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Aging Gracefully part 7

Book of James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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James has explained to us two characteristics of the mature Christian:
He is patient in trouble ()
He practices the truth ()
In this section, he shares the third characteristic of the mature believer:
He has power over his tongue.
James 1:26 NIV
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
The power of speech is one of the greatest powers God has given us.
The tongue can praise God, pray, preach the Word, and lead the lost to Christ.
What a privilege!
But with that same tongue he can tell lies that could ruin a man’s reputation or break a person’s heart.
James warns us in the first part of his letter,
James 1:26 NIV
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
James gave us six pictures of the tongue
James gave us six pictures of the tongue
You can put these six pictures into three meaningful classifications that reveal the three powers of the tongue.
You can put these six pictures into three meaningful classifications that reveal the three powers of the tongue.

Power to Direct: the Bit and Rudder

James 3:1–4 NIV
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
Apparently there were many in the assembly who wanted the prestige of being a teacher.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Seven: The World’s Smallest but Largest Troublemaker (James 3:1–12)

James presented two items that are small of themselves, yet exercise great power, just like the tongue.

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Seven: The World’s Smallest but Largest Troublemaker (James 3:1–12)

James presented two items that are small of themselves, yet exercise great power, just like the tongue.

Apparently there were many in the assmbly who wanted the presitge of being a teacher.
James was warning that leadership is a very serious issue and comes with a hidden price- stricter judgement.
Therefore leaders must guard their hearts and minds because these control the mouth.
James says that all of us stumble, but the sins of the tongue seem to head the list.
The tongue has the power to give direction to a church.
The tongue has the power to give direction to a church.
The bit and the rudder
These two items are small and at the same time control massive objects like a powerful Clydesdale and an ocean liner.
Draft horses at county fair.
Both the bit an the rudder are small and must also overcome forces that are harmful.
The bit must overcome the horses nature to go its own way and the rudder must overcome tides and winds that would steer the ship off-course and into danger.
All of us have a nature we are born with a nature that wants to direct us to sin and go our own way.
Sin on the inside and pressures from the outside are constantly seeking to gain control of our tongues.
As both the bit and the rudder need a strong hand to control them, so must we have Jesus Christ control our tongues.
Psalm 141:3–4 NIV
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.
David knew that the heart is the key to our speech.
Matthew 12:34 NIV
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Proverbs has much to say about the power of words:
Proverbs 15:1 NIV
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 12:22 NIV
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
Proverbs 10:19 NIV
Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.
Prov
James was warning that leadership is a very serious issue and comes with a hidden price-stricter judgement.
Therefore leaders must guard their hearts and minds because these control the mouth.
James says that all of us stumble, but the sins of the tongue seem to head the list.

Power to Destroy: the Fire and Animal

Power to Destroy: the Fire and Animal

James 3:5–8 NIV
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Psalm 39:1 NIV
I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”
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Psalm 39:3 NIV
my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
Ps
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David had a temper and needed God’s help to control it.
Proverbs 17:27 NIV
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
Proverbs 14:29 NIV
Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
Like a fire, a tongue can heat things up and destroy.
Like a fire, a tongue can heat things up and destroy.
Fiery words can defile a home, a community, a workplace, a church.
The only thing that can clean the defilement is the blood of Jesus Christ.
Like wild animals the tongue is unruly and must be tamed as James tells us.
Our own words may not have caused global wars or wrecked cities but our words can break hearts and ruin reputations
Our words can also destroy souls by sending them to eternity without Christ.
Is your speech always gracious and seasoned with salt?
Colossians 4:6 NIV
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
If God lights the fire and controls it, the tongue can be a mighty tool for winning the lost and building up the church.
If God light the fire and controls it the the tongue can be a mighty tool for winning the lost and building up the church.
If the heart is filled with hatred, Satan will light the fire. But if the heart is filled with love, God will light the fire.
If the heart is filled with hatred, Satan will light the fire. But if the heart is filled with love, God will light the fire.

Power to Delight: the Fountain and Tree

James 3:9–12 NIV
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

The fountain of water James is speaking about is life-giving.
Great things can be accomplished through the use of the right words.
James’ teaching here is a strong parallel to the word of Proverbs:
Proverbs 18:4 NIV
The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.
Proverbs 10:11 NIV
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
Proverbs 13:14 NIV
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.
Proverbs 18:21 NIV
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
But water can also cause floods and do lasting damage.
Like water, trees can refresh and give good gifts.
Proverbs 10:21 NIV
The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense.
Trees can only give shade and bear fruit if there is a healthy root system supporting it.
If we are rooted in the Word of God our words will be the fruit of our fellowship with Him.

Take this with you...

“Twelve Words That Can Transform Your Life.”--Warren Wiersbe
Please” and “Thank you.”
When you use these three words, you are treating others like people and not things. You are showing appreciation.
I’m sorry.”
These two words have a way of breaking down walls and building bridges.
I love you.”
Too many people read “romance” into these words, but they go much deeper than that. As Christians, we should love the brethren and even love our enemies. “I love you” is a statement that can carry tremendous power.
I’m praying for you.”
And be sure that you are.
When you talk to God about people, then you can talk to people about God.
Our private praying for people helps us in our public meeting with people.
Yes, the smallest but largest troublemaker in all the world is the tongue. But it does not have to be a troublemaker! God can use our tongues to direct others into the way of life, and to delight them in the trials of life. The tongue is a little member, but it has great power.
Give God your tongue and your heart each day and ask Him to use you to be a blessing to others.
“Please” and “Thank you.”
“Please” and “Thank you.”
When you use these three word you are treating others like people and not things
“Please” and “Thank you.”
“I’m sorry.”
“I love you.”
“I’m praying for you.”
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