Real Faith for Real Life Faith Service Worship Vision
There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds. These sessions are not about opinion, they are about learning truth, the truth contained in the Bible, together we are going to focus on how we apply God’s truth, black & white in a grey world. To set godly priorities, grow in Christian character and live according to God’s standards so that we are a living witness to others. Notes from previous sessions are available from the Bible Study Section of www.ashingdonelim.co.uk.
24 May 2011
Pierced Tongue or Piercing tongue? James 3:1-10
Do you like your mouth? What is your favourite word? What word do you use or overuse the most? Four Christians met for a friendly chat and they thought it would be helpful to discuss problems or sins with each other. Christian 1 would sneak off occasionally to a bar outside of town and get drunk. Christian 2 liked to go gambling. Christian 3 was addicted to smoking and would rush out of church after a service to go have a smoke. Christian 4 did not want to confess what their big sin was. Finally, she said, “Well, I think I should have gone first. You see, I am an incurable gossip and I can’t wait to get out of here!” If you have ever been the subject of gossip or lied about, you will understand the destruction that can be caused by what comes out of some people’s mouths and gossip is only one example. This study will focus on our mouths, specifically our tongues.
Does God need to give you a pierced tongue? Pierced tongues? Not pierced tongues like you see in some today with a stud in their tongue. But a pierced tongue so that we would be less likely to use our tongue to inflict damage on others or ourselves.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you have said something and then wished you had kept your mouth shut? All of have moments when we whished we had kept our mouths shut instead of blurting stuff out or saying something inappropriate. Let’s see what James tells us about the tongue. Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 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. 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. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 1
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 7
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. (James 3:1-10) 9
T.H.I.N.K. before you speak!
All of us have had evil things come out of our mouths. James tells us this should not be the case.
Ask yourself the following questions before you talk about someone else.
n n n n n
The first step in overcoming the tongue is having our hearts changed. Matthew 12:34 says, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Our heart needs to be changed if our tongues are to be controlled. To see our tongues pierced, controlled by the Lord, we need to be willing to let Him control it. And if we are going to do that, there are several things that we need to understand about the tongue.
If we can’t answer any of these in the positive, then we should think twice about saying anything. “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” (Proverbs 20:19)
How can the words we speak affect our entire life?
Gossip can really do great damage within the body of Christ. Gossip does not glorify the Lord.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:6)
How do the words we speak show the reality of our Christianity?
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
Don’t use bad language. Say only what is good and helpful to those you are talking to, and what will give them a blessing. (Ephesians 4:29 The Living Bible)
What would happen if you were asked to justify some of the words you speak everyday?
The Greek word σαπρὸς (sapros) translated as unwholesome means bad, decayed, rotten, or unfit for use and is applied to putrid vegetables or animals. It is applied to a tree that is of a useless character, that produces no good fruit.
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. (Matthew 12:36) The careless words that we speak not only hurt others, but they dishonour the Lord. Knowing these things, we need to continually check to see if we are in need of a tongue piercing.
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8)
What kinds of words are careless and dishonour the Lord? n n n
T—Is it true? H—Is it helpful? I—Is it inspiring? N—Is it necessary? K—Is it kind?
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:3-4)
Words that are Gossip Words that are Unwholesome Words that are Lies
We need to know that so we can avoid that type of talk with our tongue.
Do you find it difficult to remove vulgarities or obscenities from your language?
Is a bit of Gossip that bad?
We need to remove from our language swear words, these things come off of our lips so easily sometimes:
The book of Romans in talking about sinful people who have turned away from God, states some of the sins they participate in. It says “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” (Romans 1:29-31) Gossip is sin. When we discuss someone behind their back, we are gossiping. When we pass along information that could damage someone, we are gossiping.
When we use offensive language we are not bringing glory to the Lord.
When we tell crude or rude jokes, we are not bringing glory to the Lord.
When our language tears people down, we are not bringing glory to the Lord.
When we take the Lord’s name in vain - using the name God or Jesus in ways that are flippant or when we are not talking about the person of God or to God.
Little or large lies Why do people lie?
something that makes us angry or think poorly of someone else. This is what often leads us to tell someone else what we have heard.
People lie because they think they can avoid trouble. People lie to make themselves look good. People lie to benefit themselves.
Why do we find it easier to get angry or think poorly, instead of thinking forgivingly and be ready to forgive with our words and actions?
Do you remember the last time you told a lie?
There is one thing I have learned, there are always facts, or information that is important, that are not contained in the gossip we hear. Whenever one person tells their side, there is always another side.
Why did you feel you had to lie in that situation? Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)
How often do you try to look at something from the other side? How often do you give the benefit of the doubt?
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. (Ephesians 4:25)
Could you say, “Well there are things I just don’t know that may be going on in that person’s life or other important facts that I don’t know.”?
Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. (Psalm 120:2)
Words that Encourage
When we allow lies to leave our lips or let unwholesome language find a place in our vocabulary, or let gossip rule our conversation, even if we think it is harmless, we give the devil an entrance point into our life. We open ourselves up to attack.
When someone makes a mistake, do you scream and cuss or encourage them to do better next time?
The words that we let roll off of our tongues should be encouraging other people. Instead of using words that offend, use words that build up
The problem is that nobody can tame the tongue as James tells us in their own strength. We may not be able to do it on our own, but with the power of the Holy Spirit we can tame our tongues.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. (Proverbs 10:19)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. (Proverbs 21:23)
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)
Let’s keep ourselves from calamity and refrain from words that are careless and dishonour the Lord and move on to words that are thoughtful and glorify the Lord.
Look for ways to make someone’s day. Let them know they did a good job with something. Let them know how something they did positively affected you.
What kinds of words are thoughtful and glorify the Lord?
Do you just tell people when something is not right, or do you let them know when things are going well?
n n n
Words that Forgive Words that Encourage Words that are True and Loving
Complainer or encourager? Have you ever met a person that always has a complaint about something?
Those are the types of words God wants us to use. Those are what we need to use to replace words that are careless and dishonour the Lord.
Whenever you see them, you know you are going to be hearing how things weren’t right in some area. You never hear about the areas where things were going well.
Words that Forgive
Don’t be that person. Be an encourager
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
When you are an encourager, people will want to be around you. Fill your speech with words that encourage.
Often when we hear gossip, or rumours, or the latest juicy details on someone else, it is usually something negative or
True and Loving Words Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. (Psalm 51:6) Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15)
God wants us to be truthful. We glorify God when we are truthful. We do however have to speak truth in a loving way. All of our communication needs to be sprinkled with love. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1) If we don’t have love, our communication is just noise. Sometimes we speak the truth, but unlovingly. We don’t do any favours to people when we are not honest with them.
Are you always communicating truth in love or are you seeking to tear down others? Other times we think we may be loving someone by lying. We need to be willing to talk truth to people. It is going to be hard sometimes. Often we are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Speak the truth, but speak it in a loving way with loving motives.
Personal application Have you seen areas in our own speech that you need to let the Lord pierce your tongue in? Maybe it is in the area of gossip or of unwholesome language or maybe it is even with lying. Let Him pierce your tongue so that you can replace that kind of speech with forgiveness, and encouragement and truth and love.