Summary: This message focuses on controlling the big fish in the mouth called the tongue.
It seems that lately you can’t hardly turn on the television without hearing about some new development in the moral decay of the Catholic church. More and more accusations are being hurled at priest regarding sexual misconduct. In no way shape or form am I defending what these priest allegedly did, but every time I hear of these things, my heart breaks in two. The reason being is because the eyes of the world are watching, and perhaps thinking, “I told you that the church is nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.”
This morning I want to bring your attention to another matter that is plaguing the church of the Living God. One that hasn’t popped up as of late, but has been around since the foundation of the church. What’s the problem? The inability for God’s people to tame their tongue. You may be asking yourself, “How does that compare to what’s going on within the Catholic church?” Because the eyes and ears of the ungodly are watching and listening. They are hearing good Christian people verbally lash one another all the while wondering, “If I was in that church, would they talk about me like that?”
Someone coined the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Whoever said that could have never been more wrong. Broken bones heal much quicker than the wounds left by an out of control tongue. I know people to this day, and there may those sitting in this room this morning, who are still suffering from the aftermath of a tongue lashing. When Dr. Tim Dailey was here with us, he and I sat down for coffee on afternoon, and he told me that some of the most encouraging words he’d ever heard came from Christian people. Then he went on to say that some of the most hurtful words ever spoken against him came from good Christian people.
You see, our tongue can either burn the Kingdom of God, or it can build it. Simply by what comes out of our mouths can destroy what God is trying to accomplish in and through a ministry, or it can build it. So this morning I want to ask you, “Is your tongue productive or destructive?”
Our Scripture text this morning comes from the book of James. The book of James’ theme has been labeled by many scholars and theologians as “practical Christian living.” James speaks more about the tongue than any other book in the Bible. If James is truly a book for practical Christian living, then there must be something essential about the tongue and living an effective Christian life.
Read James 3:2-10
When God created man, He gave us two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and one mouth which contains one big fish; the tongue. The eyes, ears and nostrils help make us aware of our surroundings. They are what we utilize to observe our world, and our tongue is what we use to comment on those surroundings. Could it be that God wants us, by design, to observe twice as much as we speak? I don’t know, but it is something to think about.
Anyway, God has given us the power of the spoken word. And I believe that is why many people today are in bondage. The sense of conflict that they experience can be traced back to their tongues. What do you mean? Well, the Bible clearly teaches a principle of sowing and reaping. If you sow corn, you will reap corn. If you sow black-eyed peas, you will reap black-eyed peas. If you sow words of destruction, you will reap destruction. If you sow words of life, you will reap life.