Summary: A message from James 3 on the power of the tongue.

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Foolproof – A Study of James January 21, 2007

TALKING Faith – James 3:1-12

Video: One Word – from

Recap: A few weeks ago we started a series in James about having a foolproof faith. That is, possessing a faith that can’t be fooled into thinking we have real faith when we’re religious and can’t be fooled into embracing anything not of God if we’re saved. Throughout our series we’ve looked at the qualities of authentic faith that enable us to live God-honoring lives. Today we’re going to talk about the tongue.

Idea: The tongue is a fascinating muscle. W/ it, our taste-buds offer pleasure by telling our minds if something is sweet or sour, spicy or bitter. It allows us to shape thoughts into sounds to share words that express our ideas and emotions.

Idea: Our tongues aren’t all good. W/ it we can sabotage relationships and inflict pain. Someone once mistakenly said, "Stick and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Truth is, sticks and stones can break bones, but words can crush a spirit, assassinate a character, and destroy a relationship.

Note: Here is the thing about words. They reflect what is in our hearts. The tongue is the bucket that dips into the well of our heart. (stick out your tongue)

I The NATURE of the Tongue

Note: What is the tongue? How does it work? Why does it have such great control in our lives? Why is it necessary to gain control over this muscle?

Note: Every tongue is capable of the most grotesque and hideous of sins. The Bible describes the tongue as wicked, perverse, corrupt, vile, complaining, slanderous, cursing, foolish, filthy, blasphemous, sensual and gossiping. It’s no wonder God put the tongue in a cage behind the teeth. The tongue discloses the inner you and it is a tattletale revealing the contents of your heart.

Trans: The tongue is of great concern to God. In James alone, the tongue is cited in every chapter (1:19; 2:12; 3:1-12; 4:11; 5:12) – ch. 3 provides the most insight. But in the context of having a foolproof faith, James says the tongue is the best device to measure the depth of our commitment. He says the genuineness of a person’s faith will invariably be demonstrated by his speech.

Note: Jesus said – You can be sure that on the Judgment Day you will have to give account of every useless word you have ever spoken. Your words will be used to judge you – to declare you either innocent or guilty. Mt.12:36-37.

Note: This means that your spiritual temperature can be measured by the thermometer of your words. If your nature has been transformed then your speech/behavior will be transformed revealing that your nature has been redeemed.


A The Tongue is DEFINING

Text: Not many of you should presume to be teachers, b/c you know 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.

Note: While no one’s perfect, words confirm the validity and maturity of a one’s faith.

Word: stumble – to trip or to fall. The idea is feet that stumble bring the body crashing to the ground just as ungodly words reveal a faltering faith.

Story: When I was 6, I played 55 lb. football (thigh pads hit your knees and knee pads hit you ankles – and you look like a human bobblehead). We were in the super bowl down 6 w/ a minute to play and I had the opportunity for Hall of Fame stardom. I received a kick-off and was running up the field when a hole opened up and there was nothing b/w me and the goal line. As my little legs motored toward the goal line and certain stardom, I tripped over a blade of grass and came crashing to the ground on my opponent’s 4 yard line. Instantly I went from hero to goat. The thrill of victory gave way to the agony of the feet. In my immaturity, I tripped over my own two feet and my team lost the game.

Word: perfect – mature and complete. The idea is that maturity in Christ is directly related to the words we speak. If we’re able to control our tongues then it reveals that we’re mature and wise. Adversely, if we can’t hold our tongues, then we reveal the immaturity and possible lostness of our faith.

Word: bridle – refers to the horsemanship of an expert horseman. An expert horseman knows how to rein in his horse and control his movements. In the same way, a mature believer knows how to control his conversations. He knows when to listen, when to speak, and what to say – always measuring his words.

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