that person.
So, what I’d like to say to you is that oftentimes when we listen to the negativity on anything in life, when we listen to the negativity, what it does is it clouds us from being able to see somebody for who they actually are. That’s why we can’t do it. We have to reject it. We just have to say, “I’m not doing it.” But there’s something delicious. There’s something like, “I want to hear this stuff.” So, we’ve got to reject that because what it does is it really clouds our judgment of being able to work with people and stuff. And I can tell you, as a pastor, that if you’re around church long enough, you see how this works out. People will think something about somebody, then they’ll tell some people about somebody, then they’ll talk about this person. Everybody sees that person a certain way and it may not even be close to being right, but that’s what people think because what happens is that delicious morsel actually goes deep within you and I and clouds our judgment.
So, let’s talk a little bit. When is it appropriate to talk and when is it gossip, back-biting or negative conversation? I went online and I typed in, “What’s a good definition of using good speech? What would it be like, a good definition? When am I gossiping or not gossiping?”
What came up was definition by Rick Warren. It was all over the place. Rick only sells like 50,000,000 books. The Purpose Driven Life. So, you would only think that all of his quotes would be everywhere. Anyways, he says, “When we’re talking about a situation with somebody who’s neither part of the problem or part of the solution, then we’re probably gossiping.”
This is a great definition because here’s reality: You’re at work and somebody does something wrong to you, and you go to them and talk about it, you’re not gossiping. You’re dealing with a problem. You’re dealing with it. If you’re in a marriage situation, a family problem or something where you’re struggling with someone and you go to a counselor to talk about your struggles. You’re trying to deal with somebody who could be part of the solution.
Where it becomes gossip is when the people that you’re talking with can’t solve it and aren’t part of the problem they’re not the one that you have the problem with, and they’re not also someone who can solve it. So, when you’re talking about that, that is when, in fact, it is gossip.
So, at work, if your boss does something that you don’t like and you go down to the front desk phone operator and talk to them about what your boss did, you’re not talking to someone who’s part of the problem and you’re definitely not talking to someone who can bring a solution to it. So then, in fact, you would be gossiping. Let’s buttress this a little bit more with some really good, what I call, life lessons that can help us to assimilate some of this stuff.
Here’s a life lesson: We’re called to speak the truth as Christians, absolutely, but not everything that’s true needs to be said. Okay? And we do this. We do this. Come on. We do this: “Well, the reason I said they were getting a divorce is because it’s true.”
No, no. You might not have needed to say that. See, we speak truth, but not everything that’s true needs to be said. Sometimes we need to learn that we don’t need to say something about someone. It’s just a good practice.
The second thing I’ll tell you is this: Whatever we permit, we promote. We don’t think it this way, but we do. When we allow people to talk about stuff, we’re promoting that. And what we don’t want to do is be known as individuals, or specifically as a church, that permits people to talk about stuff. What we want to do — and I get flack a lot of times. You might not believe it. I’m a nice guy. I mean, I really am. I’m a nice guy, but I still get people, like, “You just don’t want us talking about things.”
No. I’m not trying to control anybody. I’m trying to be a good pastor to make sure that we’re a good church in Lakewood Ranch that looks like Jesus and doesn’t look like some messed up view of Jesus. I’m not trying to tell anybody. You live your life. I’m just telling you here’s what Scripture says and this is what I know. If we permit things — like there are things that we don’t permit around here at Grace. If you’re in leadership, we ask you not to say certain things about certain things. Why? Because when we permit it, we promote it.
I’ll give you an example. As you all know, I’ve got like 98 kids. We love pumpkin pie around our house. Actually, we like whipping cream. It’s like, “Would you like some pumpkin pie with your whipping cream?” So, we’ve got that “kshh-kshh” thing. Okay? And, you know, it’s, “Kshhhh-kshhhh,” or whatever. Okay? So, every once in a while, Chip decides, as he’s excited — because, you know, I get excited and I like to have fun. I like to laugh and I like to cut up. “Luke, come here! Open your mouth!”
Okay. Once I do that, it is a free-for-all at my house. “Kshh-kshh.” Everybody’s hanging out in the pool area. Parker and Gia. And then Mindy has me go sleep outside for the rest of the night. Anyway, whatever I permitted, I promoted. Just think about that in your life. If you’re like, “Do tell. Tell me. Yeah, man. I want to hear about that.” If you sit around and you talk about people that you don’t know, if you permit it, you promote it. It’s just a fact.
And then, this last one here is true: How we handle gossip shows a lot about us. It exposes who we are on the inside and how we handle it. Evil people relish malicious conversation. That’s a tough on because I know a lot of Christians that love to hear bad things about people they don’t like. Let’s flip this around. If you like malicious conversation, you’re an evil person. That’s tough. The ears of liars itch for dirty gossip. This is not who we are. This is just not who we are. It’s not a matter of saying, “Let’s not go do this.” Look, you can’t jump through the hoops to get God’s favor. That’s not the way it works. So, it’s not like I’m not going to do that and now God’s going to like me more or whatever. That’s not the point.
