Summary: This sermon uses an amusing story to illustrate the need for us to be careful about what we say.
Bite Your Tongue
2For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
4Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, a very small rudder turns them wherever the pilot desires. 5Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
8But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
10Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
11Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
How big is your tongue?
I want everyone to stick out your tongue!
I wonder who has the longest tongue.
The Guinness Book of World Records...
says the world's longest tongue is 9.2 centimeters long.
Steven Taylor, a chauffer in England,
can stick out his tongue 9.2 centimeters = about 3 ½ inches.
How much do you think your tongue weighs?
Well the average male tongue weighs about 2 1/2 ounces.
For a woman, the average tongue weighs a little bit over 2 oz.
So women's tongues are smaller than men's tongues.
I will resist the temptation to say anything more about that!
The tongue is but a small part of the body,
but it serves 3 very important functions:
#1 It helps in the tasting of our food.
#2 It helps in swallowing food.
#3 It is a very important part of speaking.
Verse 2 says, For we all stumble in many things:
The Greek word translated stumble does not imply a fatal fall.
It's not talking about losing your salvation!
Instead, it implies something that trips us up...
and hinders our progress with the Lord.
Even though we all stumble...
that does not give us an excuse.
We know we should all press on to a better walk with the Lord,
marked by less stumbling.
Verse 2 goes on to say, If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man:
To not stumble in word shows true spiritual maturity.
Today's story is about Earl and Mabel O'Dell. Though this couple attended church services on a somewhat regular basis and both professed to be Christians, you'd never believe it by their words and actions.
One Sunday morning as they were driving to church, a police officer pulled them over. The officer says, "I clocked you at 80 miles per hour, sir." Angrily Earl replied, "Listen, I had this car on cruise control at 60. Your radar gun needs calibrating." Not looking up from the Sunday paper she was reading, Mabel says: "Earl, that's a bald faced lie! That car doesn't have cruise control."
More of that story a little later!
Point #1 The tongue is powerful.
Verses 3-6: Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
I own a big mule named Festus.
Though he is big, he can be controlled by a bit in his mouth.
If he is not controlled, then Festus is out of control.
The bit in the mouth is extremely important.
I wouldn't try to ride Festus...
if he didn't have a bit in his mouth.
A small rudder can turn a large ship.
Without the rudder, the ship is out of control.
The bit and rudder are small,
but extremely important.
Something as small as the tongue can have tremendous power,