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13. VAIN WORDS (Matt.12:33-37)

BACKGROUND: Before the discussion, recall what kind of words you talked about last week.
  1. In what kind of situation is it most difficult for you to restrain your tongue?
    • If you could live your life once again, to whom would you speak differently than you actually did? (You can also answer in your heart.)
  2. Why are our words as important to God as our deeds?
    • In what respect do our words resemble the fruit of a tree (vs.33)?
    • How can a bad tree change into a good tree?
    • How can a bad man become a good man?
  3. Jesus uses a strong image when he calls his hearers "brood of vipers". What does a poisonous snake have in common with a person who speaks evil words (vs.34)?
    • What does Jesus mean by his words: "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (vs.34)?
    • Apply the test of verse 34 to yourself. What is your heart full of? (You can answer in your heart.)
  4. In verse 35 Jesus indicates that everyone has "a store" in his or her heart. With what things do people usually fill the stores of their hearts?
    • Consider what you speak about Jesus or to him. What do your words or lack of them show about your relationship with him?
  5. What are "careless words" (vs.36)?
    • What would be the opposite of "careless words"?
    • Why do we have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every "careless" word rather than every "bad" word?
    • Based on this passage, what do you think will happen to you on the Day of Judgment?
  6. Do you think it is possible to conceal from others in the long run what is inside of your heart? Is it possible, for example, to speak only sweet words when your heart if full hatred and bitterness?
    • What do you think about a person who speaks as little as possible in order not to utter any careless words?
  7. How probable do you think it is that you will follow this teaching of Jesus from now on?
  8. Jesus said once that he is a vine and his disciples are branches (John 15:5). How can we then bear good fruit even with a bad store in our hearts?

GLAD TIDINGS: The store of Jesus' heart was full of good things, and yet he was condemned by his words - as a blasphemer. His cross was the tree that bore the bitter fruit of our vain words.

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