Marshall Baptist Church

Taste: Hung by theTonuge

5 Senses of Christian Living: Taste: Hung By the Tongue

James 3:1-12


Intro:  Have you ever said anything stupid?


1994 Miss USA Contest. 

Question to Miss Alabama: If you could live forever, would you and why?

Answer: “I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.”


“Outside of the killings in Washington DC, we have one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.” – Marion Barry (former indicted mayor of Washington DC)


“I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body.” – Winston Bennet, UK bball


China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.” – Former President Charles De Gaulle


Asking Amy – Whose the man?  Just say it.


“Aww, but words don’t really matter.  They’re just words.”


Proposition: The Bible is clear on the subject of our words and our speech.  According to Scripture, the words you speak are both important and highly impactful. 


In James 3:1-12, James gives 3 lessons to us for grasping the importance of our speech.


I.                Realize you will be judged for the words you speak.  (1-2)

James is writing to Jews dispersed all over the world from their homes.  Many will need to teach as the only Christians in their new lands.  His warning: Be careful because teachers are judged more strictly in how they live – that is best determined by their speech.

            Why judged by my words?

33 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."  Matthew 12:32-37


Jesus is saying here that words reveal your heart, your character, who you really are.  That is why you can be judged by your words – because you are your words.

Ex. What about politicians?  Talking out both sides of their mouth.

Jesus is not talking about the words you use to put on a show.  These are the words that you normally speak that flow out of who you are and what you think.


17 "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'  Matt. 15:17-18


Your words reveal what is on the inside of you.  They show you are.

Ex. Nixon tapes.

Ex. Married guys: The ol’ ball and chain.  Got to check on the old lady.  You married an old lady?

Married women: My husband is such an idiot.  Everybody Loves Raymond.

“Oh, those are just jokes.”  No, they are words, and they reveal your heart.


Jesus says in Matthew 12 that you will be judged for every careless word that comes out of your mouth.  Do we think He is just kidding about that?

We will avoid so much sin trying to avoid offending God.  We won’t drink, smoke, or chew – or hang out with people who do.  We don’t do those “bad” sins.  But yet we will let words of death and ill come forth from our mouths.  It is sin and it is wrong.


The tongue has the power of life and death.  Proverbs 18:21

If you are about life than you need to speak only life-giving words.


Next lesson is the one most missing in preaching – and most resisted.  Please don’t miss it:


II.             Accept that your words set the course of your life. (2-6)

In these verses, James clearly says that you direct your life – where you end up – by your speech.

NO WAY!  Only my choices and circumstances set my path.”

James, writing under the inspiration of God says you are wrong.  He gives three clear illustrations to say the MOST important thing to determine where you go in life is your words.

  1. Horse bridle (3)
  2. Ship Rudder (4)
  3. Forrest fire (5-6)

I can’t think of too many places in Scripture that gives three illustrations to prove a point.  Obviously James wanted to make sure we didn’t miss this one or misunderstand.


Anyone that has studied psychology or sociology knows that the scientific world has discovered this truth James is teaching.  They call it the self-fulfilling prophecy.  It is when you become what other people or yourself things and says you are.

The Bible explains it by saying you reap what you sow.  You sow words about your life stinking and guess what – your life is gonna stink.  You sow words about being blessed by God and you will reap a life of joy and thanksgiving knowing that you are blessed by God.


Don’t be misled.  Remember that you cannot ignore God and get away with it.  You will always reap what you sow!  Galatians 6:7 (NLT) 


Why do we reap the words we sow?  What happens?  We program our brain with our eargate and eyegate.  Our brain tries to believe and make sense of what it sees and hears.  When you speak something you hear it and your brain is trying to make sense of it.

Ex. Abigail can’t watch the commercial: “I don’t like broccoli”.  We don’t let her watch certain Yo Gabba Gabba songs.  “I never win.  I always lose.”

Ex. Amy dating me.   Her brain went to work for me.


It is vital to be wary of the words that come out of your mouth.  Think about what you are saying.

You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth.  Proverbs 6:2

Proverbs 18:7 says your words are a trap for your life.

The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble.  A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth.  Proverbs 12:13-14


If you are trapped by your own words than it is vital to only speak that which is good, encouraging, and uplifting.

Say after you speak things: And that’s how I want it.  Everyone repeat after me.

Ex. Sneezing into fan.  It will come back to you.


Put this into real life.  People don’t speak positive, because of the superstition you will now get negative.  The opposite is true!


III.           Determine to make your words only words of blessing. (7-12)

James is repeating the same message of Jesus that we read earlier in Matthew.  Good should come from that which is good.  Bad should not ever come from something that is good.  Therefore the speech of a believer should always be that of blessing and never cursing.


What is the difference between blessing and cursing?

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.  Ephesians 4:29


When you speak about yourself or to others – ask yourself if those are words of blessing.  If not, they could very well be words of cursing.

What do you say to your spouse or about your spouse?  What do you say to your children or about them? 

Ex. Calling Jimmy an idiot all the time.  It was eating away at our friendship like a cancer.

Ex. Myspace mom.  Girl commits suicide.

How many of you still hurt from things people called you or said about you when you were younger?  Words are powerful.

God does not call you to tear down to make others or yourself stronger.  You are only supposed to speak words of blessing and encouragement.


“But you can’t just be positive all the time.  Sometimes you need to warn and discipline.”

There’s a difference between warning and cursing.

I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children.  1 Corinthians 4:14

My dear brothers take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  James 1:19-20


Sharing Jesus vs. YOU are going to Hell!!

You can do better – I know you can.  Vs. You are gonna flunk.


Conclusion: Alternator Charger - $2 dollar part.


Most important thing you can speak is faith in Christ.  Give God your tongue.  If He doesn’t have your tongue – He doesn’t really have you.

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