Harnessing the Power of the Tongue

For the Glory of God

Key Verses:  Proverbs 18:21, Psalm 141:3, Psalm 19:14

Lesson #6 ~ Edification

Note:  I could have subtitled this “Building up or tearing down?”  This middle section of lessons gives us choices.  The thrust of new covenant teaching and preaching is supposed to be focused on building up, or edifying.  Are we doing it though?  All the time?  Is every word that comes out of our mouths building up and not tearing down?  We will be judged for this.

As always, this is the outline.  This lesson has lots of stories from the Bible to illustrate the point.  All you need are a couple of talking points and you are good to go.

I.  We are commanded to practice edification

            A.  Ephesians 4:29 ~ The Key Verse

                        1.  Edification is the opposite of corrupt (rotten) talk.

                        2.  We are only allowed to talk in a way that edifies.

                        3.  Edification ministers grace to those that hear it.

            B.  I Thessalonians 5:11 ~ Edification and Encouragement are brothers.  Note:  I did this with another family of words.  Here I do it with three brothers, the eldest being Edification, then Encouragement, then Consolation.  These three guys are great to have around.  And not a cross word between them.

            C.  I Corinthians 14:3 ~ Prophesying/Preaching focuses on Edification, Encouragement and Consolation/Comfort (para+muthos, a saying that comes alongside; Holy Spirit is Parakletos, para+kalein, called alongside to help, translated Comforter/Counselor).

            D.  Romans 15:2 ~ Edification is not something we do for ourselves.  Note:  This runs contrary to the latest “self-love”, “me-time” movement.  Everybody is talking about the need for self-care, as if the scripture doesn’t teach us to hate our own lives in order to be a disciple of Christ.  We practice edification for others.  So standing around saying good things about yourself simply does not qualify as being obedient to this command.  You must build up others, this scripture makes it very clear.

Note:  I could have had three more lessons on the negative side of using our tongues.  Flattery, Boasting, and Slander could all have had their own lessons.  For my class, I did not feel God was leading me to teach that way.  Instead, I included these three as subsections within edification. 

Flattering someone, saying good things about them, is not edification.  You can say good things about someone, but never once build them up.  Just because you are a positive person and say positive things does not mean you are being obedient to use your tongue for edification.  How do we know if we are flattering or edifying?  That is the question someone asked me point blank in the class.  I pointed them to these scriptures, to prayer, and had them ask God what their motives were as they speak to others.

II.  Edification is not Flattery

            A.  Psalm 5:9 ~ The wicked use flattery.

            B.  Psalm 12:1-4 ~ Flattery is inconsistent and empty.

            C.  Psalm 55:12-14, 20-21 ~ Friends who flatter may not be true friends.

            D.  Proverbs 7:21-23 ~ Women can use flattery to seduce.

            E.  Proverbs 29:5 ~ Flattery is a trap.

            F.  Galatians 1:10 ~ Seeking to please men is not serving Christ.

            G.  I Thessalonians 2:5-6

                        1.  Flattery can be a cloak of covetousness.  What do they want?

                        2.  Flattery should not accompany the preaching of the gospel.

            H.  Romans 16:17-18 ~ Flattery is used to divide because it has another agenda.

Ahhh, the boaster.  We can say so much about him.  Do you know someone who is constantly framing their words to talk about things that they have accomplished?  Oh wait.  Is it you?  It’s convicting.  Because haven’t we all pointed out something good that we have done.  That’s not edification, that’s boasting and it’s a sin.

III.  Edification is not Boasting

            A.   Psalm 5:5 ~ The boastful will not stand before the LORD, see also Matthew 7:21-23.

            B.  Proverbs 27:2 ~ We are forbidden from praising ourselves.

            C.  II Peter 2:18, Jude 16 ~ Boastfulness is a quality of someone enslaved to the lust of the flesh.

            D.  I Corinthians 1:26-31 ~ God chooses the weak so that He alone receives glory.  Paul quotes Jeremiah 9:23-24 to show that our boasting is inappropriate because it takes away from His glory.

Here is Gossip’s little sister, Slander.  Isn’t she adorable?  No edification will ever be slander in any way, shape, or form.  God will not lead you to tear someone down with your words.

IV.  Edification is not Malicious (not Slander)

            A.  I Timothy 3:8, 11 ~ The qualifications for deacon (servant) include not being double-tongued, and not being a slanderer.  Choose leaders who do not slander.

