Faithlife Sermons

Open Mouth, Insert foot

The Ultimate Conversion   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:37:14
0 ratings

Memorial Day Service - We thank all those who gave their lives so that we have our Freedom. Message from James Chapter 3

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

What you say matters!

Today we are going to look at speech, because what you say really does matter. Let’s look at Proverbs 18:21
Pr 18:21; Jas 3:1–12
Proverbs 18:21 ESV
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

It has the power of life and death.

Humor Pill

Before we get down to business, let’s start off with a little humor pill. Since it is Memorial day weekend I thought this one would be appropriate, and you may have heard this one before, but in case you haven’t
Rest In Peace
One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The plaque was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it. The seven year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside him and said quietly, “Good morning, Alex.”
Good morning, Pastor,” replied the young man, still focused on the plaque. “Pastor McGhee, what is this?” Alex asked.
“Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the men and women who have died in the service.”
Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex’s voice was barely audible when he finally managed to ask, “Which service pastor, morning or evening ?”

Honoring our fallen soldiers

This weekend America celebrates Memorial Day. People gather with family and friends and picnic, grill out and some barbecue, I separate the two because I’m a purist concerning barbecue, grilling hamburgers and hot dogs isn’t a barbecue even though that’s what some folks call it. There are concerts and fireworks, just about everybody loves a good fireworks show. With all this sometimes the meaning of the holiday is lost, people remember their family members who have gone on, or confuse it with Veterans Day, which is of course a separate holiday unto itself. Memorial Day is the time where we should remember not only our family members who have served in the military and lost their lives, but all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in battle defending our great country, our liberty and freedom that we so cherish and love.

The History of Memorial Day

I just want to give a short brief, and by no means complete history of Memorial day. American’s have always honored those lost in battles, but it wan’t until the war of Northern Aggression, or as it is more commonly known, the Civil War, where over 600,000 American’s from both the North and South lost their lives that burial and memorialization took on new cultural significance. The women of the South were the first to honor their fallen family members by placing flowers on the graves of loved who perished as early as 1861. A “Memorial Day” holiday was in practice in the South since 1866, and later in 1868 changed the name after the North started to copy the practice and changed the name to “Confederate Memorial Day” some Southern States still call it that to this day. The “Confederate Memorial day” was celebrated on various dates ranging from April 25 to mid-June were adopted in different Southern states. Later the North started copying the South’s Memorial Day and called it “Decoration day” . It was on May 5, 1868 that a Union Veteran General General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for "Decoration Day" to be observed annually and nationwide. It was observed for the first time that year on Saturday May 30.It wan’t until after World War 1, when the North and South came together to commemorate “Memorial Day” on May 30th each year, but it wan’t until after World War 2 that the official name of “Memorial Day” was adopted.
Memorial Day is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May due to the Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 . This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Tap

Back to James- Chapter 3 (What you say matters)

This week I wanted to get my Sermon done early so i wouldn't be up til 4 in the morning like last weekend. I started on several different topics, but nothing seemed to click. So i started praying every day for the Lord to give me the direction to go, and Thursday the Lord opened my eyes. If you recall, before Mother’s Day we were in the Book of James , and that’s where I feel the Lord wants us to be.
Today we will be looking at James chapter 3, in this chapter, James is addressing speech, and if he were writing it today, he’d probably include, what we write as well, in text, e-mails and social media post like Facebook and Twitter. We will also be looking at Proverbs to see what it says about our speech.
I think this is really important, because what we say really does matter, and our words are very powerful.
With His word God spoke everything into existence, and in John 1:1 Jesus is referred to as the Word.
John 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So now let’s turn to James Chapter 3 and see what he has to say.
James 3:1 ESV
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
Let me tell you when you feel the call to preach, this is the one that really hits home, because it shows how serious a matter this is with the Lord. That’s why I want to make sure when I get up to preach everything I say is backed by God’s word.
It’s not just when I preach either, because I have found out, people are listening, and reading everything I say. Everyone has things that they are passionate about, social issues, politics, religious doctrine, and I am no different. But I have learned sometimes before I say or type, I should think hard about how it will affect, or influence others, and if it is something from God, or just something from a worldly personal perspective.
James 3:2–4 ESV
2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
James 3:5–6 ESV
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

In Jas. 3:6 Gehenna, like the bottomless pit in Rev. 9:1ff.; 11:7, appears to be the source of evil on the earth.

