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The Troublesome Task of Taming The Tongue

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A sermon pointing out the power and danger of the tongue.

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Intro

The average tongue is about 3 inches long.
Your tongue has between 2,000 and 4,000 taste buds.
You cannot see your taste buds.
You don’t sense different tastes in different areas of the tongue.
You don’t sense different tastes in different areas of the tongue.
The tongue is not the strongest muscle in the body.
Your tongue print is as unique as a fingerprint
Your tongue can send you to hell.
That probably was not the conclusion to this list that you were expecting but I tell you the truth. Not the organ itself but things that it produces can send you to hell. Your words! James warns us of the troubling task of taming the tongue!

Tiny But Tough: V1-5

James 3:1 NRSV
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
Being a teacher was a prestigious position.
But not having control over your tongue will cause it to be damning.
It will turn you from instructor to hypocrite
If you have no control over tongue or even if you do, you will be judged with greater strictness!
This needs to be understood by those seeking to DO MORE!
James 3:2 NRSV
2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.
Romans 3:23 NRSV
23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;
1 John 1:8 NRSV
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
James is not speaking to the point of us being Jesus type perfect. He just wants us to understand the power of the tongue! He is saying that if you have power over your tongue you are complete, or matured!
James 3:2 NRSV
2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.
When you have control over your tongue you can do better with the rest of your body.
‘The conqueror of pleasure is not the man who never uses it. He is the man who uses pleasure as a rider guides a horse or a steersman directs a ship, and so directs them wherever he wishes.’ Abstention from anything is never a complete substitute for control in its use. James is pleading not for the silence that comes from a fear of saying something wrong or hurtful but for a wise use of speech.
James 3:3 NRSV
3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies.
The horse is a mighty creature
Yet when a small bit is placed in it’s mouth, the mighty creature can be controlled.
James 3:4 NRSV
4 Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
The ship is huge! And it is driven by strong winds!
But if the rudder is facing a certain direction the ship and the wind have no say as to where the boat will end up being!
James 3:5 NRSV
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!
While it may seem to be an insignificant member of the body because of size, the tongue can control what happens to the whole body.

Tongue + Tinder = Destruction: V6-8

James 3:5 NRSV
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!
James 3:6 NRSV
6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.
ja 3 6
‘Three things come not back—the spent arrow, the spoken word and the lost opportunity.’
There is nothing so impossible to kill as a rumour; there is nothing so impossible to obliterate as an idle and malicious story. Before we speak, let us remember that once a word is spoken it is gone from our control; and let us think before we speak because, although we cannot get it back, we will most certainly answer for it.
like a fire, your words can cause damage from a distance.
And in these times not just your words but your fingers. (Twitter fingers)
James 3:7–8 NRSV
7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:7 NRSV
7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species,
We can tame wild animals, but that tongue is another type of beast!
Restless evil!
Full of deadly poison!
If we are not careful with the use of our tongues it can cause damage that will spread like a wildfire! Those who have the ability to SPEAK, let them LISTEN!

The Tongue Tells All: V9-12

James 3:9 NRSV
9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.
go over the meaning of the word BLESS
The Greek word looks like the english word Eulogy.
Go over the meaning of the word for CURSE
To speak ill of one in order for something bad to happen to them.
James says that we use it to both bless God and curse those who are in his image. That is revealing as to the true nature of a person. here’s why
James 3:10 NRSV
10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.
James says that our mouths should not contain both blessings and cursings! BUT HE DID NOT SAY IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE!
James 3:11 NRSV
11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?
The spring is the source
Can it have two different types of water coming from one?
NOPE! It will reveal who you truly are!
James 3:12 NRSV
12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Conclusion

Luke 6:43–46 NRSV
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?
Luke 6:42–45 NRSV
42 Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. 43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43–45 NRSV
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43–47 NRSV
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.
Through James we have a warning to tame our tongues because it will both proclaim who you truly are and destroy you. We keep this from happening by controlling the source. By enhancing and making better the springs of our hearts so that fresh water comes out. By planting the seed of God in our hearts so that our fruits are of the Spirit. That is how we tame the troublesome tongue.
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