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Taming the Tongue

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Taming the Tongue      08/18/07

I have a story of 2 men of God, The 1st is name Billy Holiday and famous Baseball player but do you know he is credited for bring over 1 million people to Christ. But if you met him you would probably say to your self how can that man ever bring anyone to the Kingdom, You see Billy Holiday Murdered the English language and was very raw in his speech. Theologians could not stand to hear him preach. His message was a simple one wherever he went he just preached Hell hot, Jesus saves and Heaven is sweet, that’s it. But one day Billy Holiday was preaching a revival and a man was walking down the isle to the altar and he caught the Billy’s attention because this man had a long flowing white beard. So Mr. Holiday stopped preaching and hushed the crowd and walked to the man, he placed his hand on the man’s beard and said HONK! HONK!  Not to smooth but God used him in a mighty way because he wanted to be used.

   The next person was named D.L Moody, Now if you have followed great speakers and preachers you have heard of D.L Moody plus he has written many great books, but he also was not a highly educated man and had a lot of fun with the English langue. So one night he was preaching and a college lit. Professor was there and heard the bad grammar coming from the pulpit so he took a piece of paper and wrote in big letters the word FOOL! And passed it to the front, well when it finally made it’s way to Mr. Moody he smiled real big and said “ Now this is a 1st, I have received many letters in my carrier where the persons who wrote it forgot to sign his name but this is the 1st letter that I have gotten to where they signed their name but forgot to write the letter.


    See God dose not need the most educated man or woman He just wants the man or woman to be willing. But these great people did not speak gracefully and with big words they just spoke. And as you have heard even the most schooled people have a problem with the taming of the tongue. So watch what you say because it might come back to haunt you. 


Today we will be reading from the book of James chapter 3:1-12. And while you are finding James I need to tell you for 2 weeks now I have been testing at my place of employment the true meaning of these scriptures. Before we learn anymore I want to ask everyone a question,

 Have you ever said anything to your spouse that was said out of anger and you were trying to hurt them? Or have you ever made fun of someone and hurt their feeling?

   All of us have at some point in our lives, that’s why I have titled this sermon Taming the Tongue!!!!.


       In this short passage, James very bluntly raises the issue of our speech. He uses certain metaphors to describe our tongue. And as we read this together, I want you to answer 1 question.

1.   Have you ever realized what a potentially wicked thing you have in your mouth?


 Make no mistake about it—the words you speak are powerful beyond our imagination.

1.   They expand or limit and or hurt our friendships.

2.   They can make or break your career opportunities.

3.   if you are married your words can help determine the quality of your marriage.

4.   If you’re a father they will shape children.


  So as we read please read along:

  James 3:1-4

1     Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

     2     For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

     3     Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.

     4     Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.



Let’s pray



 Before we go on lets look at some background 1st of who James was and why he wrote this epistle. James was Jesus half brother who did not believe Christ was who He said He was until after His death at the cross and His resurrection. He is a perfect person to learn about because he saw 1st hand and then believed.  Some have called him the working mans disciple.

   The book of James is a powerful and practical manual on applying our faith in Christ to the struggles and relationships we encounter every day. James wrote with such force, conviction and clarity, this letter or epistle relates Christ-like conduct to a wide range of everyday topics.


1 of the biggest topics in this book is to me the most powerful topic of all. That of the tongue, which James calls a powerful tool for evil.



As we read James, it starts off by saying that many of us should not be teachers. James said we will be judged harsher or stricter than the other’s. 


  Why dose James say this?

 1st of all for you teachers, what would happen if you did not go by the school curriculum, you just taught what you felt or what you thought it means.

  You would be judged by the school board and parents and probably fired.


The tongue is the chief tool of a teacher, so James begins there. He says “ Not many of you should presume to be teachers” which simply means not many should become teachers. See many people want to become leaders or a teacher in a church, and that is very dangerous because wanting to do something and being called to do something is 2 very different things. James says that even our casual word would be judged

 Matthew 12:36-37 says

36     “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in  the day of judgment.

37or by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”






Jesus taught we are responsible for what we know

 Luke 12:47-48

47  The servant who knows his masters will and does  not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,

     48     but the one who did not  know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.



We need to look at it this way, as a teacher, a neighbor or a friend if our words do not match our actions as a Christian we meaning (you and me) can lead someone away from God and straight to hell.

