Welcome to Thursday’s podcast. Our reading today is Ephesians 4: 25-5:2 but today we’ll focus on verse 29:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Have you seen the latest Virgin Trains advert? Google it. It’s awesome.
If you haven’t seen it – do! I won’t spoil it too much here but anyone remember Mr Blobby & Barry from Eastenders?
It’s a music video charting Virgin Trains existence from 1997 – 2019. It pays homage to some awesome music and contains some great characters.
1997 Tony Blair had come to power; in the words of D-Ream ‘things can only get better’ and now next week we face yet another General Election to try and break the Brexit impasse. Whatever side of the remain/leave divide you happen to be on – our nation is undeniably divided and going through some of the most significant changes since the Second World War.
There are a myriad of reasons as to why we have Brexit or the US has Donald Trump. The consistent theme I’ve read is this: in the face of rapid social change – where some people feel left behind by it – generally society shifts to the political right. Why? Loss. Those who are left behind want to go preserve or regain what they feel has been lost.
So, can Christians make a difference in our fragmented world?
Yes. I believe we can.
The answer is to once again embrace the call to holiness & purity.
The counter to a divided world – is a united church. I don’t mean churches together meetings or marches for Jesus like we did in the 80s. I mean we should use our voice – whether it be online – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever – to speak in way that is honouring and holy. It does mean that we don’t slag off other believers – but we choose to believe the best in people.
In a society that is moving away from God – the counter is for believers to draw closer to God. It’s such a temptation to get on a soap box and berate people for the loss of Christian values. Paul calls us to put into practice our faith. In the face of an opposing culture – choose God. Choose his ways. Choose his life.
Let’s think about the words we use for just a moment – in verse 29 Paul says this: ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…’
My Dad came to faith later in his life. A number of people had connected and witnessed to him before he became a Christian. Interestingly he talks of his time as a 16 year old apprentice among a cohort of 200 in a huge Birmingham factory that employed 11,000 people – there was another apprentice – a young man who was a Christian. He was the only one out of the other 200 apprentices my Dad reckons. And do you know what my Dad remembers of him 59 years later? His words had great power in that culture. He was kind. He was honouring. He didn’t use ‘filthy language’ or swear. The kind of words he used marked him out as different.
Jesus calls us to be salt and light. Today, as you head to work or get up for your lecture, what does that mean for you? Is it putting out your neighbour’s bin? Is it not joining in the office gossip and choosing to speak well of those around you?
Father, help us to walk in holiness this day with you. Amen
BIBLE READING: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.