Summary: in this portion of Scripture, James is dealing with an issue many of us deal with today. With position comes responsibility, and great position demands great responsibility.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE TONGUE
INTRODUCTION: in this portion of Scripture, James is dealing with an issue many of us deal with today. With position comes responsibility, and great position demands great responsibility. For the Jewish child, there is no higher calling than to be that of a teacher, a Rabbi. James, once again, in a “family fashion” (my brothers) address an issue of concern to the church, and even to situations in the lives of believers that occur outside the church.
James deals with the major issue of false teachers ruining other believers with their tongues (teaching, criticism, etc.). From a practical aspect, we can draw some important biblical principles regarding our speech – the use of our tongue as believers.
This area of speech is a second pillar, so to speak regarding our life as a believer. My deeds reveal the depth of my FAITH in Christ. My words reveal the depth of my MATURITY in Christ. Let me show you what I mean.
WHAT THIS PASSAGE TELLS US ABOUT THE TONGUE
The Tongue is POWERFUL – 3:1-5
Our tongues are something small but they exercise direct control over something larger.
Our tongues exert small, but effective control.
Our tongues produce great damage by their control – oil spill is the result of a bad rudder.
It only take a little to get things out of control
The Tongue is PERVERSE – 3:6-8
“is itself set” – sets itself up as fire
It never stops setting us on fire – “sets the whole course” -- keeps on setting the whole course
The tongue draws its strength from hell
References a place south of Jerusalem
A place where sacrifices were made
A place where rubbish and trash is continually on fire
The Tongue is POLLUTED – 3:9-12
The tongue is polluted because it carries up all the things from our heart
Mark 7:15-23 Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' 16 "17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") 20 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
23 All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"
Hear what the Word of God says:
Romans 6:13 (NIV)
13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
THIS IS WHY IT OUR WORDS ARE A MEASURE OF OUR MATURITY AS A BELIEVER.
MATURITY HELPS US AVOID THE PITFALLS OF IMMATURITY
WANTING THE TOP POSITION WITHOUT THE RESPONSIBILITY – NOT COUNTING THE COST
MISJUDGING OUR WALK WITH THE LORD – NOT DISCERNING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
FORGETTING THE SMALL STUFF – FORGETTING THE 1 OVER THE 99
THINKING WE CAN LEAD A DOUBLE LIFE – REFUSING TO MAKE A CHOICE
WHAT JAMES TEACHES US ABOUT THE TONGUE
A small bit controls a large animal.
Can we control our use of the tongue?
A small piece of wood steers a huge ship in heavy wind.
The tongue, though small, can create grave consequences.
A small spark unleashes a destructive force.
Do we recognize the destructive force our words can have?
People can tame animals.
Can we tame our speech and our impulsive thoughts?
The venom of a snake kills its prey.
Can we keep our words from poisoning us and others?
A spring can produce only one kind of water.
Is our speech a spring that's good or foul?
Trees bear just one kind of fruit.
Is our speech bearing good fruit, or is it mixed with bad?
The tongue can be used for good or evil.
Does our speech reflect our Christian maturity?