The point is that we are Christians. We have been redeemed. We’re a new creation. We’re supposed to be people that speak life. So, when somebody comes to you and says, “Let me tell you about this person,” just stop it. Just say, “Listen, do you know what? You may have a point to say, and I understand that, but what I know is this: I know that somebody, that person’s mom, loves them. I know that they have something redeeming about them. Here’s what I know: James 3 says that out of my tongue should not come both blessing and cursing. I can’t bless God with my tongue and then curse people that were created in the likeness of God. So, what I’m not going to do is I’m not going to entertain any of this stuff. I’ll talk to you. I’ll pray for that person. I’ll lift up that person. We’ll do that stuff, but I’m not going to talk about somebody. Period.”
Do you know what people are going to do at work? Because they don’t know what to do with that. But that’s just who we are. We need to be people that speak life. And then, I think this is sort of self-explanatory, and I think we’ll get it. The third thing here is our propensity to speak evil of others is probably best understood as our inadequate and often subconscious search for significance.
Hear our pastor here. Listen to me. The only place you and I are going to find life that really matters is in a person, and His name is Jesus. He’s our life. And we try to find it in a spouse, find it at a job, or find it in something else. It could even turn dark in alcohol, drugs and things like that. But what we’re doing is we’re saying, “I want to feel like I matter. I want to feel like I am valued. I want to feel like I have worth.”
Oftentimes, when we speak evil of others, whoever they may be, what it does is it gives us this false little shot of feeling significant. Because we feel important to some degree when we have info someone else doesn’t. “Hey, did you hear what was going on? Did you?”
“No. Man, how did you know?”
“Well, I’m sort of an insider on that stuff. I got the information.”
It makes you feel important for a second, but it doesn’t last. It’s this desperate search for significance that you’re not going to find here. That’s why we like to speak evil about people. But when we have our worth in Christ, we can speak life to everyone. It goes on here. We feel like we’re better because if others look bad — and you’ve seen it. We’ve all done it at some point. “Well, I would never do something like that.”
Don’t judge people because they sin differently than you. So, others look bad. And then, when I win, I feel good. Well, someone else loses. So, what it can be is this inadequate search for feeling significant. We don’t want to do that.
So, here’s what I want to do. I want to come back, now, to Proverbs 26. Proverbs 26. I don’t have time to go through the entire proverb. I would love to. Maybe one day we will go through the entire proverb. But it starts off in Proverbs 26: 1and it sort of tells you what the proverb is going to be about.
It says, “Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,”
Well, we know that’s not going to happen. That’s an anomaly. It doesn’t snow in the summer. Rain in the harvest? It doesn’t happen. So, the next tie-in, because this is Hebrew parallelism. It’s A and then B. Here’s the tie-in.
“Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.”
Now, what does that mean? We need to take a moment here and ask what this means. Who’s a fool in Scripture. A fool is someone who doesn’t believe in God. A fool is someone who doesn’t do the things that God has said. So, we’re foolish when we don’t do the things that God said. We’re foolish when we build our house on the sand rather than on the rock. We’re foolish when we don’t do what God says to do. We’re just foolish. Now, we may think that we’re doing good. The word for “fool” in Hebrew is Frank Sinatra. Do it your own way. I don’t know if you know that or not.
But a fool is someone who says, “I’m going to go do it my way. I’m going to go do the things that I want. I’m not going to listen to anything that God says.
“Honor is not fitting for a fool.”
What’s honor? Honor, if you read Scripture — and we’ll look at this in just a second because we’re going to delve into this idea of honor. We’re going to see that the fool, in Proverbs 26, uses their tongue — there are lazy people that use their tongue, quarrelsome people that use their tongue, gossipers that use their tongue all in Proverbs 26. They’re all using their tongue for their own purposes. They’re not using their tongue to speak life into other people. They’re not using their tongue to build up other people.
So, the writer says, “Honor is not fitting for a fool.”
We need to probably figure out what is honor. Well, one of the problems we have is that we don’t know the difference between respect and honor. We’re a little at odds because we don’t know the difference. Respect is what the world’s going to want you to have. Respect is what you’re going to think you’re supposed to get. Because, see, respect is about us and how we’re perceived or treated. Scripture never tells you to be a person of respect. It tells you to be a person of honor. A person of honor is concerned about others and how God is perceived in our lives. Big difference. You see that in Philippians 2:5. You see where Paul says, “Have this mind, which is in Christ, who, even though He was God, didn’t grab to that equality. What He did is He gave it up for you and me, He humbled Himself, He became a man, He became a servant, even to the point of death. And God highly exalted Him because of that and gave Him a name which is above every name.”
