When Communication Breaks Down
Text: Genesis 11:1-9
I. After the flood, mankind feared to obey God’s command to spread once again across the world.
A. They took it into their heads to build a great city and a tower that would make a name for themselves.
B. Mankind was united, but they were united in sin. God took the drastic step of making it hard for men to work in harmony.
II. By removing the ability to communicate
A. There was misunderstanding - Genesis 11:7
1. People talked, but others could not listen
2. That can happen today, not because of a language barrier, but by simply not listening - John 8:43
3. We have to be swift to listen - James 1:19-20
a. Typically people get angry over what they think the other person meant to say and not what was actually said.
b. We make judgments before all the facts are in - Ecclesiastes 7:9
B. There was talk, but without a common language there was no meaning in the words
1. Fools often think that the more said, the more is heard. It actually is the opposite - Proverbs 10:13-14, 19
2. Calmness is shown and understanding is increased with few but choice words - Proverbs 17:27
3. That is why we are to be slow to speak - James 1:19
C. The result was no progress - Genesis 11:8
1. The church is to strive for unity - Ephesians 4:1-3
2. By speaking truth in love there is growth - Ephesians 4:15-16
3. A lack of communication leads to ignorance and decay - Ephesians 4:17-19
4. How do we prevent this? Improve our communication! - Ephesians 4:20-32
a. We learn the truth (listen) - Ephesian 4:21
b. We tell the truth to those around us - Ephesians 4:25
c. We stop being angry with people (we need to talk) - Ephesians 4:26-27
d. We limit our speech to what is good for others to hear - Ephesians 4:29
e. We speak kind things to others (increase the desire to hear in others) - Ephesians 4:31-32
D. There was division - Genesis 11:8-9
1. False teaching contains empty words, words of anger, strife, suspicion of others motives - I Timothy 6:3-5
2. But as a church we are striving for unity. It requires seeing everyone in the same way and treating everyone in the same manner - I Corinthians 1:10
a. The same care for each other - I Corinthians 12:25
E. There was isolation - Genesis 11:8-9
1. Man does not function well in isolation - Genesis 2:18
2. We need the help of others - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
3. Thus, we are commanded to be interested in each other - Philippians 2:3-4
4. We share burdens, and good things - Galatians 6:2, 6; Romans 12:15-16
III. A community of believers
A. Commune, communion, communicate, and community all share the same root – the idea of sharing - Hebrews 13:16 (share or old KJV had “communicate”)
1. The early church was devoted to fellowship - Acts 2:42
2. There was a community formed around the teachings of the apostles
3. Notice the involvement with each other - Acts 2:44-47
B. There is profit is sharing information about others that is encouraging - II Corinthians 7:14
C. We are to be encouraging one another - Hebrews 10:23-25
D. Helping each other through problems - James 5:16
E. We are to develop a love for each other that could lead us to lay down our lives for each other - I John 3:16-18; 4:11-12
F. How does this develop if we know nothing about anyone?
G. The design of the church is that we all need each other - I Corinthians 12:12-27
IV. We cannot live in isolation
A. Let our lights shine - Matthew 5:13-15
1. Isolating ourselves is putting that light under a basket.
B. We don’t want the world influencing us - James 1:27; I John 2:15
C. But God doesn’t want us to isolate ourselves either
1. Not to be taken out of the world - John 17:5
2. In the middle of it - Philippians 2:14-16
3. Can’t avoid the sinners of the world - I Corinthians 5:9-10
V. We live in a society that tends toward isolationism
A. We have cars to easily get us places, but that means we seal ourselves off from the world while we travel
B. We might work in a large company, but even there we don’t interact much.
C. We come home and we know almost nothing about our neighbors. Everything we need is inside our homes, so we don’t get out and interact.
1. Our homes are conditioned so we don’t even have to open the windows
2. If you want to talk to someone, the phone is there, but again no direct interaction
3. Entertainment is provided without going anywhere
a. People are attracted to bad news, but that generates fear
b. You never know if someone in your neighborhood might not be a crazed mass murderer or a child molester!
c. But that is the point - we don’t know our neighbors, and so we fill in the gap with our fears.
d. We tend to look at everyone with some measure of fear.
D. With the Internet we can connect with people, but we also isolate ourselves from direct involvement.
1. There is an appearance of interaction without socializing.
E. We do this in stores. You go to a large store, you see lots of people, and yet interact with none of them. It is no longer socially considered to be acceptable.
F. And the shame is that the world is influencing the church and us as Christians.
G. The cure is communication – talking, interacting and getting involved.