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Communication That Promotes Peace

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Communication That Promotes Peace
Introduction:
God desires for us to communicate with each other in a way that will solve problems, build relationships, and bring glory to Him.
“Communication is the process of sharing yourself verbally and non verbally in such a way that the other person can both accept and understand what you are saying. It is the exchanging of vulnerabilities.”
~ Norman Wright
Communication lenses that can either birth peace or stir confusion:
• Words alone = What we say
• Tone of voice = How we say it
• Facial expressions, gestures and postures = non-verbal communication
1. BE REAL - Speak the truth in love. ...but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all {aspects} into Him, who is the head, {even} Christ...
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. ,
Paul picks up the image of putting off clothing and applies it to lying. The sentence begins with Therefore (dio; NRSV “So then”). This indicates the close, logical relationship between theory and practice. The command is not merely negative, but positive. It is not enough to cease lying; falsehood must be replaced by truth. This is especially appropriate given the introductory statement about “the truth that is in Jesus” (v. 21). The neighbor in this case is presumably a Christian, given the causal clause that follows, for we are all members of one body.* It forwards Paul’s concern with the unity of the body. Falsehood divides; truth unites.
* 4:25 The NIV’s for we are members of one body where the Greek has allēlōn mer̄e (“members of one another”) reflects an understanding that the neighbor is a believer and that it is the body of Christ that is implied.
MANY people admit that they lie but excuse those lies because they are only “little white ones.” A little lie is like being a little pregnant, it’ll all show up after awhile.
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
2. BE ANGRY - Deal with anger appropriately.
2
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
The translation “Be angry …” in the KJV and NRSV seem to reflect option 1 or 2. The interpretation in the paraphrase by Eugene H. Peterson is that anger is a good thing deserving of commendation: “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry …” (Peterson 1993). This is clearly a strong form of category 1. The Revised English Bible’s “If you are angry …” represents option 4, or possibly 3. The NIV’s In your anger seems to assume anger in the sense of 4. Actually it brings the clause into conformity with the NIV wording of its source, , “In your anger do not sin.”
The context of should yield some clue as to its use there, though the interpretation of that verse in the psalm is itself difficult. When is seen as consisting of alternating sections, with verse 1 being the call of believers to God, verse 2 God’s call to unbelievers, verse 3 assurance to believers, verse 4–5 an exhortation to unbelievers and verses 6–7 the resolution of the believers’ perplexity through trust in God, the meaning of the troublesome clause begins to unfold. The exhortation to unbelievers begins with an expression that could signify anger or trembling. In either case, they should progress from their antagonism to reflection and then conversion.
If this is the sequence of thought in its original setting, Paul’s use of it could be parallel. In the convert is to forsake falsehood and in verse 28 to forsake stealing. Between these is the exhortation of verses 26–27 to forsake anger. The new converts pictured in 4:17–5:2 are clearly in progress. At their present stage they are still tempted to be angry. Even if this happens, they should be careful not to allow that anger to fester, to last beyond nightfall and become an opportunity for the devil to use for evil.
Thus the meaning of the troublesome phrase in verse 26 would be best represented by option 3 above. Anger (except for righteous anger, such as God’s wrath) is wrong. It is a Christian virtue to control it, or more properly, the Spirit produces such virtues as patience (). But even when anger gets out of control, its duration must be limited by the setting sun—practical as well as spiritual advice.
The reference to the devil (v. 27) informs us that there are various ways besides obvious direct attack in which Satan works against the Lord and his people. In this case a strained relationship provides the occasion. Given the emphasis in Ephesians on reconciliation and unity, this is an important fact to understand.
A MAN bragged on his marriage once and said, “In or marriage, my wife and I have decided to never go to bed angry. We haven’t been to sleep in three weeks!”
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
3. BE DILIGENT - Work hard on your relationships.
He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
Along with falsehood and anger, the next “case” of needed changes in the life of a new Christian is to forsake stealing. Once again, it is not merely a negative step, avoidance of a sin, but a positive one, replacing stealing with useful work. In this case a second positive instruction follows: to have something to share with those in need.
One could easily pass this by with a nod of agreement, but it deserves a second look for three reasons. One is that stealing is a major problem in contemporary society; another is that financial responsibility is of immense importance to Paul; a third is that stealing is forbidden in the Ten Commandments.
One of life’s little embarrassments comes when one leaves a store and hears the theft alarm go off because some item purchased was not properly desensitized. That momentary circumstance is minor compared with the immense amount of money lost today by stores, libraries and other businesses—to say nothing of victimized individuals—through theft. Shoplifting has grown to immense proportions. We in the West have grown accustomed to seeing surveillance cameras peeping at us in stores, banks and other business establishments. One might hope that enough conversions would solve the problem, but if that were the case Paul would not have had to write this passage, for it is to those already converted that he addresses it.
Paul had a strong personal work ethic. He wrote the Corinthians that he had the right to receive financial remuneration for his preaching but refused to do so (). He reminded the Thessalonians that he worked day and night so as not to burden anyone (). In part, at least, his reason for working at a craft while he was preaching was to demonstrate his genuine motives, in contrast to the greed of many wandering pagan preachers of his day. But he also did this as “a model” for Christians to follow (). He believed strongly that all believers should work for a living and not be idle, offering as a principle “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat” ( NRSV). We would assume that this principle is in his mind as he writes to the Ephesians, but he is dealing with more than a refusal to work or an unhealthy dependence on other people. While working and giving are the desired outcomes, the problem is stealing. And that must be dealt with if the desired outcomes are to follow.
Therefore we can assume, given Paul’s reverence for the Law, that a prime reason for his command not to steal is that it is one of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not steal” (). The Old Testament elsewhere advocates giving to those in need, especially in the year for canceling debts (). And Paul encouraged such giving so that “there might be equality” (). Both the negative and the positive aspects of this verse are therefore important: give up stealing; work with your hands; give to those who have need.
BECAUSE of all of the laws regarding food safety, you can’t take food allotted to be served on any given day and distribute what is unused. A friend of mine owns a restaurant and at the end of business each day, they pack up their unused food and take it immediately to a shelter, staying within the confines of the legal time period given by the laws, and share with others. They’d rather share the food with the homeless than discard it in a trash can.
The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Ephesians Replacing Stealing with Giving (4:28)

