Tuesday, March 26, 2019

PF Bulletin: Let Your Words Be Few

February 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Articles, Christian Living, Church

For generations, parents have attempted to comfort emotionally wounded children with some version of the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” That platitude must ring as hollow to the speaker it as it sounded to me when I was a child. We recognize that words have power – in many ways, much more power than sticks or stones. We sing songs warning against letting “angry words . . . unbridled slip.” Paul urges us in Colossians 4:6 to “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” Perhaps most ominously, Jesus warns that our careless words reveal the condition and nature of our heart; thus, “On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36f). We generally recognize (though too often fail to modulate) the powerful effect our speech has on our interpersonal relationships and that God holds us accountable for our interactions with each other.

However, we ought to guard our words just as much – if not more – when speaking of spiritual matters directly. In Ecclesiastes 5, the Preacher admonishes his readers, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. . . . When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?”

This passage is a warning to anyone who wishes to come before God to worship. The Preacher first calls us to guard our steps, or to be careful when approaching God. This is reminiscent of Paul’s exhortation for each worshipper to “examine himself” (1 Cor. 11:28). Second, we are warned that it is better to listen than to speak foolishly or hastily. When we come to worship God, have we taken time to listen to what he says before we presume to speak to him or for him? When we come together to sing, are we sure that we are admonishing one another with the “words of Christ” (Col. 3:16), or are we using concepts that are of our own invention? (That is not to say we must only sing what is in red letters in our Bibles. All of Scripture is God’s Word and therefore Christ’s. We must make sure that the thoughts and concepts in our songs are taken from that Word and not from elsewhere.) And when we instruct each other in God’s word either in leading a class or by making comments, have we first spent enough time truly studying the Scripture, knowing that “we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1)? “To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools.” Third, Ecclesiastes 5 warns us that God takes our vows and commitments to him very seriously. We ought to think very carefully before making commitments like, “All to Jesus I surrender,” or “For Thee, all the follies of sin I resign.” These are bold, though proper, vows. When we sing them, God expects us to keep them.

Our words have great power. But the point of the Preacher’s words in Ecclesiastes 5 is not to discourage us from ever worshipping or approaching God. The result of guarding our feet, listening before speaking, and taking our vows seriously is a proper reverence for God, more effective edification of the saints, and a more powerful commitment to our Christian walk. And although we are sometimes faithless and our failures in our words and commitments lead us to a godly fear, God does not remain unapproachable; God, whose words never fail, has given us a faithful, obedient High Priest, the Word, and has promised us access to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). Therefore, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).


– David Smelser


One Response to “PF Bulletin: Let Your Words Be Few”
  1. K. K. Rao Mark says:

    Greetings to all in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from K. K. Rao Mark who is preacher of a 50 member congregation in a city called Khammam in Telangana State, India.

    Beloved brothers and sisters we are faithful members of the Lord’s one body and wishing to grow unto perfection as like as our Master Jesus Christ.

    Here I am introducing few things about me: I am K. K. Rao Mark who was a bible instructor for 20 years in one of the preaching schools here in India and now I am focusing only in Evangelism to spread the truth what I have been learned so far but I have no source of income to do the Lord’s work more and more.

    Even thought, the ability as our Lord has given me that I am working for the Lord regularly and taking individual bible studies, church bible studies and conducting Gospel meetings in the areas where the places I have known and sometimes I been inviting for the Gospel meetings by other preachers to preach the truth.

    Since I had worked for the Preaching school in a long time, so I have started the Lord’s work here in my city about four years ago and now we have 50 members of the Lord’s body and few others who are not baptized so far have been also attending worship with us in the congregation.

    Church is growing unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13).

    Presently, we don’t have own church building but gathering in a rent place and that one is not enough to fit more than 50 souls. So here, I am kindly requesting brethren to please pray and help us to build a church building and we have piece of land for the church building no founds.

    Please pray for the Lord’s work here. May our Lord bless you all unto His glory,

    Brotherly love,

    K. K. Rao Mark


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