and so the passage that Paul read Talks about the tongue. And so that's why we're going to talk about as we talked about fight as we talked about engaging in the Christian faith or talk about not just speaking our faith or talk about living our faith. They we're going to fight our tongue until we get to this chapter here chapter 3 and James starts out by saying not many of you should become teachers my brother's for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. Now you're sitting here this morning and you thinking I'm not a teacher You're not off the hook. But if you are sitting here this morning and you are a teacher. You do need to pay attention to what he's saying and frankly this week cuz I was studying this pathogen and ask her. What would you have me say the Lord spent a long time convicting my heart right here because why does he say that? Why does he say not many of you should become teachers. It's it's not because the job Market's crowded right? It's not because there's so many people who are just rushing into the church and saying let me be a teacher right? There's a different reason he gives that reasoning verse to for we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone doesn't stumbling what he says, he's a perfect man able also to Bridle his whole body. The reason that James gives us for not becoming teachers. The reason that he says teachers will be judged more strictly is because teachers do this a lot. They talk and the more we talk. The more opportunity there is force in the more opportunity. There is for us to say this is what you want to do and then to turn around and not do it the more opportunity there is for us to speak the wrong thing and to say something that is not true and this week that is frankly so I have the mic right now. So you guys are kind of stuck but This week this was weighing really heavily on me. Because as a teacher I use my tongue a lot and as the person that I am I use it even more right the old joke is that women need like ten thousand words a day in guys need like 10, right? I don't know what it says about my masculinity, but I'm a verbal processor and if I'm thinking I'm speaking and if I'm speaking it's actually thinking and I'll how kind of shape and shift and I'll say one thing but then I'm like really fit. Let's talk about this instead. That's what I do and I realized this week how frequently I speak without thinking about it. And it came to a head this week. One of my kids and I are identical. We don't look the same because she's a girl and I'm a boy. I hope she doesn't grow a booty like mine.
But personality-wise we could not be more similar and this week. We had one of those father-daughter moments. That come up between us from time to time and she accused me of something of losing this treasured possession of hers, and I just went off and my tongue was out of control.
and then I hit and that was that was the day I was doing sermon prep to
and I realized not many of you should become teachers because we all sin in many ways, especially in my case in what I say, and I used my tongue. To cut down a 10 year old girl this week.
Not trying to instill goodness in her not trying to pointer to the right, but simply to make her hurt.
Guys are tongues are so deadly. And so James says take this seriously take this seriously and this week I had to go and confess to my daughter my sin before her and I had to say I am so sorry. Would you forgive me and so church I have to stand before you this morning and say church. Will you forgive me? Because that is not conduct becoming of a teacher.
We have to take these things. Seriously. Why why and I I thought about this guy. This is not the first time. That this is happened between my daughter and I why this time why are you beating me up about at this time? Because not many of you should become teachers. For you know that we who teach will incur stricter judgement as I want you to get this God gives Grace, but that does not mean there are not consequences for our actions. God loves you. God loves me. But that does not mean that my words or your actions in your words will not have an impact on the people around us. And so I understand that when I'm up here. I'm not saying these things lightly. understand this in God's Kingdom what you say and what you do is what you are responsible for.
And this is why we got to be cautious. We have to be cautious as teachers we have to be cautious in is pointing teachers because we're all sinners. Now. The good news Red Hills. Is this Center standing in front of you this morning is not the only Pastor you have you have Pastor Bryant and he never sends.
If you could see pennies face right now.
no, Ryan sins Danson's Richardson's Ice in what that tells me first and foremost Church's this we got to be careful about who we put in positions of leadership and those of us in teaching positions need to be careful in how we teach but here's the rest of that. We need to be mindful about the words that we speak. Because each of us has opportunity to teach others. The number one call on the Christians life is go and make disciples teaching them to obey all that. I have commanded you you may not be a formally recognized teacher. But if you are a Christ follower, you are called to go and to teach people what Christ commanded James says you need to be careful. Because we who teach will incur stricter judgement. Why why?
Because when we say this is what the Lord says and then we do what we want to do instead of that.
