Summary: Of all the members we have, the tongue boasts of great power. This message offers 4 different types of power which the tongue possesses.

How to Do Life

The Most Powerful member in the Church

James 3:1-12

* This world is has a deep thirst for power. Governments fall, corporations collapse, organizations explode, & churches implode over this issue of power. Everyone is truly interested in power; who has it and/or can I get it! In fact, some are here to discover ‘who’ the most powerful member in the church really is.

* What do you think of when you hear the word, “Power?” Do you think of horsepower, nuclear power, jet power, electrical power, or even the power found in dynamite?

* The Bible teaches us the about the most powerful member of the body. Let’s read. (READ TEXT) The Word of God says the most powerful is the tongue. The tongue has great power of use & equally has great power of abuse.

* Because this is such a highly personal & sensitive subject, it is easy to find funnies. Warren Wiersbe tells the story of a woman coming to the altar and saying to the preacher, “I want to lay my tongue on the altar.” The preacher turned and looked at the altar responding, “I don’t think the altar is big enough.” Another story I read is where a doctor asked a woman to stick out her tongue. She did and he took his prescription pad and wrote a script. When he was through writing, he simply said, “That’s good.” She snapped, “You didn’t even look at my tongue.” Calmly he said, “I didn’t want to look at your tongue, I wanted to keep you quiet while I wrote the script.” (She probably found a new doctor)

* The tongue possesses interesting power. It is the power of words multiplied by the power of a person. This past week we saw the power of the words from a Jury (Casey Anthony). Whether a president or a peon, words are big.

* James says that a mark of maturity is the ability to control your tongue (it would follow that mark of immaturity is the inability to control your tongue.

* A cursory reading of our text reveals that James, as the leader of the First church in Jerusalem, had seen the problems from the tongue so he gives us the Lord’s view of uses for the tongue. There are three.

1. The Power to Direct – James begins this subject talking about the most power which the tongue enjoys, that is the power to teach. Directing lives on the correct path is serious business. In fact, it is in teaching that the ‘milestone’ principle comes into play. Additionally, in Galatians 1:6-8 we find a warning about false teaching which is so strong, Paul finishes the thought with “let the one who teaches falsely BE ACCURSED.” The responsibility and task of shaping lives is serious business. We have children, young people, & even “not so young people” to teach, lead, & direct. It is this directing part which James develops very well.

* Here is one of ‘my personal’ principles; “Either control your tongue or your tongue will control you.” Candidly, the text would state it this way, “Direct your tongue or it will direct you.” James gives us a couple of illustrations.

* Years ago, my family & I used to ride & show horses. We put bits in the mouths of these horses so we could control them. The bridle (which contained the bits) controlled the direction of that 1000 lb animal. (But it took consistent, regular, and ongoing training for the horse to respond.

* The next illustration was that of a boat & rudder. In the Bible days, by & large, boats were driven by the wind in their sails. With the rudders they could use a ‘contrary wind’ and redirect the ship to the right course. It was not easy and many times not quick, but it could be done.

* To think of these two illustrations is to know that the one who is controlling the horse and driving the boat needs to have training & experience. In the same way, the text says “no man (or woman) can tame the tongue.” In fact as I read this I get the message that the tongue is a ‘wild animal beyond taming.’ So just like the horse & ship needs masters to control it, so does the TONGUE need THE MASTER to control it and direct it.

* Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death & life are in the power of the tongue.” The tongue has the power to direct. It is both bits & a rudder for life.

* Never forget how much your use of the tongue affects the lives of others. Words have power. Words chart the course for lives. Think about how the words of Jesus could have changed lives in another way. Seeing the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery, Jesus’ words could have had a detrimental impact “IF” He had responded like the ‘crowd’ thought He should. Our words can change someone’s life. It is by our words that people will be directed to heaven or doomed to hell.

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