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Summary: Having learned about having a wholly devoted mind and heart, we now address what it means to have a wholly devoted tongue.

Introduction:

A. If your tongue has ever gotten you into trouble, then please raise your hand.

1. Turn to your neighbor and say, “I’m not surprised!”

2. We are not surprised, because it happens to all of us.

3. All of us have had the experience of saying something, and then wishing we had not said it!

B. I remember arriving at church during my ministry in El Dorado, Arkansas many years ago.

1. I walked into the kitchen and saw my friend and brother in Christ standing there with an unusual expression on his face.

2. Not thinking…(that’s a key)…I said, “What’s with the funny expression on your face?”

3. He said, “I have Bells Palsy – half of my face is temporarily paralyzed.

4. I felt terrible for his condition and that he had to put up with an idiot like me!

C. I also remember a time when I was guest preaching at a church in California.

1. We arrived early and one of the first men I met was a super friendly man.

2. He said, “My name is Bob, but I spell it different from other Bobs.”

3. I don’t know what came over me or where this came from, but I quickly blurted out, “Do you spell your name with 2 ‘O’s?”

4. Dejectedly, he said, “No, I spell my name backwards” and he walked away.

5. When I think about it now, I feel terrible, but at the time I mostly felt proud of my quick wit – how foolish I can be!

D. Oh, how our tongues get us into trouble!

1. If my mother said it once, she said it a thousand times, “THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!”

2. Every day, you and I speak thousands of words.

3. That is a lot of opportunity for us to say the wrong thing, am I right about it?

4. Someone once wisely said, “A closed mouth gathers no foot.”

E. Today, we continue our sermon series “Wholly Devoted – Serving God with All We Are and Have.”

1. So far we have considered how to have a wholly devoted mind and heart, and now we turn our attention to having a wholly devoted tongue.

2. As you might expect, the Bible has a lot to say about the proper use of our tongue and our words.

3. The words “tongue, mouth and lips” appear hundreds of times in the Bible.

4. Some of the times those words are used they don’t have anything to do with our speech and the things we say, but most of the time they do.

5. Today, we want to explore why it’s important to have a wholly devoted tongue and how to bring our tongue under control so that it can be wholly devoted to God.

F. The two biblical books that talk a lot about the tongue are Proverbs and James. Here are some of my favorite verses from Proverbs about the tongue:

1. When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Prov. 10:19)

2. He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. (Prov. 13:3)

3. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Prov. 18:21)

4. Aren’t those great verses? They are full of so much truth.

5. Those verses emphasize the fact that the tongue has power to do great good or great evil.

6. Those who learn to hold their tongue are wise and are protected.

7. But those who speak too much or too rashly will come to ruin, and none of us want to experience that!

F. The book of James devotes almost all of chapter 3 to the tongue.

1. However, before we arrive at chapter 3, we notice that James addressed the tongue in chapter 1.

2. In James 1:19 he wrote, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry…” Quick/Slow/Slow – that is great advice!

3. Then a few verses later, he wrote, “If anyone considers himself to be religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (1:26)

4. Allow the force of those words to sink in…if we do not keep a tight rein on our tongues, then our religion is worthless.

5. James wants us to understand just how destructive and nullifying the tongue can be.

6. The negative influence of the tongue can override an otherwise godly life.

7. So, let’s see what points James makes in chapter three about the tongue, and then let’s work on some practical steps for taming the tongue and making it wholly devoted to God.

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