VB070 Working With The Hands & Mouth (Eph 4:28-32)

God blesses us so that we can give. A working, giving Christian will end up in God’s plan of prosperity. His bread will come from the work of his own hands and the grace of God. …VB070

Working With The Hands & Mouth – Eph 4:28-32

Eph [4:28-32] Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. [4:29] Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. [4:30] And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. [4:31] Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. [4:32] And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Paul’s practical advice turns toward the eighth commandment: Do not steal. This is a broad topic. It includes many things such as stealing other people’s money or possessions, but also includes tax evasion, cheating an employer on hours, or paying substandard wages to an employee. Paul states the problem, then goes on to explain the solution, which is basically working and giving.

[Eph 4:28] Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

When you are not busy working at something, providing an income for yourself and family, the Bible says you are stealing. God’s Word tells us that people who do not work should not eat. They are also said to be disorderly, busybodies, and end up eating someone else’s food (see, 2Thess 3:10-12).

2Thess 3:10-12 (NKJV) –[10] For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. [11] For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. [12] Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

God’s plan of financial prosperity begins with working. God’s plan for Adam’s job was in place even before he was created! He was to rule over the earth (Gen 1:26). Then in Gen 2:7 God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Adam was put in the garden to cultivate it and keep it. Without any help, he used his authority to rule the earth when he named all of the animals. Then, in Gen 2:21, he was given a wife. He learned to provide before he had a family.

Ephesians 4:28 tells us the main purpose for a believer’s money in the earth. God blesses us so that we can give. A working, giving Christian will end up in God’s plan of prosperity. His bread will come from the work of his own hands and the grace of God. At the end of his days, he will be able to say, as David did, “I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Ps 37:25).

Paul now turns from working with our hands, to using our mouth.

[Eph 4:29] Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

It is interesting that corrupt in this verse means, “decayed, rotten,” like spoiled meat or rotten fruit. Instead of stinky and putrid, we should be sweet and pleasant. The things we say should to build up others. Our response should always be graceful, seasoned, and savory, which will cause a thirst for the gospel message we carry.

Preserving rather than spoiling opportunities (Col 4:6).

Col 4:6 (NASB) –Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Today we say someone is “salty” because he uses profanity, but that is not what is meant here. It means conversation that is flavored with attractive content so that listeners become involved, and their curiosity aroused.

After Bible college, when anyone asked what I did for a living, I would reply, “I’m a preacher,” and walls went up immediately – end of conversation. But then I learned a graceful way to get around this. Later, when asked what I do for a living, I’d say, “I’m a teacher.” Then the person always asks what do I teach, and I’d say, “I teach people about Jesus if they want to listen.” Now that puts the ball back in their court: “Do you want to listen or don’t you? If you don’t want to, that’s fine with me. But if you want to listen, I can tell you about Someone who is very important to me.” It opened doors for me. That is graceful conversation, talk that is “seasoned with salt.” It has an interesting affect on earthlings living in a confused world.

Corruption from the lips means that there is corruption in the heart. The Spirit has sealed us (Eph 1:13,14); we should not grieve Him by allowing sinful actions and attitudes to be in our lives. In Scripture, the Spirit is pictured as a dove (Jn 1:32), and a dove is a clean bird that loves peace. Anger and clamor should be done away with by means of forgiveness.

[4:30] And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

What is it that can grieve the Holy Spirit? The words you speak, and about a dozen other things listed here in this text. To sum up – things that grieve the Spirit are things that are unholy. He is the Holy Spirit. It hurts Him when carnal Christians deny His power and refuse to acknowledge Him.

[4:31] Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Christians can be bitter, full of wrath and anger, and speak evil of others. This verse includes inner sin and outward sin. Sins of thoughts and sins of action. “Bitterness” is inner hatred for others. People around us may not know we are bitter, but God knows. He looks on the heart, whereas people only see the outward appearance (see, 1Sam 16:7).

Wrath is bitterness on display, expressed as an outward, visible sin. “Anger” is also an inward sin, but not like bitterness. If you are bitter at someone, you don’t like them at all. You can be angry at your best friend. If you don’t get over anger, it can lead to bitterness and wrath.

“Clamor” is another visible sin, the outward display of anger. This is physical fighting. Oh, you are thinking that Christians don’t get into fist fights. You have led a sheltered life. Christians can get into real “hair-pulling contests” and throw hissy fits! The Bible calls this “clamor,” also called “striking” in First Timothy 3:3 and “brawling” in Titus 3:2.

“Evil speaking” is another outward sin. An evil thought will come to your mind, but you don’t have to take that thought by speaking it. Words give thoughts the power to hurt, or the grace to bless.

“Malice” is and inward sin of thoughts. It is “malicious or evil intentions.” This sin is usually white-washed with a tiny bit of sincerity. An example is hearing some juicy gossip that begins with, “I’m only telling you this about this brother, so you can pray for him.” I actually replied to one of these with, “Why don’t you tell God about it then, and quit blabbing to me about it!” Malice and evil intentions won’t get me to agree with you in prayer!

It is just as important to clean up our act on the inside, as it is to stop the outward visible sins.

[4:32] And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

An interesting compound Greek word, eusplagnos. Eu means good, and splagnos means bowels or guts. “Good guts” doesn’t really sound too wonderful to us, but when the Holy Spirit put it into this verse it meant a lot. The English translators rendered it “tenderhearted.” This is more than just pitying people. It is having a godly compassion that comes from deep within you, from your gut. This is translated “bowels of compassion” (Jn 3:17). In the Old Testament, it was said that Joseph when in a deep emotional state that “his bowels did yearn” (Gen 43:30). Joseph didn’t have a physical problem; instead, he had an intense desire or compassion that came from deep within him. We are to have such deep compassion for people that forgiveness is never a question. We desire to forgive them as Jesus, out of His deep compassion, forgave us. This verse tells us how to forgive people – as God forgives us (Mt 6:12-15). How long does it take God to forgive us? He forgives us instantly. We are to do the same. This is how compassion treats those who have wronged us.

In the story about foot washing in John 13:4-17, Jesus was talking to His disciple as He washed their feet. Naturally, Peter spoke up and said, “Lord, do you wash only my feet? Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head” (vv.6,9). In other words, Peter was saying,, “Give me a bath, save me again.”

The Lord replied to Peter:

Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you… 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. John 13:10, 14-15

First John 1:9 is our foot washing from the Lord. When we ask Him to forgive us for our sins, He is always “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If He is faithful and just to wash our feet, we should be just as faithful to wash the feet of those who have wronged us. If Jesus can do it, then we can do it also (Mt 18:21-35).

God bless you my friend,

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