Four Rules of Communication: Keep Current

Faith Church June 13, 2010 Ephesians 4:25-32

Introduction:
1. We are continuing our series: “Taking the NEXT Step With Joy: In Our Marriages & Families”
- Let keep reminding ourselves:
Strong Christians = Strong Marriages = Strong Families = Strong Churches
2.  Last week, we started a 4-week series on the 4 Rules of Communication
- Communication being one of the VERY IMPORTANT roles of your Christian lives, our marriages, our families, and our church body!
- Rule #1: Be Honest
- So let’s just ADMIT, that people who don’t communicate well, don’t grow well – which means they are not going to be as spiritually strong as they could be
- Face it: * Jesus was a PERFECT Communicator
> and if we’re going to bring glory to God, we have to be like Christ!
> which means, ALL of us need to “Take the NEXT Step with Joy” in the way we communicate with the Lord, our spouse, our children, and each other as part of the Body of Christ!
3.  A few things we emphasized were:
1)  While words are important (and a larger percentage of our communication), Words alone are not sufficient for effective biblical communication.  
Example: Consider 1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”  
2)  Also, We cannot show love with actions alone because God tells us hundreds of times in the Bible that He loves us.  
-  So, we should not only do things to communicate our love for others, we must also grow in telling others that we love them . . .
> . . . and use well chosen words to communicate & solve problems and/or prevent them.
3)  Godly Communication is a key to building relationships:  our relationship with Christ (even confessing sin, prayer, asking for wisdom), strong marriages/families, and strong churches
-  While some communicate better than others . . . we all must be growing in the area of communication – in both words and actions.
4. We presented a working definition of . . .* Effective Communication:
“The process of sharing information with another person in such a way that the sender’s message is understood as he intended it. Unless the sender and receiver have come to a common meaning, they haven’t communicated effectively.”  Wayne Mack, Your Family God’s Way
* Resources:  Recommend the following books for further study: (Ministry Resource Center)
•    War of Words – Paul Tripp
•    Your Family God’s Way – Wayne Mack
5. Remember, in Eph. 4, Paul writes about how to grow and change by replacing the ‘old self’ (thoughts & actions) with the ‘new self’ (biblical thoughts and biblical actions)
6. Paul illustrated this in verses (v. 25-32) and in these examples of the ‘put off’ and ‘put on’ – the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write 4 very effective “Rules of Communication”
> these are good for PREVENTING and SOLVING problems (in all areas of our lives)
[READ Eph. 4:25-32- skip v. 28 – though it is included in the context of v. 22-24]
[REVIEW Rule #1 – PPT, not the HANDOUT]
Rule #1:  BE HONEST - v. 25.
- All this starts by recognizing that . . .
A.  This is a command. - "You speak!"
- you may not like it, but it’s still a command and you have a choice to obey it or disobey it (both have consequences)
B.  Honesty is more than not lying.
- Honesty is telling the truth (the facts, reality, and being open about it!)
-  We should not just put off lying, but . . .
C.  Put On: speaking the truth.
➢    Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love . . .
> this is NOT telling everyone ALL your thoughts, ALL opinions, & ALL 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.”
- Today, our focus is on v. 26-27:
Rule #2:  KEEP CURRENT - v. 26 &27.
- we are to use the emotional energy that God gives us to direct it towards glorifying Him
- this is done as we seek to RESOLVE and PREVENT problems in a way consistent with His will for our lives!
> which His will is revealed in His Word!!
- 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
- this is done as we seek to resolve/prevent 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.
Point: You better take care of things TODAY – tomorrow may never come – and if it does, you don’t know what may happen that could hinder you from solving the problem!
- remember this when you are trying to solve today’s problems:
A.  Be angry, but don't sin.
-  God’s Word has a lot to say about anger (both sinful and righteous)
-  Proverbs has about 20 uses of the word anger or angry (here’s just a few):
•    Proverbs 14:29 He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
•    Proverbs 14:35 The king's favor is toward a servant who acts wisely, but his anger is toward him who acts shamefully.
•    Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
•    Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.
-  the Amplified Version of the Bible gives us this translation of Ephesians:
"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).
- we have to keep in mind that . . .
1.  Lying (v.25) is sin; anger (v. 26) may not be a sin.
- Anger itself is not sin.
Q: How do we know that?
A: God can be angry – but He does not sin (because He is holy – perfect, w/o sin)
•    KJV Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
- that same verse is translated in the NASB:
•    Psalm 7:11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation 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.
Q: Which ‘sin’ do most people think as being ‘acceptable’?
Answer: Clamming up – they think it’s more spiritual than ‘blowing up’
- The interesting thing is, BOTH are sinful and wrong – Jesus didn’t do either one
- that’s why Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the command:
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 _____________
Q:  How would you fill in that blank?
•    Crying.
•    Threatening an explosion - volcanic eruption.
•    Bottom lining: "All I have to say is..."
•    Other responses:
•    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.
- here’s something to think about:
*  Most people who ‘clam up’ eventually ‘blow up.’
- and if they don’t , there is a deep rooted sense of bitterness that destroys the relationship and can destroy one’s spiritual life
> both of those results destroy the opportunity to glorify God and ‘love one another’ (the 2nd greatest commandment)
- so here’s a BIG caution:
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 5:5-9 – our adversary walks about . . .
•    1 Peter 5:5-9 5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, // 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
- resisting Satan is done in part by obedience to God’s Word
- being ‘firm in your faith’ to DO what God commands you to do
NOTE: And remember, you are not the only one (v. 9)
C.  Seven questions to ask yourself before trying to resolve a problem.
1.  Do I have the facts right?
•    Proverbs 18:13 He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.
- asking question instead of making statements
- sometimes the best thing to do is to clarify the details
2.  Should love hide it?  Is it sinful?  Is it hindering growth?
•    1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
- this is not a mask for someone’s sin but an issue of clearly violating God’s Word or determining one’s personal preference
- if it is a clear sin issue, then it can/should be discussed
- but a good question to ask is: Is the person growing spiritually and he/she made a wrong decision and they are learning from it?
> if they are, then you can let love cover it – but if they are not growing, deal with it in a biblical manner (Matt. 18)
3.  Is my timing right?
•    Proverbs 15:23 A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!
- Suggestion: Don’t try to solve all your problems late at night when you’re very tired
- you may have to agree to disagree (don’t let the sun go down on your anger)
- but you may not be able to solve the problem until tomorrow (after a good night sleep & a little more time to think about the problems and/or your response)
CAUTION: Yes, your spouse could die, but at least you were trying to solve the problem
4.  Is my attitude right?  Am I trying to help the other person?
•    Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
- you can be ‘right’ – but if your attitude is proud and demanding, you’re not going to solve the problem in a godly manner
5.  Are my words loving?
•    Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
- make sure your words are full of grace and seasoned with salt
- avoid derogatory words like “you were stupid” or other harsh words/phrases
Examples: ??
6.  Have I prayed for God's help?
•    Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
- this would be a good thing to do!
- ask God for His wisdom: cf. James 1:5 [read]
7. Do I need to seek counsel from someone else before I try to resolve this problem?
•    Proverbs 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.
- sometimes you need to get counsel from someone who is growing spiritually and well respected and has a proven track record
- we’re not talking about gossip, but seeking biblical advice from someone who is trust worthy and is growing stronger themselves and used to solving problems!
Conclusion:
1.  Which rule do you violate the most?
2.  Do you need to ask your spouse’s forgiveness for violation of either of these rules?
Prayer Time:
⇨    Husband – pray for the guys
⇨    Wife – pray for the girls
⇨    One person – pray for the marriages/families
 

Faith Church