      As a kid the men a women I remember most were the Godly people I knew not the big shots or stars I would see but people I would meet. Kids today need Christian role models more than ever instead of the junk the world is forcing on them. Our youth dose not stand a chance today with out you, someone to look up to. That’s why when you become a Christian you automatically place yourself in that position. We should be judged harsher by others and by God.


Look at verse 2 it says, “


        “2     For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a  perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.”


The word stumble in the Greek is ptaio (PA-TIE- OH) which means: sin or to fall into misery, to become wretched, to offend.


 God know we are all going to stumble. James says : If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a  perfect man, and what dose Jesus say about that:

  MATTHEW 19:17

 “There is only One Who is good.


Only one so God knows we are all going to stumble or sin.


 Let’s be real here. Have you ever smashed you finger with a hammer or in a car door or dropped something heavy on your foot. I’m sorry but saying !!!chocolate fudge!!! just dose cut it.  For some reason we say the 1st thing that comes to mind and it’s usually not fudge or darn it or shoot. We are human. I heard a speaker say that it is just words and we as sinful creatures made up the words. For instance The S word. Now this is something you will probably never hear in another church but we are going to learn something today. Do you know how that word came about.

 Back in the days when every thing was brought over or transported by boat, companies would ship manure, but because of the smell they would always keep it down below on the bottom of the ship. Now they did not have electric lights back then so when they went down there they would light a match or a lantern, well since manure make methane gas the ship would explode. So on the side of the boxes they would put SHIP HIGH IN TRANSITE, but that was to long to put on the box so they put S. #. ! T. And that how started and we turn it into a curse word. Now please I’m not saying it’s ok to go around saying that word but I am saying we turn harmless thing into sinful things. I sorry if that offended anyone I was just giving a little history.


 But God know we will mess up  James is telling us that if we are able to keep our tongue and our body in check we are perfect. Beloved we live in the flesh, in a sinful fleshly world. It is next to impossible. That’s why in v3-4 James starts to make really good comparisons



3     Now  if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.

4      Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.


The tongue maybe small but it is very influential and James gives us examples to make his point clear

1.   he says “we put bits or bridles in a horse’s mouth to make him obey us.

a.   a bit or a bridle is a small allows us to control the horse.

     Understand the horse was the most powerful machine of James’s time, but all it takes is a small bit to control it.

2.   a rudder that steers a ship. Ships were then and now very large and they are                

steered by a small rudder



Both the bit and the rudder must overcome powerful forces.

 The bit must overcome the wild nature of the horse

 The rudder must overcome the winds and the currents the could drive ship off it’s course.


 The human tongue must also overcome very powerful forces, we have the old sin nature that wants to control us, by saying things we really shouldn’t say. Sin on the inside, and pressure from the outside, want to get control of our tongue.


 We should all remember this the tongue may be a small part of your body and yet it has the power to accomplish great and awesome things.


 So what the answer?

 When we let JESUS CHRIST control our tongue, then we need not fear saying the wrong things or even saying the right thing but in the wrong way.


Solomon warned us in Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”


Think about this a bit and the rudder have the power to direct, which means they affect the lives of others. A runaway horse or a shipwreck could mean injury or death to the people on them.

 Remember the words we speak affect the lives of others. A judge says “guilty or not guilty” those words affect the destiny of a prisoner, his family and his friends.


 The President of the United States speaks a few words, signs some papers and the nation is at war. Or just a simple yes or no from the lips of a parent could affect the direction of  a child’s life.


   Jesus spoke to a women at the well and her life and the lives of her neighbors changed forever. Peter preached at Pentecost and 3,000 souls were saved.


 On April 21 1855 Edward Kimball went into a Boston shoe store and led a young Dwight L Moody to Christ. The result is one of history’s greatest evangelist, whose ministry still continues today.

  The tongue as the power to direct others to right choices.


 So as I close I want to and urge you to read 1 ch of Proverbs every day, and keep notes of all the references to speech like

 Proverbs 15:1

 And Proverbs 12:22


How important is it for our tongue to direct others in the right path.


I want to challenge Beaver Creek Baptist Church to step out and use your tongue for the good not evil, to guard your tongue and use it to reach others for Christ.


 If your words have kept you from have a relationship with Christ, Lets get it straight today. If you doubt your faith and just aren’t sure where you are going we can take care of that today. But if you do not know Christ as your own personal Savoir then come up to the alter and we can change that right now. So what ever the case maybe. Maybe you just want to pray come on up and pray, he alter is open. So when the music plays  you come up and ask God to keep control over your tongue. You might be searching for a churh home well I know this church will love you and take you right in. So you come and make a stand today. Let’s pray.






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