What Words Reveal
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: Should I listen to my heart or my mind? We often ask ourselves this question before making a decision, assuming that from the heart come our emotions while sound reasoning comes from the mind. But in the culture in which Jesus lived, the heart and mind were viewed differently. The heart represented who a person was at the every essence, at the core of existence. Thus, when Jesus says that the words we speak are simply the overflow of what’s in our heart, he’s simply saying: what we say gives the best indication of what we truly are.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. What are “careless” words (verse 36)? In what situations do you find yourself tempted to utter such words?
2. If someone followed you around for a day, listening to every word you speak, what might they conclude about you?
3. How could Jesus say that “we are justified by our words” (verse 37)? Isn’t the entire testimony of Scripture that we are justified by faith alone? (Cf. Romans 4:1-5)
4. What characterizes a person’s speech who is trusting in Christ alone? Why are such folks free from the need to defend, retaliate, belittle?
5. How have you found comfort this week in the forgiveness of Jesus, even forgiveness from sinful words?
1. “For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.” – Ann Rice
2. Read Matthew 12:33-37.
3. Read Matthew 12:34.
4. “The heart is used here as an inclusive term … the center and source of the whole inner life.” – Leon Morris
5. 01. Our mouths simply give evidence of what’s bubbling up and overflowing in the deepest parts of our being.
6. Read Matthew 12:35.
7. 02. Our words reveal where our identity is anchored.
8. “What Christ requires is not a precise and complete perfection, but only a simple and sincere affection.” – John Calvin
9. “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. – Colossians 2:6-7, ESV
10. “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore … speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” – Ephesians 4:7,16
11. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
12. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
13. Read Matthew 12:36-37.
14. 03. Our words give clear indication of our spiritual condition.