People are going to get the idea that one of two things is true either God. Did not really say this and this is how he intends for his people to live or this isn't true because of the way we live the truth of the Gospel is what's at stake here. So be careful how you speak James says something really nice interesting says if anybody doesn't stumbling what he says he's perfect. If you don't stumbling what you say, you're perfect. That's that's that's big why it's because if you can control your tongue.
You can control that thing that causes so much problems. You can control anything. You can control your whole body. Now you going to tell us later that no one can do it. good news What's he saying? Look this is how important this is. If you control your tongue you control the rest of your life. If you have power over your tongue you have power over how you live in every other circumstance. The tongue is what sets the course for our lives. This is what James says if we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships. Also though. They are so large and 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. But it boasts of great things when we speak. We create the life that we live. When we speak that is the course that we will follow Jesus points this he says out of the Overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. That's what James is getting out here when we speak and we say this is who I am we tend to follow that. Right, when we speak we are speaking out of our heart and this is one of the hardest things when we are with somebody else somebody we love and we say something harsh to them or we cut them down and we go back when we say I didn't really mean it. James would say what some point you kind of did. Because the timing is what's leading the rest of you along. We got to guard what we say a bit in the mouth of a horse how many of you are horse people.
Not very many how many of you would like to be horse people but you recognize that horses are very efficient machines at turning cash into manure.
Rights, yes, but you understand the concept of the bit in the Bridle and guiding the horse, right? Even if you're not a horse person. How many of you ridden a horse? There we go. Right and that the rains are connected to the bits in the horse's mouth and it's just the slightest pressure. If you've got a well-trained horse that guides the horse, right? That's what James the thing the tongue is like just like you can turn that thousand pound animal with this little thing between their teeth so to you can turn the entire course of your life with this tiny little muscle in your mouth. Right and ship right a ship has just the tiniest of Rutter's compared to the size of the thing and yet the whole ship moves. Wherever that Rudder tells it to move since that's your tongue. That's your tongue in your life. This is important how we use our tongues guys matters. The rest of the course of Our Lives is set by our tongues. And so if our tongues are constantly complaining if we're constantly being negative with what we say. What do you think the course of Our Lives will be What's Joy do you think you'll find if all you ever say is what's wrong with the world around you? right Conversely if you constantly gloss over problems if you constantly pretend that everybody's okay, and then nothing is wrong just to keep the peace for a little bit longer. How much change do you think you'll make in the world?
Hey if your tongue is an instrument for cutting people down.
How many relationships do you think you have that will last? I hate your whole course of your life is determined by whether or not you are steering this thing right Lee James has this matters. It's small, but we ought not to overlook it. It's tiny in the grand scheme of things here. You know what I should have looked up this week was how much the tongue weighs?
Because it would be good to know that ratio.
Anyways, maybe you can look that up this week. This tiny part of our body is what guides so much of the course of our lives, but it is a very powerful tiny thing for good or for ill. Look what he says in the last part of the verse 5 and following how great of forest is set Ablaze by such a small fire and the tongue is a fire a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among the members of our body staining the whole body sitting on fire the entire course of life and set on fire by hell. For every kind of Beast has been tamed a bird and a reptile and sea creature Can Be Tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no man can tame the tongue.
This is an incredibly powerful thing. We've been given right it is so powerful and he Compares it to a fire how many be like having a campfire. How many of you like having a forest fire?
That's what we're talking about here. Right? It can be this instrument for good when when you're camping and your way out and there's no artificial light around and that campfires the only light admittance you step away from the campfire things are dark things are going to bump and Creek you start getting a little nervous kind of comforting to go back and to have that lights. It's warm. It gets a little chilly, you know when you're out camping because a little chilly. We tried to go camping in October couple years ago.
Guys, don't go camping in October. It was so cold is like all five of us were like over the fire trying to stay warm, but I was grateful to have it. But if that fire gets away. If it becomes a forest fire now all the sudden this thing that was so powerful in such an image for us of comfort and the end of sustenance and nourishing Assam in warming us becomes this thing that just destroy an entire ecosystem James has the tongue is very powerful for good or for ill East, right?
