Faithlife Sermons

The Power of the Tongue

Pastor's Heart  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Enjoying the drive in Service

1. 100.7
2. lbcbristol.org/drivein
3. sing out
4. no to minimal honking
PRAY

Introduction

Thank you for singing with us this morning, that music was wonderful. Thank you to our friends at (Horse farm) for bringing out (name of horse) and I hope you all get to enjoy him a little after the service.
This morning I want to speak to you about something that has been on my heart for the last few weeks.
As the Lead Pastor of Liberty Baptist it is my hearts desire that each of you here, whether you attended our church before drive in services or if your only interaction with us has been through this medium, grow closer to the Lord so that you may better know Him and make Him known.
In doing so you will find your life change. You will find little things change that make a huge difference in how you live and how others perceive you.
This process of growth in Christianity is known as “Sanctification.” No, it doesn’t mean you are on your way to be a saint. As a believer in Jesus, you will find in scripture that the Apostle Paul already calls you saints.
Sanctification is the process of Christian growth that disciples of Christ go through as they seek to know Him and make Him known.
This involves changes in your life that are not just momentary outward conforming actions. They are changes that develop from the heart based upon your growing understanding of God’s grace and love that He has given you.
As you yield to the Holy Spirit who indwells you and each believer you will find your thinking, motives, desires, and actions changing.
While the Lord can work in anyway He pleases, I believe this process happens as we choose to yield to the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The specific area that has been on my heart these last few weeks has been the tongue.
The Bible has much to say about this small organ in our bodies and during this last couple of months it has saddened me on a number of occasions to see how loose with our tongues, not just our society can be, but Christians are. We have to understand that when the bible speaks of the tongue in this sense it is speaking of our words.
In the 21st century that is more than just what we say…it is what we post in text on social media…it is what memes we share on social media. Yes, the pictures and post that you share for others to view should be guided by Biblical principles.
The responses you give and the statements you make should be as Col 4:6 says
col 4:6
Colossians 4:6 KJV 1900
6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Why? Because ultimately, what you say, what you share, and all that you do are reflections of Christ to those that are around you.
So when you share a meme that has foul language, when you post a vulgar picture, when you comment with anger and malice, and especially when you actually speak anything of the sort, you tarnish the image of Christ in the hearts and minds of those around you.
It’s for that reason I will be preaching on the power of the tongue this morning. Because it is my desire that each person here will go out and represent Christ and bring Him glory.
Follow along with me as we read in the book of James what he says about the tongue.
While your turning to James either in the back of your Bible or the Bible app, let me give you a little background on him
Half-Brother of Jesus, pastor, very direct.
James 3:1-13
James 3:1–13 KJV 1900
1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
PRAY
The first verse we read is an admonishment to his recipients about not becoming masters, or teachers. Why? Because as teachers, preachers, or pastors, we are judged more harshly. Why? because of the responsibility placed on us by God to teach His Word.
He then goes on to describe the three different powers the tongue has.
Notice first the tongue has the power to Direct

I. The Power to Direct

It first has the power to direct your life

A. Directs your Life

James first directs our attention to the bit that we put in the horses mouth.
((GO over to horse…have conversation about it))
The bit that goes into the mouth of a horse is a very small, lightweight object compared to the size of a horse. I googled the size of a horse and found that they cam range from 800-2,200 lbs.
An animal weighing more than 1 ton can be controlled by this little bit.
It’s been said that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond. Most of the time we are responding with our words and that response can determine the direction we will go.
How much more can we be controlled and directed by the words that we use.
Prov 18:21
Proverbs 18:21 KJV 1900
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Death and life are in the tongue.
The way in which you determine to use your tongue will direct the direction in which your life can go.
You know this to be true. Have you ever seen an employee that complains all the time get a promotion or become the boss? They shouldn’t because of their poor attitude.
As Christians, when we spend our time complaining about everything we don’t reflect the hope and faith that we have in Christ.
When we use our tongue not just for complaining but for evil speaking. Such as speaking poorly of another person or gossiping, we are taking our life in a direction away from Christ and how He would have us live.
Just as the rider pulls one way or the other on the bit in the horses mouth to direct it, one idle world or mispoken comment, or post on social media can change the direction of your life even if only for a moment.
We should remember to be like King David who wrote in Psalm 141
Psalm 141:3-4
Psalm 141:3–4 KJV 1900
3 Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; Keep the door of my lips. 4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, To practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: And let me not eat of their dainties.
Ask God to set a watch, a guard, over your mouth and your keyboard, whether it’s on a computer or on your phone, to keep you from allowing words, images, and anything else that will hurt your testimony from getting out.
Because as much as your tongue has the ability to direct your life, it also has the power to direct others lives.

