Growing in our Communication with One Another

Dustin Folden September 22, 2019 James 3:1-12
Outline

Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 26:28 - A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Psalm 5:9 - There is nothing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.

James 1:3, James 1:14, James 1:21, James 2:17

3 Truths about the tongue and how we communicate

I. Recognize the Power of the Tongue

A. The tongue indicates the direction of our lives

Romans 3:23 - …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

James 1:2 - For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is the perfect man able to bridal the whole body as well…

Ephesians 4:31

B. The tongue can cause great destruction in our lives

James 3:5b-6 - See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity, the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

Matthew 15:18-19 - But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

II. Acknowledge Our Inability to Tame the Tongue on Our Own

James 1:26 - If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

James 3:2 - For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

A. You cannot tame the tongue on your own

James 3:8 - But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

B. Only Christ can tame the tongue

C. Taming the tongue requires a change of heart

1 Peter 3:10-12 - The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

III. Delight in the Blessings That Come in Bridling the Tongue and Growing in Our Communication

A. Our speech moves from folly to wisdom

Proverbs 15:2 - The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spout folly…

Psalm 37:30-31 - The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

B. Our words will be a blessing to others

Isaiah 50:4 - The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.

Proverbs 10:20-21 - The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, the heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of understanding.

C. Our tongue can bring blessings upon our lives

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 - Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

Today we are going to consider how something small can have a huge impact…

If we want to see an illustration of the impact of small things –

The Space Shuttle Challenger Tragedy is a powerful example. It was 1986 This flight was special, not because of where it would go or what they would do, but because of the makeup of the crew.

  • 6 Astronauts and 1 teacher. Christa McAuliff had trained and was making this trip into space as part of a new teachers in Space program. One of the NASA technicians on the walkway as the team boarded the Shuttle offered the teacher a shiny red apple, to which she replied, “save it for me, I will eat it when I get back.”
  • What went wrong? Was it a Major Engineering failure? Was it sabotage or a terrorist attack?
  • No – when the investigation was over, the facts concluded that the Challenger exploded because of the failure of an “O-ring” (small rubber gasket)
  • One Engineer even said in a report to his boss - “It is my honest and very real fear that if we do not take immediate action to solve the problem...then we stand in jeopardy of losing a flight, along with all the launchpad facilities. The result would be a catastrophe of the highest order--loss of human life.’
  • The lesson – It did not matter if all the major parts were working perfectly, not recognizing the significance of a small part resulted in disaster.

At 11:38 on 28 January 1986, Challenger lifted off. Everything looked picture perfect to start, until 73 seconds into the flight, when without warning, Challenger exploded and all seven crew members were lost.

A relatively small part of a large and complex engineering machine. Though larger than the O-rings in your car, it was still relatively small as compared to the whole of the shuttle and it’s rockets. Sadly, the risk of an O-Ring failure was recognized in advance, but the impact to schedule and the cost to address the risk was significant and as such the risk was not addressed

– the warnings were there.

Today we are going to look at a small part for you and I, the tongue is just a small part of the body, a small muscle, no bone and fully contained within the mouth.

Do we need to take it seriously? Are there warnings we need to heed? Let’s look at what the author of Proverbs might say to us…

  • Prov 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
  • Prov 26:28 - A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
  • Psalm 5:9 - There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue.

We are continuing our series on Growth Essentials by walking through a verse be verse exposition of the text of James. We began the series looking at

