Updated: Sep 12, 2019
JUST DO IT: GUARD YOUR WORDS
You can listen to this sermon by clicking here or you can read the notes below. Words are powerful. The words that we speak reveal the true nature of our hearts.
The genuineness of your faith will be demonstrated by your words. Nowhere is the relationship between faith and works more evident than through what a person says. In James 3:1-12, James teaches us a few lessons about the tongue and the words we speak.
1 - The tongue has the power to direct
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly - Vs 1. Teachers of God's word direct the spiritual growth of the church. Those who preach in church or teach Sunday school classes or lead connect group meetings must therefore be so careful not to sin with their tongue. Any carelessness on their part would have terrible consequences and potentially destroy people’s lives.
The tongue is like a bit which is the metal piece that is placed in a horse’s mouth to direct its movements; it's like the rudder at the back of a large ship which can turn it around. Both are small but extremely important. If they are not controlled, the entire horse or the entire ship is out of control. It is possible for something as small as the tongue is to have tremendous power for either good or evil.
2 - The tongue has the power to destroy
In Verse 5b-6, James teaches that the damage a tongue can cause is like the damage caused by the spark that starts a forest fire.
Our words can destroy when they are untruthful. When we lie, we are modeling our lives after satan himself (John 8:43-44)
Our words can destroy when they are unkind - especially in the form of slander and gossip (saying negative things about a person when they are not present). Morgan Blake, a sports writer describes the destructiveness of gossip this way: "I am more deadly than the screaming shell of the cannon. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is Gossip."
3 - The tongue has the power to display our spiritual health
The tongue reveals the condition of the heart. If the heart is contaminated or clean, the tongue will expose it. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. - Luke 6:45
The tongue is as hard to subdue, tame, and domesticate as is a ferocious wild beast! However, if you are a born again Christian, you can have victory over your tongue. When you receive a new heart, you receive the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell in you. He will help you tame your tongue and help you use your tongue to exalt the living God.
Our tongues should bring praise rather than tear down. Our tongues should encourage rather than discourage, our tongues should speak well of people, rather than slander and condemn. Our tongues should not curse but bless others. How do we put this into practice:
Think First. Preview your words. Are they accurate or exaggerated? Are they good and helpful, gracious and kind? Are they even necessary. The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
Talk Less. Our chances of blowing it with our words are directly proportional to the amount of time we spend with our mouths open. "I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin. I will put a muzzle on my mouth ...." Psalm 39:1
Memorize more: One of the best ways to change your speech is allowing the Word of God to dwell in you so you cannot speak anything else but Jesus and Him crucified.