Summary: One of the hardest things to do, but what is needed for a believer to grow and be a disciple of Christ

Taming the tongue

James chapter 3:1-12


Sermon this morning is titled “taming the tongue”

That is a oxymoron. Oxymoron is words together that are contradictory to each other. Example: Clearly misunderstood, Awful good, Found missing, Small crowd. Tame tongue would be one also.

Because without God’s help that muscle can get people in trouble.

The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue.

Our text is from the book of James this morning and deals with our tongues directly.

There probably not one of us here this morning that has not wished they could take back something they have said.

Either it was said wrong and you want to correct it, or it was hurtful. No matter how you try to fix it, you cannot.

We all handle the words of our tongue in different ways.

My mother who raised two boys by herself let us know real fast that if we didn’t watch our mouth, that she would gladly take care of that for us.

Our tongue or the words that come off our tongue has the potential to lift people up or destroy them.

Has the power to tell the truth or tell a lie. It has the ability to praise God or curse God, sometimes at the same time.

Let’s see what James has to say about that muscle in your mouth that most of the time is hidden, but uncontrolled can do some damage.

James chapter 3:1-12

Bible study this week we were in Luke 5- Jesus is addressing the Pharisees because they are upset that Jesus is spending time with tax collectors and sinners.

Jesus says “It is not the healthy who needs a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

This message may not be for the one this morning that is controlling their tongue.

It may be for the one that realizes maybe they have been hurtful with words and never realized that maybe being right is only ½ the answer. The other ½ may be the way we bring the truth, and how we must do some damage control.

It was always taught “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.”

Someone has said great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.

James is addressing a group of small minded people who gossiped and tore each other apart.

There is a reason that the Bible tells us that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

It goes as far to tell us if we don’t keep a tight rein on our tongue, we deceive ourselves and our religion is actually worthless.

I think our words are like a yo-yo. If it does not roll down and roll back up, it ain’t working!

If a boomerang does not come back, it is not a boomerang!

Ever see a yo-yo that is not working. You can throw it out, it is a mess!

Back to the text-

He begins by telling us that not many of you should be teachers. Because those that teach will be judged more harshly by the Lord.

I think some people just like to talk. They can say a lot of words that mean nothing!

I think some want to teach just because they like the attention.

He says that all stumble in many ways (2) I say Amen to that!

How many of us have put their foot in their mouth a time or two?

He goes on to say that if we were careful, that a perfect man is able to keep his whole body in check.

The word perfect here is the Greek word that is a banking term that pictures a note that comes due. If we are able to discipline our tongue, we can prove that we are a mature believer.


A newly appointed young preacher was contacted by the local funeral director to hold a graveside committal service at a small country cemetery in Iowa. There was to be no funeral, just the committal, because sadly, the deceased had no family or friends in Iowa. The young pastor started early to the cemetery, but lost his way on the long back roads. After backtracking many miles , he finally arrived, a half hour late. The hearse was nowhere in sight, and the workmen were relaxing under a near- by tree, eating their lunch. The pastor went to the grave and found that the vault lid was already in place. He took out his book and read the service. As he returned to his car, one of the workmen paused between bites and said, think we should have told him that’s a septic tank?

Sometimes not to say anything when we should is stumbling also. James teaches us a lesson as he writes about the tongue. It is not very big, but it has enormous power.

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