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Author:Dr. Wes Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Tasmania
 Tasmania, Australia
Preached At:Mission Smithers -- Fort Babine
 Fort Babine, British Columbia
Title:God calls us to the right use of our tongues.
Type:Mission Sermon
Text:James 3:3-12 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Life in Christ

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

God calls us to the right use of our tongues.

Beloved congregation,

Many years ago our Creator made the first man and woman. Adam and Eve were made good. They stayed good for a little while. They listened to God and had a good relationship with him. They did everything right. They also said everything right. They never used words in a bad way. Adam and Eve didn't have any bad four letter words. They never lied about other people. But all of this changed.

When Adam and Eve listened to the snake, they fell into sin. From then on, everything was different. They were not good anymore and neither were their children or grandchildren. Adam and Eve and all their children and grandchildren, including us, did lots of sins. They also sinned with their mouths. They would swear and curse. They would use God's name in vain. They would lie about other people and call them down.

That's where we are today. People use their mouths in a bad way. People talk bad. They are always sinning against God with the way that they talk. They are always sinning against the people around them too. Things are bad.

In the Bible passage, we're looking at tonight, God is talking to Christians. He is talking to you and me, to all of us. And he tells us that the using our tongues in a bad way has to stop. That means we have to stop talking in a bad way. God calls us to use our tongues in a right way.

In this Bible passage, God shows this to us with some word pictures or illustrations. In verse 3, we read about horses and the bits that people put in their mouths. The bits are quite small, but when a horse has a bit in its mouth, then it listens to the person. The horse goes whereever the person tells him to go. The bit is really small, but it has great power. The same holds true for the tongue. We use the tongue for talking and when we talk, we can do big things.

The same point is made with verse 4. It talks there about ships with a small rudder. The small rudder can turn a huge ship. The rudder has great power again. It's the same with our tongue. "The tongue is also a small part of the body, but it can speak big things." (verse 5). It can do big things that are either good or bad.

But a lot of time, the tongue does big things that are bad. That's why God tells us that the tongue is like a fire which burns down a forest. That fire starts with a little spark, something small, just like the tongue. But the fire when it gets big, it destroys everything. And nobody can stop it when it gets big. Then it's just like a wild animal that nobody can stop. The tongue is like that. All of us talk bad and we destroy many people with our bad talking. We cause lots of problems. We make things up about other people. We believe the bad stories that other people tell us with their tongues. We often stretch the truth, exaggerating. We make the story better so that more people will listen to us. As we do all that, we are being used by Satan himself to kill and destroy.

Now when you hear this, you shouldn't be thinking about how other people do this. You shouldn't be thinking: well, I wish so-and-so were listening to this. Look at yourself. We all have to look at ourselves and our own sins. Don't look at other people, look at yourself. Look at all the times that you have used your tongue in a bad way. And don't start thinking that you never do this or hardly ever do. All of us do it, including me. But that does not make it right. It is a terrible sin. God doesn't want us acting like that. The Lord Jesus didn't die on the cross so that you can talk bad. He wants you to use your tongue and how you talk only for good things. The tongue has great power, but God wants you to put that power in the right direction.

That becomes really clear with verses 9-12 of chapter 3. Verse 9 tells us that we use our tongue for praising God. We sing to God, we pray to Him, we say good things about Him to other people. Our tongue gets used in a right way. Our tongue is working the way that it should.

But then there are other times when we use our tongue to curse men. People have been made in God's image and then we dare to curse them! It is like cursing God when we do that. A lot of times at the Sports Night, I hear the kids saying "Damn you!" That is a curse. They are cursing their friends. I tell them that they must not say that. Only God has the right to damn somebody. Only God can curse somebody and send them to hell. They are not God. And they are not showing love when they use their tongues to curse their friends. In fact, their friends are made in God's image, so they are also cursing God! Who would want to do that? That's a very dangerous thing to do. And these same mouths can sometimes be heard praising God at Sunday School or here at the services. "Out of the same mouths come praise and cursing," it says in verse 10. This should not be!

Why not? Because just like a fig tree only gives figs, or a grapevine only gives grapes, so also our mouths should only give one thing. We were created to praise God. God gave us our tongues so that we would only bless Him and praise Him. God gave us our tongues so that we would only talk good about other people. God does not want us to have forked tongues - tongues that talk two ways.

Now think here about the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a perfect man. Every word that came from his mouth was good. He showed love to the people. Yes, he sometimes cursed, but because he is God, he is allowed to do that. But the Lord Jesus never, ever sinned with his mouth. He kept all of God's commandments. He spoke when he was supposed to - listen to His words in Psalm 40:9, "I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips." He also kept quiet when he was supposed to - listen to these words about Him in Isaiah 53:7, ".he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth."

The Lord Jesus always used his tongue in the way God intended it. Why? He did it for us. He did it for our salvation. He did that so that we who believe in him would not go to hell. Do you believe that? Well, praise God! We have to give our thanks to God too by asking for the Holy Spirit. We ask for the Holy Spirit to help us to use our tongues in the right way. We ask Him to help us so that our tongues are used for blessing and not for cursing. When we are thankful for what Jesus did, then we will try our best to use our tongues in the right way.

If Adam and Eve did not fall into sin in the Garden of Eden, then we would always use our tongues the way that we should. But we know what happened and we know the way it is today. It will not always be this way. If we believe in the Lord Jesus, we will be made perfect someday. That will happen when he returns or when we pass away. Then we will all use our tongues the way that we should again, all the time. We will be always praising and blessing God our Creator. But today already the Lord Jesus has bought you from the sinful way of life. He has redeemed your soul and also your body. That means you belong to Him. Your tongue too. It belongs to the Lord Jesus. And so you have to try your best now to use your tongue for blessings and not for curses. In doing that, we will start praising God forever right now. AMEN.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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