Summary: Ways we stumble in our speech
Idle Speech: 5 Flags Can Sink Your Ship
September 11, 2016 - first done August 3, 2008
Turn with me this morning to the book of 1 Peter, chapter 3. Today I want us to look at “Five Flags That Can Sink Your Ship.” Peter warns us in his book that we often waste our lives in idle living. We end up living for pleasure and wasting our lives doing nothing of significance. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4, Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do.
The truth is that we waste so much of our lives. We don’t want to waste our lives, but to live them completely for the will of God. Peter tells us that we should pray more, love more, share more, and serve more. But one way we waste our lives is in idle speech. In James 3, life is compared to a boat, with the tongue as the rudder. James writes, take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. But the sad thing to consider is that if you are in a boat, and steer it the wrong direction, you can head right into a shipwreck.
Remember the Titanic - the unsinkable ship - but it was steered right into an iceberg and the ship was sunk. So also in our lives, we can use our tongue in wrong ways and make shipwreck of our lives. We ruin our testimony, hurt our relationships, and dishonor our God. There are many, many ways we can misuse our tongue, but today we want to look at five of them. And we want to pause before we look at the scripture to ask God to speak to our hearts. Let’s pray.
PRAYER: God, you tell us in Psalm 139 that you have searched us and you know us. Even before a word is on our tongues, you know it completely, O LORD. And so we pray as David did in that Psalm, Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. We desire you today to convict us of anything in our lives that is offensive to you. We ask you to show us where we have sinned so we may confess it. We ask you to help us to see our speech as you do. And we ask you to help your word to change our lives. We pray as David did in Psalm 19 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.
Here in 1 Peter 3 we find a warning about our tongues. In 1 Peter 3:10, Peter writes, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
So, to make the most of life, Peter tells us to guard our tongues. To avoid capsizing our life-boats, we need to beware of five dangers, five FLAGS - to use an acronym for how we use our tongues foolishly. Write these five down - F-L-A-G-S: Flattery, Lying, Arguments, Gossip, and Slander. Really there are many other ways we can use wrong speech, but we want to think about these this morning. We want to check our lives to see if any of these dangers are present. First,
1. Flattery - Flattery is giving insincere compliments. Make sure you understand that there is nothing wrong with giving compliments, if they are sincere, and if they come from right motives of your heart. But when we talk about flattery, we are not just talking about compliments, but insincere compliments, those that come out if impure motives. And scripture mentions this often, especially in the book of Proverbs.
Flattery really sets us up for a fall. Prov. 29:5 tells us, Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet. When we seek to use flattery to set people up, to control them, to manipulate them, to get on their good side, we really are setting ourselves us for a fall. Prov. 26:28 tells us a flattering mouth works ruin. Sometimes we might think that by using flattery we are going to get others to like us, but we will gain more favor with others by speaking the truth than by flattery. Prov. 28:23 - He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue. And once again remember, flattery is not giving compliments, but giving insincere compliments.