Summary: This is the first in a series of messages dealing with the importance of our speech as followers of Christ.
KEEPING MY TONGUE ON THE CUTTING EDGE
“The Little Problem”
ILLUSTRATION: Perhaps you remember some of these ACTUAL descriptions of accidents that were written on insurance claim forms:
§ “I pulled form the side of the road, glanced at my Mother-In-Law, and headed for the embankment.”
§ “The pedestrian had no idea which way to run, so I ran over him.”
§ “The guy was all over the road; I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.”
§ "The pedestrian ran for the pavement, but I got him."
§ "When I saw I could not avoid a collision I stepped on the gas and crashed into the other car."
§ "I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection a hedge sprang up obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car."
§ "In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."
§ "The car in front hit the pedestrian but he got up so I hit him again"
§ "Windscreen broken. Cause unknown. Probably Voodoo."
§ "I didn’t think the speed limit applied after midnight"
§ "I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk."
§ The claimant had collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were - Q: What warning was given by you? A: Horn. Q: What warning was given by the other party? A: Moo.
Communication is expressing how we feel and what we think, yet it is increasingly difficult to communicate in such a way that our speech honors the Lord. What we say and how we say it can either have a tremendously positive effect OR a tremendously negative affect.
Over the next several weeks we are going to be looking at the chief proponent in our ability to communicate – our tongue.
Job, I think says it best when thinking about the tongue.
Job 19:2 "How long will you torment me and crush me with words?
I THE UNIVERSAL PROBLEM OF THE TONGUE
James 3:2 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.
A We All Stumble In Many Areas
1 The tongue catches EVERYBODY
2 Regardless of POSITION
3 Regardless of DESIRE
B To Be “STUMBLE FREE” Is A Measure Of Maturity
1 Maturity is MEASURED by our tongues
James 1:26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
2 The Tongue Speaks What Is In The Heart And The Mind
Matthew 12:34-37 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
II THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TONGUE – JAMES 3:3-12
A The Tongue is SMALL BUT INFLUENTIAL
James 3:3-5 When 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.
1 The Horse and the Bit – 3:3
a The bit controls something far bigger than itself
b The bit ultimately breaks the will of the horse by exercising pressure to bring about submission.
OUR TONGUE IS THE VISIBLE PRESSURE OUR MINDS PLACE ON US TO BRING US INTO SUBMISSION
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
2 The Ship and the Rudder – 3:4
a Rudders force change slowly
b Rudders execute change long before the event is observable
c Rudders execute a small change over a long distance to produce a big change when completed
3 The Spark the Ignites – 3:6
a Fire is a force that does IRREPARABLE DAMAGE!
1) The whole course of life – literally the “circle of life.