Today we are continuing our teaching series entitled LEGACY.
This is a very important series for our church. Even though this series is geared toward families, there will be a lot of information that will be applicable for everyone. And you don’t want to miss the last week as we have a special surprise service planned that day.
Here at Victory Church, we have a wide range of families. We have single parents, blended families, bio families, adoptive families and even singles. During this series, we are presenting four important elements that are seen in families that leave a legacy for the next generation to follow.
Pastor Lou started us off with the Legacy of the Family Altar.
This week we will be addressing The Legacy of Words
Words are powerful. Words have the power to heal, create new things, build up, create confidence, build trust, create intimacy.
What’s the culture of words in your home? What kind of environment are you creating in your home through your words.
Every household has a culture of words. We have a certain way in which we communicate with one another, speak to one another and make life happen together. Is that culture one that encourages each other in Christ, forgives mistakes and offenses, builds people up rather than constantly knocking them down? Is that culture one that instill confidence in God or does it create fear and anxiety for the world around us? Today we want to talk about the LEGACY OF OUR WORDS. Ephesians 4 speaks directly to how we as Christians should communicate with one another. It talks about the power of the gospel and how your daily life can be changed when you surrender to living God’s way.
Words build up and words tear down and they do stay with us – sometimes throughout our lifetime.
Eph. 4:25-26. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
1-Words bring healthy change
This scripture teaches us to speak the truth. I find many people struggle in relationships because someone is hiding the truth, or not speaking the truth. Someone isn’t being totally honest, or upfront with how they feel, or transparent with their family member, or a sin that is ongoing etc...
The bible says to put off falsehood and speak the truth. Truth can be hard sometimes, truth can be uncomfortable, but the bible instructs us to do it anyway because it is what is right and it will lead to healthy relationships.
In your anger, do not sin…I love how the bible inserts this little encouragement right there… right in that spot! Right after he tells you that you should speak the truth, he says… in anger do not sin!! Why? Because the truth usually ignites people to be angry with one another.
Ex… have you ever withheld information from a family member because you didn’t want to correct them? Have you ever not disciplined your child because you didn’t want to deal with the ramifications of their tantrum? Have you ever been dishonest with others because the truth was too painful to bear? Many times truth leads to anger…but did you know that anger is an emotion that even God feels at times. Anger can be just as powerful as love to bring about CHANGE in a relationship. How you handle that ANGER is the issue. The scripture says… in your anger… DO NOT SIN. In other words, it’s not a sin to feel anger… IT IS A sin to lash out and scream at people, or be violent, or use the silent treatment to get your way.
EX ------A lady once came to a preacher and attempted to rationalize her angry outbursts. She said, “There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper. I blow up, and then it’s all over.” The preacher replied, “So does a shotgun, and look at the damage it leaves behind!”
Paul in Eph 4 acknowledges that Anger is an emotion that we will all feel at times, but our response must be Christ- like and productive. One blog I was reading recently described it like this… Embrace the gift of healthy anger. That sounds so contradictory. How can anger be a gift? Anger leads us to conflict and conflict leads us to change. Did you know that conflict is healthy and necessary in every family. There may be changes needed in your family dynamics or personal life. Sometimes a healthy anger will motivate you to make those changes. It may give you courage to make decisions that you would not normally make without it.
Ex – couples that fight over money constantly. They are tired of the conflict so they finally sit down and make a budget together.
Ex.- I’ve seen people addicted to drugs and alcohol that finally get so angry of what it is doing to their family that they finally get the treatment they need.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
There are limitations to this anger. You cannot be angry forever. This will lead to bitterness and division. Anger should be used to inspire change needed in a family. What Paul is saying here is … move past these conflicts quickly, don’t let them fester, don’t allow them to control your life. Every family faces difficulties, BUT the families that leave a godly legacy, are those who know how to quickly and patiently work through them for the good.
EX –Sometimes we don’t want change… we just want a fight. You have power over the words you use and the tone of voice you use them in when you are angry. Looking back, Early on in our marriage, Pastor Lou and I could tell if we really wanted to resolve a conflict or just fight. Ya know…sometimes you just like a good fight. Ever have someone say something and you think…“those are fightin words”. That is not words that are bringing about change and resolution. **Now we are just too old to fight. Been together 33 years and we give in easily… it’s just easier, we are too tired to drag it out.
Words can bring Healthy Change. Use words that solve the problem and bring about that change… not words that will inspire more anger
2. Words Build People
Ephesians 4: 29-Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
EX ----How many of you can remember things that your parents told you, spoke to you, or taught you when you were young? You can still remember them saying a certain phrase over and over again, or they would constantly push a certain point home.
My Dad --- Life is WORK. Guess what, I’ve been a hard worker my whole life. You may say, well you were born like that… no, I was BUILT like that through the words of my dad. IT’s been a positive thing in my life and a negative at times. This hard work ethic has helped me achieve amazing things for God, it put a drive in me to excel and never give up on anything that I put my hand to. On the other hand, at times I can be so driven by my work that it can shape my identity and without it I don’t feel I have value. Regardless, I wasn’t born with a work ethic … it was BUILT into me.
You are building the people around you with your words. The power of your influence and your conversation is imprinting on those around you every day.
