1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We are glad you tuned in to listen to the rest of this program.
3. We are in the midst of a series of messages from the Epistle of James.
4. In this broadcast, we will discuss step number six in the twelve-step program for spiritual maturity.
5. James tells us that the control of the tongue is one of the most important steps toward Christian maturity.
6. Let us review the previous steps.
7. Step number one
8. is rejoicing in the middle of trials.
9. Step number two
10. is saying "no" to temptation.
11. Step number three
12. is obeying the Word of God.
13. Step number four
14. is loving the unlovable.
15. Step number five
16. is living out your claim of faith.
17. Today, in step six, we turn to the taming of the tongue.
18. Why is that important?
19. Because an uncontrolled tongue can slice up someone’s reputation.
20. It can destroy someone’s dream,
21. or shatter a beautiful relationship.
22. An uncontrolled tongue can shatter lives and destroy marriages.
23. Too much idle talk tears down our ability to be good witnesses for Christ.
24. It destroys our credibility and discredits our Savior.
25. The ability to curb our tongue is a mark of Christian maturity.
26. James, as usual, does not mince words in the way he deals with the subject.
27. Turn with me, please, to Chapter 3, beginning at verse 1, all the way to verse 12.
28. In verse 1, James begins with speaking to those who always want to be taken to a place of prominence.
29. Let me paraphrase to you verse 1 of Chapter 3.
30. "Stop and think before wanting to step in a position of leadership."
31. Why is James saying this?
32. Because those who are in leadership pay a heavy price and will be judged by God in a much stricter standard.
33. The Bible is full of examples of those who have thought that leadership in the church is an opportunity for gain.
34. Gehazi, Elisha’s assistant, coveted the gift Naaman the Syrian brought to his master, and his master turned it down, and Gehazi was struck with leprosy with his whole family.
35. Ananias and Sapphira thought that they could deceive the Holy Spirit of God, and both dropped dead on the spot.
36. Do you aspire to leadership?
37. Then, you must learn the biblical correction; not crude criticism.
38. Learn discipline, not domination.
39. Learn authority, not autocracy.
40. Learn leadership, not lordship.
41. James gives us a warning against carnal ambitions and against critical attitudes.
42. Why this warning?
43. Because those who aspire leadership will be judged strictly.
44. James includes himself in the leadership of the church by saying “we.”
45. My listening friends, I want you to hear me correctly.
46. Whether you are a formal teacher or not,
47. if you are a Christian living in this world, you are involved in teaching in some way.
48. We are teaching our friends.
49. We are teaching our spouses.
50. We are teaching our neighbors.
51. We are teaching our children;
52. and that is why James goes on to say that it is important for us to watch what we say; all of us,
53. because all of us shall render an account for what we say in the Day of Judgment.
54. Jesus said, “By your words, you shall be justified and, by your words, you shall be condemned.”
55. If, by your tongue, you confess Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life, you are saved and on your way to Heaven;
56. but, if you say, “I don’t accept that Jesus is God…,” then, you already condemned yourself to Hell.
57. Nobody condemned you. Your own tongue has condemned you.
58. What we say with our mouth is very important.
59. It is very important.
60. It is eternally important;
61. and that is why the psalmist in Psalm 141, verse 3, said,
62. “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
63. keep watch over the door of my lips...”
64. and, in verses 3, 4 and 5, James wants us to comprehend what a powerful force our tongue can be.
65. He said it is like a bit in the mouth of a horse,
66. or the rudder in the ship.
67. These are small components in comparison to the size of the horse or the ship, but they have powerful effect and control.
68. That is why Proverbs 10:11 said, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the harsh word stirs anger.”
69. In other words, from our lips can come out words of love and comfort,
70. words of encouragement, and wisdom and inspiration,
71. words of faith that can lead men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ;
72. yet, from that same tongue can come sarcastic comments and insinuating remarks,
73. can come a critical statement or a lie,
74. can come unfounded rumors, or a piece of misinformation.
75. Each of these can destroy.
76. By our tongues, we can boldly speak the truth, even at the risk of suffering.
77. By the power of words, we can change the world.
78. Mary, the Queen of Scots, once said that she was more afraid of the tongue of John Knox than ten thousand fighting men, because John Knox preached the truth;
79. yet, with our tongue we can injure, and we can kill reputations.
