Summary: Proverbs tells us that the power of life and death is in our tongue. That tells us that our words are powerful, and we need to use that power wisely.
PROVERBS #3: THE POWER OF YOUR WORDS
“Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do!” (Proverbs 4:7a, NLT).
• In May we are going on a month long journey through the Book of Proverbs.
THE BIG IDEA: Proverbs tells us that the power of life and death is in our tongue. That tells us that our words are powerful, and we need to use that power wisely.
There was a man who lived in New York who was tired of the cold weather, so he decided to go to Florida. His wife was on a business trip at the time so he called her to let her know what he was doing and to tell her to meet him in Florida. When he arrived he sent her an e-mail to let her know he was there, but he got a few letters wrong in the address and instead of going to his wife the e-mail went to a pastor’s wife in Iowa whose husband had died the day before.
The little old lady turned on her computer, read the e-mail, screamed and fainted right on the spot. Her family and friends who were there came in saw her on the floor – and when they read the screen they understood why she fainted.
Dearest darling just wanted you to know I arrived safely. Looking forward to you being with me tomorrow. Signed, your husband. p.s. It sure is hot down here…
KEY TEXT: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Prov. 18:21).
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Prov. 12:18).
• “The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail more than his tongue.”
THE POWER OF WORDS:
“The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (James 3:5-6).
• VIDEO CLIP: Words Hurt!
One dark night, when people were in bed, Mrs. O’ Leary lit a lantern in her shed,
The cow kicked it over, winked its eye, and said, there’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight.
On Sunday evening, October 8, 1871, the Chicago Fire started in the barn of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary. Before the fire died out two days later, it had cut through Chicago three and one-third square miles in size. Property valued at $192,000,000 was destroyed, 100,000 people were left homeless, and 300 people lost their lives. All because of one small spark.
• We need to build a firewall in our speech!
• “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, "I was only joking!” (Prov. 26:18-19). Don’t joke!
WORDS THAT SPEAK DEATH:
Words are like fire: Fire can either be a good or a bad thing. It can be used to warm your home and create an inviting environment, or the same fire can be used to burn down a home.
1. Death Words #1: Lying:
“There are six things the LORD hates -- no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord among brothers.” (Prov. 6:16-19).
• In this list of seven things the Lord hates, two of them deal with lying!
• Proverbs 12:22 tells us that “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” God hates lying!
2. Death Words #2: Strife:
The last item on that list of things the Lord hates is someone who sows discord (Prov. 6:19).
• “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.” (Prov. 17:14).
• God’s Warning to those who stir up strife: “But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond all hope of healing.” (Prov. 6:15).
• QUOTE: “What a serious thing it is to stir up strife, especially among Christian brothers and sisters. That’s why I’m so grieved whenever I see someone stirring up strife in the church. I fear for that person’s well-being, because (of that Scripture).” (Robert Morris, The Power of Your Words).
• One of the reasons why the devil stirs up strife so much is because he knows how powerful unity is. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious anointing oil…For there the Lord commanded the blessing-- Life forevermore.” (Psalm 133).