INTRO: James wrote, And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity (Jas 3:6). Earlier in the letter bearing his name he said, Let every man be ... slow to speak (Jas 1:19). Another observation James makes is that the tongue can bless God and curse men! It is evident in scripture that the human tongue (or, human speech) needs an enormous amount of attention. And one does not have to read far into the book of Proverbs until he comes to references to the mouth, the tongue and human speech. Furthermore, the references one finds are not moldy and out of date. They are as true for todays living as they were in the ancient world of Solomon. What lessons can we find about the tongue?
1. Prov 6:17 - A lying tongue
a. among the seven deadly sins is a lying tongue
b. Prov 6:19 - then, a false witness that speaketh lies
c. Col 3:9 - lying belongs to the old life out of Christ
d. we have all heard of the white lie - does scripture make that distinction?
e. Rev 21:8 - ...and all liars...
f. lying is a damaging sin - it breaks trust so quickly - relationships are harmed by it - and it becomes so easily a habit
2. Prov 12:17,19 - A truthful tongue
a. here, of course, is the opposite of the lying tongue
b. truthfulness & righteousness are compatible and consistent with each other
c. that fact brings us face to face with another ... lying is unrighteousness!
d. further, truthfulness is established forever - the point is this: truthfulness is never regretted and needs no justifications to support it
e. yes, there may be times when telling the truth may put us into some sort of difficulty - but we will not lose trust with those with whom we are in relationship
f. Eph 4:25 - ...speak every man truth with his neighbor...
3. Prov 11:9 - A destructive tongue
a. we all live in relationships - communities of people (family, church, etc.)
b. there are, in those relationships, people who speak well of you to your face and who speak evil of you when your back is turned - this is hypocrisy
c. when we are talking about another, we need to examine our motives
d. what you say about another person takes on a life of its own - and spreads far beyond your immediate presence
e. Prov 25:23 - a backbiting person breaks the law of love!
f. have you wounded anyone by speaking evil of him/her? - 1 Pet 2:1
4. Prov 15:4 - A wholesome tongue
a. here is the very opposite of the destructive tongue
b. a tree of life - here is a tongue which promotes that which is good
c. this tongue certainly speaks well of others - finds the best in them
d. this tongue speaks upliftingly, beneficially, encouragingly
e. this tongue teaches others the word of God ... which produces life
f. Eph 4:29 - are others benefited by your words, your speech?
5. Prov 16:1 - A prepared tongue
a. here is one of the great pieces of advice in the book of Proverbs
b. notice Mt 12:24 - what comes out of our mouths begins in our hearts!
c. thus, our hearts need to be prepared by Gods influence (via His word) before our mouths speak ... our hearts need the training of the Lord
d. whence come vulgarity, profanity, gossip and such?
e. they come from a heart unprepared by the Lords influence!
f. 1 Pet 3:15 - another aspect of preparation and the tongue
6. Prov 13:3 - A guarded tongue
a. notice the connection of the mouth with the life! this is big stuff
b. so, because ones tongue is such a huge part of life, it must be guarded
c. oh, be careful little tongue what you say - a song I sang with children ... but I wonder if those of us who are older need to sing it, too?
d. Prov 15:2 - note here the comparison of knowledge and foolishness
e. bottom line? we need to think carefully before speaking
f. it is far better to say nothing at all than to say something you will later regret
CLOSE: There is little doubt that we take our tongues, our mouths, our speech very much for granted. Things taken for granted are to easily carelessly used. As my mother said to me many times, Be sure your brain is engage before you set your mouth in motion.
Cecil A. Hutson
18 July 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)