6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: A message about the power of the tongue

6, July 2003

Dakota Community Church

Talk About Tongues


Talk is cheap because the supply always exceeds the demand.

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

Talk is cheap because supply always exceeds demand, yet how many of us realize how powerfully our words affect our lives.

James devotes an entire chapter to the subject.

James 3:1-18

What a power the little muscle in our mouths possesses! James lists four functions of the tongue:

1. Function One: To Gauge.

James 3:1-2

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.

If someone paid you ten cents for every kind word you said about people, and collected five cents for every unkind word, would you be rich or poor?

- The tongue is a spiritual meter

- If we can control it we can control the whole body

- It becomes the gauge for our maturity

- Our faith can never register higher than our words. (That is Important)

Aesop, the ancient storyteller, told this fable: Once upon a time, a donkey found a lion’s skin. He tried it on, strutted around, and frightened many animals. Soon a fox came along, and the donkey tried to scare him, too. But the fox, hearing the donkey’s voice, said, "If you want to terrify me, you’ll have to disguise your bray." Aesop’s moral: Clothes may disguise an ass, but his words will give him away.

2. Function Two: To Guide.

James 3:3-5

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

- Like a ship’s rudder or a horse’s bit, the tongue sets and guides the direction of our lives.

- Like a spark on the kindling, it gets things started.

What words have you spoken about yourself that have taken you in the direction you want to go?

I fear no evil for God is with me, His Word and His spirit comforts me…

What about the opposite?

I’m such an idiot, if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all…

3. Function Three: To Gird.

James 3:6-8

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.


1. To equip or endow.

2. To prepare (oneself) for action.

To prepare for action: "Men still spoke of peace but girded more sternly for war" (W. Bruce Lincoln).

gird (up) (one’s) loins

To summon up one’s inner resources in preparation for action.

You speak to summon up what’s inside you!

Your words add to the strength or fear depending on your focus.

Ephesians 6:14

14Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness

2Timothy 1:6

6Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

4. Function Four: To Guard.

James 3: 9-18

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.

13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

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