Faithlife Sermons

The Power of the Tongue / El Poder de la Lengua

Proverbs  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

En 2013 a study came out stating that women speak about 20,000 words compared to 7,000 words spoken by men.
I think we can all testify, anecdotally, that this fact is definitely true.
It is very common from men to have “yes/no” answers whereas women generally like to go into profound detail for just about any subject.
Many of us have been in situations where our words have gotten us into much trouble.
We may have gossiped.
We may have lied.
We may have hurt someone’s feelings without meaning to.
We may have failed to say something, when something should have been said.
The book of Proverbs recognizes the power of words and how they are able to give life or cause death. We turn our attention to the book of Proverbs to discover God’s wisdom as it relates to the power of the tongue. We will consider:
The power of the tongue
The power to bring death
The power to bring life

I. The power of the tongue

I. El poder de la lengua

Proverbs 18:20 ESV
From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
Proverbs 18:20–21 ESV
From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 18:20 LBLA
Con el fruto de su boca el hombre sacia su vientre, con el producto de sus labios se saciará.
Proverbs 18:20–21 LBLA
Con el fruto de su boca el hombre sacia su vientre, con el producto de sus labios se saciará. Muerte y vida están en poder de la lengua, y los que la aman comerán su fruto.
The book of Proverbs exhorts us about the consequences of our words. Our words have a direct effect on us.
We experience the consequences of our words.
These consequences are described as “fruit” and “yield/product”.
We must understand that whatever we utter with out mouth has an effect on us and those who surround us.
Our words are never without consequences.
Sometimes these consequences are very mild and at other times they may be extremely severe.
Our technologically obsessed society has forgotten that words have consequences.
People publish all sorts of nonsense on their Facebook walls.
The Twitter-sphere is plagued with much nonsense.
Our television shows, particular those with a comedic emphasis have become so degraded that people cannot laugh at a joke without hearing a constant repetition of four letter words, one after the other.
People insult each other left and right, thinking that as long as they are the loudest, then they are in a good position to outdo each other.
Common manners and common courtesy has gone out the window. Common sense is virtually non existent. Notice the following pieces of advice from a few decades ago:
Always say “please and thank you”.
Think before you speak.
If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
It seems that many people have forgotten even these common sense manners - starting with those who sit in the highest offices of government.

II. The power to bring death

II. El poder para matar

Proverbs 18:21 ESV
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Proverbs 18:21 LBLA
Muerte y vida están en poder de la lengua, y los que la aman comerán su fruto.
Our theme verse focuses on the power of the tongue. The first focus is on the power of the tongue to bring death.
This reminds us that the tongue is truly a powerful force in every human being.
The tongue is a small muscle and yet it has the potential to have an unbelievable effect.
This is one of the points that the Apostle James makes in his letter:
James 3:4–5 ESV
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. 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!
James 3:
James 3:4–5 LBLA
Mirad también las naves; aunque son tan grandes e impulsadas por fuertes vientos, son, sin embargo, dirigidas mediante un timón muy pequeño por donde la voluntad del piloto quiere. Así también la lengua es un miembro pequeño, y sin embargo, se jacta de grandes cosas. Mirad, ¡qué gran bosque se incendia con tan pequeño fuego!
In this passage the tongue is compared to the rudder of a ship.
Although the rudder is an insignificant part of a large ship - it has the greatest influence. The movement of the rudder has the potential to influence the direction of even the largest ship.
The tongue is also compared to a small spark/fire that can set a forest ablaze. A small spark can produce billions in losses in terms of loss of property and human life.
How is it that the tongue can bring death?
With our tongue we can demean people.
With our tongue we can testify against a person in court that can sentence that person to many years in prison or even death.
With our tongue we can humiliate others.
With our tongue we can deceive people.
With our tongue we can destroy our children’s spirit such that they will go through life with the echos of childhood insults ringing in their ears.
With our tongue we can gossip about people spreading things that are utterly untrue in such a way that it will destroy a person’s reputation.
With out tongue we have the power to discourage people from pursuing their dreams, their goals, their support of x, y, or z.
With out tongue we have the power to make others feel worthless, simply by lifting ourselves up or bringing them down.
All of these actions will bring death; death of spirit, death of motivation, or even death of community/unity within the body of believers.
This is not the work of God.
This is the work of the enemy.
The Bible describes the work of the enemy as:
John 10:10 ESV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 LBLA
El ladrón sólo viene para robar y matar y destruir; yo he venido para que tengan vida, y para que la tengan en abundancia.
When our words bring death, we are acting in accordance with the works of the devil and not the works of God.
Therefore, we should take care with the words we speak, not for the sake of being polite but for a greater reason - we must not walk according to the works of the devil.

III. The power to bring life

III. El poder para dar vida

Proverbs 18:21 ESV
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 18:21 LBLA
Muerte y vida están en poder de la lengua, y los que la aman comerán su fruto.
The book of Proverbs affirms that the tongue has the power to bring life!
There are two sides to the power of the tongue.
On the one hand, the tongue can destroy but on the other hand the tongue has the power to bring life!
How is it that the tongue can bring life to others? By:
Speaking words of encouragement.
Speaking words of counsel/advice.
Speaking words of instruction/discipline.
Speaking words of comfort.
Speaking words of love and endearment.
Speaking words of recognition and praise of others.
Speaking words of apology.
There is far too much negativity, insults, lying, deceit in our society! Do not forget that we will ultimately give an account for every word that has come out of our mouths.
Matthew 12:36 ESV
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
Matthew 12:36 LBLA
Y yo os digo que de toda palabra vana que hablen los hombres, darán cuenta de ella en el día del juicio.
We cannot simply refrain from saying that which has the power to destroy - we must actually make a deliberate effort to bring life through our words. Why? To follow the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
John 10:10 ESV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 LBLA
El ladrón sólo viene para robar y matar y destruir; yo he venido para que tengan vida, y para que la tengan en abundancia.
Jesus’ mission was to destroy the power of death and bring life to all those who would believe.
We must believe that the Lord Jesus came to redeem our entire being such that we would submit our thoughts and words to obey his commandments.
We cannot bring life through our own efforts - we bring life through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is life and brings life to all those who believe in it.
When we speak in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ we have the power to influence others through its life giving words.
It is possible to have spoken death throughout our entire life, it is possible to have had a life where we have spoken one insult after another, it is possible to have lied and broken other people’s hearts - and yet the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to make us a new creation.
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