B. Directs others lives

You may be thinking “Pastor, my opinion, my words, don’t impact others.” Yes they do.
I’m sure many of us have scrolled through social media or been involved in a conversation where we see or hear something that may have been mentioned and wasn’t even the topic of conversation but we grab onto it and think on it. We pick it part and determine what was meant by that or how we disagree or agree with it.
Or maybe I just over analyze things but nonetheless stick with me.
Every word you say and how you say it has an impact on the lives of those around you. That’s why there are so many ads about being encouraging to students to graduate, that’s why there is a fight against bullying, that’s why we say I love you with a smile rather than a scowl.
Small words can have a huge impact. Moms and dads, be sure to remember that.
Think of influential people in your life. You probably remember something they said to you.
For me, it was my 11th grade English literature teacher Ms. Atto. I failed her class first semester and when I asked for extra credit to help me pass she said no. She said I was bored in her class and I would be taking her honors english class the next semester.
I laughed and said I just failed your regular class how do you think I can pass an honors class? She said because you were bored and weren’t challenged so you didn’t do the work.
That has stuck with me ever since. It has prompted me to always challenge myself in anything I do. Why? because her words had an impact. The result by the of that honors class was a C or B+ I don’t remember. She was right.
That’s a positive example of words being used…I bet, like me, you also have some examples of someones negative words being used to impact you.
There is life and death in the power of the tongue…It directs your lives and has the power to direct the lives of those around you.
The tongue, your words, your posts, also have the power to destroy.

II. The Power to Destroy

In 1871 there was a fire in the O’leary Barn in Chicago at 8:30pm on October 8. That fire spread and over 100,000 people were left homeless, 17,500 buildings were destroyed, and 300 people died. It cost the city over $400 million.
A small fire in a barn became known as the great chicago fire.
James describes our tongue as a fire in v.5
James 3:5-6
James 3:5–6 KJV 1900
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Your tongue, your words, your posts, have the power to destroy first your testimony.

A. Destroys your testimony

The first people impacted by that great Chicago fire was the O’leary family whose barn it started in. The first person impacted by the misuse of your tongue, is you.
Now, most people don’t use the word testimony the way Christians do. In the event your not familiar with the term, when I say your testimony I mean the image others have of you.
For instance, if I told you I never lied and then said the sky is green. Your perception of me would be affected right?
The same is true when someone says in one breath “I’m a Christian” and then in the other speaks curse words or foul language.
It’s the person who posts about praising God, praying for others, and asking for prayer and then shares posts or images with foul language or vulgar content.
Some of you may be thinking “But Pastor, the Bible doesn’t say I can’t cuss.” Well...
Eph 4:29
Ephesians 4:29 KJV 1900
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Corrupt communication…this phrase could be said in our modern vernacular as unwholesome words or foul language.
I would consider and strongly urge you to consider the words we define as curse words as corrupt communication, unwholesome speech, and foul language. So…Stop using it.
It doesn’t do good to those that hear it or read it nor does it edify other believers or build them up.
It impacts the way people view you.
Prov 17:27
Proverbs 17:27 KJV 1900
27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words: And a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
It’s hard for someone to consider you wise and of an excellent spirit when your words are something different.
I mentioned last week about “protecting your integrity.” I want to make sure I’m clear about something. I’m not advocating you use foul language when alone or in your mind and not in public because that’s ok....not at all.
I’m advocating you see and understand the words you use all the time have an impact on you and those around.
Now I’m going to get off my soapbox of foul language and go on to some other things.
The words you use can destroy your testimony but they can also destroy Christ’s impact.

B. Destroy Christ’s Impact

This part is fundamentally important to each of us as believers.
2 Cor 5:20
2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV 1900
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
We are ambassadors for Christ. An ambassador is a represenative. We are Representatives of Christ.
As much as the fire of our tongues can destroy our own image and testimony it will also damage the image of Christ in the hearts and minds of those around us.
Foul language, inappropriate images, and other things on social media and in your own mouths is one way to damage the cause of Christ but another is the manner in which you engage with others.
Hear me out on this.
You may say “pastor I never curse. I’ve never posted a vulgar image. I’ve never done anything like you have mentioned.”
Ok, great. Have you ever allowed your temper to flare and speak words of anger to another person? Have you ever spoke ill of another person behind their back? Have you ever gotten into an argument on social media where you had unkind words or an unkind spirit towards the individual you were bickering with?
As Ambassadors of Christ it is not only our tongues and the words produced by them that must be full of grace and represent Christ, no it should also be your lifestyle.
Phil 1:27
Philippians 1:27 KJV 1900
27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
That word conversation means lifestyle. Our lifestyle, who we are and all that we do should be represenative of the gospel…the death burial and resurrection of Christ, that’s the gospel..our lifestyles should represent that gospel.
Because when they don’t they damage the impact Christ can have on someone’s life as we affect their image and idea of Him.
During this time of change in our country, let’s all acknowledge that each of us have opinions, some different than yours, but none of them give us an excuse to act in a manner that hurts the cause of Christ.
In our current political climate and stressed out society may I encourage to use the third type of power James mention your words having.

