4 Rules of Communication

Faith Church May 19, 2007 1 Corinthians 2:11


1. We’re coming to a close on our series: Building Strong Families & Relationships – we’ve been connecting this series to with the NEW Worship series (which is the final session today)

- so far, we’ve tried to answer 2 important questions:

  • WHY Can’t We All Just Get Along?
  • HOW Can We All Get Along?

2. We’ve been trying to make the point that of all the people in the world who ought to be able to get along, it ought to be believers!

- but many times, God’s people are the ones that shoot each other the most – and don’t get along

- . . . and that extends to the family and other relationships

3. One area that answers both of these questions is the issue of COMMUNICATION

- WHY can’t we all just get along? -- because we don’t communicate very well!!

- HOW can we all get along? -- LEARN to communicate in biblical & God-honoring manner!

4. Please open your Bible to Ephesians 4:22-32 [READ – explain the put off/put on process & the principle of replacement. . . and the setting for the truth about communication]

- we’ve have several people ask if we could present the 4 Rules of Communication in our ABF’s

- our pastors refer to these often, but many people have never heard them, so . . . we’re doing the study today on this subject!

* Recommend the following books for further study:

  • War of Words – Paul Tripp (our speaker 2 weeks ago)
  • Your Family God’s Way – Wayne Mack

Rule #1: BE HONEST - v. 25.

- what is Paul instructing us to do? – notice the principle of replacement!

* We should not just put off lying, but speak the truth.

- People don’t change just because they STOP something – the sinful habit of thinking or action needs to be replaced!

A. This is a command. - "You speak!"

- you can’t say, “Well I don’t like that command, therefore . . . “ or “I don’t FEEL like doing that!”

- one of the problems in conflicts is when someone DISOBEYS this command!

* Clamming up is not an option for the Christian!

- Evading, avoiding, manipulating do not solve problems.

Q: Why is it important for us to communicate honestly with others? [READ 1 Cor. 2:11]

  • 1 Corinthians 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

Answer: . . . Because people cannot read your mind.

- here’s another thing to consider:

B. Honesty is more than not lying.

- honesty is telling the truth (the facts, reality, and being open about it!)

C. Put On: speaking the truth.

  • Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love . . .

[Note: How to speak the truth is in Rule #3 (Eph 4:15,29) and in the "Six Questions."]

- We are commanded to SPEAK (to communicate) . . . to speak the TRUTH

> this is NOT telling everyone all your thoughts, opinions, & criticisms.

> The goal of speaking the truth is not you speaking your mind but solving conflicts in a way that brings glory to God.

- and to speak the truth . . . . IN LOVE (that’s the hard part!)

B. Dishonesty is not pleasing to God!

* Here are a few examples of dishonesty:

1. Outright deceit (Includes exaggeration, embellish truth)

- Sometimes done deliberately, sometimes the result of the passage of time, and it’s easy to do when you are the one ‘hurting’ or ‘offended’.

2. Conflict between body language and tones (halo) and the content of what we say.

Examples: Q: What’s wrong? A: Nothing! (with a sharp tone, or rolling the eyes)

3. Disguising the real message w/innuendoes.

Ex: Back door messages – Husband tells dinner guests: “Eat hearty, we’re only 2 minutes from a trauma center.”

Rule #2: KEEP CURRENT - v. 26 &27.

- another way to say this is: * Solve today’s problems today!

- we are to use the emotional energy that God gives us to direct it towards bring glory to Him as we seek to resolve problems in a way consistent with His will for our lives!

Key verses: (Jesus addresses the problem of worry, there are implications to communication):

  • Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

- don’t bring the ‘baggage’ of yesterday into the problems of today

- another key verse is:

  • Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

- remember this when you are trying to solve today’s problems:

A. Get angry, but don't sin.

"When angry, do not sin;do not ever let your wrath - your exasperation, your fury or indignation - last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil - give no opportunity to him." (Amplified Version).

1. Lying (v.25) is sin; anger (v. 26) may not be a sin.

- Anger itself is not sin.

  • Ps. 7:11 God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

- Christ was angry in Mark 3:5; John 2:13-17

  • Mark 3:5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts. . .
  • Jn. 2:13-17 (the cleansing of the temple

> He got angry for the right reason’s – it was what they were doing to His Father’s house!

