All right, well, at all locations, I want to say hello to you today. My name is Eric Hovis. I'm one of the pastors at New City Church down in Tampa, Florida.
Like Pastor Brian said, I'm one of many that Mercy Hill sent out in the summer of 2019 down to Tampa, Florida, with the vision to see missionaries sent out all over the world. Y'all, we didn't know a soul when we went down to Tampa, but we went and, y'all, we planted and we started in January of 2020. And let's just say the first year was a little hard. It was really challenging.
Actually, I would say it was one of the hardest years of my life. In fact, it almost broke me. And God made it very, very clear in that moment that I'm a broken man, pastoring broken people, and that we're a broken church for broken people. And so if you come in today and if you're hurting and you're broken, I can say to you today that it's okay to not be okay.
It's okay to not be okay. And hear this, okay, because the heart of God does not shun you or look past you. No, the heart of God weeps with you and the heart of God hurts with you. And in your hurting, while you're there, there are two options.
Two options. You can either run from God or you can run towards God. And as a brother in Christ who can testify when we run to God in our brokenness, running to His Word, and to other brothers and sisters in Christ that speak life into you and encourage you with their words, God not only heals you and reshapes you, but He turns you into be more like Him. Because the Son of God Himself, He was broken for our redemption.
And I say all of this because over the past three years in Tampa, this has been what God has taught me. That the fullness of God's love is realized in the depths of our pain. The deeper our pain and the deeper our brokenness, the greater God's love is able to fill that back up that was dug in the cavern of our pain. All these valleys of our life that aren't so much fun, that's where God deepens our roots.
So that we can then flourish more because God prunes those that He loves for the purpose of bearing more fruit. Like this is just what God does in those deep valleys. God nourishes us and breathes life into us and He restores us. God doesn't rush past us in the deep valleys. He doesn't rush past us in our brokenness. But listen Mercy Hill, He certainly does not leave us there.
Because God is in the business of redeeming that which is broken. And so get this, yes 2020 was one of the hardest years of my life. We moved our life, left family and friends, sold houses to charge the hill to plant a church with the vision to plant churches and send missionaries to the world to have our grand opening in January of 2020 to then be shut down seven weeks later by a global pandemic followed by racial and political unrest that about killed our church. And not to mention the broken and strained relationships that came with it. I've never struggled with anxiety in my life until 2020 when multiple nights a week I would wake up in the middle of the night just panicked about all the hard conversations I'd had that week. Mercy Hill, about broke me.
Like I would literally be weeping in my garage trying to do squats which let's just say that's not the greatest thing for your squats. But by the grace of God in 2021 God started to heal that which was broken. And our church became incredibly unified. We were growing as a church seeing people baptized and discipled. People who were hurting and broken who were coming into our church and finding healing and restoration. And me and my wife in 2021 we began to receive counseling and every two weeks, week after week, month after month God began to restore us and heal us. And by the end of 2021 we were finally at a place where we could begin to just dream again.
Just to have hope again. And God began growing our church, doubling our church within a year. I mean we've with well over 50 college students at our church. And at Easter this past year we had over 200 people in attendance baptizing 13 people.
Nine college students, two kids, one of which was my oldest daughter. Yeah praise God. With several different nationalities represented some of which desire to be missionaries at some point in the near future. And as I speak right now our very first short-term mission trip is on the ground in the Dominican Republic as we speak with one of our church planting partners. And then yeah praise the Lord. And then in a few months we're sending another team to South Asia. And not to mention there are several people in our pipeline to move their life among an unreached people with people group which may even happen this spring.
We'll see. Mercy Hill, God is in the business of redeeming and restoring that which is broken. Like God is in the business of fulfilling what he sets out to accomplish.
This is just what this is just what God does. And do you know one of the many ways God just breathed life into my discouraged soul? It was through the encouraging words of so many people around me. Through God's word and through the words of others and through the words of countless books and sermons and podcasts God strengthened my troubled spirit.
