Gentle Words

Openers

1)  *Discussion* What is the source of our words?

2)  *Activity* Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwmZiZBTtsw Discuss how the world views Christians.

3)  *Discussion* How much does your perspective effect what you say?

 

Main Points (Choose ONE)

1)  Words reveal what’s in your heart—for good or bad.  (Mat. 15:18 and Mat. 12:34)

2)  Speak the truth in love, not condemnation.  (Luke 9:56)

3)  Gentle words begin by finding identity in Christ.  (Compare Luke 9:54 to 1 John 2:1)

 

Foundations

Matthew 15:18 (NKJV)

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

 Matthew 12:34 (NKJV)

34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

 

Luke 9:51-56 (NKJV)

51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

1 John 2:1-2 (NKJV)

1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

 

Ezekiel 11:19 (NKJV)
19Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh

Context/Back Story

Modern day Christians have failed in discipleship and evangelism for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is believers today impart judgment before love. If ask about the church in the United States, almost any nonbeliever would say that the church is full of judgmental hypocrites. That is the image we have portrayed to the world. We portray this image because we as a whole haven’t learned to use gentle words; we haven’t learned to speak the truth in love. We have forgotten that kindness brings repentance and love never fails.

* Jesus said that words come from the heart (Mat. 15:18 and Mat. 12:34).

* He tells the Pharisees “How can you, being evil, speak good things?” How can you speak truth when your heart is full of lies? How can you speak unselfishly if your heart is full of selfishness? You do not need gentle words if you’re not speaking truth into someone’s life.

* Through out Jesus’ life would you say he was more passive or aggressive, more like a warrior or like a nun? He was both depending on the situation, but He was always gentle. Gentleness is defined as restraint coupled with strength and courage. This describes a person who can be angry when anger is needed and humbly submissive when submission is needed.

iv. The best example of a person being transformed from harshness to gentleness is John. In Luke 9:54 we see him receive his name as one of the “Sons of Thunder” then in 1 John 2:1 we see him transformed into the disciple of love.

 

1) Gentle words are rooted in truth (Luke 9:56)

a) Words come from the heart.

b) Put the truth of Luke 9:56 in your heart.

 

2) Compare Matthew 15:18 to Matthew 12:34

a) Jesus is speaking the same truth.

b) In Mat. 15:18, he’s speaking to His disciples (Peter had ask Him to explain a parable and He was frustrated when they didn’t understand.)   You can see the restrain in His words.

c) In Mat. 12:34, he’s speaking to the Pharisees.   You can see the anger in His words.

d) Jesus uses the same truth to build up His disciples that He previously used to humble the Pharisees.

 

3)      Compare Luke 9:54 (NKJV) to 1 John 2:1 (NKJV)

a)      John is speaking of people who are in sin and rejecting Christ in both passages.

* In Luke 9:54 he wants the Samaritans to receive what they deserve for rejecting         Christ.

*  In 1 John 2:1 he refers to sinners as his children and shares the hope found in Christ with them.

b)      John was a different man in each passage

* In the Luke passage,  John was just a youthful disciple of Jesus

* He and his brother had both earned reputations for being go-getters and rather    ‘enthusiastic’ in their defense of Jesus.

* Here, John and his brother are asking Jesus if they should go ahead and pray for God to destroy the town just because the townspeople didn’t want Jesus to stop there.

*  In the 1 John passage, John was an elderly man with a history of serving God (and others) faithfully.

* His attitude has changed significantly from his earlier anger and hasty condemnation.

c)      What was the difference?

* In Luke’s Gospel, John was a young guy fighting for his place, with ambitions and visions of glory dangling before him.

* In the letter he writes in 1 John, John has learned better what God is like and what he expects out of us.

d)     As John grew in his understanding of who he had become as a follower of Christ, he was enabled to be gentle rather than harsh.  That’s probably because he understood several important things:

* He understood that our own sins are just as nasty as the ones we condemn in other people.

* He understood just how precious and valuable God considers each one of us.

* He understood that God’s purpose for us is one of restoration, not condemnation.

4) What transformed John?

a) Grounding himself in Christ’s true purpose (Luke 9:56)

b) Finding his identity in Christ as a child of God.

c)      Seeing others in their identity in Christ.

d)     Receiving his new heart (Ezekiel 11:19)

 

Human Struggles

1) If you have bitterness in your heart it can affect your words and your image of God. Some things you will never feel like forgiving. Forgiveness is a daily choice.

2) We often speak the truth to someone trying to turn them from sin but we end up turning them from us because of the harshness of our words.

3) We over look the work of the enemy which taints our view of people. Instead of viewing someone in a battle with Satan we view them as just a bad or selfish person.

 

Application Helps

1) Do a forgiveness checklist (list the specific people you need to forgive and the specific hurts you had from them) then pray and forgive each person and each situation and then bless them. If it gets too difficult, pray that God will give you the strength to continue. It’s time to wipe the slate clean.

2) Learn to love people in spite of their sin. Learn to view everyone as children of God.

3) We learn to empathize with people by remembering our own battles and thank God for helping us through them.

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