Never underestimate the power of your words. There are many ways that we can use words to bless those around us, further the Kingdom of God, and even change our circumstances or bring deep peace into our hearts. In this episode David looks at 14 types of effective words that we find in the Bible including prayer, prophecy, the gift of tongues, encouragement, preaching the gospel and thanksgiving.
1. What most impacted you about Episode 11?
2. How does it make you feel when somebody speaks graciously to you? Could you describe it as “healing”?
3. Do you believe that you ever given or received a “prophetic word”? How did it feel, and what made you think it was or wasn’t from God? Have you ever been unwise in the way you’ve handled prophecy? What do you feel you have learnt from your good and bad experiences?
4. Have you ever spoken in tongues or had friends who have? Is it easy or difficult for you to accept something that does not make sense to your mind? Do you believe the people who teach that certain spiritual gifts are not for today. What do you think the Bible teaches about this?
Action Point: If you are unsure about what the Bible really teaches about tongues and prophecy, or want to learn more about these things, read the New Testament from the book of Acts onwards, and pay special attention to 1 Corinthians chapters 12 to 14. Take some time to “eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy” and ask God to make you into a person whose words are used to great effect every single day for His Kingdom and His glory.
hey guys and welcome back to this series on the power of words we’re now in episode 11 and we’re going to be looking at effective words now i want us to think of effective words as words that either affect your life or the lives of others for the good words that further the kingdom of god or words that glorify god and in this episode we’re going to be looking at 14 types of effective words and we’re going to start with prayer now maybe this is obvious but i actually think that as christians we often forget how powerful prayer is and sometimes we spend more time worrying about a situation than we do praying about it now james says that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective and then he goes on in chapter five of the book of james to say this elijah was a human being even as we are he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years again he prayed and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops and he’s just saying that elijah was a human being just like we were but look how effective his prayers were and i think that what james is trying to tell us is that we should not underestimate the power of prayer we’ve been given this tool that can literally change what happens on the earth so i want to say if you want to use your words wisely spend many of them praying and of course if you’re anxious about something not only can prayer change the circumstances but it can also result in your anxiety being replaced with peace philippians 4 6-7 says do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to god and the peace of god which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in christ jesus peace that transcends all understanding that means that you won’t understand how you can possibly be at peace in the circumstances you’re facing but somehow you are and somehow that peace is a protection for your heart and your mind which can both be badly affected by anxiety and fear and by the lies of the enemy now of course those who have the gift of tongues can also pray in tongues but there’s more to the gift of tongues than simply praying so let’s look at the gift of tongues as our second type of effective words now the gift of tongues was given to the church as a tool for effective ministry but nowadays there’s a lot of confusion around the gift of tongues and for me it’s helpful to put this gift into three categories the first one is tongues as a sign for unbelievers and this is when the holy spirit enables a person to speak a human language that they’ve never learnt as a sign for unbelievers and of course this is what happened on the day of pentecost acts 2 4-8 it says all of them were filled with the holy spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled them now they were staying in jerusalem god fearing jews from every nation under heaven when they heard this sound a crowd came together in bewilderment because each one heard their own language being spoken utterly amazed they asked aren’t all these who are speaking galileans well how is it that each of us hears them in our native language and of course many of these people recognize that this was a sign from god and they became believers that day now the second type of tongues i want to talk about is tongues for prayer first corinthians 14 2 says for anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to god indeed no one understands them they are to mysteries by the spirit did you see that it said no one understands them well this is different from the type of tongues that was spoken on the day of pentecost and obviously this is not referring to a human language because it says that nobody understands them so we could call this a spiritual language or perhaps a heavenly language it could even be what paul was referring to in first corinthians 13 when he said if i speak in the tongues of men or of angels but do not have love i’m only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol anyway whatever we decide to call it paul goes on to speak about praying in tongues in first corinthians 14 14 to 15 he says this for if i pray in a tongue my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful so what shall i do i will pray with my spirit but i will also pray with my understanding i will sing with my spirit but i will also sing with my understanding did you see that paul said that my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful so praying in tongues is a way to pray with your spirit bypassing your mind i personally received the gift of tongues at the age of 17 and and i don’t believe that what i’m speaking when i speak in tongues is a human language but i can feel the words bubbling up from my spirit when it first happened it almost offended my mind because i was speaking words that i didn’t understand but let me say this 18 years later i cannot begin to describe what a powerful tool praying in tongues has been for my life and my ministry i’ve experienced so many breakthroughs simply by praying in tongues when i’ve been at home alone when i’m out walking when i’m running when i’m driving and often i get a sense in my spirit that i need to pray but i’m not always sure exactly what i need to pray for well sometimes i know what i need to pray for but i still decide to pray in tongues because it just seems that my prayers are more accurate and focused when i pray in tongues probably simply because my human mind will and emotions are not getting in the way of what needs to be prayed for and then often at a certain point i’ll have a strong sense of peace that whatever it was that i’ve been praying for has been done and i’ve also noticed