July 16, 2017
Words from The Proverbs About Our Words
The Book of Proverbs
Intro.: I read a story this week about the history and therefore the prediction of hurricanes in South Louisiana. Seems that though the actual number of hurricanes making landfall in our state over a long period of time have been minimal – the prediction however is that they will continue to INCREASE in the coming years.
Also in my reading last week I read that the ground soil in the Forrest Hill area has become contaminated and in just a few years not one bush, not one flower, not one plant, not even one tree, will be grown and sold.
This is the most important thing I read this week, from the book of Proverbs – “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Then, I read “The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: . . . and number two on the list is a “lying tongue.”
So, both stories that I shared at the beginning are not true. They were both made up. Not one word of truth in any of them. But I do believe all the words in this book. And if God’s Word tells me that he hates a lying tongue I’m going to believe it.
I’m sure that every one of us here today has said something or written something that we wish we had never said. There have been those times when we wished, oh how we wished we would have held our tongues. I wish I had never told my mother-in-law that I like runt’s candy. For 4-5 years in a row one of my Christmas presents from her was large bag of Runt’s candy.
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” Mark Twain.
Words spoken can’t be unspoken. Once they leave our lips there is no way to get them back. Throughout the book of Proverbs there are over 150 verses that speak to us about the power of our words. On average, a reference to speech appears five times in EACH of the 31 chapters.
This morning I want us to look at three different teaching Proverbs on the tongue, and then I will make three applications about our tongue.
1. Proverbs 6:12-15
A. This Proverb speaks to the one who is “dishonest” with words.
1. A dishonest person is one that is considered to be worthless.
2. It further describes someone who is a troublemaker and who is rebellious in all that is good.
3. He/She is perverse in all their speech and has no regard for truth.
4. This individual is crafty with words in his/her schemes.
5. These verses paint for us a portrait of one who cannot be trusted because of his false words.
6. Notice and notice carefully –his/her deliberate and continual crooked mouth and deceitful actions will lead that individual to calamity.
7. In New Testament language – eternally separated from God if one does not have a change of heart.
8. “As the tree falls, so it must lie.”
2. Proverbs 6:16-19
A. Moving closer to the problem of the heart, the writer now identifies six, yes even seven abominations.
1. Seven things that God says He hates.
2. 5 are parts of the body: eyes, tongue, hands, heart and feet.
3. Two are characteristics of someone that God doesn’t like.
4. Notice in vv. 17 and 19 = lying tongue and liar.
5. Once again the language is heavy on our use of words.
6. Story of Pinocchio: Cobbler created imaginary character who gets in trouble for lying – only to find his nose growing.
7. At the end of the story Pinocchio changes – he goes from being a bad boy to being a good boy.
8. Gepetto “When bad boys become good, their looks change along with their lives.”
9. Theology Lesson: When God changes us from the bad to the good by imputing His righteousness He expects everything about us to change, including our speech.
3. Proverbs 18:20-21
A. If reading those words don’t get your attention nothing will.
1. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.
2. “The power of the tongue is life and death — those who love to talk will eat what it produces.”
3. Of all the powers that man possesses, the power of speech can be the most potent.
4. You and I can use or lips and/or our fingers and with one word bring despair or hope; sorrow or sadness; life or death.
5. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me – lie straight from Satan.
6. All our words have consequences – good and bad.
7. God grieves His most when people say hurtful and critical things about His creation.
8. Careless and frivolous words, criticism, gossip, outburst, mocking words, false words ought not be a part of a changed Christian.
9. Only words of life to all people.
Three Practical Steps about Your Words
I. Your Vocabulary Will Change When Your Heart Changes
A. Speaking or writing words that are not true is not the problem – it’s a heart problem – it’s a surrender problem.
1. “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.” Adrian Rogers.
2. We can’t control our tongues until we let the Holy Spirit control us.
3. That only happens when we submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
II. What You Say and Write Inevitable Reflects the Kind of Person You Are
A. In all or little that we say and write becomes a flashing billboard who hear and read our words.
1. Mom had two statements to me when I would leave the house at a young age: Remember WHO you are and Remember WHOSE you are.
2. Looking back it’s now amazing how fast my words reached my mother before I reached my mother. (cell phones?)
3. “You are what you eat,” “Garbage in and garbage out.”
4. What’s in the well comes up in the bucket!!
5. For some people, even for Christians with potty-mouths – it’s time to change wells.
6. When we were baptized that preacher took us down from our toes to our nose – it all got dunked.
7. Representing a changed heart, a changed life and a change of speech.
III. Christ’s Motto: Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger
A. James 1:19
1. For some people this motto is often reversed.
2. They are slow to hear, quick to speak and always angry.
3. Notice here the understood implications of the ear, the tongue and the temper.
4. Swift to hear = quick to learn the truth.
5. Slow to speak = be cautious in speaking falsely.
6. Slow to anger = don’t be provoked to wrath and destroy your character.
7. Illus.: Office sign in my second church in Oklahoma.
B. “Men have two ears, and but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak.” “The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded with a double row of teeth, to hedge it in, and to keep it within proper bounds.”
1. “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.” Provers 10:19
2. “A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.” Proverbs 25:11.
Conclusion: For those of you who are smarter than me – this message is not teaching that we should never speak. Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut. Oh no, there is a lot more to it.
When God breathed life into the first human beings He intended for them to talk – but He intended for them and us to use our words to encourage and to advance His Kingdom. James told his congregation to “speak words that are good for building up someone who is in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Speaking isn’t the problem, its controlling our tongue. It’s letting the Holy Spirit to guide us in our speech. Remember the wise words from Pinocchio, “When bad boys become good, their looks change along with their lives.”
Prayer: “Lord. I dedicate and consecrate my tongue to you today. I submit my mind, and heart to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I ask the Holy Spirit to be my guide through which all my words, spoken and written will pass from me today.”