            B.  Titus 2:2-5 ~ Men teach men, women teach women, not to slander.

            C.  Proverbs 12:18 ~ Rash angry words equal sword thrusts to the heart.  Edification will be a tongue of healing.

This final section composes the talking points.  I only picked a handful of these for time purposes.  Talking about each example could have taken quite a bit of time as the class seemed very engaged with these lessons.  Let’s take David for example.  He wasn’t sinless.  He messed up.  Yet God edified him calling him a man after God’s own heart.  The list goes on and your lesson that you teach from this outline can receive life from these examples in scripture.

V.  Examples of Edification in the scriptures

                A.  Proclaiming and Affirming identity.

                                1.  Judges 6:12 ~ Gideon.  The angel proclaims Gideon as a mighty man of valor.  He was currently hiding grain from his oppressors.  Gideon’s family was poor and considered the least in Manasseh, Judges 6:15.  His brothers had been killed by the Midianites, Judges 8:18-19.  Yet this angel proclaims and then affirms by at least 3 different miraculous signs, the fiery offering, the fleece, and the overhearing of the dream.

                                2.  I Samuel 16:6-13, Acts 13:22 ~ David.  David is called the man after God’s own heart.  God looked at David’s heart and had Samuel anoint him as king.  David’s family saw a shepherd, but God proclaimed and then affirmed him as king through many signs that followed, including the defeat of Goliath.

                                3.  Luke 19:9 ~ Zaccheus.  Jesus affirms this greedy tax collector as a son of Abraham, which was one of the highest praises, see Luke 8:8.  Zaccheus confesses that he has taken things by false accusation and is willing to repay and add four times the amount to it.  This man who had become rich is giving half of his goods to the poor.  Tax collectors were disowned many times, treated as Gentiles, and cast out of the nation of Israel, see Matthew 18:17.  Instead of Jesus pointing out his past, Jesus affirms his identity as a son of Abraham.

                B.  Naming or Re-naming.  Naming things or re-naming them has a special place in scripture.  That name by which you were called defined you.

                                1.  Genesis 17:5-7, 15-16 ~ Abraham and Sarah.  Abraham means father of a multitude and Sarah means Princess.  These names were related to God’s covenant plan for them.  They were currently two old people with no children.  God proclaims them to be father and mother of many nations.

                                2.  Genesis 32:24-32, 35:9-12 ~ Israel.  Jacob had his name changed by God to Israel because he wrestled with God and prevailed.  Israel means prince of God.  This wrestling was not just this one time instance, but his entire struggle with Laban and humbling himself before his brother, Esau.

                                3.  Matthew 16:13-19, John 1:41-42 ~ Peter/Cephas.  Jesus gave Peter a new identity when He first met him; reidentifying him from Simon to a stone.  Jesus affirmed it later when Peter proclaimed His faith in the fact that Jesus is the Messiah the Son of the living God.

                                4.  Acts 4:36 ~ Barnabas.  Joses was given a surname by the apostles, Barnabas, which means the son of encouragement.  This became his main name by which we all know him.  He received a new name because of his new identity in Christ.  Now every time someone called his name, he was being called Son of Encouragement.

                C.  Praising desirable qualities.

                                1.  Matthew 8:5-13 ~ The Centurion.  Here was a man who is most likely a Gentile.  He demonstrated greater faith to Jesus that He had seen by anyone in the nation of Israel.  Jesus expresses His amazement in front of everyone.  He uses parable language to show that many from the east and west (Gentiles) will be in the kingdom while the supposed sons of the kingdom will be thrown out.

                                2.  Matthew 15:21-28 ~ The Canaanite Woman.  Jesus seems like He is not going to answer this woman at all, but she simply will not give up.  Jesus commends her for not giving up and maintaining her faith.

                                3.  Song of Solomon ~ For husbands and wives.

Last year there was an event that our church participated in that very much impressed me.  It was a neighborhood outreach that we had never done before.  I was filled with love for my congregation because of the love that they showed to the neighborhood.  I was schedule to read announcements and I took this as an opportunity to read the following passage in Philippians to my church in the first person.  It was a touching moment.  Edification.  It can work wonders.

                D.  Philippians 1:3-11 ~ Paul’s writing style was one of edification.

                                1.  Verse 3 ~ I thank God for you every time I remembers you.

                                2.  Verse 4 ~ I always pray for you with joy.

                                3.  Verse 5 ~ I’m thankful for your fellowship from day one until now.

                                4.  Verse 6 ~ I’m confident that God will continue to work in you.

                                5.  Verse 7 ~ It is fitting for me to think of you because you are in my heart.

                                6.  Verse 8 ~ I miss you, having the affection of Jesus Christ for you!

                                7.  Verse 9 ~ I pray for your growth in love, knowledge, discernment.

                                8.  Verse 10 ~ I want you to approve excellent things and be sincere and pure.

                                9.  Verse 11 ~ Please be filled with fruits of righteousness having praise from God.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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