And he lifted up my sagging heart with words, with powerful words. Mercy Hill words are powerful. They have the power to give life and also to take life.
They have the power to instill courage to a weary soul and they have the power to also crush a happy spirit. And so today we're talking about the power of words which leads us to our anchor verse today. Proverbs 18 21. Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits. That's our one verse for today. We'll also have some verses in James chapter 3.
So if you have your Bible you could go there also and put your thumb there but I do want to say this before we get too far into our words talk. Yes church planting was hard but do you know where I believe God brought the most life out of all of those challenges? It was in my marriage. It was in my family. That's where God did the most work in me and I can say with confidence that my marriage is the healthiest it's been in 13 years.
And anybody that knows me knows that I'm the boring one and my wife she's the rock star of the family. And throughout all of our challenges God saw it fit over the past three years to not only strengthen and grow our church but for me more importantly he grew and strengthened my marriage and he shaped me and molded me as a dad. And so yes planting a church has been one of the hardest things I've ever done in my entire life and yes even being a missionary overseas nine years ago that was also really hard. But do you know what I would put at the top of the list as one of the hardest things I've ever done?
Above church planting, above moving across the globe to a former Soviet Union nation in Central Asia where you don't know the language or culture dealing with culture shock and language barriers. The one thing I will put at the top of the list as being the single hardest thing I've ever done is being a dad. And let me say very clearly today it's not because of my kids.
It's because of me. Y'all my kids are great. I'm the problem, not my kids. Now don't get me wrong, yes my kids are little sinners just like their daddy okay.
I'm just like the rest of us in the world. But get this over the past couple of years yes God made it clear to me that I'm a broken pastor pastoring a broken church but even more so that I'm incredibly broken dad that has been entrusted with the honor of pointing their kids, pointing my kids to their even better dad in God the Father. And you know I fall short of this often and in that it's very clear that I'm just like the rest of us in desperate need of grace. You know I think we can all agree that marriage is hard work. Parenting is hard work and it can be so challenging at times. But there's no doubt about it the matters of the family, they're hard, they're difficult. Like I've spent time in Rob's shoulders with a lot of different people all over the world and let's just let me just ask why is it that some of the top performers at work will have their home life crumbling? Like why is it that someone can crush it at work and be incredibly successful but be crushed as soon as they walk through the door of their own home? Well it's because the matters of the family are hard and the family are hard. They're difficult and just maybe they're some of the hardest work that we will ever face. And then when we throw in the power of words in this whole conversation on top of all these other things we're talking about today we find out real quick that we've got a tough one today.
And you know I just want to lay this out there okay. I just got back from two weeks at the beach with the whole family. Like a week with my side of the family with 15 people under one roof, eight kids between two and nine, seven grown adults, and then immediately following a week with my wife's family, eight adults and six kids under one roof. And of course in God's kindness and his sense of humor I get to come back and preach on families and the power of words.
Leading us to our big idea today. Wise families understand the power of words. And let me say this, no matter where you are today, whether you're single or married, whether you're an empty nester, or you just have a house full of kids, I think we can all agree of how true this is that words they both can give life and also take life. I saw a stat this past week that said that we speak on average 700 times a day. And that women use about 20,000 words a day and that men use about 7,000 words a day. And when I saw that I first thought there's no way I say 7,000 words a day.
Like I don't like to talk. And then I realized oh wait that's about the length of this sermon. Which made me think secondly like that's a lot of opportunities every day to either give life or take life. 700 times a day we're either handing out words of life or handing out words of death. Again Proverbs 18 21, death and life are in the power of the tongue. Our words can either fuel hope and give healing and encouragement and truth to others or they can crush others with discouragement and fill them with bitterness and resentment and lies and shame and fear. Our words can either give life or take life. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. And then it says and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18 21, essentially saying the fruit of our words are either life or death. Saying we're feeding other people and ourself with words.
