Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

THE UNTAMED TATTLETALE (JAMESBS5.SER)
James 3:1-18

1. Tombstones in old England were inclined to tell some truth about a person’s life. Charles Swindoll reported one which said, “Beneath This Stone, a lump of Clay, Lies Arabella Young, Who on the Twenty-fourth of May, Began to Hold Her Tongue.
2. Many times epitaphs match actions. Boot Hill markers sometimes said things like this: “Beneath This Dig, Lies Johnathan Stow, Talked Too Big, Drew Too Slow”.
3. Sometimes people ask us to not pay any attention to what they’ve said, particularly when they’ve consumed too much alcohol. We are inclined to do it, but we know the tongue is the untamed tattletale of every human being!
4. I’ve spent a lot of time meditating about my own besetting sins, and I pray about them consistently, if not constantly. But I’ve discovered that I frequently don’t notice what my tongue does!
5. This is the problem James is dealing with in our text: THE UNTAMED TATTLETALE!
6. We would be a lot worse than we are if our tongue didn’t reveal our secrets!

I. “THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!”

1. You may have read that advice on a wall plaque somewhere. I used to have a little note pinned to the bookcase in my office that said, “Keep your words soft and sweet! You never know which ones you’ll have to eat!” And another one that said, “I only take my foot out of my mouth so I can insert the other one!”
2. Do you think that is really good Christian advice?
(1) There are certainly things best unsaid in polite company, but should we have to constantly watch our tongues?
(2) I think it is more important to watch our thoughts, don’t you? Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. God looks at our hearts!
3. Because we aren’t perfect, and because we don’t want to contribute to someone else’s downfall, we still must think before we speak!
That becomes less of a problem as we become more like Christ!

II. OUR TONGUES REVEAL OUR AMBITIONS.

1. Wanting to be important is not bad if our motives are right, but there must have already been a problem here. (v.1).
2. I think many of the tongue-speakers in Corinth were simply trying to be important.
3. V. 1 indicates James found people all over the place who were claiming to have some special revelation from God for His people. He doesn’t say they really did, or did not. He wasn’t judging them, but giving them a warning. He even included himself in it.
4. We believe God may choose to speak through anyone.
(1) Early Christians believed that, too, so they always listened!
(2) That means the responsibility for what is said rests on the speaker! (v.1b).
(3) V.2 says all of us stumble in many ways. If you can keep from stumbling in speech, you are a complete man in control of yourself!
(4) Be sure when you desire to lead God’s people, you have God’s command and inspiration behind you!
5. Ambition is good when the motives for it are good!

III. OUR TONGUES REVEAL OUR TRUE CHARACTERS.

1. James is not losing sight of what Jesus said, or of what he said a little earlier. We know people by their works! But we can also know, and be known, by our language!
2. Our language reveals our character because we can’t control it!
3. James illustrates how a bit controls a horse, a rudder controls a ship, and a single match can cause a great forest to burn! If we let them, our tongues will spin us out of control the same way!
4. If we couldn’t control our tongues, he wouldn’t have said these things.
5. When we wonder what made us say something wrong, we can be sure it was a fault in our character showing up!

IV. OUR TONGUES DECEIVE US AND OTHERS!

1. What we are willing to say in public is different to what we may say in private, isn’t that true?
2. James 3:12 shows the absurdity of being a hypocrite! God’s creation never allows salt and fresh water to flow from the same spring, or fig trees to produce olives, or vines to produce figs!
3. Our tongues should speak the same thing all the time, but they don’t, do they?
(1) Perhaps we are trying to keep from hurting someone’s feelings!
(2) That’s deception!
a. And it may cost that friend more than your friendship!
b. But sometimes telling the truth, when we are not asked, is cruelty!
c. We need to ask God for the wisdom to know when to speak and to be silent!
4. Why do we not always tell it like it is? We want to deceive somebody!
(1) Sometimes we think deception is kind!
(2) Sometimes we know it is just dishonest!
5. Be sure, there is always someone who hears our dissimilation!

V. I’M JUST GOING TO GIVE YOU ONE THING WE CAN DO ABOUT OUR LANGUAGE THIS MORNING.

1. James gives us the clue in v. 12. You get fresh, sweet water from a fresh, sweet fountain.
2. The ocean is full of water, but it is too salty to drink. We know how to separate the salt from the water now. But you can’t go to the ocean and drink, ever!
3. Tongues take a while to tame, but you will have a redeemed tongue the moment you are redeemed by Jesus! In Matthew 12:34 Jesus said, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
4. If you want to know more about cleaning up the tongue, come next Sunday. That’s the title of the message.

CONCLUSION:

1. Now let’s wrap this up.
(1) Our tongues reveal what we really want.
(2) The fruit of our mouths reveals who and what we really are.
(3) When those two things are false, we are trying to deceive someone for some reason!
2. You have to receive Jesus if you want to speak a truly clean language.
3. If Christians didn’t have a problem with their tongues, James would never have written this!
(1) Do you have Jesus, and still have a problem?
(2) Remember we’re not perfect yet: We’re working on it!
(3) If you’re working on it and you are still having a problem, make a new start right now.
4. This invitation is for you.


ECC 2/20/2005

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