Communicating with Others
A Sermon on Ephesians 4:29
29Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Why is one’s speech important? What do the words used portray about who one is? In this sermon on Ephesians 4:29 titled “Communicating with Others,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones instructs on the importance of speaking in a way that brings honor and glory to God. Speech is one of the primary characteristics that sets people apart from the animals. Thus, it is no surprise that since it is one of the most precious gifts, it is also one of the most misused. Scripture is clear in teaching that people express who they are through the words they use: “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). Paul’s point in this passage is this: one’s speech should be completely different from the speech of those who are not Christians. Their speech is characterized, he says, by excess, an obsession with self, worthlessness, and corruption. Yet Christians are called to proclaim a gospel that is totally opposed to these ideals and their speech should reflect that. Additionally, Paul says, what one says should be characterized by being appropriate for the situation and for those who are present— the goal is to “impart grace to the hearers.” Dr. Lloyd Jones says that the Christian must think of their words and opportunities to bless others. As C.S. Lewis famously said, “we have never met a mere mortal.” Everyone the Christian talks with will spend eternity somewhere, and it is the Christian’s responsibility to lovingly reflect people to Jesus.
- The apostle Paul is addressing the Ephesians and giving them instructions for living the Christian life.
- In this passage, Paul focuses on speech and communication. He says "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth."
- Corrupt communication is characteristic of pagan society and the ungodly. It is excessive, selfish, coarse, and vulgar.
- As Christians, our speech should not be corrupt. We should have self-control and think of others.
- Paul says we should speak "that which is good to the use of edifying." This means our speech should be good, purposeful, valuable, and build others up.
- Our speech should "fit the occasion" and suit the needs of others. We should assess the situation and speak appropriately.
- The goal of our speech should be to "minister grace to the hearers." We should impart grace and help others in their spiritual walk.
- We should follow the example of Jesus, who knew "how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." We should encourage and help the weary people around us.
- Everything about the Christian life should be different from our old unregenerate life. Our new life in Christ changes how we live, act, and speak.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.