The scripture says….Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. The words we use and the way we use them should place the needs of the LISTENER FIRST.
You may say, “that’s ridiculous P Kris, If I think something, I’m going to say it. I like to tell people what’s on my mind.” Yeah…that’s the problem. What’s on our minds many times is not beneficial for everyone to know. Those things should be given to God. Those thoughts are to be brought to the Lord in prayer.
Ex. How many of you grew up in a home that was full of pessimism? I don’t call myself a pessimist , I’m a realist! But the reality is …does everyone around me need to know my thoughts and opinions on everything I think about them or even the world we live in? Some thoughts are better kept to ourselves because they are NOT PROFITABLE to the listener. This scripture has SO many applications to daily life.
Ex – do your children really need to know how horrible your boss is at work?
Does your family need to know about the argument you had with the pastor at church?
Does your husband need to hear you complain about how bad the cashier was at walmart?
Our words create a culture in our home. What we dwell on in our minds… comes out of our mouths and is lived out in our life.
Let me show you what culture you want as your model for your home…. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
If you THINK about things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, then you will TALK about things that are noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. If you talk about things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable… you will live like that. A wise person once said...The sum of a man is what he thinks about all day long. Speech begins in our mind… and is lived out in the body.
There is enough negativity in the world – our homes need to be a positive, safe place, where words are intentional and fashioned in such a way that your spirit is LIFTED after having spent time at home.
EX – I have seen parents cripple their children with words filled with fear. They have taught them to be afraid of the world we live in, be cautious of everything and everyone. What has this done? Studies show that this upcoming generation is the most anxious , depressed, fearful generation our country has ever seen. Are we unknowingly doing that to our kids?
Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Words build people.
3. Words invite the Holy Spirit’s activity into your family
29-Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4: 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
This beautiful little verse is tucked away within this discussion about communication and relationships. It starts with the little conjunction… AND…. In other words, along with everything we are talking about…. AND DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. It is a clear warning that participating in unwholesome talk, not thinking of others and considering their needs when I speak can lead to grieving God’s HEART and activity in our life.
EX – have you ever said something… and before it even left your tongue you knew…. I shouldn’t have said that!! The Holy Spirit was grieved by that comment, negative reaction, or accusation and You just cut off the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power in your home. Our words are what the Holy Spirit uses to impact the people around us. Our words are what invites His activity into our lives and our relationships.
4. Words build walls and bridges
The choice is ours. Paul outlines the pathway to building a bridge with people through words. Look how this scripture is laid out and how EASY it is to follow what he is saying here. Yet to implement it requires a lot of self control.
Ephesians 4: 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
How do we create walls between us and those we love?
Walls are built through bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice.
That’s why he strongly encourages us…get rid of that stuff. Don’t participate in it.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
He shows us here how to build the bridge. We want bridges to people we love, not walls! We want communication, and access to the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power working through us.
Bridges are built through kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.
Ask yourself today, Am I building walls or bridges in my home?
Words that are filled with these qualities…Compassion, kindness, forgiveness will help you reach that goal. I’m not saying we will never utter a negative word or have a moment of weakness. We are all human and need practice… Look at your spouse/friend and say YOU NEED PRACTICE!
We can all position ourselves to make a commitment to leave a Legacy of WORDS that impact the next generation and one another for JESUS!
PIANO - ----
With everything that has been happening in our world, it has been very easy to let our mouths just speak whatever we think. I encourage you STOP doing that today. Calculate your comments, think before you speak. Don’t spread fear, anger and dissention in your household. God has SO MUCH more for us.
*** As a parent, I want to speak to you mom and Dad. These are insane times we are living in today. I worry about my kids, I worry at times about their future. It bothers me. I lay awake at night and pray and seek God on their behalf for the future they will inherit. And sometimes I let my mouth run away and speak a lot of negative, unhelpful things… fearful things… I’ve had to check myself often because I am not considering what is most helpful to those around me at that time.
Pastor Guy sent this to me this week
EX – “Don’t feel sorry for or fear for your kids because the world they are going to grow up in is not what it used to be. God created them and called them for the exact moment in time that they’re in. Their life wasn’t a coincidence or an accident. Raise them up to know the power they walk in as children of God. Train them up in the authority of His Word. Teach them to walk in faith knowing that God is in control. Empower them to know they can change the world. Don’t teach them to be fearful and disheartened by the state of the world but hopeful that they can do something about it. Every person in all of history has been placed in the time that they were in because of God’s sovereign plan. He knew Daniel could handle the lions den. He knew David could handle Goliath. He knew Esther could handle Haman. He knew Peter could handle persecution. He knows that your child can handle whatever challenge they face in their life. He created them specifically for it! Don’t be scared for your children, but be honored that God chose you to parent the generation that is facing the biggest challenges of our lifetime. Rise up to the challenge. Raise Daniels, Davids, Esthers and Peters! God isn’t scratching His head wondering what He’s going to do with this mess of a world. He has an army He’s raising up to drive back the darkness and make Him known all over the earth. Don’t let your fear steal the greatness God placed in them. I know it’s hard to imagine them as anything besides our sweet little babies, and we just want to protect them from anything that could ever be hard on them, but they were born for such a time as this.”
Folks. Let’s leave a legacy that changes the world! IT starts with our speech.