that after praying in tongues i often feel refreshed strengthened more confident more peaceful more joyful more hopeful and somehow spiritually sharper than i did before i very often feel like i’ve received wisdom from the holy spirit while i’ve been praying in tongues and it’s like i can see more clearly or i know what to do in situations that i didn’t know what to do in before and perhaps that’s why the apostle paul said to the corinthian church i wish all of you would speak in tongues that’s first corinthians 14 5 and then later on in verse 39 he says do not forbid speaking in tongues so paul was a big advocate of the gift of tongues but in verse 18 he also said this i thank god that i speak in tongues more than all of you but in the church i would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue well that’s a really big statement so paul really appreciated the gift of tongues but not so much when the believers were together in the church that brings us to our next point because there’s another type of tongues that paul instructed them on when it came to the gatherings of believers and this is number three tongues for interpretation for believers this is when believers come together and somebody speaks out loud in a tongue now this needn’t necessarily be in a human language because in the assembly of believers it’s likely that there would also be those among them with the gift of interpretation since in first corinthians 12 10 paul clearly lists speaking in different kinds of tongues and the interpretation of tongues as gifts that are given to individuals by the holy spirit so in first corinthians 14 he says this since you are eager for gifts of the spirit try to excel in those that build up the church for this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say so now let’s look at his instructions for this type of speaking in tongues this comes in verse 26-28 and it says what then shall we say brothers and sisters when you come together each of you has a hymn or a word of instruction a revelation a tongue or an interpretation everything must be done so that the church may be built up if anyone speaks in a tongue two or at the most three should speak at one at a time and someone must interpret if there is no interpreter the speaker should keep quiet in church and speak to himself and god so this type of the use of the gift of tongues coupled with the gift of interpretation is clearly for the edification of the whole church but now let’s move on to the point that paul is really trying to make in first corinthians 14 because it refers to another type of effective speaking and that is prophecy so the third type of effective words that we’re gonna look at now is prophecy and paul says this in verses one to five of first corinthians 14 follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the spirit especially prophecy for anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to god indeed no one understands them they utter mysteries by the spirit but the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening encouragement and comfort anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves but the one who prophesies edifies the church i would like every one of you to speak in tongues but i would rather have you prophesy the one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues unless somebody interprets so that the church may be edified so paul is arguing that prophecy is preferable to tongues because when a person prophesies it strengthens encourages and comforts others it edifies the whole church he then goes on to talk about the effect that prophecy can have on unbelievers too in verses 24 to 25 he says but if an unbeliever or an enquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare so they will fall down and worship god exclaiming god is really among you so i’d like to ask you is it normal in your church or congregation for people to prophesy are you personally following paul’s instruction to eagerly desire the gifts of the spirit especially prophecy but david some of you might say there are so many false prophets isn’t it dangerous to get into prophesying well first of all i would say this the presence of false prophets in the world does not negate the true gift of prophecy in fact john warned the early believers about this very problem first john 4 1 says dear friends do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they’re from god because many false prophets have gone out into the world the second thing i’d say there is this make sure that whatever you are doing has its basis in the word of god and then thirdly if a prophecy contradicts the written word of god it’s a false prophecy and then lastly when it comes to false prophets we know they’re out there because jesus said himself in matthew 7 15 watch out for false prophets they come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves so i just want to say to you don’t be ignorant test everything but don’t let your encounters with false prophets cause you to reject all prophecy second sorry first thessalonians 5 20-22 says this do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all hold on to what is good reject every kind of evil so if you know that you’ve backed away from prophecy in general ask yourself what caused me to do that perhaps you once received a prophetic word and held on to it without testing it and then perhaps when it didn’t come to pass you were hugely disappointed maybe you blamed the person who gave you the word or maybe you blamed yourself perhaps you’ve even blamed god now you might have been in an environment where the gift of prophecy was abused or perhaps you know other people who were hurt by the abuse of the spiritual gifts what i’m saying is that there might be somebody who you need to forgive you may even need to say sorry to god for the way that you’ve handled prophecy or for your attitude towards it but i really want to encourage you not to reject something that of all the spiritual gifts we are encouraged to desire the most god wants to bless you greatly through the genuine gift of prophecy he may want to use your mouth to speak his words of prophecy words from him that never contradict the word of god words that are full of his love full of his truth and that strengthen encourage and comfort those who hear you and he may want to bless you by giving words to you through others now another gift of the spirit that we don’t always think of as a gift is the gift of encouragement and this is our fourth type of effective word so encouragement is something that god designed human beings to receive from their parents as they grow up so that they would grow strong on the inside and able to make decisions with confidence believing that they have gifts and abilities are valuable not only because of what they do but because of who they are and of course many people have not received enough encouragement during their childhood and actually are struggling in their adulthood as a result but by speaking words of encouragement we can build each other up ephesians 4 29 says do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs then it may benefit