Like just thinking about this. If we put all of our words this past week, if we just kind of took all of our words and we just placed it on a plate and we set it on a table and we handed it to our guests, what type of food would our guests be eating? Like would the plate that the food that we put on with the plate with our words, would it be soul nourishing or would it just kind of be like a plate full of fluff?
Or maybe a plate full of food that might just make someone sick when they ate it. Are our words sweet fruits or are they rotten fruits to those around us? I mean how convicting. Maybe you've heard the saying sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Which let's just say that's one of the biggest lies we've ever been told. Because words, they hurt.
They can bring death as Proverbs 18 21 tell us. You know two years ago for Christmas my mom got our kids these little fake cotton ball snowballs about the size of a baseball. We live in Florida and well it just doesn't snow in Florida. And so as soon as we got them we started having snowball fights as a family.
Like daddy versus the kids. Like they would they would take them they would throw them at me I'd catch it and then just and then I would just like throw it as hard as I could. Just right at their face.
Just peg them in the face. Like I would just hold nothing back. Just take me back to my old Grimsley baseball days. I was the Worley.
Okay go Worley's. And just throw it as hard as I could. And they would just laugh hysterically. Like I was jumping over the couch.
Dodging their throws. I'd throw one up in the air. Like they'd watch that one and I'd just peg them in the face with the other one. Just like an all-out snowball fight.
It was an all-out war. I could throw these things as hard as I possibly could at the face of my three-year-old at the time. Just hit her in the face. And she would just laugh.
Just laugh. And so we had some of these intense battles. And of course I won the first battle dad versus the kids.
But then we started, they started getting smart. And I'd walk in the door from work and wham just kind of get pegged in the face with a cotton ball size snowball from one of my kids. And you know we did this for about three weeks straight. Like I was just getting pegged in the face almost every time I walked in the door. And yes, all these snowballs they were fun.
But you know what? Those large cotton ball snowballs are often how we use our words. Thinking we can throw out our words as hard as we possibly can thinking that there's just no effect to it. Just peg them in the face with whatever I say thinking it won't hurt.
But Mercy Hill, I think we know that's just not true. But yet the crazy part about it is that we still do it. Our words have more power than we often realize. And again, wise families understand the power of words. Wise roommates and friends and spouses and co-workers, we know the power of words.
They're not cotton ball snowballs that we can throw at people without hurting them. No, words they either bring death or life. Our words either taste sweet or they're rotten. They can fuel the soul with hope and healing or they can crush a person's spirit.
Which leads us to our two points today. Number one, words of death. And number two, words of life. And I just want to point out that like this is not just in one verse. This is all over the Bible, especially in the book of Proverbs. Like look at Proverbs 15 one.
Memorize these. A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. Again, our words can either bring life or death. A soft answer turns away wrath like the way we respond can stop a downward spiral of arguments. Husbands and wives hear that today. Moms and dads, roommates, co-workers, this is wisdom for us. A soft answer turns away wrath and a gentle response can stop an argument.
Moms and dads, our kids need to see this modeled. They need to see us take it on the chest and respond with gentleness and patience and grace. Proverbs 15 four. A gentle tongue is a tree of life but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. A gentle tongue, a gentle word is a tree of life. It gives life. It builds up.
It nourishes but perverseness. Harsh words, evil words, it breaks the spirit. It takes life. It brings death. So again, words of life or words of death. So let's look at number one, words of death.
Isn't that just an encouraging point? Words of death. Like it kind of seems a little intense like a war movie but that's the stark warning that scriptures give us about our words. They can stir up anger or they can break someone's spirit. Our words can incite bitterness and resentment. Our words can lead someone to fear and worry and discouragement. Our words can really bring a person down. They can bring death to a person's soul. They can break a person's spirit. This is what the book of Proverbs shows us.
As we look at this first point, words of death, unfortunately I don't think I really have to explain this one that much. I mean just by the world that we live in, we each unfortunately have experienced discouragement or harsh criticism or people being rude or mean or being called names or put down or lied to. And from that we all know unfortunately too well how it can affect us.
