• Tony Birkhead

Culture Crash Week -2



Our Words Reflect our Heart!

INTRODUCTION

Around your group share how profanity played or didn’t play a part in your life growing up.


Who determined what was allowed or not allowed in your home? Who determines it now?

KEY SCRIPTURE

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.

Ephesians 5:3-5

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Matthew 12:33-37

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Is it ever ok to use profanity or course talk? Why do you feel this way?


Why do you think we should be careful to think about what we say?


In Ephesians 4:29 Paul says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths”. How can we accomplish this?


In Ephesians 5:1-5 Paul writes of the things that keep us from the kingdom of God. In verse 3 He implies we shouldn’t use these things in a joking, course way. How do you feel about what Paul wrote?


Consider listening to John Piper’s commentary on these verses:

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-about-soft-cussing


Have a volunteer read Matthew 12:33-37.


Jesus always traced sin to its roots (see Matt. 5:21-48). In this teaching Jesus used an analogy of a tree to illustrate where harmful language originates. A tree will produce either good fruit or bad fruit based on the kind of tree it is. The phrase “by its fruit” underscores the connection between results and origin. Good brings about good. Evil brings about evil. The result, or the fruit, of a tree also can be used to determine its inner condition.


Why does the good tree produce only good fruit and the bad tree only bad fruit? What does this mean for us? (Look at the end of verse 34 for help.)

MOVING FORWARD

  • Think about what you have said over the last few days. What does your speech reveal about your heart?

  • What does love require of Christ-followers when it comes to our speech?

  • Are there certain people or situations that encourage your negative speech? What can you do in those situations to speak the truth from your heart?

  • TAKE THE 28-DAY CHALLENGE! Go 28 days without profanity to show yourself it doesn’t control you.

PRAY TOGETHER

Ask God’s guidance in being careful about what you say and how you say it. Thank God for the truth of His Word and the power of Jesus’ teaching. Pray that He would convict us of what’s really in our hearts and how it’s affecting our speech.

COMMENTARY

Matthew 12:33-37

12:33. Jesus always traced sin to its roots (see Matt. 5:21-48). In His teaching about the severe dangers of intemperate speech, Jesus used an analogy of a tree to illustrate where such language originates. A tree will produce either good fruit or bad fruit based on the kind of tree it actually is. It produces according to its fundamental nature. By its fruit underscores the connection between results and origin. Good begets good. Evil begets evil. The result, or the fruit, of a tree also can be used to determine its inner condition.


12:34. Jesus was not always meek and mild but often used harsh rebukes against the most religious people of His day. As had His cousin John the Baptist, Jesus used you brood of vipers to describe them. The Pharisees were evil and thus could not speak good things. It was impossible. Jesus underscored the reason by taking us to the “heart of the matter.” He connected the mouth to the overflow of the heart. The heart is the essence of a person’s entire life, and words, the fruit of our hearts, reveal the nature of our lives.


12:35. The storeroom of good provides good words. The storeroom of evil produces evil words. The point is obvious but often neglected. We must speak in a way that reflects the inner nature that has been regenerated by the presence of Christ.


12:36. Careless literally means “without work.” Such words produce nothing worthwhile and can even cause damage. This verse emphasizes the importance of words. We do not have the excuse of saying, “This is just the way I am,” for we will account for our speech on the day of judgment.


12:37. This verse does not outline a plan of salvation. Again, the context is important. Jesus was addressing the importance of speech and warning against thoughtless and harmful words. While it is not speech that will save us, it is speech that reveals what is in our hearts; and that is the focus of God’s judgment.

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