One of life’s little embarrassments comes when one leaves a store and hears the theft alarm go off because some item purchased was not properly desensitized. That momentary circumstance is minor compared with the immense amount of money lost today by stores, libraries and other businesses—to say nothing of victimized individuals—through theft. Shoplifting has grown to immense proportions. We in the West have grown accustomed to seeing surveillance cameras peeping at us in stores, banks and other business establishments. One might hope that enough conversions would solve the problem, but if that were the case Paul would not have had to write this passage, for it is to those already converted that he addresses it

“Give us this day our daily bread” does not just imply a selfish kind of request. It also invovles being concerened about the needs of others. This verse says, “Give us.” It raises the question of our personal need and the needs of others.
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Ephesians Replacing Stealing with Giving (4:28)

One of life’s little embarrassments comes when one leaves a store and hears the theft alarm go off because some item purchased was not properly desensitized. That momentary circumstance is minor compared with the immense amount of money lost today by stores, libraries and other businesses—to say nothing of victimized individuals—through theft. Shoplifting has grown to immense proportions. We in the West have grown accustomed to seeing surveillance cameras peeping at us in stores, banks and other business establishments. One might hope that enough conversions would solve the problem, but if that were the case Paul would not have had to write this passage, for it is to those already converted that he addresses it

Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
4. BE POSITIVE - Don’t wound with your words.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
The sequence of “cases” continues with yet another example of the substitution of the good for the bad. Unwholesome is a translation of the Greek word sapros, which was used to describe something that is foul, putrid, decaying or rotten. The mention of salt with regard to speech in may suggest a preservative function, in which case it would highlight Paul’s sense here of the decomposing effect of bad language (Lincoln 1990:305). The use of a word suggesting decay is all the more striking when we realize that “this is the one place in the New Testament where it is used of anything other than material things mostly in a state of decomposition” (Morris 1994:146).
It is probably not only the language we use but also the content of what we say that has this effect. The reasons for thinking that unwholesome refers to content are (1) the alternative is building others up, so there must be some content in the bad speech that tears people down (Bruce 1984:362–63), and (2) the injunctions that follow in verses 31–32 have to do with attitudes toward others, which shows that Paul is concerned with what our talk does to others, not just the language we use.
All this calls to mind Jesus’ teaching in the context of the Beelzebub controversy. He said that we are judged by our words, which could be misunderstood as a superficial basis for judgment, especially since words can be careless: “[people will] have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (). The fact is, however, that words—even or perhaps especially careless ones—reveal the nature of their source, the human heart. Jesus made this clear with the familiar tree and fruit imagery ().
The whole pattern of our speech is important. Increasingly one hears even religious people using the name of God carelessly. Foul language and dirty jokes are common, and they are frequently used now on TV and in movies. And if we are to understand Paul’s warning in the larger sense of whatever tends to tear people down, it certainly would apply to demeaning comments and gossip. It is a sad fact that at the close of the twentieth century politeness waned in the U.S. Congress, and on American streets it became smart to “diss” others and in general to have an “in your face” attitude.
