Do Our Words Have Power?
Questions and Answers • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 51:33
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We’re continuing this week with our series on “Questions and Answers.”
The title and subject of the message this morning is “Do Our Words Have Power?”
Let me say here that this is not a sermon on Name it and Claim it.
Blab it and Grab it
Proclaim it and Obtain it
Vocalize it and Materialize it
Believe it and Seize it
Gab it and Nab it
Say it don’t Spray it
Turn with me in your Bibles to James 3.
You’ve probably all heard the old nursery rhyme:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
Is that a true statement?
Crazy week. Guess God was preparing me for this message.
The truth is that our words have power.
In fact, look at what the Bible says in Proverbs 18:21:
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Let me summarize that verse for you like this:
Your words are either deadly poison or life-giving fruit. The choice is yours.
Last week we learned that God’s Word is inerrant and infallible.
Man’s words are not.
At some point our mouths are going to get us in trouble.
We are going to offend, hurt, injure, or start a fire with our words.
As we just read in Proverbs, death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Our words have the power to either:
tear down or build up,
wound or heal,
curse or bless,
discourage or encourage,
start wars or offer peace,
damage relationships or restore relationships.
Our words have the power to impact both ourselves and others emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.
In James 3, he is writing about our Christian faith.
Back in Chapter 2, he has just written the famous Scripture, “faith without works is dead.”
In other words, James says that genuine Christian faith will produce a change in heart and a transformed mind that will produce good works.
Good works do not produce salvation, but salvation produces good works.
And here in Chapter 3 James is going to give us one example of how genuine Christian faith produces good works.
And the example he uses is the power of our words.
How do our words provide evidence of genuine Christian faith?
Our words reveal the true condition of our heart.
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
Why are our words so important?
Our words have the power to defile us.
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
What kind of power do our words have over ourselves and others?
In James 3:1-12, James gives us 5 ways that our words have power:
Our Words Have the Power to Condemn
1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Here is a specific warning to those who would desire to become teachers or ministers of the Word of God.
We will be judged more strictly (the KJV says we will receive the greater condemnation), because of the responsibility to faithfully communicate the Word of God.
But Jesus also talked about the power of words to condemn:
36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Idle words are careless words.
Not only intentionally vulgar or blasphemous words, but every idle word.
So is Jesus talking about believers or unbelievers here in this verse? The answer is both.
But wait a minute! I thought that believer’s sins had been taken to Calvary and forgiven? They have, but believers and unbelievers are both going to stand before the throne of God’s judgment one day.
Unbelievers are going to stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment to be judged for their sins.
This judgment takes place after the 7-year Tribulation and the 1000 year Millennial Kingdom.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Believers are going to stand before the Bema Seat or the Judgment Seat of Christ.
10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
As believers, we are not going to stand before God to recieved a sentence for sins. Our sins have already been taken to Calvary and the penalty of sin has already been paid by Jesus.
It is not a question of whether we get to enter Heaven or are sentenced to Hell.
As believers, we are going to stand before the Bema Seat of Christ to be judged for our works and will either gain or lose rewards.
What have we done with the resources and talents that God has given us since we became His followers?
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Our words have eternal significance.
Our Words Have the Power to Control
2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
James reminds us that none of us are perfect.
Our Words have the power to control the direction on our lives.
The point is that we need to focus on controlling our tongues instead of letting our tongues control us.
Our Words Have the Power to Corrupt
5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
James compares our words to the destructive power of a fire.
Our words are not like water. You can pour out a glass of water on the ground and it will not spread and become a flood, but one tiny spark can ignite a fire that will spread and destroy an entire forest!
He says our words:
are a “world of iniquity,”
“world” = “kosmos” which is typically used to refer to the earth.
Here it refers to a system of evil that is against the character of God.
“defiles the whole body,”
You can’t get the smell of smoke out.
Fire will destroy everything in its path.
“sets on fire the course of nature,”
Literally, it is setting “on fire the circle of life.”
Not only does it affect you, but it affects everything and everyone you touch.
Young girl, 14, from New Jersey who took her own life because of bullying at her school.
“is set on fire by hell.”
“hell” = “Gehenna” = Valley of Hinnom.
It is where the ancient Israelites used to sacrifice their children to the false god Molech.
In Jesus’ day, it was the city garbage dump outside Jerusalem.
There was a fire burning there all the time.
It became a symbol of the eternal fire of hell.
That is the symbol that James uses to describe the power our words have to corrupt.
Our Words Have the Power to Conquer
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Even the wildest of beasts can be tamed.
But James, says, “no man can tame the tongue.”
So what hope do we have?
Notice he did not say that the tongue could not be tamed.
He said the tongue cannot be tamed by man.
The Holy Spirit can tame your tongue if you will surrender it to Him.
Our Words Have the Power to Curse
9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
James here gives us a few examples of the hypocrisy of a Christian with an untamed tongue.
Can fresh water and salt water come out of the same well?
Do fig trees produce olives?
Does a grapevine produces figs?
The answer to these questions is obviously no.
So then why do we think it is ok to allow both curses and blessings to come out of our mouth?
Do our words have power?
The answer is yes.
Our words have the power to:
But our words also have the power to:
Our words are either deadly poison or life-giving fruit. The choice is yours.
We can either continue to allow our tongue to be under the control of the sin nature, or we can surrender it to the control of the Holy Spirit.
Here are a couple acronyms that may help you keep your tongue under control:
THINK before you speak:
Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?
Here is one that Chris shared a few weeks back that goes with TACOS:
So before you speak, THINK TACOS!
It will either help you control your words, or it will make you hungry and you will forget what you were going to say!
Let me leave you with this short prayer from the book of Psalms:
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.