Summary: This is the 5th sermon in the series "Momma Says..."

Series: Momma Says… (James)[#5]


James 3:1-12


[You need a tube of toothpaste.]

I have a challenge for someone this morning. I’m going to squeeze the toothpaste out of this tube onto this saucer and I want someone to come put all of the toothpaste back in the tube. Who thinks they can do this? You can’t? You mean that you can’t put that toothpaste back into the tube once it is squeezed out? Of course not, that’s crazy.

Did you know that very same thing is true of the words we speak? Have you ever said something that hurt someone’s feelings and heard them say, "You take that back!" You can’t take it back, can you? Once you have said it, it is said. You can’t put the words back in your mouth any more than you can squeeze this toothpaste back into the tube. That is why we need to be very careful about the things we say. The Bible says, "He who holds his tongue is wise."

“Big ears”, “Dumbo”, “Mickey Mouse”- were just a few of the names that I was called growing up. When I was a 2nd grader, I tried to tape my ears down. Every time I would come home crying about the names I was called, my momma would say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. My mom has told me many things that were correct; but this one is a lie. Words can hurt. The Bible says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword." Our words can cut like a knife. They can hurt others. We all know that God hears every word we say and he knows every thought we have in our mind. It is very important for us to be careful about the things we think and say.

When I Speak What Do Others Learn?

When I speak…

1. Do they learn that I’m real in my religion or I’m a fraud?

James 1:26-27 (NLT)

“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.”

Are you an open book for the ways of Jesus or the Devil? Do you practice what you preach?

When I speak…

2. Do they learn about Jesus Christ?

James 3:1 (NLT)

“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness.”

Your words teach others about who matters most in your life. There is a caution given here to teachers. Be careful what you say because you will be judged more strictly. Which statement best fits your life- People come to me when they want to hear about Jesus or people come to me when they want to hear about someone else?

When I speak…

3. What do they learn about my priorities?

James 3:2-4 (NLT)

“We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong.”

Your words show what matters most to you. What you think about and talk about all the time control you. Are you controlled by things of God or of the world? People can tell by your conversations.

When I Speak What Happens To Others?

When I speak…

1. Do others get burned?

James 3:5-6 (NLT)

“So also, 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.”

When I speak…

2. Do others get poisoned?

James 3:7-8 (NLT)

“People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison.”

When I speak…

3. Do others get confused?

James 3:9-12 (NLT)

“Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool.”


Apparently, people can tell a lot about you from the words that come out of your mouth. What do your words say about you?

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