Pastor Jerry Locke
Another Sermon Series by Pastor Jerry Locke

4445 Hodgkins Rd. Fort Worth, TX 76135

Webmaster's Note: A Selection of 24 Single, Stand Alone Scripture
Sermons by one of our outstanding Independent Baptist Preachers,
Brother Jerry Locke, of Fort Worth, Texas. Enjoy!
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22 - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
Ephesians 4:32 - "A Single, Stand-Alone Sermon On Relationships"

Introduction - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
The Bible contains powerful:
Books...Genesis, John, Romans, Revelation
Passages...Genesis 1; Psalm 23; Isaiah 53.
Verses...Too Many to List

Most all Scripture needs a context for correct interpretation. Isolated verses are often the source of misinterpretation and ultimately heresy. The fact is, most Bible verses are not intended to stand alone.

But there are some single scriptures that are so powerful, so clear, so complete that they are able to stand alone. There are three things we are intending to do with each of these “single, stand alone” scriptures.

Memorize...Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” We will assign the scripture a week in advance to memorize.

Message...Organize and discuss these single scriptures.

Meditate… Psalm 1:2 ”But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

22 - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
Ephesians 4:32 - "A Single, Stand-Alone Sermon On Relationships"

For 2454 days - from March 16, 1985 until December 4, 1991 - Associated Press Bureau Chief, Terry Anderson was held captive in West Beirut, Lebanon by Islamic militants. This husband and father was starved, beaten, taunted, humiliated, threatened with death, falsely promised release and had almost seven years of his life stolen from him.

In an interview with reporters, after his release, Mr. Anderson was asked, "Can you ever forgive your captors?"

He replied, "As a Christian I have no choice."

Terry Anderson was right. Christ requires Christians to forgive. Those who have experienced the forgiveness of their own sins must extend that forgiveness to others who have offended them.

That truth is expressed clearly and succinctly in one verse in the Bible – a verse I have chosen for my text tonight – Ephesians 4:32.

One of my favorite authors referred to this verse as “the sweetest sentence in the Bible.” Here is how it reads: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

I am of the opinion that this one verse alone, properly understood and obeyed, will revolutionize your relationships.

The Priority Of Relationships. Life is filled with a variety of relationships. From the moment you are born until the moment you die, you are constantly entering into and involved in relationships with other people.

There are occupational relationships - Bosses, supervisors, employers, employees and co-workers. There are customers and clerks.

There are neighborhood relationships - Across the street, around the corner, down at the supermarket, at the gas station, at the dress shop or auto parts store, the teacher, the receptionist.

There are professional relationships - Your doctor, your dentist, your lawyer, your realtor, your accountant, your mechanic, your UPS delivery man.

We all have friends. No man is an island. We cannot escape from nor totally eliminate relationships. For sure, not all of them are of equal importance, but to some degree, we are all involved in relationships with other people. Life on earth is largely about relationships.

There are family relationships - Parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Eventually, most of us have a spouse and then children. We have in-laws - mother-in-law, father-in-law, brothers and sisters-in-law, sons-in-law. Yuk! These are all family relationships. What I say in this message is applicable to all relationships, but specifically intended in this message for family relationships.

The Potential Of Relationships. Our relationships with other people either bring us pleasure or pain. They can make us better or they can make us bitter. They can bless us or they can bother us. The way that we relate to other people can make us happy or sad or mad or frustrated or excited. The potential of any number of emotions is right there in the relationship.

The most significant part of your life is often controlled by your relationship with those people with whom you are most connected. Think about it. A problem in your relationship with one person can spoil every part of your life, ruin your mood, consume your mind, control your emotions. You have a tiff with your partner, your son stays out beyond his curfew and doesn't phone you, your parents don't take time to listen, a friend hurts your feelings, you are frustrated with your boss or with your worker, your teacher or your student, a neighbor calls you up and cusses you out because your dog tore up his garbage, a store clerk or customer is short with you, a kid in your Sunday School class makes fun of the way you sneeze, your grandma says that you're too skinny, your girlfriend hangs up on you. Do you see how much of our lives are centered on our relationships?

