Summary: Part 2 in series from Proverbs dealing with the use of the tongue.

Wise Mouths

Proverbs and The Tongue

I. Introduction

A. We are a nation of talkers

1. On average we engage in 35 conversations per day.

2. We spend almost 25% of our lives talking.

3. We speak enough words each year to fill a 53,000 page novel.

4. Talk radio, TV talk shows, over 100 million cell phones.

B. Words are powerful

1. A judge denies a stay of execution and a prisoner is executed.

2. A gossip spreads a rumor and a reputation is blemished.

3. A respected adult uses profanity and faith is weakened.

4. A mother says she wished a child was never born and a life of self-doubt begins.

C. We should never underestimate the powers of words

1. Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

2. For every word written in Hitler’s Mein Kampf, 125 people died in WW II.

3. James admonishes us to be careful with the tongue

a) We are to be swift to hear and slow to speak – James 1:19

b) He describes the tongue as an unruly evil – James 3:8

c) He show that the tongue can be used to bless and curse – James 3:10

II. Speech is a gift of God

A. The ability to speak is a part of human make-up

1. God has used words to communicate with man and make us in His image or likeness – Genesis 1:26-27

2. Proverbs 16:1 – “The answer of the tongue is from the Lord”

3. God gave to Adam the ability to speak and Adam named the animals, named his bride and other things.

B. Speech is therefore valuable

1. Proverbs 10:20 – “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver.”

2. Proverbs 25:11-12 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a silver setting. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.”

C. Speech should be refreshing and healthy

1. Like refreshing water

a) 10:11 – “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life.”

b) 13:14 – “The law of the wise is a fountain of life.”

c) 18:4 – “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters. The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.”

2. Like nourishing food

a) 10:21 – “The lips of the righteous feed many.”

b) 15:4 – “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.”

c) 16:24 – “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

d) 18:20 – “A man’s stomach is satisfied from the fruit of his mouth.”

III. Speech should be used to do good

A. Words can bring peace

1. Proverbs 15:1 – “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh word stir up anger.”

2. Proverbs 12:18 – “There is one who speaks like the piercing sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health."

3. Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemaker, for they shall be called sons of God.”

B. Words can restore those who have fallen away

1. 28:23 – “He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.”

2. 10:17 – “He who refuses reproof goes astray.”

3. Jesus urges us to go to a sinning brother in hopes of restoration – Matthew 18:15ff

4. We are to go in humility and teach those that are in opposition to God – 2 Timothy 2:24-26

C. Words can instruct the ignorant

1. Proverbs 15:7 – “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge”

2. Proverbs 16:21 – “The wise in heart will be called prudent and sweetness of the lips increases learning.”

3. Parents are to instruct their children – Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:1-13

4. Older women are to instruct the younger – Titus 2:2-3

D. Words can encourage those who are burdened

1. Proverbs 12:25 – “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”

2. Proverbs 15:23 – “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth and a word spoken in due season, how good it is.”

3. Proverbs 16:24 – “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb.”

4. Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted – Luke 4:18

IV. Words can also be used for evil

A. We hurt others by lying

1. Proverbs 12:19 – “The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

2. Proverbs 14:5 – “A faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness speaks lies.”

3. Proverbs 19:5 – “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.”

4. Remember that the ears hear what the heart loves – Make it truth!

B. We hurt others by gossiping

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