Summary: Week 13 in a series of messages on the book of James

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A Life of Works Produced By Faith

Part 13

“The Untamable Tongue”

Date: October 20, 2002 P.M. Service

Place: Allendale Baptist Church

Text: James 3:1-12


Tonight, we may seem to be repeating a message on the tongue or speech of the Christian. I feel, as James must it is a very important subject.

It seems to be a very popular topic and subject, and has been for several years, the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Freedom of the press has come to mean, in my personal opinion, to tell you only a one-sided bios, liberal viewpoint. Freedom of speech means you can use the vilest profanity you wish to use. As someone I read put it, I wish someone would pass a Bill through Congress that grants us the freedom of hearing.

James through the truth of God’s Word is testing our faith by the use of our tongue. But I believe James is addressing the use of the believer’s speech. The tongue or what we say is the most dangerous weapon in the world. Some one has made the statement it was a miracle for a donkey to speak in Baalam’s day, but it is a miracle today when he keeps quiet. Someone else put it this way, it takes a baby 2 years to learn to talk, but for some it takes a lifetime to learn to shut up.

As a Christian it should be our desire to say and to use only the words that encourage and exalt the body of Christ.

Let’s look at this passage of Scripture tonight and see…

I. Desirable Speech Is Careful Speech (v.1-5)

A. Teachers have a great responsibility in the truth they teach.

1.It amazes me today at those who claim to be teaching a “New” Revelation from God. Those with great charm and personality, who seem to speak with great oratorical ability. But just never seem to say anything

B. Verse 2

1. Stumble refers to sinning.

2. Perfect man seems to be speaking of true perfection. But we can all testify to the fact that we all sin and stumble in the area of controlling the tongue or speech.

C. Verse 3-5 James gives several analogies that show how the tongue or speech, even though small, has the power to control one’s whole person and influence everything in his life.

II. Dangerous Speech Is Careless Speech. (v. 6-8)

A. It is very obvious that the people James is addressing had a severe problem with their speech

B. He says the tongue is a fire.

1. Like fire, our speech or use of sinful words can spread and destroy all that is around it.

2. Those in our church who work with the Fire Departments nearby can give greater testimonies that I, to what fire can do someone’s home or car.

3. But we need to understand that the smoke of the fire causes serious damage also.

C. This makes me think of some of the harmful speech that we us.

1. Not just profanity…

2. But gossip also

3. And criticism

D. On October 8, 1871, at about 8:30 in the evening, a lantern in Mrs. O’Leary’s was milking her cow and the cow kicked over the lantern and set a wisp of hay on fire which quickly spread from one building to another, across a field and into the nearby town. Within hours that one small flame destroyed the town of Chicago.

E. Dangerous speech is like that of a fire, destroying everything in its path.

Then last…

III. Deceitful Speech is Carnal Speech (v.9-12)

A. With our speech we have the ability to bless God.

1. It was traditional for Jews to add, “blessed be He” when God’s name was mentioned.

2. But we also see the tongue wishes evil on people in God’ name.

3. When I hear someone using profanity that I know is a Christian, I ask them, did you praise the Lord with that same mouth you cussed that person with?

B. It bothers me to her Christians excusing themselves, when they say harmful things by saying; “Well I am just speaking my mind.”

1. God says a fool utters all his mind.

C. Some may say I have the gift of a prophet.

1. I believe Jeremiah was referred to as the weeping prophet.


The importance of the tongue or speech has been expressed in many different ways, & practically every nation has had something to say about it. C.H Spurgeon put it this way in a poem:

The boneless tongue, so small and weak,

Can crush and kill. Declared the Greek.

The tongue destroys a greater hoard,

The Turk asserts, than does the sword.

A Persian proverb wisely saith,

A lengthy tongue-an early death;

Or sometimes takes this form instead,

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