Summary: The secret to victory...any victory, is closeness with Jesus...knowing Him...drawing near to His presence will reveal what is in our hearts. The reason many Christians continue to gossip and slander is because they never really have been close to Christ.
LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS
JAMES 3:1 12
Last week I spoke to you about the thoughts that come into our minds and how we can hatch snake eggs and weave spider webs if we don't begin to learn to think Scripturally. We have to be very careful about our thought life.
I also printed Philippians 4:8 on the back of the bulletins so that we could put it somewhere that we would see it often, hoping that it would make an impact on our daily lives.
This is how we should train ourselves to think...according to the truth of that passage. But the average Christian just lets his mind wander anywhere it wants to, and that is why it becomes trained in the wrong areas.
Today I want to pick up where I left off last week...because the way we think is so very important because it is going to be evident in how we live. And this morning I want to show you how the heart...or the way we think and what we think...controls that most unruly part of our bodies...the mouth!
READ James 3:1 12
In this passage James is talking about the tongue...but he is very specific in whose tongue he is talking about...„ªand it is that of believers„«. He is issuing a call to the church to gain control of their tongues...before they are destroyed by them.
Now just how serious is this matter of taming the tongue? Is it really all that sinful? Especially when we look at the larger picture of our lives. Many Christians right now are waging intense warfare against a lot of serious situations.
In fact, many are facing the fight of their lives...whether it is relational issues, or a battle with certain habits or lifestyles...or spiritual apathy and dryness...maybe financial difficulties..whatever.
And you may wonder how I could compare a loose tongue to the kind of battle you're engaged in.
But this morning I want to tell you that an untamed tongue is the world's deadliest weapon. It is worse than drug or alcohol abuse... worse than any sin of the flesh...Look at v. 6
This is tough stuff we are dealing with this morning...but the rewards of addressing and dealing with this issue are worth the pain. This morning I want to show you from God's Word just how dangerous and damning and unruly tongue is.
And the first thing is probably one of the most horrible.
A careless, unruly tongue negates everything spiritual in your life! A loose tongue renders all religion absolutely worthless. It can make every spiritual activity totally useless in the eyes of God.
Look at 1:26 (READ)
Now I want to make sure that we are clear in who this is talking about. In the original Greek this verse reads "If any who is religious !"among you"„Ç...again speaking of those in the church.
These aren't drug addicts or unsaved people of the world...they are part of the body of Christ who appear spiritual, holy...people who are active in the work of the Lord. But their tongues are unbridled and out of control.
James is zeroing in on those who seem to be loving and kind and gentle but who move about the church...or on their job...or in their family with acid tongues..always listening to, and telling morsels of gossip.
They think nothing of murmuring and complaining.
But God says that all their religion...all their show of spirituality is in vain. It's valueless...worthless! And what a shame. I know people who have done good, compassionate, caring things for others... people who would almost seem willing to give their lives for others.
And yet it is all in vain because they, at the same, time spew out words that Jesus says will condemn them. But how can that be?
Matthew 12:34 37 (READ)
Here we are looking at Jesus as He was teaching the Pharisees, and we see what He thought about the words of our mouths. And there are few places where Jesus states things any more plain and clear.
And what does He say..."What is in your heart is going to come out of your mouth." It's just that simple. Now, you might cover it up for a while, but just as soon as you get aggravated or you get the opportunity...it is going to come out of your mouth right from the heart!
They say that when a person gets drunk they start to tell on themselves...because they start acting like they really are. They let go. Well Jesus is saying that your mouth is telling what is really in your heart...drunk or sober.
Then in v. 37 He says, "........." Now, if you want to see how true that is, just get arrested. One of the first things the arresting officer will do is read you your rights...and one of those rights is the right to remain silent. Why? Because whatever you say can be used against you. And the same thing is true in the spiritual.