1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
When I was a child, we had a saying. It was meant to protect us from the mean things other kids said in school. You’ve probably heard it. We would say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”
Is that really true? I don’t think it is. Mean words really can hurt. The whole course of a person’s life can be changed by the words spoken to them. I've heard countless stories of women and men whose whole course of life was shaped by the things they were told as children. Either they were encouraged and uplifted in a positive way that led to success or they were damaged by hurtful words that shackled them with a negative mindset that hindered them throughout life. Perhaps today you can think of some of the words--both positive and negative--that people spoke to you that shape who you are today.
When I was still in elementary school, my grandma looked at me and said, "One day you will be a preacher." I wasn't thinking anything along those lines. I had no thought or desire to be a preacher in those days. However, that's what she said. Am I a preacher today because of her words or was she given a word from God about what my future was to be? I don't know, but here I stand as a preacher now with over 20 years experience. Words matter; they change our lives.
Words are important and powerful. God created the universe using only words. Jesus is called the “Word of God” and He is the Lord and Savior of the whole world. We are not as mighty as Him, but our words matter too. They reveal what’s in our heart and they affect the world.
- A New Message Series Over the next 5 weeks, we will consider how we use words and seek God’s wisdom to help us use our words well. We will also seek grace and forgiveness for ways we may have misused words in the past and make a new commitment to let the Holy Spirit empower us with words that bring light and life. Ultimately, I hope the light of Christ will shine even more brightly in each of you so you can carry that light with you to all the dark places of our world. Christ came to bring light into the darkness and Christians are called to bear that light everywhere we go.
The overarching theme of this message series is that the words we chose to speak in everyday life have real consequences on the world around us. Could it be that much of the darkness, hate, and evil we see in our world stems from the words we use? Does it seem incredible that the language people choose to use in everyday life could really affect our world so drastically? Words matter. What you say and how you speak changes the world.
Jesus said… 33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
Words Reveal the Heart
Jesus shared this parable about fruit trees and good and bad fruit on a particular occasion. Jesus had healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and couldn’t speak. The crowd was amazed and began to wonder if Jesus was the Messiah who would save them.
Now, anyone can claim to drive out a demon and it might be hard to verify, but Jesus actually made a blind and mute man see and speak. It was an irrefutable miracle.
However, the Pharisees were jealous and threatened by Jesus’ popularity. So they slandered Jesus and said he was only able to drive out demons because he got his power from Satan. They took a good thing--Jesus saving a man from demon-possession--and said it was an evil act done through the power of the Devil. Do you see the hate and darkness in their words Do you see how it reveals hate and evil in their hearts? Furthermore, do you see how their slander could do devastating harm to others? Their lies about Jesus could actually turn people away from the Son of God who was sent to save them.
It’s no wonder that Jesus used some very strong language about these Pharisees. He calls them a “brood of snakes!” In other words, he said, “your mothers were snakes!” Now you know if you start talking about someone's mama, it could start a fight! That's harsh! In today’s language, I guess that’s like calling someone a rotten SOB! If the perfect, sinless Son of God called them that, they’re actions must have been pretty evil. And if you think how their lies about Jesus could lead to someone’s eternal damnation, I suppose you can understand Jesus’ outrage. He doesn’t mince words on the issue.
Through His words about fruit trees, Jesus shows that what we say reveals whether our hearts are full of goodness or evil. Furthermore, Jesus warns we will have to give an account for every “idle” word we say on judgment day. Another translation of “idle” could be “careless” or “useless”.
If you took an inventory of the words you use throughout your typical day, how many of them would you classify as: idle, careless, or useless? How many would you classify as: mean, ugly, or hurtful? How many would you say are helpful, encouraging, and meaningful? What does the language you use say about what’s in your heart?
One reason I feel a strong call to preach this message series is it seems the language people use in our world right now is growing more idle and vulgar and harmful than it used to be. Our language is becoming more and more offensive and more charged with hate. Profanity is more commonplace and acceptable. Lies and the distorting truth have become normal. People speak divisively, disparage one another, and think and speak the worst of their neighbors and those with whom they disagree. And words matter. When we speak this way, I believe it leads to a world that is more offensive, hateful, vulgar, dishonest, and divisive.
Our world needs an attitude adjustment and I believe Christians are called to be salt and light that helps shape our world in a more positive way. And so I’d like us to consider over the next 5 weeks how we can use our words to make the world a better place--to build up and not tear down, to save the world and not destroy it.
As we begin this journey together, I think it is important that we make some commitments. First of all, I invite you to make a commitment to be light in a dark world. There’s already too much darkness out there. Let us decide to bring as much light as we can and not darkness. We do this through our actions--through acts of goodness and kindness. But we also must pay attention to our words. What we say matters. I invite you to pay special attention to what you say and how you say it.
When we try to bring goodness and light in the world, we may quickly find it an overwhelming challenge. We can’t do it on our own. Often we find there is way too much darkness in our own hearts that needs to be fixed before we can give light to anyone else. We need help. Thankfully, Jesus gives us just what we need. I invite you--especially if you’ve never done so before--to turn to Jesus today and trust Him to extinguish the darkness in your own heart and replace it with His perfect Light. Jesus gave His own life so that all your sins and shortcomings can be washed away forever and you can be given a new heart and a right spirit. I invite you to turn to Him today and make a commitment to follow Him and let Him change your from the inside out.
Finally, I invite you to make a commitment to listen to each of the messages in this series over the next 5 weeks. You can do this best by joining us live for worship each Sunday, but if you can’t be with us live (if you are sick or out of town), you can watch a recording of the service on our Facebook page or YouTube channel or read the message on this blog. Make a commitment not to miss a single message and prayerfully and earnestly consider in each one what the Lord is saying to you.
Father, thank You for sending Jesus to show us the way to salvation. When we try to be light, we are often overwhelmed by the darkness around us. But Jesus is Your Son, the Word of God, the Light of the world and the darkness cannot overcome Him. Help us today to trust Him for salvation. I pray for each person listening that they may welcome Jesus into their heart and let Him be Lord forever and so be saved from sin and death. And let us also follow Him from this day forward and be changed by the power of His Spirit. I pray also for our commitment to listen to each of the messages in this series. Speak to us and reveal Your Truth to us each week that we may faithfully live and speak so as to bring the Light of Christ into darkness everywhere we go. Amen.