Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: 1. The peril (vs. 1-2). 2. The power (vs. 3-8). 3. The poison (vs. 8). 4. God’s push (vs. 9-12). 5. God’s power (vs. 8-9).

Christianity Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Part 7: Taking on Our Tongue Trouble

James 3:1-12

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - March 25, 2012

*Have you had any trouble with your tongue trouble this week?

-Did you say some things you just shouldn’t have said?

-What about the things you really should have said, but didn’t?

*All of us have tongue trouble from time to time, but God wants to help us. And James 3 is one of the best places to get that help. How does God help us here?

1. First, He stresses the peril of tongue trouble.

*So in vs. 1&2, James said:

1. My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

2. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

*Verse 1 in the KJV says, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

*James is mainly talking about preachers and teachers here, but what he says applies to all of us on some level. And what is the judgment or condemnation he mentions in vs. 1? -- Is he talking about losing our salvation? -- No.

*Here James is talking about the chastening Hand of God that we see in Hebrews 12:4-7, which tells believers:

4. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

5. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;

6. For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives."

7. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

*James is also reminding us of the judgment seat of Christ, as he will do again in James 5:9, where he said: “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”

*In Romans 14:10-12, the Apostle Paul also warned us about the judgment seat of Christ. -- There Paul asked:

10. . . . Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."

12. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

*God cares about what we say, so He stresses the peril of tongue trouble.

2. Then He shows us the power of our tongues.

*And the Lord does this starting in vs. 3, where James said:

3. Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.

4. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

5. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. . .

*God wants us to know here that your tongue has great power for good -- or for evil.

[1] Your tongue has the power to change the whole direction of your life. That’s why James reminds us that little things can have great power.

-In vs. 3 he gives illustration of the bit in horse’s mouth.

-In vs. 4 he gives illustration of a ship’s rudder.

*Little things that can change the direction of big things. Tim George gave the example of two warships that had the largest full-load displacement in the world: U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.

*The USS Nimitz and Dwight D. Eisenhower each weigh about 91,000 tons.

-They are over 1,000 feet long and can travel over 30 knots per hour, powered by engines that can generate 280,000 horsepower.

*Each of those carriers is manned by a crew of 6,100. But as big as these ships are, they are both turned by one man steering a rudder 1/1000th the size of the ship. A tiny rudder can change the direction of those great ships. 1)

*And your tiny tongue can change the whole direction of your life.

-If you don’t believe it, just think about cussing your boss out at work.

-Or think back to the time when you said those two little words: “I do.”

*Your tongue has the power to change the whole direction of your life.

[2] And in vs. 5&6, your tongue can bring on disaster. Here James said:

5. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

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