those who listen perhaps that’s why the bible says we should encourage one another daily hebrews 3 13 says but encourage one another daily as long as it’s called today so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness one english version of this verse says so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against god have you noticed that some people seem to be following god but then they turn away from him well if we look at this verse in its context we might start to understand why that is hebrews 3 12 to 14 says see to it brothers and sisters that none of you has a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living god but encourage one another daily as long as it is called today so that none of you may be hardened by sins deceitfulness we have come to share in christ if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end so what it’s saying is that encouragement is so important that it can actually keep a person from being deceived by sin and turning away from god now it’s important to notice actually that the greek word for encourage also includes coming alongside someone to advise them or even to warn them it could be to instruct them to console them or to comfort them so sometimes when we’re struggling or we’re tempted we need our brothers and sisters to come alongside us and to speak whatever words we need to hear in that moment to keep us on the narrow path now in job 16 when job was greatly struggling actually his friends didn’t encourage him instead they kept telling him everything that he had done wrong look at how job responded this is verses four to five he said i also could speak like you if you were in my place i could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you but my mouth would encourage you comfort from my lips would bring you relief wow that is a response from a man who has kept his heart soft even in the most difficult circumstances but of course we know what kind of man joe was joe one one says in the land of us there lived a man whose name was job this man was blameless and upright he feared god and shunned evil so we know that a person who fears god and shuns evil encourages and comforts those who are struggling okay we’re going to move fast from now on number five is preaching the gospel romans 1 16 says for i am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of god that brings salvation to everyone who believes first to the jew then to the gentile preaching the gospel is an effective way to use your words number six casting out demons healing the sick and raising the dead now we spoke all about that in episode nine number seven is praise and when i talk about praise i want to include exaltation glorification and magnification and the breath with which we speak came from god and the bible says in psalm 150 verse 6 let everything that has breath praise the lord praise the lord so praise reminds us of who god is how great he is how loving he is how powerful he is all that he’s done for us it’s a really good way to use our words and in fact king david said in psalm 34 verse 1 i will praise the lord at all times i will constantly speak his praises and in other parts of the bible he says i’ll praise the lord for my whole life and in other places he says forever number eight is thanksgiving first thessalonians 5 16 to 18 says rejoice always pray continually give thanks in all circumstances for this is god’s will for you in christ jesus number nine gentle and kind words proverbs 15 verse 1 tells us a little bit about how effective gentle words can be it says a gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger so gentle words have the power to turn away a very angry person number 10 is instruction instruction is mostly what i’ve been doing throughout this whole series and i could ask you do you think that this has been effective in your life i love what proverbs 31 says about the wife of noble character it says in verse 26 she speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue number 11 is profession publicly professing that jesus christ is your lord matthew 10 32 says whoever acknowledges me this is jesus speaking whoever acknowledges me before others i will also acknowledge before my father in heaven but whoever disowns me before others i will disown before my father in heaven number 12 psalms hymns and songs from the spirit interestingly we know don’t we that drinking too much alcohol can cause all kinds of things to come out of somebody’s mouth but here are our instructions in ephesians 5 it says do not get drunk on wine which leads to debauchery instead be filled with the spirit speaking to one another with psalms hymns and songs from the spirit sing and make music from your heart to the lord always giving thanks to god the father for everything in the name of our lord jesus christ now we have a team member in truth planters called vicky who does this god has given her a gift of writing songs and she sings songs that have been given to her by the spirit she sings songs from the spirit they’re full of truth and they build up the people who listen to them number 13 is admonishing one another to to admonish somebody is to warn or advise somebody this scripture actually is very similar to the last one but this is found in colossians 3 verse 16 it says let the message of christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms hymns and songs from the spirit singing to god with gratitude in your hearts so actually we can teach and warn with psalms hymns and songs okay the last one we’re going to look at now is number 14 words that honor when jesus went back to his hometown the people did not honor him in the same way as the people honored him in other places that he went and interestingly the bible says that he could not do many miracles there and i’ve noticed that the more that i honor a person the more likely i am to get the best out of them so if we speak words that honor god and honor others perhaps we will experience the best that god and others have to give finally i just want to say this your words can be like weapons but we need to remember this second corinthians 10 4 says the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world on the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds and for our words to have the power to demolish strongholds they need to be expressions of the kingdom of god that means love peace humility gentleness patience faithfulness honor faith authority praise prayer these things may seem like weak things to this world but actually they are far more effective than any weapon that this world can use remember what the apostle paul said he said love never fails let’s pray father we just want to thank you that you have given us breath with which we can speak and i just want to thank you that you’ve given us so many ways that we can speak and sing effective words lord would you lead us by your holy spirit that the words that come out of our mouths might be for the good of those around us for our own good lord that they might further your kingdom and they might glorify you in jesus name amen and i’ll see you in the final episode which is episode 12.