The Christian substitute for all this is what helps edify others. The wording here, what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen is somewhat similar to , “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” The sequence of thought in these passages is that conversation should benefit others, and that benefit is defined as what builds them up. Whereas refers to the building up of the “body,” here the picture is of individual growth. Just as the former thief now helps in cases of need, so the person who formerly offended others with inappropriate language now meets their need. The speech of those who have received God’s transforming grace now is always to be characterized by grace () and should benefit, literally “give grace to,” others. This does not mean that our words are a means of saving grace, but that they enrich the lives of others.
Refraining from Grieving the Holy Spirit (4:30) This is an unexpected command in this context, though it is not necessarily a “stray element,” as Markus Barth called it (1974b:447). On the contrary, it can be understood as a summary of the preceding teaching about words. If we tear down others by our speech and by the attitudes betrayed by our speech, we are grieving the Spirit who indwells us and by whom we were sealed for the day of redemption.
Many people, when thinking about the end of history and God’s final dealing with the human race, think only in terms of judgment. While there is judgment ahead for the unbeliever and evaluation of the believer’s life at the judgment seat of Christ (), the believer’s sins have already been judged at the cross. What we look forward to is the day when God will complete his redemptive work. Peter describes this as “the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (). See on God’s perspective, the redemption of his possession.
MANY churches are in need of what every football team has: cheerleaders. The job of a cheerleader is to tell everybody “we’re going to make it.” No matter how bad things look on the scoreboard, there is still hope. Cheerleaders cheer all the way to the end of the game and will act like the team is winning by a big score even when there may be no way that a victory is possible. Their job is to be a cheerleader.
When folks come into today’s sanctuary with broken lives, they need to run into some cheerleaders, folks who are willing to cheer them on and tell them that they are going to make it.
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
5. BE FORGIVING - Be ok with saying sorry, even if you have to be the initiator.
Be kind to one another; tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Victims and observers of strife between Christians are well aware of the need addressed here. Honesty requires the acknowledgment that at times what is presented as a doctrinal concern is at heart a hostile attitude toward the person accused. Even apart from such a public stance, those who profess faith in Christ sometimes have underlying feelings about others in the church that can poison relationships and continue to do so generation through generation.
Forgiveness is not the only positive element that should replace the hostile attitudes just described. It stands third in the series: kind … compassionate … forgiving. The first two are adjectives, the third a participle. In the Greek “Be to one another” precedes the group, and “one another” follows it, serving as the object of forgiving. Kindness and compassion marked God’s attitude to those who deserved wrath in 2:4, 7, where the same word as used here, kindness, appears. These qualities are also in 4:2, where they are marked for adoption as strongly as their opposites are marked for dismissal here in verse 31. It is the attitudes of grace, kindness, mercy, kindness and compassion that make forgiveness possible in our relationships.
A LADY was walking her dog, and the dog was trying to get away from the leash. But every time the dog pulled away, the lady would yank it, pulling the dog back, and the animal couldn’t get free. The leash held it hostage, kept it bound, and unable to break away. He couldn’t break the chain.
Many of us today find ourselves held hostages by a leash. The links on the chain are many. There is the link of anger, the link of bitterness, the link of resentment, and the link of revenge. But no matter how many links are in the chain, they all boil down to one thing, unforgiveness.
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
Walter L. Liefeld, Ephesians, vol. 10, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), .
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