“Filthy Communication”


(Colossians 3:1-8)

Colossians 3:8 “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”

But now ye also put off all theseDr. Hammond Burkitt said this concerning this phrase “But now that you are Christians, ye are obliged to put off all, not only these forenamed, but of the other sort of affections; all sudden inflammations of anger, all rising of it to any height, all continuance of it upon you, until it be increased into malice; and for the tongue, let not that be guilty of any reproachful, unclean, or false discourse.”

filthy communication-The context also favors the thought “abusive language, or disrespectful language” in addition to impure conversation. Any type of communication that would be considered “filthy” to God needs to be stopped and avoided.

INTRODUCTION: “The gospel religion introduces a change of the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the dominion of right reason and conscience over appetite and passion.” – Matthew Henry. We need to cut off the “filthy communication” of a quick, rash, flippant, and disrespectful comment as well as the “filthy communication” of sinful words and ideas. Both are just as bad and sinful in the eyes of God and in Colossians 3:8 both are implied and we are told to put both of these out of our life. Neither of these types of “filthy communication” should be in the life of a Christian. “Filthy communication out of your mouth” – obscene discourse, dishonest talk, malicious talk, or disrespectfulness should not come into the Christian’s mouth and be directed at others, especially to other Christians.  (Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.)

PUT OFF Put off all these” – Paul is talking to people here who used to be pagans who used to live in a state of sin and who used to be servants to sin. Now they are saved, now they are living as Christians and there behavior should be dramatically different than that of the world around them. They were more strongly obliged to lay aside those inordinate affections which were more spiritual in nature. (Ephesians  4:22-23 – That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;) Some of what they were to lay aside was anger, having a vindictive spirit, and the wrong kind of attitude, which was leading them to unjustly hurt, and disrespect others around them. (Ephesians 4:29 –  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.)

WRATHWrath” – Romans 2:8 “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath”.  Wrath is a sudden, hasty, and vehement reaction of the offended mind, perceiving an injury, when it shows itself in the countenance, or written or verbal expression, in a manner and measure unbecoming a Christian. (Ephesians 4:31 – Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:)

MALICEMalice” – connoting both the evil habit and the vicious act: now though this word is used often more generally, for those mischievous thoughts which run through all the passions of the soul, reaching to all sins. Here, in Colossians 3:8-9, it seems to be taken more specifically, for a secret malignity of rooted anger and continued wrath, remembering injuries, meditating on revenge, and watching for an occasion to vent it, to express it, to demonstrate our displeasure to the person or persons we hold the “malice” to, whether that be by deed or by “filthy communication” of all varieties, but most usually the disrespectful and intentionally insultful varieties.

This “malice” according to the original word usage and definition could take the form of intentionally hurting the good name and reputation of someone, which when it is in connotation to God we do more strictly call blasphemy. When it respects our neighbor, our associate, or our fellow Christian, God forbid, it is more largely considered to be defamation (Romans 3:8; 1Corinthians 4:13; Titus 3:2) yet if this “malice” is taken out in a secretive manner or behind someone’s back it is considered backbiting, reviling or slandering. Matthew 15:19-20For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”, Mark 7:21-23 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” and  I Timothy 6:4-5He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

PAUL TELLS US HERE IN COLOSSIANS 3:8 TO STOP OUR “FILTHY COMMUNICATION Stop the lewd comments. Stop the alternate implied meanings to what you say. Stop the dirty jokes. Stop the vile words. Stop the disrespectfulness directed at others. WRONG COMMUNICATION AFFECTS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR LORD (I John 1:5-6 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:)

  • Our fellowship with God is maintained as we walk in light. How can we have a proper relationship with God if our communication is perverse, dark and sinful?
  • God is light” this is describing an attribute of God. Light is purity, it brings clearness, it shows beauty. As light is necessary for life, our communication needs to reflect God’s light instead of reflecting the perverse darkness of the Devil.
  • Especially watch for “filthy communication” in your texts, on facebook and in all types of electronic communication. Just because you don’t actually say it, it is still “filthy communication” if you type or text it.
  • Music is included in this communication too. How are you musical choices? Do they blaspheme God and the teachings of God in His word? Do your musical choices violate other Scriptures?
  • If we walk in obedience to our Lords commands concerning our communication, we will be able to have great fellowship with Him. (I Samuel 15:22 – And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…) – How is your relationship with God?