James 3:7–12 ESV
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
We can also look to Proverbs to see how powerful our words are
See also Pr 15:2; Pr 15:4
Proverbs 15:2 ESV
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
Proverbs 15:4 ESV
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

How what you say affects you

Your speech can bring you joy, or ruin

Every word we speak can either elevate us up bringing us joy, or send us hurtling down to ruin. In Proverbs we read in
Proverbs 12:13–14 ESV
An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble. From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.
See also Ps 140:9; Pr 10:14; Pr 13:3; Pr 14:3; Pr 18:6–7; Pr 18:20; Pr 21:23; Ec 10:12–14
Lets look at a couple of others
Proverbs 10:14 ESV
14 The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
Here’s one that I really like
Proverbs 18:6–7 ESV
6 A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. 7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
and some of the best advice of all
Proverbs 21:23 ESV
23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

How our words affect others

Our words not only affect us,but everyone we speak to, and again we use our words are either building people up, or tearing them down.

They can destroy others

Yes our words can destroy others, and usually these are people who are close to us.
Have you ever said something in the heat of the moment, usually out of anger and immediately thought, opps I shouldn’t have said that?
yep it’s that “Open mouth insert Foot” syndrome. Once said it’s said it’s out there and can’t be taken back, there’s no rewind or erase button for our mouths unfortunately.
We read again in Proverbs
Proverbs 11:9 ESV
With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
See also Job 19:2; Ps 55:20–21; Ps 57:4; Ps 64:3–4; Ps 140:3; Pr 11:11; Pr 12:6; Pr 12:18; Pr 16:27
Proverbs 16:27 ESV
27 A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.
and let’s see what the Psalms have to say
Psalm 55:20–21 ESV
20 My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 21 His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.
This is what I call a backhanded compliment. It’s when someone is talking and facial expression and tone of voice sounds like they’re expressing something good, but in actuality instead of a pat on the back it’s a knife and slap in the face.
Have you ever given someone a backhanded compliment? Who and why?

They can bring life to others

Friday I needed to burn off some calories after have a big lunch, so I went to the mall to walk. I love to observe people, and do you know what I noticed? With the exception of just a few of the people there no one was smiling , and some of them looked absolutely miserable. I on the other hand was filled with the joy of the Lord, and a good lunch , and as I walked through that mall I looked those folks in the eye, and with the smile on my face I’d say “hi” , and you know what, they would smile back. One young man that worked in one of the stores was standing at the entrance and as I passed I asked how he was doing, and he replied “Great, thanks for asking.” So you see it doesn't take much, to elevate others.
This week who will you try to build up with your words and attitude?
Proverbs 10:11 ESV
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
See also Pr 10:20–21; Pr 10:31–32; Pr 16:21; Pr 16:23–24; Pr 25:12; Is 50:4; Eph 4:29
Proverbs 16:21 ESV
21 The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
These next two are my favorites.
Proverbs 16:23–24 ESV
23 The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. 24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

The timing of speech

They say timing is everything, and that is the truth! There are times we we should speak up, or out, but other times when we should just shut up and stay quiet.

There is an appropriate time for speaking

Of course the tricky part of this is learning when the timing is right, and what occasions warrant us to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 ESV
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
See also Pr 15:23; Pr 15:28; Pr 25:11–12
Proverbs 25:11–12 ESV
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. 12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.

There is an appropriate time for silence

Proverbs 11:12–13 ESV
Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
See also 1 Sa 10:27; Pr 10:19; Pr 17:27–28; Pr 21:23; Pr 26:4; Ec 5:2–3; Am 5:13; Hab 2:20; Zep 1:7; Jas 1:19
Proverbs 10:19 ESV
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 17:27–28 ESV
27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Proverbs 26:4 ESV
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
James 1:19 ESV
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

Spoken witness produces faith

Our words can also enlighten, encourage and inspire people, and with the help of the Holy Spirit they may come to know Jesus as their Lord. This is why, as I have said before know your story of how you came to Salvation, and be willing to share it.
see also Is 50:4; Ac 2:40–41; Ac 28:23–24; 1 Pe 3:15
Romans 10:8 ESV
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
Isaiah 50:4 ESV
4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

Jesus Christ was silent before his accusers

We are also affected by the words spoken against us, Jesus gives us an example of how we should behave and react when others are trying to tear us down
1 Peter 2:22–23 ESV
He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
See also Mt 26:63; Mt 27:14; Lk 23:9; Jn 19:8–9
Matthew 27:14 ESV
14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Luke 23:9 ESV
9 So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer.
John 19:8–9 ESV
8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

Speech is an expression of a person’s character

Lastly, the way we speak and the we we express ourselves, defines our character to those who are watching us.
Matthew 12:34–37 ESV
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
See also Ps 5:9; Ps 15:1–5; Mt 15:10–20; Lk 6:45; Jas 1:26; Re 14:5
Psalm 5:9 ESV
9 For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.
Luke 6:45 ESV
45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
James 1:26 ESV
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Revelation 14:5 ESV
5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
How does your speech define your character?
Related Media
Related Sermons