III. The Power to Delight

In verses 10 -12 you’ll see that James describes the tongue as a spring and a tree.
A sweet spring cannot produce bitter water nor can a grapevine produce figs.
An apple tree won’t give you grapes and a citrus tree won’t give you tomatoes.
Why? because that is not what they are made of.
Ultimately your tongue, your actions, are a reflection of your heart.
Matt 15:18
Matthew 15:18 KJV 1900
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
Our words, our actions, our comments, our memes we share, all come from our heart.
When our hearts are right with the Lord and we are walking with Him daily we will see that we speak encouraging words.

A. Encouraging Words

We spoke about the impact your words can have and I told you the Bible had much to say about the tongue and our words.
Notice these verses with me
Prov 10:21
Proverbs 10:21 KJV 1900
21 The lips of the righteous feed many: But fools die for want of wisdom.
The lips of the righteous feed many. It doesn’t mean your perfect and holy. Righteous is to be living right. Living right is living for the Lord. The lips of those that love God and love others can be used to feed and encourage many.
Prov 12:18
Proverbs 12:18 KJV 1900
18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: But the tongue of the wise is health.
Encouraging words can change lives as much as damaging words. However they are ineffective if they are not consistent words.

B. Consistent Words

Two verses and I’ll closes
James 3:13-14
James 3:13–14 KJV 1900
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
Out of good conversation show your works and wisdom.
however if you have bitterness and anger....don’t glory…don’t lie…accept that your heart isn’t right at the moment and go to God.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen this morning I’ve spoke to about something that bothers me. As a Pastor I feel that it is part of my obligation to the Lord to point out areas of life where correction needs to be made. Please know this doesn’t mean I’m perfect and your expected to be perfect. But that is the mark we are shoting for. The mark Christ set for us…perfection.
Your tongue, your words, your posts, your memes, are all things that can be used to build up others and glorify Christ…or not.
Your attitude, your tempermant, your actions will either improve others image of Christ in their hearts or it wont...
Let’s represent Christ with our words, our memes, our responses to people we disagree with.
The question I have for you this morning....Will you allow your conversation to represent the gospel, the death burial and resurrection of Christ in word, on social media, and in deed? Or wont’ you?
TIME OF RESPONSE
Would you bow your heads please and close your eyes. Take these momemts and go to God. Are you here today and don’t know Jesus at all? You’ve never heard some of the things I spoke about this morning. You’ve been unclear as to what it meant to “be saved.”
John 3:16
John 3:16 KJV 1900
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Ephesians 2:8–9
Ephesians 2:8–9 KJV 1900
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Rom 10:9, 13
Romans 10:9 KJV 1900
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:13 KJV 1900
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Christians, how is your testimony? If Jesus scrolled through your social media outlets would he smile at what you’ve posted or would he be saddened?
How is your attitude towards those that disagree with you? Have you been angry and sinned not?
Ask God to help you represent Him well in all areas this morning. You never know the impact your words can have on someone.
If your here this morning and want to trust Jesus as your savior I want you to know that’s very easy. If you believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried in a tomb, and rose from the dead, then you are saved.If you just made the decision to trust Jesus as your Savior I want you to help you confirm that with a prayer. The words of the prayer mean nothing but what you believe in your heart means everything.
“Dear Jesus, I know I’m a sinner, I believe you came to die on the cross and rose from the dead. I put my faith right now in you and ask you to come into my life and change me from the inside out. Amen.”
PRAY
If you made that decision this morning I want you to make sure you fill out that form on lbcbristol.org/drivein or send us an email at info@lbcbristol.org. I have a gift I want to send you. I want to rejoice in your decision with you. I want to pray for you. I want to talk to you about the next step of faith you can take to deepen your relationship with Jesus.
Announcements:
lbcbristol.org/give or on the drive in page
Pasta with a purpose: ziti, pasta sauce, side salad with italian dressing, and a chocolate chip cookie for $5. Delievered to your door. sign up via sending an email to info@lbcbristol.org
Appreciation for staff and deacons
anxious to reopen, respect for political officials and others...
Pastor Davidson preaching next week.
At this time I want to thank you again for coming out. Our worship team is making their way back out to play and sing a closing chorus and while they sing I’d like to ask you to give your attention to the parking team that has vests on for direction to leave.
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