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Matthew 12:36-37 says…
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
· I believe one of the greatest threats facing the church of today does not come from outside these four walls, it comes from within.
· We as Christians have a great task at hand, the taming of the tongue.
· Tonight I want to challenge you to look closely at your conversations and carelessness we often use in our speech.
2. Small Spark, Great Destruction
James 3:4-6 says…
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
A man in a small village had been found guilty of starting a malicious rumor about another man. This rumor was not only untrue, but had seriously damaged the other man’s reputation and family. As is often the custom in small villages, the accused was taken before the chief of the village who served as a judge and would hear the case and decide the man’s punishment if found guilty.
After hearing the facts of the case, the chief found the accused to be guilty and was now preparing to sentence the man to his punishment. The old, wise chief handed the man a large bag of feathers and told him that his only punishment would be to place a feather on the doorstep of every person to whom he had told the rumor. The man was relieved at such a light punishment and quickly took the bag of feathers and set about his task. Four hours later, the man returned to the king with the empty bag and said, "I completed your task, sir. Is there anything else?"
"Yes, the wise chief replied. Report to me in the morning and I’ll give you the second half of your punishment." The man reported the next morning and was instructed that the second half of his punishment was to gather all the feathers back up and place them in the bag. "But sir," the man replied, "didn’t you hear the storm that raged through our village last night? Didn’t you feel the force of the winds that blew? It would be impossible to know where those feathers are now."
The wise old chief raised his index finger and pointed knowingly at the man, "Now you see, my child, the damage that you have done to another. For although you told only a few lies here and there, the storm of gossip took hold of those lies and spread them far beyond your grasp to undo them. You can regret what you said, but you can never fully undo what you’ve said."...
· James uses the word fire when describing the tongue.
· Fire has the amazing and virtually unique capacity to reproduce itself in an almost unlimited way as long as it has fuel to burn.
· Fire will burn until it runs out of fuel. To stop the fires of gossip and slander and malice we have to remove the fuel of wrongly used words.
Proverbs 26:20 says…
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
Proverbs 15:1 says…
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
3. Speak Life Not
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