A Word Fitly Spoken

The book of Proverbs tells us about those who mock and scoff and how to deal with them. It also tells us how words fitly spoken, words suited to their context, can persuade. Brian Watson preached this sermon on September 20, 2020.

Words

Words matter. They can be used for good or ill. How then can we use our words wisely? The book of Proverbs says a great deal about words used wisely and foolishly. Brian Watson preached this message on those passages on September 13, 2020.

September 13, 2020

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, September 13, 2020.

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Song: “This Is Our God”

Words and music by N. DeGraide, D. Fournier, Z. Jones, D. Pland, and G. Romanacce

God, our Father, full of power, Maker of the heavens, Maker of the world;
forming all things seen and unseen,
truly the Almighty beyond all measured worth. Holy is His Name.

We believe the Lord our God is One, Father, Spirit, Son; this is our God!
We believe forever He will reign. Let the church proclaim: this is our God!

Our Lord Jesus sent to save us, born unto a virgin, lived a perfect life;
greatly suffered, dying for us. From the grave He’s risen, seated now on high.
Holy is His Name.

We believe the Lord our God is One, Father, Spirit, Son; this is our God!
We believe forever He will reign. Let the church proclaim: this is our God!

Jesus will come back again to judge the living and the dead,
usher in the age to come; let everyone sing “amen.”
Jesus will come back again to judge the living and the dead,
usher in the age to come; let everyone sing “amen,”
let everyone sing “amen.”

Spirit, holy, One in glory, speaking through the prophets, empowering the Church;
life is given by and through Him, with the Son and Father, worshipped and adored.
Holy is His Name.

We believe the Lord our God is One, Father, Spirit, Son; this is our God!
We believe forever He will reign. Let the church proclaim: this is our God!

Hymn: “Speak, O Lord”

Words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
to receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
that the light of Christ might be seen today
in our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
all Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
in the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail,
let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
that will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
and by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
and the earth is filled with Your glory.

Scripture Reading and Prayer:

Psalm 150 (ESV)

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Sermon: “Words”

There are many verses in the book of Proverbs that deal with words. Here are most of them arranged by topic. We will not read all of these this morning.

God’s word

Proverbs 30:5–6 (ESV)

Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Wisdom vs. folly in speech

Proverbs 10:31–32 (ESV)

31  The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
32  The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

Proverbs 14:7 (ESV)

Leave the presence of a fool,
for there you do not meet words of knowledge.

Proverbs 26:9 (ESV)

Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

Words are a life and death matter

Proverbs 14:3 (ESV)

By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back,
but the lips of the wise will preserve them.

Proverbs 14:25 (ESV)

A truthful witness saves lives,
but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.

Proverbs 15:4 (ESV)

A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Proverbs 18:6–8 (ESV)

A fool’s lips walk into a fight,
and his mouth invites a beating.
A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.

Proverbs 18:20–21 (ESV)

20  From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21  Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Wise ways of speaking

Listening

Proverbs 18:13 (ESV)

If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.

Remaining silent

Proverbs 10:18–20 (ESV)

18  The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
and whoever utters slander is a fool.
19  When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
20  The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth.

Proverbs 11:12–13 (ESV)

12  Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.
13  Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Proverbs 13:2–3 (ESV)

From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good,
but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.|
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 17:27–28 (ESV)

27  Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28  Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 21:23 (ESV)

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself out of trouble.

Telling truth

Proverbs 12:17–19 (ESV)

17  Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.
18  There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19  Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Proverbs 13:5 (ESV)

The righteous hates falsehood,
but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.

Proverbs 16:13 (ESV)

Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
and he loves him who speaks what is right.

Sharing knowledge and wisdom

Proverbs 15:2 (ESV)

The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Proverbs 15:7 (ESV)

The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
not so the hearts of fools.

Proverbs 18:4 (ESV)

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.

Proverbs 20:15 (ESV)

There is gold and abundance of costly stones,
but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

Bringing peace

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)

A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Building others up

Proverbs 22:11 (ESV)

He who loves purity of heart,
and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.