And maybe we can try to act like like we just have thick skin and it doesn't affect us but let's not be foolish. Harsh words, they affect us. In James chapter three, the author James writes about the power of the tongue and he gives several different illustrations that we'll use today. But one of which is that he describes the power that describes the tongue to is fire. He speaks of how a whole forest can be set ablaze and destroyed by a small fire. And he mentions how our words, our tongue, it can set on fire the entire course of life. Like he's saying our tongue can destroy the direction of our life. That's really strong language.
He calls it a fire. But unfortunately it's true. The words we speak to each other, like how we speak to our kids and our spouse, our friends, our co-workers, it directs the course of life. Like when we scream and yell and call names and put each other down and degrade one another and jokingly mock one another, it affects the direction of life.
Like when we walk into a room just by the words we say we can totally change the room of the entire, the mood of the entire room. Like when a friend or a child or a spouse walks in and we just make a negative comment, it totally can affect the rest of their day. And unfortunately as we look at the landscape of families screaming and yelling and name calling and putting one another down has become far too normalized. And maybe justifying it by saying we're not yelling, we're just passionately talking.
Maybe thinking, I mean come on, this is just what families do. And to that we have to just say no. And as Pastor Andrew has worded it, that's not what families do. He said no, that's what sinners do. And do you know where James says these destructive words come from? In the book of James chapter 3 he says these words he equates to fire that destroy where they come from. He said these destroying words are set on fire by hell. These destructive words are not from God.
They're from the enemy that is seeking to destroy our relationships and our families and our marriages. Again our words they either bring life or death. And something that we need to understand here today is just like an often Hebrew, a Hebrew quote, is that our words create worlds. You know the scriptures tell us that our words they direct the course of life. In essence they create the worlds that we live in.
Our words that we speak and that we hear and that we believe, they can direct the course of our life. I mean just think about how the serpent deceived Adam and Eve. What did he do? Did he like take the the fruit and he kind of dangle it in front of him and say hey look at this beautiful fruit, come and taste it, come and come and like look at it. Isn't it beautiful? Does he smell?
No. He spoke lying, deceitful words. And what happened? Those deceitful words that the serpent spoke directed the course of life. In James chapter 3, James gives the illustration of our words as fire but he also gives two other illustrations about how our words and our tongue direct the course of life, how they create the worlds that we live in. You know in James chapter 3 he compares our speech to a horse being controlled by a small bit in its mouth and also how a ship is controlled by a small rudder. And if Pastor Andrew was here he'd probably explain the horse one but probably have a funny story to go with it. But I don't have a horse and to be honest I had to YouTube what this whole bit thing does.
Like I know what it looks like but I had to go on YouTube to figure out how it actually works. So I figured I'd go with the boat one because I live in Florida. There's boats everywhere in Florida. Like I see a boat about every time I get in my truck either in someone's yard, either like on the water or on the road in downtown Tampa, there's people they'd love to just show off their boats, okay? Like they drive these hundred foot yachts up to, they park it and they walk off their boat in their fancy attire, they go to dinner with me and my wife.
We just kind of pretend that they're ours and go and take pictures with the boats and we try to make friends with the the boat people it just hasn't quite worked yet. But you know I love boats. I don't have a boat, I've got a paddleboard, that's my boat right now. But the image I want you to think of is that all those boats, the small boats, the big boats, the hundred foot, two hundred foot, three hundred foot yachts, the ships, they're steered and directed by a very small rudder. And where that small rudder goes the whole boat goes. The small rudder steers the boat. And I don't care how fancy that yacht may look, if the rudder doesn't work properly, they're not gonna make it to their fancy dinner.
Like they're gonna end up stuck out in the middle of the ocean, like high heels on, dress, makeup coming down their face, and that that rudder like it determines the destination. And James tells us that this is what our words do. Our words direct our life and shape the worlds of others. Our words create worlds. Here's just an example, an everyday example of how our words can easily shape the destination and outcome.
