4Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction From a tombstone beside an English country church:Beneath this stone, a lump of clay, lies Arabella Young, Who on the twenty-fourth of May, began to hold her tongue.
5Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction James has already referred to this:“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry …” (1:19)
6Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction James has already referred to this:“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” (1:26)
7Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction James refers to the tongue 9 times, and in every chapter of this book:1: 19,232: 123: 5,6,8 (twice)4: 115: 12
8Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction Speech is a recurring theme in the OT:Isaiah saw the exalted Lord (6:5)“Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5)
9Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction Speech is a recurring theme in the OT:David speaks often of the tongue in the Psalms:“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.”(Psalm 34: 12,13)
10Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction Speech is a recurring theme in the OT:After Adam’s fall, his first sin was the way he spoke to God:The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it .”(Genesis 3:12)
11Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction Speech is a recurring theme in the NT:Paul speaks of man’s fallen nature:“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. “The poison of vipers is on their lips.Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”(Romans 3: 13,14)
12Controlling our tongue: 1) Introduction In this section, James gives us another way to test our faith :Faith is tested by its production of self- control.And the ultimate test of our self control is the way we use our tongue
16Controlling our tongue: 3) Power vs. 3-4 These illustrations have three elements:The person who controlsThe tool with which he controlsThat which is controlled
17Controlling our tongue: 3) Power vs. 3-4 The bitThe rider who controlsThe bit which is used to controlThe large and powerful horse is controlledOur tiny tongue (70 grams)7/100ths of 1% of our body weight
18Controlling our tongue: 3) Power vs. 3-4 The rudderThe pilot who controlsThe rudder which is used to controlThe large and powerful ship is controlledOne tiny rudder (50 tons) for Nimitz5/100ths of 1% of the ship’s weight
19Controlling our tongue: 3) Power vs. 3-4 The bit sits in the horse‘s mouth.The rudder gives direction to the whole ship.But be careful in jumping to the conclusion of thinking that the point here is that controlling our tongue will lead to mastery of our whole lives.That might direct our efforts in the wrong direction.
20Controlling our tongue: 3) Power vs. 3-4 Agent Tool Objectrider bit horsepilot rudder shiphuman will tongue life
21Controlling our tongue: 3) Power vs. 3-4 The tongue is controlled by our heart.It reveals what is really in our heart.“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts —murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander”(Matthew 15: 18-19)
22Controlling our tongue: 3) Power vs. 3-4 The solution is therefore more than just controlling the tongue.James does not give us the full solution right away. That comes in chapter 4.Our Lord used a similar teaching technique – leaving us up in the air and coming back to the solution later.More on this in our conclusion.
24Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 The tongue is a fireMrs O’Leary’s barn – Chicago 1871What other element reproduces itself ?
25Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 “As charcoal to embersand as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.”(Proverbs 26:31)
26Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”(Proverbs 26:30)
27Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 “A scoundrel plots evil,and on their lipsit is like a scorching fire.”(Proverbs 16:27)
28Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 “I am more deadly than the screaming shell from the howitzer. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me.
29Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 “I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenceless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the seas, and often as innocent. I never forget and never forgive. My name is gossip.” (George Sweeting)
30Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 B. The tongue corrupts:it will stain and corruptwhat it does not burn.
31Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 The tongue sets on fire:“the whole course of life”The tongue sets the direction of our life.
32Controlling our tongue: 4) Danger vs. 5-6 The tongue is set on fire:Gehenna – hellThe valley of Hinnom – a place for human sacrifice and later a garbage dumpUltimately refers to he who resides in hell – the Devil
34Controlling our tongue: 5) Difficulty vs. 7-12 Verse 7 starts with the word ”for” (ESV)This section explains and amplifies what has already been said.
35Controlling our tongue: 5) Difficulty vs. 7-12 A) The tongue is harder to tame than a beast:Men are very good at taming wild animals.No one can tame his own tongue.It is unstable, liable to break out at any time.No human can tame his own tongue.
36Controlling our tongue: 5) Difficulty vs. 7-12 B) The tongue affects ourselves and others:The tongue is full of restless evil.The tongue is full of deadly poison.
37Controlling our tongue: 5) Difficulty vs. 7-12 C) The tongue acts so inconsistently:It blesses God.It curses man.Illustration 1 - a spring of waterIllustration 2 – fig tree and olivesIllustration 3 – grapevine and figs
39Controlling our tongue: 6) Conclusion A) Our tongues are an indicator:People know who we are when we speak.Our tongue reveals our hearts.The way we speak is a sure indication of who we really are.
40Controlling our tongue: 6) Conclusion B) Our tongues reinforce our behaviour:When we lose our temper and blow up before a situation, we become more and more an angry person – this becomes a life style.When we criticise others, we become a critical person.When we allow ourselves to gossip, we become nasty assassins of other’s characters.
41Controlling our tongue: 6) Conclusion B) Our tongues reinforce our behaviour:When we curse and blaspheme we become people with unclean hearts with distain towards God.When we tell dirty stories, or pass improper remarks about members of the opposite sex, we become sexually impure and unable to truly love our present or future spouse.
42Controlling our tongue: 6) Conclusion C) The logic in this section of James:We cannot control our tongue. (3:1-12)James asks who is wise among us - if we are wise our lives will be free from jealousy, strife, ambition and disorder. We will live in peace. (3:13-18)But peace is a rare commodity. (4: 1-6)We must humble ourselves under God (4:7-10), confess our sin, and God will lift us up.
43Controlling our tongue The ultimate in self-controlJames 3: 1-9