And then Paul says, “Even though if I’m poured out as a drink offering on your faith, it’s okay.” So, Paul is living out that mindset of others. He says, “Even if I die, whatever happens, if it’s for You, I’m more concerned about You.” Then he says, “And I’m going to send Timothy to you shortly. I don’t have anybody like Timothy who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.”
Think about that for a second. He says, “I’ve got all kinds of preachers. I’ve got people that are Christians. They love God. They know Scripture. I don’t have anybody, though, like Timothy. I’ve got one Timothy because he’s genuinely concerned about your welfare. All the other preachers that I’ve got, they’re going to heaven and they love God, but they don’t really care about you. They’ve got their own stuff and their own problems. I’ve got one Timothy. I’ve got one Timothy that’s genuinely concerned about you. That’s it. I’ve got one.”
Then, at the very end of Philippians 2, he talks about this guy named Epaphroditus who’s been sick for the cause of Christ. He says, “Epaphroditus is worried because you guys heard that he was sick.”
This guy is so concerned about others that he doesn’t even want the others to know that he’s sick because he doesn’t want them to be bothered with the fact that he’s sick. He’d rather just deal with it on his own so he doesn’t bother others. And what does Paul say? He says, “People like this, honor them. Honor these people because these are people of honor.”
We want to be people of honor. We want to be a church of honor. What it does is it starts with our tongues. It starts with what are we going to let come out of our tongue, and are we going to speak life? So, let me show you how this works because I’m sure everybody in here has got stuff going on in their life. I’m sure everybody in here has got something that they can say, “Yeah, this is not going the best in my life.”
But some of you are going through some tough stuff. Some of you are going through marital issues, family issues, maybe you’ve lost someone, maybe you’ve got all kinds of financial constraints. Whatever. Listen to me. I want you to hear me. God has a plan for your life. He loves you with an everlasting love. He’s able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ever ask or think. There is nothing that is impossible with your God. If Jesus is for you, who can be against you? Because there’s nothing that’s going to separate you from the love of God.
Listen, why did you just clap? Because you just heard words of life. It resonated with you. Let’s be people that speak life in everything that we do, in every way that we do it. “No. I’m not going to entertain that stuff. I don’t know that. I don’t know. It may be true. It may not be true. I’m not going to go there because what I do know is I know that God cares about them. It’s my job to pray for them, my job to love on them. I’m not going to get involved in all this stuff. I’m going to speak life.”
Listen to me. If we can spend the next few weeks speaking life — let me tell you, we have an awesome opportunity in the Christmas season. It is the one time you can ask somebody. Did you know 83% of the people that are asked during the Christmas season if you will come to church, go to an event, go to a children’s play or go to Music on Main go? See, it’s incredible. Now, it’s probably not going to work if you’re like, “Now, listen, I know if you don’t want to go and you don’t really want to do it, you don’t have to do it.”
That’s probably not going to work. But if you’re like, “Hey, listen, we’re having this great thing, Music on Main, and they’re going to have all kinds of rides and stuff. If you’ve got kids, it’ll be awesome. It’s just a great event. My church puts it on. There’s thousands of people that go. It’s free. Are you in?”
They’re going to be like, “Yeah.” Invite them. We have an opportunity over the next few weeks here, the next month and especially during the Christmas season to see all kinds of people brought into the Kingdom of God. Let’s be a church that speaks life. In your small groups and everything that we do, let’s just speak life. Let’s be a place that people want to come to because they go, “Man, that church, they build you up, they love on you, they shake your hands, they hold signs out front letting everybody know they’re happy to see them. Man, they’ve got coffee, awesome peanut butter cookies that are straight from heaven and all this great stuff.”
Let’s just be a church that speaks life. I think if we do that then we will have had a great series on “Let’s Talk” to learn how powerful our words are. Amen? Amen. Great. Let’s pray. You can clap. Give the Lord a hand clap. Give the Lord a hand clap. Let’s pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the privilege and the honor of being able to speak life. Lord, Your words are life. Your words give life. I pray that we would be a church that speaks life in everything that we do. Lord, help us to be passionate about that as people, as a church, in our groups, in our outreach and everything that we do.
So, Lord, I pray that as we walk out of here today that You would continue to lead, guide and direct us. I pray that You would continue to watch over us and protect us. I pray that You’d bring us back safely to when we meet again. And I pray, Lord, that You would help us to always keep focused on what You’ve called us to do here at Grace, and that’s to be a church that reaches the unchurched by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ. Lord, we love You, we praise You and we honor You. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”
Give the Lord a big hand clap. Tell Him you love Him. God bless everybody. See you soon.