Watch Your Mouth-James 3:1-12
Watch Your Mouth
Watch Your Mouth
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 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 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! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but 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. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
Why is James so concerned about what we say?
Why is James more concerned with what we say than we are?
He understands that speech is important. That speech reveals our character. That speech reveals what we really think and believe.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Why is that?
B/c what we say has the power of life and death.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Before we dive in, lets look at the theology of speech.
God Speaks everything into existence. (Gen. 1&2)
God Speaks to his people through his prophets (Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, Zephaniah, etc)
God Speaks through Jesus
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
He is still speaking to us through the Holy Spirit and His Word
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
How does God Speak to us?
Primarily through his Word. (The Scriptures)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Why does God speak?
To reveal his purposes and plans for redemption
To provide for us the path for salvation
To reveal to us the pathway of righteousness and Holiness.
So that we can know and love Him
God isn’t the only one who speaks. Satan Speaks.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan— The Hebrew word שָׂטָן (satan) means to oppose, obstruct, or accuse. The Greek term (σατάν, satan) literally means “adversary.” In the New Testament, it refers to a title or a name—(the) Satan.
So, Satan stands to oppose all the good that God is doing. He does this primarily by speaking doubt to us.
Doubt about God’s goodness.
Doubt about our standing before God.
Doubt about the effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice to forgive my sins.
We see that the power of the tongue holds both life and death. We see that it can be used for goodness or for evil.
God speaks and goodness follows. Satan speaks and disaster follows. We speak and it can go either way.
We have the power to speak goodness or evil.
This is the reason James is so focused on the importance of our speech.
He begins with a warning to those who teach.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
James wants to make sure that we understand that there is greater accountability for those who teach.
Cause we are standing up and saying that we represent the God of the universe.
We we stand up and open this Bible, whether we are preaching or teaching, we have a responsibility to say what God says and not what I want it to say.
This is a problem in some of our churches today. We want to cater the message to the congregation. We want to make the gospel more palatable to the masses.
We want to soften the demands of Christ.
James says that not everyone become teachers, because your heart is wicked and know that it will catch up to you eventually.
Remember, in James’ day, being a teacher/preacher would elevate one’s status.
They were given prestige. They were given higher status. They were thought much of.
Because unlike the general population. They had the ability to read. Which meant that they were educated and usually more wealthy and had greater influence.
So if you were seeking to be a teacher b/c you would gain influence or prestige, you were in it with wrong motivations.
Here’s the reality. Those of us who teach or preach have more opportunity for saying dumb things to a larger amount of people.
We have to be really careful with what we say, because eternity hangs in the balance.
We need to be more mindful. More diligent, more serious about what we say b/c we are speaking on God’s Behalf.
This is what is frustrating for me when I see people deliberately twisting the word of God. They are being used as instruments against the gospel and are duping a lot of people.
People need to hear the good news about the forgiveness of sin and the redemption through the cross of Christ.
Not about being healthy or wealthy. Not about how good of a person you are. Not about how much God should be glad to have you on his team.
God loves us for sure. But he cares more about you holiness than your happiness.
On the other hand, there are preachers/teachers out there using God’s Word to try and conform you to their image.
To try and make you feel guilty for not doing as they say. For not being on their team.
God’s Word stands alone.
God has Spoken, is Speaking, and Will Continue Speaking until this age is over.
God doesn’t need us to edit or endorse Him. We simply need to be faithful to His perfect truth.
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 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 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!
v.2—We all stumble in various ways.
If you can bridle your tongue. You can control your body.
This is an illustration leading into the examples he is going to give in the following verses.
Your mouth/tongue/what you say has tremendous power over you.
If you can control this it should be easy to control all aspects of your various sinful impulses.
Have you ever had an instance where you said something that you shouldn’t have?
Have you ever wanted to take back something you said?
Do you sometimes feel like your mouth has a mind of it’s own?
One inch around, Controls 1,500 lb animal
Control where how they move. When they move. Where they move.
Absolute controlled by this bit in their mouth.
Winds push, but the rudder moves and directs the ship.
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!
Boasts-usually sinful. Boasting in self
In accomplishments. In deeds. Defiling the body
Brings about the image of disaster if it is boasting in self. Sets the whole world aflame
Fire—Dangerous/Destructive/Unruly. Unable to be tamed Out of Control.
If we decided to boast in ourselves. There will be disaster in our wake.
Leads down a path of arrogance.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road.
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but 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. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
What we say reveals who we belong to and who we really are.
Alone we cannot tame our tongue (v. 8)
It is deadly and full of poison.
We say what we want to get what we want. To hurt who we want. To make ourselves feel bigger and better than we really are.
Often times we serve our tongues, it doesn’t serve us.
Because what we say reveals who we are and what we value.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
“Do you kiss your Momma with that mouth?” (v. 9-10)
If you go about lifting yourself up. Bragging and Boasting about your accomplishments and deeds.
You will leave no room for God. You are defiling and demeaning the very one who gives you life.
I hate to break it to you, but you are not as awesome as you think you are. You are not as great as you think you are.
You haven’t done or accomplished anything outside the immeasurable grace of God.
You should be thankful, not boastful.
Boasting will only bring about destruction.
We are each one made in the image of God. We are each one valuable because God created us, redeems us, and loves us.
We need to extend the same amount of love and devotion to one another that we want extended to us.
We can’t say in one breath that we love God and then go around and speak hate and disgust to those he came to save.
This is crucial right now. There is enough hate, anger, and spite in the world.
There is enough talking down to, enough belittling, enough hatred.
Out of the overflow of your heart the mouth speaks.
What gets you going? What stirs up the anger and hatred inside you?
Know what it is. Submit it to Christ. Ask the God To help you over come it.
We should be agents of Grace and peace not hatred and chaos.
The sad thing is it is coming as much from those who claim to be Christians as it is from those who don’t.
We may disagree. We may see things differently. But We must not spit the poison and venom of the tongue.
We can’t say we love and worship God and go about living with anger and animosity toward those we disagree with.
We need to rely on the H.S to guide us in this b/c we can’t do it alone.
We need to speak the truth in love.
We need to love those that disagree with us.
We need to live in the grace that we have received.
Don’t expect those who don’t know Christ to act, love, and serve Christ.
Demonstrate your love for God to those who don’t know him.
Encourage those who do know him to strive for holiness.
Exalt Jesus. Love People.