Communication: God’s gift to His people: Four Rules for Godly Communication
Introduction: The series: Communication: God’s Gift to His People highlights the why, what, and how of godly communication for His glory and the good of believers. God communicates with His people and expects them to communicate with others for His glory and the good of each person. God is the Communicator. Therefore, communication is a necessary ingredient of being. It began in eternity past within the Godhead. God created man a communicating being: He communicates and he receives communication. He is to follow God’s example. He is to communicate with others for God’s glory and the good/benefit of others. The four rules of communication are simply one way to express the beauty and thankfulness of the gift. The correct use of the gift magnifies God the Giver and it helps to develop godly relationships all for God’s glory.
The so-called four rules of communication occur in the context of the chapter 4 of the letter to the Ephesians. Paul established as he reviewed doctrinal truths – what believers are to know (Ephesians 1-3) and what they are to do (Ephesians 4-6). In verse 17 of chapter 4, Paul gave a call to the people: they must not walk (patterned lifestyle) as they did as unbelievers. As an unbeliever they did not think and desire correctly (4:17-18). They were self-pleasers through and through, in varying forms and with varying degrees but they were self-pleasers nonetheless. In verse 19, he said that they – all believers – were not taught Christ from the perspective that change was not the essence of the Christian life. It is the above context – to enable believers to communicate God’s way – that Paul presented at least four basic principles regarding relationships and communication. Please read Ephesians 4:17-25, 25-32.
I. Be honest: Ephesians 4:25 (4:15): Therefore each of you must put of falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor for we are members of one body;
A. In the original language it is an imperative
1. It is not too enough to stop lying. You must put something in its place and for the proper reason.
2. Put off lying – falsehood – in your manner of communication as well as your words. Words are only one manner of communicating. Others include looks, silence, tones, etc.
3. Speaking is required to fulfill the command because people can’t read you.
4. Talking together and walking together can’t be separated.
5. Making it easy for the other person to hear is a biblical mandate. Making them hear and understand is NOT! God will hold you responsible for godly communication.
6. If the other person does not under then find out why so you can change!
B. The goal of being honest is to solve problems God’s way and the manner is lovingly.
1. Continuous truth telling is required
2. Honesty is more than ‘not lying.’
a. It is being open and truthful.
b. It means no conflict between what is said and how it is said.
c. It means getting rid of any element of dishonesty or deceit.
II. Keep current: Ephesians 4:26-27: In your anger, do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry – unresolved relationships are a foothold for Satan and displease God.
A. Failing to solve problems Gods’ way each day means:
1. You are guilty of sin;
2. The way for resentment and bitterness is set up;
3. It makes future problems solving difficulty;
4. It leads to un-reconciled relationships both toward God and each other.
B. Deal with problems quickly:
1. No gunny sacking – no carrying over un-reconciled problems
2. Ask yourself before speaking:
a. Do I have the facts right?
b. Should love covet it?
c. Is my attitude right?
d. Is my timing right?
e. Have I prayed about it?
f. Are my words right?
III. Attack the problem and not the person: 4:29-30 (4:15): Don’t let any unwholesome word come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others according to their needs that it may be a benefit to those listening.
A. The word for unwholesome is fish-like. In God’s eyes they are rotten and smelly.
B. If you attack to the person you grieve/offend the Holy Spirit (4:30). Offending the Holy Spirit is an affront against the Triune God.
C. It tears down another rather than building up.
D. Problems solving is hindered.
E. Relationships are not God-honoring.
F. Sin builds on itself and misery feeds on itself.
IV. Act and not react: 4:31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving one another just as in Christ you God has forgiven you.
A. Do you value God’s forgiveness of you? Before you answer read Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 7:36-50. How you respond to and treat us is a reflection of your view of what God in Christ by the Holy Spirit has done for you and in you.
B. Put off: bitterness, wrath/outbursts of anger, slow-burn anger, grumbling/complaining, slander, and malice – the desire to harm another.
C. Put on: kind, tenderhearted, forgiving.
D. Putting off and putting on are learned behaviors involving thoughts, desires, and actions predicated on one’s relationship to Christ and his desire to please Him.
E. Start by changing one thought and desire about yourself, God, and the other person. Actions will follow.
V. Conclusion: Communication is an integral part of mankind’s existence. It is too often minimized ir used for one’s own gain. Rather communication is God’s gift to His people. It will continue in heaven such that enjoyment of godly communication between believers begins at salvation and continues into eternity. .