THE POWER OF THE TONGUE Solomon wrote about the power of the tongue in Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

  • The power of the tongue” to do Good.
  • The tongue has the ability to dispense good council and wisdom from trusted Godly leaders when we need it. (Proverbs 10:20 – The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.)
  • The tongue has the power of encouragement. The right word at the right time can do wonders to encourage someone with a heavy heart. (Proverbs 12:25 – Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.)
  • The tongue has the power to stop anger before it has a chance to boil over. (Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.)
  • Using your words in a Godly uplifting way can bring great joy. The tongue can be the source of many good fruitful works in our life. (Proverbs 15:23 – A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!)
  • “The power of the tongue” to do Evil.
  • In the list of 7 abominations in the sight of God, Solomon mentions lying lips and those that sow discord among the brethren. (Proverbs 6:17,19 – A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.) – Notice in the same sentence that God condemns murder; He mentions and condemns lying as well. To tell a lie, especially about another Christian, is a serious sin. (Colossians 3:9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;)
  • A person who does not control his tongue or his typing in social media or texting will bring destruction to himself. (Proverbs 13:3 – He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth verswide his lips shall have destruction.)
  • A person with a perverse tongue will fall into mischief. (Proverbs 17:20 – He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.)
  • Gossip will cause deep and lasting wounds. (Proverbs 18:8 – The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.)
  • A lying tongue hates and afflicts people, and flattering lips cause ruin. (Proverbs 26:28 – A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.)
  • Notice what the “abomination” is in this passage. It is one who uses his or her tongue or typed out words to sow discord among the brethren or among saved people. If you cause discord or issues and problems among Christians the Bible tells us this is an abomination.
  • Your tongue has a lot of potential. Potential to do good and potential to do evil. What are you using your tongue for? Are you building up your friends and people you know or are you tearing them down behind their back? Are you spreading lies about someone? Are you gossiping about someone? Are you using the power of your tongue for good or for evil?

WHEN WE SPEAK BE TACTFUL NOT JUST TRUTHFUL (Proverbs 15:4 – A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.)

What is tact?

  • Tact is the ability to make a point without making an enemy.
  • Tact is when you tell someone to go jump off a cliff in a way that makes them look forward to the journey.
  • Tact is treating everybody as if they knew what they were talking about.
  • Tact is the art of telling someone he’s open minded when he’s really just got a hole in his head.
  1. The primary way we show respect is with our words.
  2. ‘Wholesome‘ carries with it the idea of healing or curative.
  3. This verse reminds us that we need to give attention to how we speak. Paul admonished us to ‘Speak the truth in love’
  4. The way we say something will go a long way in determining how well it’s going to be received. Learning how to be truthful and tactful at the same time is an absolute essential of being respectful.
  5. People with tact often have a lot less to retract. We don’t have to eat our words as often if we say them in a kind way.
  6. Many people today don’t understand this; they often confuse rudeness with frankness. “I just tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may!” That’s not being frank; that’s being mean and disrespectful to people.

ANOTHER TYPE OF “FILTHY COMMUNICATION” IS “MURMERINGS AND DISPUTINGS” (Philippians 2:14– Do all things without murmurings and disputings:) – We need to not have murmurings and disputing toward things we do for God and our Church or for things we do at our secular jobs. (I Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.) I am going to talk about 3 areas where we need to watch our attitudes or our “murmurings and disputing”.