You guys know what a cape buffalo is. Right, that's one of the big five write the big five or the African animals that are the most deadly to the big game Hunters who try to finish that cycle. I can't Buffalo is the most irritated thing ever. They are just constantly mad and I'm convinced of it this like the Incredible Hulk of the animal kingdom. And yet their cousin the water buffalo is known as the tractor. Of the East water buffalo have been serving Mankind and have provided all of sorts of advancements in the East for years and yet they're near relation to Cape buffalo is something that terrifies us wonder what's the difference the difference is mankind tame the water buffalo and put it to work. Where is the Cape buffalo just kind of does his own thing. If your tongue is tamed it can do some incredible things if it's not. It's going to break stuff. That's what it's going to do and it's impossible for a semi chassis that again in verse 8. No human being can tame the tongue. It is a Restless evil full of deadly poison with it. We bless our Lord and father and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God from the same mouth come blessing and cursing and this is really the core of James's argument. He's told us the tongue is so powerful. He's told us look you got to be careful what you say. But now he gives the the bad news. There's nothing you can do to fix this. No human being can tame the tongue. It just is this Restless evil? It's full of deadly poison. And we we try to use it rightly, right we try to say bless you Lord. We try to say God your great. We try to say Lord you are amazing and then we turn around and say end you fellow Christian and you person made in the image of God. You're an idiot. You can't have both of these things. You cannot say God you are good and then look at his creation and say you're dumb. It doesn't work. And James says this is the problem. We can't tame it. We can't fix it. We're constantly doing this. We look at God and we praise and we look at God we pray to him. We look at God and we sing songs and we read his word and we thank him. And then we turn around and we misuse our tongue against the very people who are there to point us to God the image of God in them. So James says, he says he going to praise the god. You can't see you when you're talking bad about the guy the guy next to you you can who's supposed to be pointing you to God? Church, this is an endemic problem. I'm convinced in the American church is probably a human condition, but I just know the American church, right? We would much rather talk about somebody then talk to somebody. What's that called? Gossip gossips one way that we can misuse our tongue gossip is one of the ways that we poison the church and it would poison the life of Fellowship in community that we're supposed to have gossip. No show of hands anybody want to own that one.
right lying right lying is a problem lying is when we'd sit take the truth that God has given us and we hide it we cover it up or we speak the direct opposite of it in that happens in church. Can you believe that that happens in church? Here's another one that we don't think about so often over talking the reason that we don't think about it is because I'm usually the one that's talking. Right. It's very possible when we come together as a church for one person to dominate the conversation.
That's a problem because in in Colossians were told when you come together, everyone has a gift everyone has something to share with the fellowship. And this is why I over the last several weeks you seen more of our other pastors standing up and speaking doing the welcome doing the Lord's Supper doing those other things. This is why Paul read the Bible this morning. This is why Nancy read it last week because of the church. We're trying to recognize this. We don't need to hear from just one voice. We need all of us bringing the gifts. The spirit has given us to share them together. That's the direction. We're trying to move is a church. So we want to avoid over talking want to avoid boasting look at me. I'm so great. But we also want to avoid flattery. Look at you. You're so great when both of us. According to James can't even control our tongues. We want to avoid these things because James says these are the things that bring destruction when we use our tongue wrongly. We are not from moding. Not promoting the faith that we ought to be and that's what he comes to next. This is what he says right after saying from the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. They says my brother's these things ought not to be so. Well, which is it James. We can't tame our tongue. And now you say something that we're physically unable to spiritually unable to emotionally unable to mentally incapable of ought not to be so which is it are we not able to or are we supposed to the answer is yes. Yes Church, you are unable to control your tongue. Christian you are unable to control or tame your tongue. This thing up not to be so yes, you will use your tongue in the wrong way to cut down someone to lie about someone to gossip about someone this thing ought not to be so. How do we make sense of this? How do we make sense of God asking us to do something that we can't do?