They can either have bring life or death just by our words. And I was one of five coaches on my son's baseball team this past year. A seven and eight year old's baseball, y'all baseball in Florida, it is no joke okay. People play year-round multiple times, multiple teams at a time, tryouts, drafts, like recruiting, travel leagues, and y'all they're seven and eight years old okay.
And it starts at like five years old. I mean my my son's t-ball league, the all-star team for his t-ball league for five and six year olds, they won the whole state of Florida little league t-ball all-star tournament. I mean they like five and six year olds traveling around the whole summer playing in t-ball tournaments. Some of these kids were hitting home runs like out of the park home runs, like turning double plays, sliding into home plate, head first, five and six years old. Y'all it's intense. And at seven and eight they start to hit off of like a pitching machine.
It's just a machine. It says all of their leagues are all the same. And one of the better kids on the team that I kind of helped coach, he was just crushing the ball every single time up to bat. I mean he was hitting triples and doubles in home runs. I mean the kid batted over 800 for the entire season. I mean just crushing ball and yes they do keep stats in our league.
Telling you it's intense. But that same exact kid, he also played on a traveling baseball team. So he played with us on Saturday and with his other team on Sunday afternoons and that exact same kid that was crushing the ball with our team on Saturday, on Sunday, he would strike out at every at-bat. Same kid, same machine, two drastically different results. And I asked his dad, I said like what's the difference?
Because it's the exact same machine. There's no difference. You know what his dad said was the difference? It was how his coaches spoke to his son. On our team we were cheering him on. Just telling him like, hey you're gonna crush it, give him a little high fives, having fun, building each other up.
And when he'd miss it the first time we encouraged him and then he'd hit it. The other team, crickets, nothing. He'd strike out.
Coaches would get mad at him, yell at him, go into the dugout, put on his helmet, put his helmet down, just start crying. Nothing. Ignored him, told him to get it together. O for three, three strikeouts.
Following Tuesday, three for three, two doubles in a home run. What was the difference? Words. Words.
One team brought life and one team crushed his spirit. And this isn't just true for seven and eight-year-olds, this is true for all of us. Words create the worlds that we live in and also the worlds for those around us. The words we speak to our kids and our spouses and roommates and friends, they show the direction of that relationship.
If you want to know your relationship, how it's going, just look at the words. Again our words, they have so much power. You know what, this is just so convicting to me. Like I'm convicting myself right now because I know with the same mouth that I preach with, teach the word with, and try to seek to exalt Christ with, is the same mouth that can also in an instant crush a person's spirit.
By no means do I want you to think that I've got all this together. And I know how hard this is to hear because I know how hard this is to preach. Our words can bring death to a person's soul.
When I was given this text I was like, well gee thanks, that's super convicting. I mean they gave this text to me like months ago and I was like, well what am I supposed to do with this, you know? Like how can I preach this when I know the struggle of this? I mean James 3, 1, not many of you should become teachers my brothers for you know that he, we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
Like oh no what do I do? But then he says in James 3, 2, and y'all I'm so thankful for this verse. He says for we all stumble in many ways and if anyone does not stumble in what he says he is a perfect man. And y'all this is so encouraging because it reminds us and me of our humanness.
It reminds me that there's not a pastor or a preacher or any person on this planet that does not struggle with what they say. This includes all of us. Every single one of us can grow in this.
And why? Because not a single one of us are perfect. None of us are perfect in what we say.
Except for one. There's only one man that ever walked this earth that never stumbled in what he said. There's only one person that always gave life when he spoke.
There's only one man that when he was squeezed and put under pressure and in pain he only spoke words of life and his name is Jesus. You and I we're not perfect. We've we've all spoken many discouraging words that have brought down those around us that have been used by the enemy to steal life and joy from others. Like we've spoken and believed harsh words about ourselves.
We believe lies and whispers that come from the pit of hell. And we think about how we can so often speak harsh words or be critical or judgmental or rude or discouraging it very quickly will show us our need for grace. Because Mercy Hill we sin often with our words.
