SERIES: “Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World”: Proverbs

TEXT: Proverbs 10:18-20

MESSAGE: “Why Words Matter”


Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” — Proverbs 18:21

Genesis 1:3 says, “And God said, “Let there be light…”

Hebrews 1:3 says, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power…

Psalm 12:6 writes…“…The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” — Psalm 12:6

“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” — James 3:7-10

TEXT: Proverbs 10:18-20

“A lot of meaning is expressed in short compass. That is a signal to readers that they need to slow down and reflect on the meaning of the passage.” — Tremper Longman 

Q: How can we become wise with our words? By understanding how words can…(1. Uncover Reality 2. Give Insight 3. Heal Hearts)

  1. Uncover Reality (v. 18)

“…hatred is concealed (not dealt with honestly) by refusing to tell the truth about your feelings. — A Handbook on Proverbs 

“…when you have bitterness…talk about it to God (confession), (and) to someone else, and if you do that properly…you go and confess and say, “I have this in my heart. I have this problem. I have this hatred. I have this discouragement. I have this temptation,” you talk to somebody about what you’re feeling on the inside. It clothes it. That means it makes it easier to see it. It makes it easier to understand yourself.” — Timothy Keller

        2.   Give Insight (v. 19)

“When words are manytransgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”

“God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.” — Psalm 53:2

“In Christ we’re no longer enemies of God or slaves to sin; we’re now friends of God. No longer do we have to clamor to prove ourselves, get noticed, or live in fear. Jesus has made us friends with God. If you want to have real friends, you first have to know friendship with God through the cross of Jesus Christ. He forgave you of your sins, set you free from your bitterness, healed the wounds of your past, and gave you the love of God to be a friend. True friendship happens in no other way.” — Jeff Vanderstelt

         3.   Heal Hearts (v. 20)

“The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.

Psalm 12:6 — “…The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” (This is the gospel. This is the healing words we need.)

“…Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. 3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts 4 those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?” — Psalm 12:2-4

“Jesus was the only person in all of history who never spoke an unguarded, self-indulgent word. He never opened his lips in a wrong way, not once, ever. He never spoke when silence was better, and every word he did speak was perfect. Even his enemies said, ‘No one ever spoke like this man! (John 7:46)…His guarded mouth didn’t preserve his life. His words were infallibly wise, and we felt outclassed, we felt threatened, we felt shamed, so we killed him—and he took it…He took the divine condemnation for our lies, insults, gossip, put-downs, bragging, false promises, and griping, as well as our guilty silence when we should have spoken up. He took it all onto himself and hit the delete button. Look at him on the cross, dying for what you and I have said and left unsaid. See him there, trust him, and you are finally free of it all forever.” — Ray Ortlund Jr.

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” — Proverbs 12:25

TAKEAWAYS: How do we become wise with our words? By helping us to see that…

  • Tone Matters

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” — Proverbs 15:1

  • Warm-Heartedness Matters

“Email doesn’t convey context. We experience email as words on a screen, but we miss seeing a unique face in a unique context. One report on this study concludes: “This makes it easy to forget the humanness of our recipient. Consequently, email style tends to be more serious and less friendly, more aggressive and less polite.” — Jody Bruner (Communication coach)

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” — Ephesians 4:32

  • God’s Word Matters

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” — Hebrews 4:12

“It cannot be that the people should grow in grace, unless they give themselves to reading. A reading people will always be a knowing people. A people who talk much will know little.” — John Wesley

“Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” — Hebrews 12:24

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