The watermelon metaphor helps us to understand that transformation in the Christian life from the before Christ state (old man) to the after Christ state (new man) is a transformation from the inside out and that new man is different. The first area we talked about was The New Man Speaks Truth, secondly the New Man Expresses Anger Without Sin, and third The New Man Gives. We continue with the last two points:
The New Man is Gracious
“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” (Ephesians 4:29).
This emphasis on truth in the passage highlights the importance of words; We are entrusted with the gospel of grace, the truth. As proclaimers of the holiness and righteousness of truth, our words should not be “rotten.” Out of the same mouth cannot some bitter and sweet water is what James tells us and that is the same emphasis here. The evangelist, bearer of good news, consistently speaks in a wholesome manner.
The character of these words has three facets:
- The wholesome words we speak are good for edification. They build up rather than tear down.
- The words we speak are appropriate and timely, “according to the need of the moment”. The speaker uses discernment to match the mood and tense of the context. Weeping with those who weep, etc.
- The words we speak are marked with grace.
Paul puts it this way in Colossians:
But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices (Colossians 3:8-9)
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person (Colossians 4:6)
the Psalmist this way:
Psalm 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice.
Psalm 45:2 Thou art fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Thy lips; Therefore God has blessed Thee forever.
This list of verses in the Bible that speaks about our words is long. This important facet of the Christian life should not be neglected as we strive to discipline our tongue.
The New Man does not Grieve the Spirit
The Grieving of the Holy Spirit must be read in contrast to v. 27. The Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. The Devil is the father of lies. In the infamous story of Annanias and Sapphira, the accusation is why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit.
When we live lives that reject the truth of God, it grieves him. We so understand this passage if we are parents. We so understand this passage if we are friends. When you see someone suffering for stupidity, you are burdened, grieved. There is a loss. We lose out when we ignore the truth of God’s word. When we settle for a season in the pleasures of sin. So cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
Grieving the Holy Spirit may be connected to two activities in the Bible: complaining and rebelling.
Here is how those things amount to lying.
Complaining in a Christian context is telling God he is wrong. He is wrong about my circumstances, trials, burdens, struggles, physical makeup, personality or whatever. Whatever we are complaining about says that God has let us down and not taken care of his part of the bargain, ie to take care of us. The nation of Israel is the prototype for this lesson. The wilderness wanderings shed light on our tendency to complain even when God is delivering us and preparing blessing for us. Instead of being grateful, they began to murmur and grumble. We might even see the “good” reasons for this. That kind of travel/camping trip sounds like a nightmare; we can hardly blame them.
This is how the Psalmist describes God’s view of their complaining: “For forty years I loathed that generation, And said they are a people who err in their heart, And they do not know My ways.
God was guiding them, taking them in His ways, and they were complaining about everything.
The New Man replaces grumbling with thanksgiving, gratitude. Gratitude is the recognition and acknowledgement that God is at work, His providence is in place and I rejoice even in difficulty.
Rebellion is complaining in full bloom. When I allow complaining to mark my life, constantly in disagreement with God by calling him a liar, we give ourselves permission to rebel and disobey God. These things grieve the Holy Spirit as they do when we as parents see our children suffering in their stupidity (sometimes they are like we were…are…will be, ouch).
Stop it. Give thanks in all thinks. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.