Secular Job

  • We need to maintain a testimony where we work. Especially since we are Christians and hopefully those you work with know you are a Christian.
  • We need to maintain a good testimony of having a good attitude and not complaining about everything at work, because we represent Christ. If people we work with see a negative complaining, insubordinate attitude from us, they are not going to want anything we have. We will turn them off to Christ and that may end up sending them to a Christ-less eternity.

Church life

  • We need to have a good, a non complaining attitude in things we do for Christ and in our church life. Constantly complaining about things is a sin. A very discouraging sin to the leader that has to hear it all the time.
  • We need to support and enthusiastically follow leadership. God put men in the leadership position in our church “for such a time as this”.
  • Of course if the leadership of the church is leading in an unbiblical path we are not obligated to follow it in those circumstances nor should we. We should follow the biblical guidelines given in those circumstances as found in Matthew 18:15-17. Our ultimate allegiance should be to God and His word.

To the brethren

  • The Bible warns us over and over again about causing problems among the brethren. Of the seven things listed as what the Lord hates in Proverbs chapter 6:16-19 the last one mentioned and considered an “abomination” is “he that soweth discord among the brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16, 19 – These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:, vs.19 – A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.)
  • Don’t be guilty of what the Lord considers an abomination!
  • How do you sow discord among the brethren? – With murmurings and disputings. With a complaining attitude. With an attitude of seeing just how much you can get away with or trying to get special treatment for yourself.
  • Don’t be guilty of this sin, the Lord says is an abomination. We are commanded in the Word of God to mark those which cause division among fellow Christians and to avoid them. (Romans 16:17 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.) – Don’t make fellow Christians have to avoid you.

CONCLUSION: Fires don’t start out big and destructive. Fires start out small, but have tremendous potential for destruction. So too are the words we say with our tongues. The tongue is a small part of our body but it can cause tremendous havoc and problems for us and for the innocent people around us. (James 3:5-6 – Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.)

We need to “Know what is acceptable.” Are we speaking what is acceptable? Are we messaging, or texting, or Facebooking what is good or what it is evil? We learned that “filthy communication” will affect our relationship with God. We cannot be living in the darkness of “filthy communication” and be having fellowship with God at the same time.

We need to learn to control our reactions to false accusations and sinful hurtful communications. We need to follow our Lords example and to go by His words he gave us in Matthew 5:39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

We have a responsibility to represent Christ in this world. One important value that we must build our lives upon is proper and Godly communication. We need to show respect for ourselves, we need to show respect to our family, we need to show respect to our church family and we need to show respect to the world at large.

Maintaining godly relationships between brethren is of such extreme significance that it will affect our ability to serve and to worship God.  (Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.) – If you have been guilty of hurting someone, especially a fellow brother or sister in Christ, the Bible shows us here it will affect our ability to serve and worship Him. We need to set things right, sincerely apologize, seek forgiveness, repent of that action before God, and move on in your service to Him.

Everyone has a “right” to an opinion as long as it lines up with God’s opinion on the subject. Everyone has a “right” be treated with dignity and respect. But remember if Jesus had demanded “his rights” He would not have died on the cross for you and I and we would be condemned to an eternity in Hell. So be careful with this. What you say might be “right”, but the wrong attitude and wrong spirit will make it wrong.

Make your attitude and your responses in situations a serious matter of prayer. Remember it may be you with the wrong attitude. Ask God to give you insight to determine the right behavior in situations that can cause you to get angry. (Ecclesiastes 7:9 – Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.)

We all want to be respected. We want other people to treat us with dignity. The Bible makes it very clear that respect is one of those values that is necessary for life. The Bible is very specific about this. We find that we are to respect parents, people in authority, church leadership and fellow Christians. Being respectful and courteous to people is one of the great evidences that you know God. How you treat people and the amount of respect you show to those in leadership positions over you is a good reflection on your true heart condition to God. How about you? What could people glean from how respectful or disrespectful you are to others in your life? Would they determine that you have a good heart relationship with the Lord or a bad heart relationship with the Lord? (Mark 7:6 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.)

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