I sin often with my words. And when we sin with our words it doesn't just bring death to those around us but those sinful words what we speak may we remember those same words our words our words of death sent Jesus to the cross to die. Jesus went to the cross and died because our words brought him death. Every lie we've told put Jesus on the cross. Every harsh or degrading comment nailed Jesus to the cross.
Every critical jab with ill intent it drove the nails into his hands and feet. Mercy Hill words have the power of life or death. But yet may we remember the truth and grace of the gospel. May we remember that although our words bring death we have a God that is merciful and gracious and slow to anger and abounding and steadfast love and faithfulness to a thousand generations which includes you and me here today. And in God's providential kindness God gave up his son Jesus to give us his life. Jesus died so that we can live. Mercy Hill Jesus took our words of death at the cross and he gave us his life in return.
Christian do not forget that today. Yes we often speak words out of our flesh. Yes we often speak words of death but if we are in Christ if we have placed our faith in Jesus. Jesus then he has put his spirit inside of us and in an instant he empowers us. And over a lifetime he changes us so that we're able to speak words of life to others because yes our words are powerful and yes our words can bring death but with the same powerful tongue we can also bring number two words of life. Church one of the most influential things God has given us to use in this world for his glory is our tongue. It's our words.
It's being able to speak life into the kingdom of God just like we can walk into a room and totally change the mood in a negative way bringing death we can do the exact same thing in a positive way to bring life. Moms and dads our kids need to hear that we love them. They need to hear the things they do well. They need to hear us build them up. They need our encouragement. They need us to be our biggest cheerleader.
Why? Because it brings them life and it directs their world. Husbands and wives your spouse needs your encouragement. They need to hear what they do well. They need to hear how you love them and why you love them. They need to hear that you boast about them. Our friends and co-workers and classmates and teammates and family members we all need encouragement. Leaders of organizations and teams companies your people that God has entrusted to you to lead they need words of life breathed into their soul. Why? Because words create worlds.
You know what? God has entrusted you and me with life-giving words. He has privileged us each of us with the task to bring life into people who are gasping for air. Like God created the world with words. God speaks to us with words. God spoke and it existed and that same God that used his power to create the world with his words is living inside of all those who have trusted in Jesus and he has entrusted us and empowered us with life-giving and life-altering and life-directing words. Listen Christian, your brothers and sisters in Christ, your neighbors and your family members, all those around us we all need to be reminded daily of the love of God.
We need to be reminded of our good news that we have in the gospel that brings us life. Like if we are in Christ if we have responded to the gospel listen to this. Do you know what the scriptures call us? Royalty. The scriptures say we're royal ambassadors.
We're royal heirs. Like we're considered children of the living God. Christian, this is your new identity. You're no longer labeled a sinner. No, you're deemed a saint. Christian, you were once dead in your trespasses and sins following the course of the world but because of Jesus Christ going to the cross and you're putting your faith in him he has made you alive in Christ clothing you in his royal garments.
Church, that's good news. Those are words of life. Like we're no longer dead but alive and y'all our world is too dark and sin is too wicked and too strong for us to walk around in condemnation. We need to be reminded of our calling daily, our standing daily. We need to be constantly reminded that God has done everything necessary to save us. We need to be reminded that in Christ our sin our sin has been taken as far as the East is from the West like it's totally gone forever. Christian, those are true words of life for us today and guess what? When we're in Christ we're not only forgiven of our sin but he has given us and entrusted us to a holy calling and he says to us I know you were once running away from me.
Like I know that you have this whole doubt thing going on inside of you and you're still trying to run for me from time to time but guess what? I have called you and redeemed you and I am restoring you and I will still use you for my purposes. God says to all those who are in Christ you are now a kingdom mover and a kingdom advancer and a gospel herald of good news.
That is your calling. That is a holy calling church and while we're doing all of this in the middle of that he says to us I will never leave you or forsake you. That's what he says in his word. He says to us let not your heart be troubled. Fear not for I am with you. He says to us come to me and I will give you rest. He says come to me and you will be satisfied. Y'all when I was in those dark days of 2020 just trying to do squats, crying, weeping, just totally failing at everything.