People were created for relationships - first with God, then with other human beings. Relationships offer us the most intense pleasures in life and, at times, threaten us with the possibility of the most intense pain in life. The worse pain in life is not a broken body but a broken heart. When we are rejected, betrayed, criticized, falsely accused, misunderstood, overlooked, ignored, unloved, unappreciated, distrusted, troubled and hated we feel the deepest hurt possible. It is problems in our relationships that send us to the bookstore in search of self-help books, that send us to a counselor's couch or to the doctor for some nerve pills. It is a problem in relationships that lead some to try to find relief in a bottle or a pill and that lead others to contemplate the unthinkable - suicide.

We genuinely need help with our relationships. I've got some good news. The Bible has the answers. The Bible is a very practical book. It speaks about those things that are right where we live. It has some very good and helpful advice about how to improve, actually, how to revolutionize your relationships with other people.

God's Word on relationships is "one another." We would revolutionize our relationships if we would obey the "one another's" of the Bible. There are 31 of them in the Bible and two of those 31 are in this one verse.


I have come to the conclusion and I am convinced that our relationships would be revolutionized and remarkably improved by one simple change. I'm not talking about something that is complex or sophisticated. What I am speaking of can be summarized in just one word - kindness. I know that that sounds too simple and seems too elementary but I genuinely believe that your relationships would be revolutionized by kindness.

Often, far too often, we are just not very kind to the people with whom we deal. I sometimes think that we show more common courtesy and kindness to the general public than we do with our own people. Someone has said that the home is the place where we are loved the most, treated the best and act the worst. We give ourselves permission to be mean, hateful, rude, impatient, selfish, unsympathetic, hostile, oppressive and even cruel to those who love us the most. The real you is not that guy that comes to church on the Lord's Day, dressed in his Sunday best. The real you is often wearing a disguise in public. The real you is the one your wife knows, or your children, or your parents. And, too often, the real you, is not a kind person.

Amazingly, the Bible tells us to be kind. I say, amazingly, because this command seems so obvious that it shouldn't even have to be in the Bible. But it is. More than once. Romans 12:10 - Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. Colossians 3:12 - Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another… I Corinthians 13:4 - Charity suffereth long, and is kind. II Peter 1:7 - And to godliness (add) brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. Ephesians 4:31-32, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Spiritual growth means godliness (our vertical relationship with God) and kindness (our horizontal relationships with others). You must add both to your faith.

So what does kindness look like and how can I add it to my faith?

Kindness certainly involves your words, what you say. Speak kindly. But kindness also includes your tone of voice, not just what you say but how you say it. And kindness is certainly more than just words, it is also deeds and actions (see II Samuel 9).
Verses 1-3 – David desires to show kindness to a descendent of Saul for Jonathan’s sake.
Verses 4-6 – Mephibosheth is identified and summoned.
Verse 7-10 - He is shown kindness – treated like royalty.

Acts of kindness must be attached to an attitude of kindness. Kindness in not revengeful - it does not return evil with evil. It is not mean-spirited, rude or unfriendly. So how can I be a kinder, gentler person? Certainly, I know that I am supposed to be kind, but I'm not sure just how. The answer is found in Ephesians 4:31-32.

This section of Paul's letter deals with what I call the "Old Man / New Man" Principle. Verse 22 - put off the old man; verse 24 - put on the new man. When you become a Christian, there are some things from your old life that you must get rid of. But it isn't enough just to rid your life of bad habits. Christianity is not reformation. It involves replacement. You get rid of the old and replace it with the new. Jesus said that the person who sweeps his house of an evil spirit and then stops, is in danger of 7 new evil spirits occupying his place. Get rid of the old, replace it with the new.

Now notice verses 31-32. Here is a direct and explicit command concerning kindness. Be ye kind one to another. Surrounding this command are six sinful vices to cast off from the old life and two supernatural virtues to put on in your new life.

Remove . . .

Bitterness - smoldering resentment. Clamour - outward acts of violence. Anger - a deep subtle feeling of sin. Evil speaking - slander, criticism, gossip. Malice - hatred on the inside. Wrath - a wild explosion of rage. And, according to Paul, we must remove "all" of this stuff.

Replace it with . . .

Tenderheartedness - the opposite of being hard-hearted, calloused, unfeeling, refusing to understand another person's feelings or circumstances.

