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Mouth Wash

Ephesians 4:29

It is only possible to live a new life in Christ when the habits of the old life have been repudiated (Ephesians 4:17-32).  Lies, and anger and stealing must go.  Today, 'unwholesome talk' is in the firing line.  Although this kind of communication can sometimes be true and not sound angry; it still does no good.  Paul is including lies, gossip, flattery, spreading malicious rumours, negative, critical and hostile communications as well as the sniping and complaining that are all too prevalent in public services or large corporations.  

Giving Grief

Ephesians 4:30

There is a, sort of, unwritten rule in most businesses that says: you are not supposed to be hurt or upset by anything that your boss or employees do or say.  If it exists, it is a silly rule because we do get bothered by poor or painful interpersonal relationships.  So much so, that the bad feelings can easily dominate, not only our work, but also our whole outlook.  That is real life, however much we cover it up. Sin destroys relationship (1 Kings 13:34) and how we function depends on how we relate with others (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).

All Mouth

Ephesians 4:31-32

It is not the loudness of shouting that makes verbal abuse unacceptable in the workplace, but its extraordinary capacity to disable.

Sincere Imitation

Ephesians 5:1-2

Inevitably, the people you admire, you imitate.  This can be bad or good, depending on their character.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:33: "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"  Then in 1 Corinthians 11:1 he says, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."   Everybody follows somebody, and it is important to know who they follow.  Jesus said of the religious leaders who rejected Him, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires.

Not Even a Hint

Ephesians 5:3

Joshua Harris' book, "Not even a hint", was admired for its boldness in promoting sexual purity.  Its tack was unusual (even among Christian books) in dismissing any thought of 'making allowance for human failings', and underlines this verse as being a demand for sexual purity in Christians.  Of course, the secular world no longer expects absolute standards, and cheerfully separates 'private life' from the responsibilities of public office.  Although the press still makes money out of personal immorality among our celebrities and politicians, there is little expectation that people will be

Talk of the Town

Ephesians 5:4

In the previous verse, sexual immorality and greed were totally off-limits for Christians (Ephesians 5:3).  They are both complaints against God, effectively saying that He has not provided properly for people He loves; that we are better off getting what we want for ourselves.  Put like that, such behaviour seems rather selfish - which it is.  Adding to the list of self-centredness is today's catalogue of verbal evil.  'Obscenity' really means speaking wrongly without any shame; 'foolish talk' means stupid words; and 'coarse joking' means exactly what it says.

All Change

Ephesians 5:5

Wrong desires, thoughts and speech are not a benign cultural difference, like a regional accent; they reveal a heart that is set against God being at the centre of that person's life.  They are not only an expression of self-assertion against the sufficiency of God's provision, they practically defy the rule of God; and give that right away to another.  The Bible name for an idea, thing or person that takes God's place is: an 'idol'.

Empty Words

Ephesians 5:6

Words can be cheap, but you usually get what you pay for.  The value of a word is its ability to convey an idea that will affirm, change or deny a relationship, business deal or professional opinion.  The old business saying, "My word is my bond" ("dictum meum pactum" in Latin) became the motto of the London Stock Exchange in 1801.  It was a style of trading that relied only on the word of the trader, without any exchange of documents.  However, this century has seen dishonest dealing, worldwide, on a massive scale; showing some brokers' words to be empty and of no value at all.  If words d

Strategic Alliances

Ephesians 5:7

The credit crunch of 2008 will long be remembered.  Her Majesty The Queen, on a visit to the London School of Economics, asked a professor, "Why did nobody see it coming?"  His response was sadly fascinating, "At every stage, somebody was relying on somebody else; and everybody thought they were doing the right thing".  That just shows how partnerships can go horribly wrong.  In business, as in every other part of life, you can only work with people you trust.  But, on what grounds is that trust established?  A good history of satisfactory trading, personable people who create a good impres

Practising the Truth

Ephesians 5:8-10

The Bible's challenge, to think and behave differently from the secular world around us, has a reason.  Once we have met the Light of the World, repented of all our dark ways and received Jesus (Revelation 3:19-20), we no longer belong to the evil kingdom ruled by the dominion of darkness (Colossians 1:13).  We have a different master, a different life to live and a different destiny ahead (1 Thessalonians 5:5).  So, it makes no sense if we imitate the behaviour of those in the kingdom from which we have escaped (1 Peter 2:9).  To indulge ourselves with the perverse things that temporarily