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Summary: So let me ask you this, are you walking the walk and talking the talk? Or are you like the dull knife James Brown sings about, "a dull knife that just ain’t cutting, talking loud but saying nothing."

Sermon b y Dr. M. Marshall Woodard III

Talk Is Cheap, The Walk Says Everything.

Text: James 3:1-12, Supportive Scripture/Matthew 15:8

Have you ever had someone say to you, "I see that you can ’Talk the talk,’ but can you ’Walk the walk? As I was reading the scriptures for today, I began to think about that question, and wondered if my life could measure up to it.

In our lives, and particularly and importantly in our "spiritual" lives, if we’ve been called to follow the teachings of Jesus, that phrase could become very important to us. You see my brothers and my sisters, for some of us it may describe "what we should be doing," as opposed to "what we are doing."

We spoke to you from the book of Romans, about the just living by faith. Well have you reflected on your faith walk lately, and if you have, were you satisfied with what you found? Were you pleased as you reflected on how others see you? For many of us that question may be a pretty easy, comforting one to answer-or is it?

So let me ask you this, are you walking the walk and talking the talk? Or are you like the dull knife James Brown sings about, "a dull knife that just ain’t cutting, talking loud but saying nothing."

The book of James is the "how to" manual for the Christian life. It gives practical advise on things like temptation, patience, boasting, quarreling, prayer and shows us that real faith starts by living out what we believe. Thank God that He gives us chance after chance to get it right.

The Tongue and how to control it: James 3:1-12

In chapters 1-2 we have seen how James explains the two characteristics of the mature Christian: patient in trouble, and practicing the truth. In chapter 3 he shares the third characteristic of the mature believer: power over the tongue

Power to Direct: The Bit and the Rudder (James 3:1-4)

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We 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. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or 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.”

The Power to Destroy: The fire and the animal (James 3:5-8)

“Likewise 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. The 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. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

Power to Delight: The Spring & the Tree (James 3:9-12)

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same

spring? My brothers, can a fig-tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Well let’s look at our supportive text as I try to find a place to park. Matthew 15:8 “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

There are many who give lips service, instead of heartfelt service today, but this is nothing new. In fact the Book of Jonah is a story about a man who rebelled against God and then was swallowed by a great fish. But the Book of Jonah is not about a fish; in fact, only three verses deal with the fish. The other forty-five verses tell us the real message of Jonah’s story. It is a story of someone like you and me. It is a story of his struggles, problems, and the power that come from a prayer life.

A lot of things are opened by mistake, but none so often as the mouth. Jonah’s profession did not match his practice. He was talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Our words my hide our thoughts, but our actions will reveal them. Actions speak louder than words. If he really feared God he would not have been on a ship going to Tarshish when God told him to go to Nineveh. But think God for a second chance.

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