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James Series 06 - Watch Your Tongue

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Reading: James 3:1-12
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.  James 3:2 (NIV)

I.    Control your tongue, control Yourself

      A.  Be careful what you Teach

            1.   Not many should become teachers

                   a.   The teaching ministry of the Church.

                   b.   Not that we shouldn’t encourage those so gifted to pursue a teaching ministry.

                   c.   It isn’t for everyone, not even for many.

            2.   Teaching is spiritually dangerous

                   a.   To be “the teacher” makes one more vulnerable to one’s own sins.

                   b.   To teach is to risk teaching falsehood

                   c.   Who is there to correct the teacher?

            3.   Teachers will be judged more strictly

                   a.   Because we can be a powerful negative influence on people’s spiritual health.

                   b.   But not just “the teacher”–we all teach

      B.  The tongue is a Powerful force

            1.   To control the tongue is to have control

                   a.   See how hard it is to control the tongue!

                   b.   Control the tongue: bridle the body

                   c.   Control our tongue, the rest of us follows

            2.   Look at horses and ships

                   a.   Put a bridle in a horse’s mouth and you can control the whole horse.

                   b.   Steer the rudder (tongue) and you control the whole ship.

                   c.   Control your own tongue, the rest of you will follow.

            3.   The small tongue makes big claims

                   a.   We think what we say is so important

                   b.   We are small and make big claims

      C.  The tongue can be Destructive

            1.   Our tongue is a fire

                   a.   It sparks the flames of gossip, jealousy, complaining, discord, etc.

                   b.   This fire destroys or damages what it touches

                   c.   This fire needs the fuel of sin, the heat of passion, the oxygen of eager ears.

            2.   What you say can set you on fire too!

                   a.   Don’t play with fire, you will be burned

                   b.   It’s not just fire it’s hellfire.

II.   It’s tough to Control the tongue

      A.  It’s easier to train a Snake

            1.   All kinds of animals are being tamed.

                   a.   We saw trained chickens at Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, SD!

                   b.   People make pets of the most unlikely things–yes even snakes.

                   c.   Maybe not every animal can be tamed, but many kinds of animals can.

            2.   Humans are adept at training animals.

                   a.   Isn’t it a bit strange that we humans can train animals?

                   b.   Maybe this is part of what it means to rule over the earth and subdue it.

      B.  No man can Tame the tongue

            1.   Self-training is always harder.

                   a.   It’s easier to control something else.

                   b.   Self-control is just plain hard!

                   c.   It’s hard, partly because we don’t think we really need it!

            2.   Training your tongue is extremely difficult

                   a.   Snakes may be hard to train, but the tongue is harder.

                   b.   Imagine never again saying the wrong thing, a spiteful, or hurtful comment.

                   c.   Imagine never saying anything that would be close to gossip or back-biting.

      C.  The tongue is a Restless evil

            1.   We have a restless need to talk

                   a.   We have all said things we’ve regretted before the words were even all out.

                   b.   Sometimes we just blurt out what is hurtful, or hateful, or shameful.

            2.   The tongue is like a venomous snake.

                   a.   Sticks and stones can cause less damage than hurtful words.

                   b.   We poison people toward each other, themselves and God’s good gifts.

                   c.   The poison of gossip and other verbal abuse, is toxic to its victims.

            3.   But the deadly poison of our words, slowly poisons us too.

                   a.   Bit by bit we swallow our own venom.

                   b.   We poison ourselves as we poison those around us.

III.  Bless Or Curse

      A.  We bless God and Curse people

            1.   We presume to be pious in our praise.

                   a.   We use lofty word, the right words.

                   b.   We even feel as if we’re praising God.

                   c.   We assume our praises are accepted.

            2.   We presume be appointed judge over our brothers and sisters

                   a.   Still we put down, mock, dismiss.

                   b.   We pronounce judgement on so-and-so as bad, questionable, or unimportant

                   c.   And so we curse–invoke evil on them

      B.  We must choose Between the two

            1.   This should not be

                   a.   This ain’t the way it’s supposed to be.

                   b.   This is wrong, it is sin, it offends God.

            2.   To curse a person, is to curse God’s image

                   a.   A cloth may be tattered, dirty and full of holes, but if it’s a flag . . .

                   b.   Even if a person has a few rough edges, they bear God’s image.

                   c.   “If you can’t say nothin’ nice” -Thumper

            3.   We cannot both bless and curse God

                   a.   Take your pick and make it stick.

                   b.   Treasure in your heart, and bless with your mouth God’s image in everyone.

      C.  Our praise is as good as our Worst speech

            1.   If our mouth is a salt spring, it doesn’t give sweet water.

                   a.   If your words were water, would you drink it?

                   b.   If salt comes out sometimes, all that comes out has salt in it.

            2.   If we curse people, we are fooling ourselves about blessing God.

                   a.   Since cursing people is cursing God.

                   b.   The praise that comes out of our mouth still has that brine in it.

            3.   We need the cleansing touch of God’s burning coal of grace.

                   a.   Remember Isaiah’s words?

                   b.   We too are people of unclean lips, living among people of unclean lips

                   c.   Come quickly Lord. Purify our speech.

The Bottom Line:

Let’s Discipline our tongues so that we will spiritually Mature and our praise will be Pure.

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