TAMING THE TONGUE * James 3:1-18 * 3rd July 2022
Not many of you should become teachers, my sisters and brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what they say, they are perfect, able also to bridle their whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
My brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? By their good conduct let them show their works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.(Jas 3:1-18)
James is clear and we are well aware of the need...
However hard it is - we must ensure our words reflect the transformation of our lives
When do you find it difficult to tame the tongue?
We know all to well its power!
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.(Eph 4:29-32)
1. Your words reflect what’s in your soul
v.11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
The good person out of the good treasure of their heart produces good, and the evil person out of their evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart their mouth speaks.(Luk 6:45)
Search me,O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!(Psa 139:23-24)
What do your words reveal about whats in your heart?
Confess this to God and seek His transformation within.
2. Work on what you do, not just what you say
Who is wise and understanding among you? By their good conduct let them show their works in the meekness of wisdom. v.13
“better to be thought a fool – than to open your mouth and prove it”
“For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For we do not gather figs from thorns, nor do we pick grapes from a briar bush. The good person out of the good treasure of their heart brings forth what is good; and the evil person out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for their mouth speaks from that which fills their heart.” Luke 6:43-45
What do you need to do to be more like Jesus?
What will you do differently this week?
3. Get right with God
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.(Gal 5:22-25)
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. v.17-18
Both what we do and what we say expresses who we are!
That which God gives is first “pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits..."
What do you need to do to be right with God?
Do it now!
The Bible has much to say about what we say
Here in this passage James tell us how this can change.
1. Be aware your words reveal what is going on inside
2. Work on what you do, what you say will follow
Finally, and most importantly…
3. Get right with God.
Looking at the passages below, where does your tongue need controlling?
What will you do this week to take control of it?
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence” 10:11.
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” 10:19
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse 10:32
A gossip tells everything, but a true friend will keep a secret. 11:13
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” 12:18
“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” 12:19
I am afraid that when I come, we won't be pleased with each other. I fear that some of you may be arguing or jealous or angry or selfish or gossiping or insulting each other… (2Co 12:20)
“To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy to all people.” Titus 3:2
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:19
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 15: 37