2. Anger is energy to be used to solve problems.

- Anger is a God given emotion which produces energy intended to help you solve problems biblically and solve them today.

> A force to motivate you to biblical action to solve problems.

- Godly anger is not concerned primarily for self but for God's name and His reputation.

3. Anger is sinful when it is used to attack others or self (deep bitterness setting in about the problem).

- Attacking others is one of the things that usually happens when you don't handle conflicts in a God-honoring manner.

> You may blow up quickly or the energy of unsolved problems builds and builds.


Blow Up


B. Stop clamming up.

- When a person doesn't want to talk and solve problems he may cut off communication a number of ways.

* Examples: Cutting off communication by . . .

  • Crying.
  • Threatening an explosion - volcanic eruption.
  • Bottom lining: "All I have to say is..."
  • May also laugh, change subject, get self righteous, ignore the relationship by giving the cold shoulder or anything else to avoid dealing with the problem.

Caution: Failure to solve problems daily = giving place, or a foothold, to Satan!

- literally, “a beach-front” whereby he is able to launch an attack!

- and he is always looking for ways to bring STRIFE and REBELLION to the table!

Cf. 1 Pet 5:6-8 – our adversary walks about . . .

C. Six questions to ask yourself before bringing up a difficult, sticky problem.


- What does it mean to attack the person?

A. Put Off words that attack a person's character.

1. Words that cut down the other person.

Cf. Matthew 5:21,22 – the warning about calling someone a fool – the warning is related to when a person is in conflict with another or is angry with the person

- he/she may be “Proverbs Fool” (fits the description) but be careful about your ‘motive’ and ‘attitude’ when calling a person that name!

Point: When you verbally attack a person you are really criticizing God in Whose image that person is made!

2. Words that tear down, rip apart or hinder growth.

- Words deliberately designed to hurt instead of ‘edify’ (build up!).

- These kind of words are dangerous, destructive, and painful as:

Cf. James 3:5-12 (Viars spoke on this passage in our Worship Service)

Cf. Prov. 16:27 An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire.

3. Words that cloud or by-passes the conflict.

a. Does not solve problems thus does not benefit relationship.

b. Destroys unity.

4. Words that grieve the Holy Spirit because we are not following His Word and the example of another member of the God-Head, Jesus Christ!

Q: What does it mean to attack the problem? Answer: To Discuss the problem in God-honoring way

B. Use "edifying" communication that encourages or builds up.

- that’s what Paul meant when he wrote to speak the truth in love and to bring glory to God as we try to solve the problem!

- means care must be given to not only WHAT you say but also HOW you say it.

* Our words should edify and be filled with "grace" to those who hear.

  • Col. 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Q: What does that look like?

A: Words that center on personal responsibility & express solutions in terms of action!

Rule #4: ACT, DON'T REACT - vs. 31 & 32

A. Reactions (v. 31) - attitudes and actions that must be "put off."

1. Bitterness - the refusal to treat someone as if they never hurt you.

2. Wrath - flaring outbursts of anger.

3. Anger - settled indignation or hostility that frequently seeks revenge; "slow burn."

4. Clamor - harsh contention and strife, public quarreling, brawling.

5. Slander - speech that injures, abusive speech.

6. Malice - the desire to harm others or see them suffer.

* Lesson: The natural tendency (and thus sinful response) of our Genesis 3 nature is to be defensive about dealing with our own sins.

B. Actions (v. 32) - attitudes and actions you must "put on" to replace the reactions.

1. Kind - benevolent, helpful, courteous.

2. Tenderhearted - lit. "of good heartedness," compassionate, sympathetic.

3. Forgiving - to give up your right or claim to revenge, hold a grudge, or get even.


1. Conflicts are possible only if each person reacts.

- It takes 2 to argue – if you don't react, the argument dies.

- One person may be wrong, but conflict or fight occurs because the other reacts.

- When react, attack person, don't keep current, fail to be honest.

2. Note: Changing habits is not easy but can be done.

1 Cor. 10:13 (quote)

Note: It is much easier than the "way of the transgressor” (Prov. 13:15)

3. No matter how irresponsible the other person is, you must act biblically which is according to v. 32!

Remember: You can't change the other person, but you can change how you respond.

Faith Church