Speaking Words of Grace

  • October 20, 2019
Sunday 20

Colossians 4:2-6

In closing his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul highlighted some essentials of the Christian life—devotion to prayer, an attitude of gratefulness, and wise dealings with unbelievers. Reminding us to make the most of opportunities to share our testimony, Paul said, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6).

The apostle knew the tongue’s power for good and encouraged using words to influence others for Jesus. James took the opposite approach, describing the harm tongues can do. He likened them to sparks that set a forest on fire or a restless evil that can poison (James 3:5; James 3:8). Sadly, we see this truth lived out in the media, workplace, families, and even churches.

Consider how we respond when we hear about a stranger who has ruined his personal life, carried out ruthless business practices, or brought public condemnation on himself. Our first response is often criticism and judgment instead of compassion or sorrow.

But we can learn from Jesus’ example. He asked the Samaritan woman simple questions so she’d recognize her need for living water (John 4:7-26); He invited Himself to the house of the hated tax collector (Luke 19:1-10) and He stood between the adulterous woman and her critics before gently bringing correction (John 8:1-11). Jesus’ words were seasoned with grace.

As representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must learn to speak graciously. Let’s make it our habit to use a kind tone of voice, courteous approach, humble spirit, and edifying words.

Bible in One Year: Luke 1:1-80

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2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;

3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;

4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink."

8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

9 Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, `Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

11 She said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?

12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?"

13 Jesus answered and said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;

14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

15 The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw."

16 He said to her, Go, call your husband and come here."

17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband." Jesus said to her, You have correctly said, `I have no husband';

18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."

19 The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.

20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

21 Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.

22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

25 The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."

26 Jesus said to her, I who speak to you am He. "

1 He entered Jericho and was passing through.

2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich.

3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.

4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.

5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."

6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.

7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."

8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much."

9 And Jesus said to him, Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.

3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court,

4 they said to Him, Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?"

6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.

7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.

10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"

11 She said, No one, Lord." And Jesus said, I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."]

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,

2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,

3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;

4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.

8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division,

9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.

11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.

12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.

13 But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.

14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.

16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.

17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

18 Zacharias said to the angel, How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years."

19 The angel answered and said to him, I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

20 And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time."

21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple.

22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute.

23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.

24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying,

25 This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men."

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,

27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And coming in, he said to her, Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."

29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.

30 The angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.

31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;

33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."

34 Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

35 The angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.

37 For nothing will be impossible with God."

38 And Mary said, Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah,

40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

43 And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me?

44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.

45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."

46 And Mary said: My soul exalts the Lord,

47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

48 For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

49 For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.

50 AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.

51 He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.

52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.

53 HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed.

54 He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,

55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever."

56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.

57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son.

58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.

59 And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father.

60 But his mother answered and said, No indeed; but he shall be called John."

61 And they said to her, There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name."

62 And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called.

63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, His name is John." And they were all astonished.

64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.

65 Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea.

66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, What then will this child turn out to be?" For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.

67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,

69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant--

70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old--

71 Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US;

72 To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant,

73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,

74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,

75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.

76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;

77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins,

78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,

79 TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace."

80 And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

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Publish Date October 20, 2019
Speaking Words of Grace

Our responses toward others should convey grace and encouragement before criticism.

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