Summary: This Sunday was "You Choose the Words" Sunday which focused on our need to choose our words carefully so that God’s message may be heard in spite of the messenger.

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Our Words Mean So Much

James 3:1-12 (quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)

“You Choose the Words Sunday”

[Note: The congregation submitted five words of which I picked out three to use in the sermon. The words in between the ****’s are the sermon. The rest is what was given on the handout so people could follow along.]

Wakelee Church ~ October 31, 2004

Theme: We need to choose our words carefully so that God’s message may be heard in spite of the messenger.

Introduction – Computers and Telephone Calls

Every instance can be an opportunity to prove how

much we care by our choice of words.

___ greed ___ thankful ___ time will tell

___ together


Illus. – computer going down – originally called repairman about computer – ended up talking about his father’s death - the greed of his father’s insurance, how thankful he was to be together with his father at

his bedside before he passed away.

Time will tell about the computer, but that became less important as the choice of words needed to change in order to match the situation. Every instance can be an opportunity to prove how much we care by our choice of words.


I – Our Chosen Words are Powerful (verses 3-6)

“The tongue is a small organ, but it can control and

influence major events in life.”

___ children ___ sandbox ___ marbles

___ praise ___ serve ___ love

___ undying love ___ concern ___ encourage

___ good morning ___ how are you ___ caring

___ forgiving ___ gently ___ guiding


And I don’t believe that many of us recognize how powerful our words are. Our scripture talks about bits that control the horse, the rudder that turns the ships, and the small fire that may eventually consume us, as examples.

One only needs to have children near you to understand this concept. With a four and five-and-a-half year old living in the house, I’ve had to learn the hard way that if I’m forgiving, if I show undying love, if I am gently guiding and caring, then that is what will be repeated in the sandbox or when they’re playing marbles.

Unfortunately, though the other stuff is repeated as well. If you want to realize how you’re coming across as a parent, just watch your kids when they don’t know you’re watching. Our chosen words are powerful.

In fact, they are so powerful, that they can show our praise, they can lead us to serve, and cause us to love. We can show our concern through our words, while we take the time to encourage another.

As I’ve said before, far beyond the “Good Morning” and “How are You” greetings we use without even thinking, our chosen words can do more than just fill up air space. In fact, they can heal and they can hurt, causing rebellion, and double-mindedness.


II – Our Chosen Words may be Rebellious and Double-

Minded (verses 7-12)

“No once can tame the rebellious nature of the tongue especially when the same tongue is uses to both bless God and to insult God at the same time.”

___hypocrite ___ integrity ___ principles

___ authority ___ responsibility

___ faithful ___ company


Illus. – two older ladies at Pizza Hut – We had just finished raking leaves here at the church, when we decided to head over to Dowagiac. I was in jeans, a white t-shirt and my heavy green plaid shirt - both had Christian bumper stickers on their car, both were gossiping through their whole conversation.

Part of me wanted, so desperately, as a person of pastoral authority to confront these two chatter boxes and have them admit their responsibility. That would have been difficult, though. I really didn’t look the pastor type.

But, in any case, it got me to thinking. When I speak, am I talking about the company I’m speaking to or am I gossiping? When I speak, am I cognicient that what I am saying, do the words I choose take away from whom I claim to be in Christ?

If we want to be a person who stands on their principles, if we want to be a person who is know for their integrity, if we want to be faithful, then we need to stop acting like a hypocrite when it comes to the choice of our words.

James said that “no one can tame the tongue.” In fact, he goes on to say past the verses read this morning that it is through God’s wisdom and his wisdom alone, that this ability comes to control this little part in our body.

Without such control, the rebellious and double-minded nature of the tongue can literally take over especially when we using that organ to bless God today and insult God’s creation tomorrow.

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