Sunday Recall (August 16, 2009)

We are on week 3 of our series Genuine. As we continue with our preaching series, we talked about another area where the merging of our faith and action can be clearly seen – in the way we use our tongue. Below is my preaching outline last Sunday:

Have you ever been a victim of a gossip or a rumor that is not true?
How does it feel?
On the contrary, have you ever said anything about a person that may be true but done with a wrong intention.

James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

What is the real test of maturity? Prayer, fasting, studying the Word, worship, giving?
James said if we are never at fault in what we say we are perfect!

A good gauge in measuring spiritual maturity is how one controls his tongue.
The tongue is the muscle that is the most exercised but is the least controlled.
Somebody said, “Everyone of us is carrying around a concealed weapon.” All we have to do is open our mouths and it can do damage.
Men speak 10,000 words per day while women speak 25,000 words per day.
Somebody calculated that we probably put together a 54-page book every day. And in a year, we would probably produce about 66 800-page books. This means, if you’re a normal person, you spend one fifth of your life talking.

Proverbs 10:19 – When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
With our tongue we either build people up or tear them down.
When you go to a doctor, you probably remember as a child, the first thing the doctor would say is, “Let me see your tongue.” James is saying the same thing, “let me see your tongue.”

“The nurse puts a thermometer under your tongue and tells your physical temperature. James says, your tongue itself will take your spiritual temperature.” – John MacArthur
There is a direct relationship between the tongue and the heart.
Matt. 15:11 What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’”
Matt. 15:17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?
Matt. 15:18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’
Matt. 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

James 3:3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
James 3:4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
Last week from Aug 11-15, the USS George Washington (nuclear powered super carrier) visited the Philippines and docked at the Manila Bay. It is one impressive military ship. Its flight deck is 18,000 sqm; the height is equivalent to 24 story bldg, with 6,250 crewmembers and about18,000 meals are being served per day. But no matter how huge the ship is, it is still steered by a rudder that is much smaller in size compared to the whole ship. But the rudder is controlled by the captain whichever direction it wants the ship to go.

Prov. 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

The verse above says that words are containers of power.
God spoke and it came to be.
I am not teaching on hyper faith i.e. “Name it, claim it.” Or “Blab it, grab it!” I may confess that words “I will be rich, I will be rich, I will be rich” but nothing will happen unless I go out and work.
But we need to realize that words have power to influence our walk. We may say statements like these:

My child is never going to change. He ‘s becoming worse.
This marriage is not going to work out. We might end up separating.
It won’t work. Even if I work hard, I still won’t have enough.

James is not talking about simply “Christianizing” our vocabulary. He is telling us to examine our speaking habits. It reveals what is in our hearts.

And then we see that these statements are becoming real in our life.

James 3:5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
James calls it “a world of evil” able to express every kind of sin – lust, hatred, malice, envy, jealousy, bitterness, greed, lies, etc.

In 2007, there was a Southern California forest fire that burned over 38,000 acres resulting to injury of 3 and loss of 21 homes and 22 buildings. How did it start? A 10 yr old boy was playing with matches.

How could just a few words of gossip destroy a friendship, a marriage, a ministry, a church? Just a few words—it seems all so small and insignificant. But James says those little sparks can cause great destruction.

Slander is saying false things about another. Gossip is spreading the truth about someone’s faults or failings. Both are used to destroy the reputation of the person.

Prov. 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Prov. 26:22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.
How can blessings or curses coming out of the same mouth? This should not be.

In the morning worship we may use our tongue to pray, then spend the afternoon using it to rip apart our family.

James 3:7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,
James 3:8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.
James 3:10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

Animals are being tamed but no man can tame the tongue. But it does not mean that it is untamable.

We need to depend on God to control our tongue.
Only the Spirit of God can tame a man’s tongue. In fact, God changes the heart of a man in order for the tongue to be tamed.


Prov. 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
James has written to believers. He is reminding us that salvation does not automatically change the way we live. Discipleship and dependence on the Holy Spirit is needed.
When a Christian walks in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, he will bear the fruit of the spirit.
It is depending on God daily that keeps our body in check.
Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Source: Sunday Recall