Well, how do you make sense? of God saying go into all the nations make disciples. How do you make him sing love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself, you can't do any of those things either. This is the tension that we have in scripture. This is the tension that Dan was talking about last week the tension between here's what you are broken sinful unable to showcase the glory of God. And here's what God is calling you to do that. When we see that kind of tension. We have a couple options. We can throw our hands up and say forget it. I can't make sense of this. The Bible is full of contradictions. I'm going to walk out the door and I'm going to live however, I want. or we can say we could say let's just pretend there's no tension. Let's just smile and be happy and let's just pretend that we're all okay and never really do anything. Let's just make it together on Sundays will sing a few songs will smile with anybody can act it for at least an hour and then we'll go home and we don't have to deal with each other anymore. I must forget about actually doing these things which is fake it till we make it right. or or we as a people fall on our knees and say God. I can't fix my tongue. You've called me to fix my tongue. Lord, I can't tame my tongue, but you want me to tame my tongue. Help me. Church, that's where we're supposed to be as the people of God continually. You've called me to love you with all my heart soul mind and strength and I can't get out of my own way. Help me. You've called me to love my neighbor with the same kind of concerned that I have for myself. I can't do that God help me. You've called me to tame my tongue and I can't do that Lord help me James as his been so often the case is calling us to be what we cannot be on our own. This is the gospel folks. You can't fix yourself. You can't try hard enough to keep these commands. That's not what James is asking do anyways. the missing ingredients here is the act of crying out for help and then the act of receiving the gift of God, which is the holy spirit we sang songs today about the Holy Spirit we talked about the fact that God is the one that we depend on for this church. If you struggle with your tongue, the answer is not cutting it out.
Thought occurred to me this week.
Problem is the brain that's connected to the tongue would still be fully functioning. And that's where the real problem is.
Instead. I need the Holy Spirit to change me to transform me when I speak in a cutting way to my child. I need the Holy Spirit convict me and give me the strength to look at my job and say I am so sorry. The way Daddy just spoke is not the way anybody should speak to anybody else that is contrary to what God desires. Will you forgive me what my heart wants to do, but the holy spirit will do that if I let him.
you Can think of someone in this room that you've gossiped about? that you've spoken ill of or ill to and you can't change that. But the Holy Spirit can give you the courage to go to them and say I Dishonored you in the way I spoke. Would you forgive me Church the world does not seat need to see a bunch of people who are trying really hard to do good things. That's what pretty much the entire world does anyways The church needs to see a bunch of people who are doing really good things. Did they can't do on their own miraculous? Holy Spirit empowered kind of transformation is what the world needs to see from us. That starts with our tongue James would say if you can control your tongue your perfect. You can control anything else then he says you can't. but the rest of the story is God can Church we're going to take the Lord's Supper today and this is how we're going to respond to this message. But when we take the Lord's Supper, I want to remind you of what this means. This is a reminder that Jesus Christ died for our sins when we take the symbolic meal when we take this bread and we take this cup it reminds us. It reminds us of the fact that Jesus Christ died because of the words that I speak because of the lies that I tell because of the gossip that I've said. But it also tells us that stuff starts to change because the Holy Spirit indwells those who confess Christ as Lord and he begins to convict us of sin and convicted of unrighteousness, and he enables us to go to our fellow Believers and make reconciliation possible. So we're going to take the Lord's Supper. But before we do what I want us to do is to examine whether or not we are rightly Discerning the body whether or not we are aware of this brothers and sisters around us who we we may have wrong with our words. Is it weird to take a meal that says Jesus died to save me and a meal that promises that we will be United and that Unity is going to transcend anything that we can accomplish on her own. This is the power of the Holy Spirit at work. I'm going to I'm going to ask Bob to play some music. Just kind of behind things some instrumental music. I want us to take a minute or two and pray and say Lord. Is there someone in this room that I have wronged with my tongue and then while you are praying that if the spirit bring somebody to mind I want you to do the hardest thing you could ever do I want you to get up I want you to go to them and I want you to apologize to them before we take this meal before we go and say we're unified. Let's actually get unified repair the damage let the Holy Spirit repair the damage that our tongues have caused. Would you bow your heads and close your eyes?