Summary: Wild beasts can be tamed, but not the human tongue. That is, it cannot be tamed except the Spirit of God do it. The Lord has used this sermon to help our people to season their speech with grace. My outline, developed years ago, is the same as an outline

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T-H-I-N-K Before You Speak

Calvary Baptist Church


Matthew 16:23; James 3:1-12 et. al.


In Matthew 16:23, Peter stands in front of Jesus. Peter, as always, had something to say. Jesus then said, “Get behind me, Satan.” Satan wasn’t standing there, at least not in the flesh. Peter was. But Peter had just used his mouth to say what the Devil wanted said. Believers can do that too!

Psalm 52:2 Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

Psalm 140:3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.


James 3:1–12

NOTE: I may preach this passage by itself soon. Go lightly. See Brian Bill, “Taming the Tongue” for a wonderful presentation of the imagery in James 3. (6 images) Sermon central.

1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.


3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

• The bit, controlled by a strong hand, puts in check the wild nature of the horse.

ILLUS: My experience of riding at the Awanita Ranch in Traveler’s Rest. I let the horse stop and get a mouth full of grass. I don’t know how that affected the bit, but it sure did. Through the woods I went, dodging limbs left and right.


4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.

• The rudder keeps the ship on course against the wind and waves that would send it in dangerous directions.


5b Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

Illus: The fire near the home where I grew up. I tried to burn out some brush. It got out of control in a heartbeat. I called my brother to help. We had to give up and call the fire department.

ILLUS: After Karen Carpenter died of heart failure at the age of 32 brought on by years of fighting an eating disorder, it came out that her fatal obsession with her weight was triggered by a single reviewer’s comment. When referring to Karen, this man called her “Richard’s chubby sister.” While I’m sure there were other factors attributing to Karen Carpenter’s struggles, this one comment unleashed a flurry of self-doubt, which led to her eventual disease and death. We really need to watch our words, don’t we? Brian Bill


7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

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