Summary: James teaches us the destructive nature of the tongue and how we can tame the tongue to be used to glorify God - basic outline from John MacArthur Commentary on James

INTRODUCTION, Can you name the muscle in your body that receives the most exercise and less control than any other?

Medically, they say it’s only a 2-ounce slab of muscle, membrane and nerves that allows us to taste, chew, swallow and articulate words.

It is called the tongue. The Bible tells us the tongue is an amazing creation, able to…

¿ Deceive

¿ Devour

¿ Praise

¿ Flatter

¿ Backbite

James calls the tongue a beast – imagine

But I want you to know the tongue is not the real problem – In Matthew 15, Jesus addresses the culprit, which controls the tongue.

Matt 15:10-11, 17-19, [10] Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. [11] What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ’unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ’unclean.’"[17] "Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? [18] But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ’unclean.’ [19] For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

The tongue is neither friend of foe it is merely a messenger that dictates the state of one’s heart.

This morning as we continue our series on EXTREME MAKEOVER FOR THE SOUL I want us to look at the idea of a pierced tongue.

It is the tongue, which must be tamed in order for us to look good to God. I think I can honestly say today that most of the problems we have in our church is because of a wagging tongue.

¿ Gossip

¿ Negativity

¿ Backbiting

¿ Character Assignation

All are a result of a tongue that is out of control.

John MacArthur shared an illustration, which was very frightening when you think of the power of the tongue.

Scientist maintain that once a word is uttered, a sound wave is set in motion on a continuous never-ending journey, and that, if we had the sophisticated instruments any sound can be captured and reproduced at anytime.

Imagine every word you have ever uttered could be retrieved for all to listen to again! Friend God needs no such instrument and Jesus states plainly, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Matt 12:36-37

This morning I want to challenge you to look at the dangers the tongue brings to your life and then I want us to look at a few ways we can MAKEOVER this so called beast!


1. The Dangers of the tongue

A. The tongue has the potential to condemn

¿ Command given – Don’t strive to be a teacher

James is not condemning teachers, but what he is condemning are the people who simply want to talk to be heard.

¿ Explanation – because we all stumble

Since no one is infallible it is important that the teacher learn to control his tongue so he will not be subject to a stricter judgment.

There is a great responsibility that comes from teaching others. The words we speak, the way we interpret scripture is open to scrutiny. James is not discouraging people from teaching rather he is stressing control. Paul encouraged Timothy – Study to show you approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15

B. The tongue has the power to control

¿ The tongue has an incredible power to control our lives. James gives us two illustrations of how something small can control something large. FIRST HE POINTS TO A HORSE’S BIT, placed in the horses moth correctly it can force a horse into service. Whether it is for riding, pulling a wagon or a plow – that bit controls the horse. So it is for the Christian if we are going to be used for God we must control our tongue.

¿ The Second Illustration is that of a boat controlled by a rudder. Regardless of the size of the ship – it is controlled not by the wind, nor by the sail nor by the engine but by the small rudder guided by the pilot of the boat. In the same way we can seek out to do and live our best but if we do not control the tongue we are helpless.

¿ Like the bit in a horse and the rudder on the boat, the tongue has the ability to control the rest of us. It is the master control of the entire body.

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