If you will remove all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking and malice and will replace what you have removed with tenderheartedness you will have created an environment in which you can keep God's command to be kind one to another. Ephesians 4:32 always reminds me of the Bykota Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texas. B-Y-K-O-T-A. It is an acrostic for "be ye kind one to another." We should all be members of the Bykota Baptist Church. We should all "be kind one to another" (Ephesians 4:32).


The second supernatural virtue is forgiveness.

Offenses are a reality of life. James says the obvious when he writes. "In many things we offend all" (James 3:2). James is, in essence, reiterating the words of Christ. "For it must needs be that offences come" (Matthew 18:7). None of us is beyond being offended by someone and none of us is above offending someone else. While some offenses are innocent (unintentional) or even imaginary, others may be indirect (i.e. a "third party") and some offenses are intended. The fact remains, along the road of life, people are going to do you wrong or say things that wound and hurt you. You are going to be offended.

So how should a Christian respond to offenses? You might nurse and rehearse your offenses. We call that holding a grudge. God, however, forbids holding grudges. James 5:9 - Grudge not one against another. Most of us know the second half of Leviticus 19:18. But the whole verse reads "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." You might fight back. You might think that the best defense against an offense is to go on the offensive yourself. Often, when we hurt, we hurl. The verse above that forbids holding a grudge also forbids revenge. Romans 12:17, 19 - Recompense to no man evil for evil. ... Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves... I Thessalonians 5:15 - See that none render evil for evil unto any man... I Peter 3:9 - Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing...

Have you been forgiven? Indeed, if you are a Christian, "God, for Christ's sake has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32). "Christ forgave you" (Colossians 3:13). The same forgiveness that you have experienced must be extended to those who have offended you.

Because we have been forgiven we are to be forgiving. God has forgiven us on the basis of what Christ did on the cross. We are to forgive others who have wronged us on this same basis. Forgiveness focuses on the issue not the individual. Forgiveness looks at the offense from God's perspective, not selfishly. Forgiveness refuses to retaliate. Forgiveness purposely forgets the offense and specifically remembers the moment of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a common theme in God's Word. There are some 75 verses in the Bible on the subject, and one entire book of the New Testament (Philemon) has forgiveness as its theme. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15). A right relationship with God requires us to forgive others. Jesus indicated that we simply must keep on forgiving! Not just seven times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22), in a single day (Luke 17:4).

By refusing to forgive, you are opening your life up to bitterness (Ephesians 4:31; Hebrews 12:15) and torment (Matthew 18:34) through which Satan can get an advantage over you (II Corinthians 2:10,11; Ephesians 26-27).

For Debbie Morris, forgiveness is more than just a Biblical concept. It is deeply personal. Brutally abducted and repeatedly raped, in 1980, at age 16, by two men (one of whom forms the death-row character depicted in the book and the subsequent film "Dead Man Walking") Debbie has some deep personal insights into forgiveness. In her book, Forgiving The Dead Man Walking, Debbie explains that forgiveness is more for the victim than for the wrongdoer, that is, the victim needs to forgive, more than the wrongdoer needs to be forgiven.

Forgiveness is not telling the wrongdoer that the past is no longer significant; not agreeing to become best buddies with the wrongdoer; not denying that there is still some pain and anger with which the wronged must live. Forgiveness means that you will, consciously, no longer regard the wrongdoer as indebted to you; that you are more interested in moving ahead in your life than being controlled by the past; that you will let go of any illusions that you can somehow control the wrongdoer's life.

Using an acrostic for PEACE, she suggests five steps in the process of extending forgiveness to those who have deeply wronged and hurt you.

P - Pray for the person, Luke 6:28 - "pray for them which despitefully use you"

E - Empathize. View your enemy from a different perspective.

A - Act. Do specific good deeds to and for that person. Matthew 5:44 - "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you."

C - Confess. Be honest enough with yourself to admit any and all responsibility that you share in the evil.

E - Emulate Christ. WDJD - What did Jesus do? He forgave, Luke 22:34. So must you!

Man is never more like God than when he forgives. Proverbs 19:11 -"The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

Perhaps Ephesians 4:32 is indeed the sweetest sentence in the Bible. It is really so simple to understand. Be kind one to another and forgive one another. It seems so difficult to obey. But when we do, the impact is profound – relationships are revolutionized.

Is that what needs to happen at your house?

Sermon by Pastor Darrell Sparks
Dearborn Baptist Church
Aurora, Indiana