Summary: Part 5 of 7 in our teaching series, "TRUE RELIGION" For more information, email or visit

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:: Powerful Words

I hate you -- you disgust me -- I wish you had never been born -- I wish you were dead -- you make me sick -- I want a divorce -- nobody cares about you – I’ll never speak to you again

I love you -- you’re important to me -- thank you so much -- how can I repay you -- you look amazing -- great job -- this place wouldn’t be the same without you – I’m proud of you -- you are irreplaceable -- will you marry me – we’re having a baby

>> Which set of powerful words do you find yourself more moved by?

>> Which category would your words find themselves in most often?

The power of words and our speech is undeniable. The Bible gives us an example of this power in the story of the life of Job. While watching him endure extreme hardship, Job’s friends offer their thoughts and insights into his plight, intending to support and comfort him. After they have spoken Job cries out:

“How long will you torment me and crush me with words?” [Job 19:1]

If you count the number of times that Job’s friends had spoken to him you will find that there were only five. But those five brief conversations involved words that deeply hurt Job, leaving him in despair and anguish.

:: The Letter of James

• Words shape and direct us

• Words display what is in our heart

• Words demonstrate our faith

[James 3:1-12]

1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

:: Our Words Indicate Our Direction

James uses the illustration of a bit and a rudder. These small components of a guidance system are crucial to the overall effectiveness of that system; if they are working incorrectly or are uncontrollable, the direction will be inaccurate.

Proverbs 12:18 -- Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 18:21 – Words kill, or words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.

:: Our Words Create or Destroy

Once a word is out of our mouth, it is irrecoverable… which is why we must carefully judge not only what we say, but how and when we say it.

Proverbs 18:6-7 – The words of a fool start fights; do him a favor and gag him. Fools are undone by their big mouths; their souls are crushed by their words.

Ephesians 4:29-30 – Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

• Our words can refresh and encourage someone that is discouraged and ready to give up and quit.

• Words can give new life to a dead relationship

• The Greek definition for encourage is “one who puts courage IN the heart of another”

:: Our Words Display What is in Our Heart

And this includes our relationship with God and our relationships with others.

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