Knowing how to answer and persuade others

Proverbs 15:28 (ESV)

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

Proverbs 16:21 (ESV)

The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

Proverbs 16:23–24 (ESV)

23  The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious
and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24  Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Proverbs 25:11–13 (ESV)

11  A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
12  Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
13  Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
he refreshes the soul of his masters.

Proverbs 25:15 (ESV)

With patience a ruler may be persuaded,
and a soft tongue will break a bone.

Proverbs 26:4–7 (ESV)

Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless,
is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

Defending the oppressed

Proverbs 31:8–9 (ESV)

Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Foolish ways of speaking

Proverbs 26:17–26 (ESV)

17  Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own
is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.
18  Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
19  is the man who deceives his neighbor
and says, “I am only joking!”
20  For lack of wood the fire goes out,
and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21  As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
22  The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23  Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24  Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
and harbors deceit in his heart;
25  when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26  though his hatred be covered with deception,
his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

Speaking hateful words (tearing others down)

Proverbs 10:18 (ESV)

The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
and whoever utters slander is a fool.

Proverbs 11:12–13 (ESV)

12  Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.
13  Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Proverbs 25:23 (ESV)

The north wind brings forth rain,
and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.

Speaking rash words

See Proverbs 12:18 above

Proverbs 20:25 (ESV)

It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,”
and to reflect only after making vows.

Proverbs 29:20 (ESV)

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Speaking words that divide

Proverbs 16:27–28 (ESV)

27  A worthless man plots evil,
and his speech is like a scorching fire.
28  A dishonest man spreads strife,
and a whisperer separates close friends.

Telling lies (and repeating that which isn’t true)

See Proverbs 12:17, 19 above

Proverbs 12:22–23 (ESV)

22  Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight.
23  A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly.

Proverbs 14:5 (ESV)

A faithful witness does not lie,
but a false witness breathes out lies.

Proverbs 17:4 (ESV)

An evildoer listens to wicked lips,
and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.

Proverbs 17:20 (ESV)

A man of crooked heart does not discover good,
and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.

Proverbs 19:1 (ESV)

Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity

than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

Proverbs 21:28 (ESV)

A false witness will perish,
but the word of a man who hears will endure.

Proverbs 25:18 (ESV)

A man who bears false witness against his neighbor
is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.

Proverbs 26:28 (ESV)

A lying tongue hates its victims,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Proverbs 28:23 (ESV)

Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
than he who flatters with his tongue.

Gossiping and slandering

Proverbs 18:8 (ESV)

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.

Proverbs 17:9 (ESV)

Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

Proverbs 20:19 (ESV)

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

Proverbs 25:9–10 (ESV)

Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
and do not reveal another’s secret,
10  lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
and your ill repute have no end.

Boasting

Proverbs 27:2 (ESV)

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
a stranger, and not your own lips.

Venting

Proverbs 29:11 (ESV)

A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Empty words

Proverbs 10:8 (ESV)

The wise of heart will receive commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

Song: “Never Cease to Praise”

Words and music by Jeff Bourque

May we run this race, may we keep the faith,
may our eyes be fixed on Jesus,
that we’ll not lose heart in our struggle with sin,
and through suffering know endurance.

May we arm ourselves with the mind of Christ
to rejoice in trials and be not surprised.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

May our company be the saints You’ve called,
may we all stand firm in one spirit,
that the gospel’s truth may resound on earth,
that all living things may hear it.

May the fruits of faith mark the path we trod
through the life of Christ to the glory of God.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

May the words we share be Your grace and peace.
May our tongues speak Your proclamations
that the many parts of the body of Christ
be affirmed in their right relation.

As we long and wait for the groom to come,
may we learn to love, and spur each other on.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

When that day arrives, and our race is won,
when our griefs give way to deliverance,
we will fully know, as we’re fully known,
all our groans will end as new songs begin.

And a multitude from every tribe and tongue,
wearing robes of white, will stand before Your throne,
And our hearts will be so consumed by You
that we’ll never cease to praise!

May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

Benediction
Numbers 6:24–26 (ESV)

24  The Lord bless you and keep you;
25  the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26  the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.