80. Think about this.
81. Probably, none of us will purposely, physically injure another person;
82. but just about all of us will speak angry words to someone else.
83. It is so much easier to sin with our tongue than to sin just about any other way.
84. No wonder James said if you control the tongue, you control all other areas of your life.
85. In the remaining part of this passage, verses 5 to 12, James tells us how to tame our tongues.
86. Verse 5 tells us it is because of the fatal effect that the tongue can have.
87. The tongue, if untamed, will become like a spreading blaze.
88. I have seen the effect of fires.
89. It destroys everything around it.
90. Let me tell you a true story.
91. There was once a woman who constantly spread false rumors about her pastor.
92. She always criticized everything he did;
93. but, one day, she realized the seriousness of what she was doing,
94. and she went to him to confess and ask for forgiveness;
95. then, she asked, “Is there anything I can do to make up for what I have done?”
96. He said, “Yes.
97. Get a pillowcase full of feathers and go up on top of the hill and open the pillowcase and let all the feathers go.”
98. She followed his instructions and, then, went back to the pastor and said, “I did what you’ve asked me.”
99. He said, “Now, go back and gather every one of these feathers.”
1. She said, “But that’s impossible!
2. There is no way I can find all these feathers!”
3. He said, “That’s exactly right; nor will you be able to undo the damage you did with your tongue.”
4. How can a tongue be the spark that creates a huge fire?
5. There are five different ways.
6. First, by speaking idle words.
7. This means that we speak about an issue when we do not know all the facts.
8. We just speak about the matter because it makes us feel important.
9. A good cure for this is Proverbs 4:24.
10. “Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.”
11. Secondly, the tongue causes damage by uttering profanity.
12. If you’re a person who speaks profanity and curses all the time, chances are your heart is not right with God.
13. Listen to what Paul said.
PLEASE READ EPHESIANS 4:29 HERE.（请读以弗所书4：29）
14. Thirdly, the tongue burns by insinuation.
15. That is saying a word to stir up discussion or to fan discontentment.
16. Proverbs 16:28 says,
17. “A perverse man stirs up dissention, and a gossip separates close friends.”
18. Fourthly, the tongue burns by magnifying the faults of others.
19. You might be constantly pointing out to your spouse his weakness and make him or her feel inadequate all the time.
20. Psalm 64:3, “They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows.”
21. Fifth, a tongue burns not only by what it says, but, also, by the way in which it says it.
22. The way we say things can be just as important as what we say;
23. so, where do we go from here?
24. Can anybody just decide that he or she is just going to control their tongue?
25. James’ answer is, "no!"
26. In fact, James said that you can tame wild animals and wild beasts easier than taming the tongue.
27. The untamed tongue is a visible example of man’s inability, in which he finds himself sometimes crying out with the Apostle Paul,
28. “For what I do is not the good I want to do, but the evil I don’t want to do, I keep doing!”
29. Humanity can control spaceships out in the outer atmosphere, and can control all kinds of modern technology, but they cannot control the hearts or the wills from which overflows the words of the mouth;
30. and that leads James to ask a rhetorical question in verses 9 to 12.
31. The tongue cannot equally bless and curse at the same time.
32. This is no more possible than salt water and fresh water can flow out of the same spring.
33. It is as impossible as getting figs out of a grapevine;
34. so it is with the spiritual life.
35. You cannot sing praises to God and, then, turn around and curse your spouse.
36. You cannot teach your children about God and, then, put them down and destroy their spirit.
37. You cannot claim to talk with God one moment and, then, be spiteful the next.
38. You cannot speak the language of Zion in one moment and, then, stab someone in the back with criticism in the next.
39. This is the kind of inconsistency that James is speaking about;
40. and that is why James said, “My brothers, this should not be!” This thing is not only inconsistent, but it is iniquitous.
41. You and I might not be able to tame the loose tongue or the angry heart, or the critical spirit, or the controlling attitude;
42. but God, the Holy Spirit can.
43. The blood of Jesus can cleanse us, and sets us free;
44. and this is the Good News that I bring you, today.
45. God can do anything, but God wants for you to genuinely repent and humbly ask.
46. "Lord, I repent of my sin.
47. I truly want to give You the control of my heart and tongue..."
48. then, believe with all of your heart that there is power in the blood of Jesus.
49. It is my prayer that you’ll do exactly that;
50. and, until we meet again, I wish you God’s richest blessing.