Just squats. Weeping in tears. The life-giving words that I was clinging to believing in faith was that God strengthens the downcast and he comforts the weary. Believing in faith that God is in the business of restoring that which is broken. That God finishes what he starts and that joy comes in the morning. Church we need to hear these gospel words of life like on repeat because we are a forgetful people that often sit in the condemnation of our enemy and our enemy he will do whatever he can to let us sit in those lying words of death. But do you know what God has said to our enemy?
No. I have words of life and I have won the war. And God says right back to the enemy while he's fighting for us God says guess what I've equipped and entrusted my people with words of life that will push back darkness. And you know what God says to the devil when those words of life are spoken by brothers and sisters in Christ to a wounded and weary soul? God says to the devil you can take your lying words of death and go right back to the pits of hell.
That's what he says. Mercy Hill every day the enemy is trying to speak words of death to us either in our minds or through others and then twist them in our minds by what others have said to us or to us. And you know what we do when those lying words of death are spoken over us or starting to be believed in our minds? You know what we do? We embrace that we are in a cosmic spiritual war and we enter into the boxing ring and we speak true words of life over our soul and over the souls of others.
And you know what we do? We push the devil square in the nose with words of life. Speaking words of life to others. We proclaim words of life. We speak words of life to one another.
We tell ourselves what is true. Listen if you want to push the devil in the nose tell your brother or sister in Christ that God has set him or her apart for a holy calling. Like if you want to punch the devil in the nose serve your spouse and go out of your way and tell them how much you love them and how much God loves them and how much God is pursuing them. If you want to punch the devil in the nose build up your children in the Lord point them through Jesus and model the grace that God has shown you to them. Like show your children what it looks like to be merciful and gracious and slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
And when you mess up because you probably will model repentance to them and show them what it looks like to say I'm sorry will you forgive me. You know what this does for them? It breathes life into their soul.
It builds them up with courage and it strengthens their spirit. Church God has entrusted us with powerful words of life and y'all there are too many people on this planet and around this world that are heading towards an eternity apart from Christ for us to settle for more words of death and take more life and more joy. Now God has entrusted us with the life-giving message of the gospel that tells our world that forgiveness of sin is possible and the change in restoration is available.
Y'all we have a message that gives hope to the downcast that gives rest for the weary and that is a healing balm for wounded souls. Proverbs 18 21 says death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits. Again let's ask ourselves what meal are we serving with our words?
Is it a plate full of nourishing food or is it a plate full of just junk? And I know as soon as I say that the natural response is to think well I want to speak words of life like I desire to serve a nourishing plate of food to those around me with my words and the response is not to say well just keep trying harder just keep trying work harder next time. No Jesus tells us in Luke 6 45 that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Church the words that come out of us are a reflection of our heart. So yes we're called to practice self-control and to watch what we say and to actively engage in disciplines that lead us to speak life-giving words but even more so before we do all that we first we just come and sit at the feet of Jesus and let him just wash us with his word and let him change our hearts. We come and rest with Jesus and we read his word and we eat and devour his words of life and we slowly over a lifetime day by day day in and day out coming to his word slowly God changes our hearts and the byproduct is that God will then use us to speak words of life to those around us.
It will nourish their souls and will give a taste of the goodness of God. Church let's pray. God I know that under the sound of my voice there are people that you are drawing to yourself that are just overwhelmed by the condemnation maybe just of words God but I pray that they will know the grace that is found in Jesus. God there is grace and mercy and forgiveness that is found at the cross. Father I pray that of all of the things that we hear today that we will just come and sit and be restored by the life that you give us through Christ. God we are a desperate people that are in desperate need of your grace. We're so thankful for your word we pray that we would be sharpened by it today we ask this all in Jesus name amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 09:40:16 / 2023-02-24 09:55:34 / 15