  • Growing in our Response to our Trails
  • Growing in our Response to Temptation
  • Growing in our Obedience to the Word
  • Growing by Avoiding Wrongful Discrimination
  • Growing in Living out our Faith
  • So today we will be focusing on Growing in our Communication with One Another.
    • Please turn in your bibles to James…that is on page 178 in the bible under the chair in front of you. Page 178, which is in the back section (NT).
      • Speech is powerful…what you say is powerful and it has a great impact on others.
        • That is why James calls out teachers…because of the impact of our speech.
      • James 3:1–2 — 1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.
        • It is a sobering thing to teach on this passage about the warning of teaching…but the overall point is that when we speak 1on1 we have great power to influence others…when you teach a group of people, that power to influence is exponentially increased based on the additional people, and also on how they will then use their speech to influenced others.
        • Now that can be good, but it is powerful, that James warns, not everyone should be teachers as this great power comes not just with great responsibility, but great accountability, and those who influence a lot of people unwisely, unbiblically will incur a stricter judgment.
        • So James sets the tone in this section how important our speech is.
        • In fact speech is powerful because…
      • James focus here is on how your tongue, your speech steers you….
      • James 3:3-4 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.
      • It is fascinating how a foolish word can totally set your whole day in a different direction.
        • Maybe you speak unkindly to your spouse in the morning, and you feel a bit guilty, but you begin to justify what you said, in your mind, and then you begin to defend yourself.
          • You become more and more self focused, and your kids do something that you don’t like, and so you snap at them and you keep moving toward a more and more self centered view of life….and you get to work and a co-worker asks you a simple question about a project but you take it as a personal attack and you blame shift to another co-worker…
        • Your speech has directed your life to be more and more self centered…it has directed your course…
        • James wants us to think about horses…powerful animals that can run faster than I can imagine moving….muscles on top of muscles….and yet a small bit directs all that power.
        • James also bring up imagery of huge ships….Rod Hutton, one of our Pastors at the NE, used to be a submarine captain…and the submarines he was on was a 4 story building…2 football fields long, weighing over 18,000 tons….and all that massive ship can get up to 30 miles per hour….and the rudder that steers is only 20 feet long….tiny compared to 2 football fields….
      • If you are going to evaluate your Christian life, and the essentials of growing in the Christian life and you don’t factor in the tongue, your speech, how you talk to people, you have a huge issue, because it directs your whole life.
      • James 3:5-6 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
      • James focuses on how comprehensive the impact is…the world of iniquity, the entire body…the course of our life…we are to think about how massive the impact is…
      • My wife is from California, and I have learned over the years how unbelievably destructive wildfires are….and they start often with a very small spark…maybe a electrical power line malfunction, a campfire that wasn’t quite put out, or just extremely dry conditions.
        • Last year on Nov 8th California experience the deadliest wildfire since 1918…it started with a power line malfunction….and spread so fast because of the wind it ravaged 153, 000 acres in N. California… …the fire killed at least 85 people, destroyed 14,000 homes…it took 17 days to contain the fire, and that was because by the grace of God they got 3 straight days of rain…to help the 1,000 fire fighters finally put it out….85 people died, but almost 300 people were unaccounted for.
      • How great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire. It defiles your whole body, your whole being…it effects your whole life, it is like Hell itself is consuming you…
        • This is how God wants you to think about the destructive power of what you say to people...it is like Hell…eternal death…
        • Prov 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue
          • Memorize the first part of passage.
      • If we are going to grow and change…it starts with understanding we can create massive damage and hurt with a word.
      • Psalm 120:3–4 — 3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, You deceitful tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the warrior, With the burning coals of the broom tree.
      • Proverbs 16:27 — 27 A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are like scorching fire.
      • Many people say things, and then just let it go. They change the subject, they try to be nice, they pretend it didn’t happen, they say, I didn’t really mean it…if we are to grow we must admit the immensity of a problem started from what we say to each other.
      • Think about the small words you said to your spouse, your kids, a friend this week that were meant to destroy….
        • …have you ignored that wildfire, letting it grow…or are you seeking to stamp it out at the source because you recognize how big of a deal it is.
      • Now when we see how big of an issue this is…that last thing you want to do it try to be a hero….you don’t charge a CA wildfire with a water gun…
      • James 3:7-8 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
      • We can control wild animals. We can domesticate them, train them
        • We train dolphins and sea lions to protect harbors and do tricks, we train elephants to move heavy objects…and we train tigers, and lions, bears…oh my we train animals…
        • I watched a video of a Japanese man who trained flies to roll over and spin little balls on their legs… if you can train a fly…I think you can train anything…
      • So it can be really tempting to think…well this tongue thing is pretty serious, I need to train myself to never say anything mean, hurtful, manipulative to anyone else…
      • James says that is not going to work…no one can tame the tongue…it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison….
        • If I just get a shock collar, and zap myself every time I say something mean…or give myself an Oreo every time I say something nice…I will get control of my speech….no you won’t, because you are not taking into consideration your heart…what you love…and how the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart…
          • There is evil and deadly poison within us…
      • Now just because we can’t tame the tongue by ourselves…doesn’t mean we are released from the responsibility to address our speech…in fact earlier James said…
      • James 1:26 - If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
        • We have to address this…we are called to bridle and tame the tongue…just not all by ourselves.
      • It starts with admitting there is a problem, and man made religion that doesn’t get to the heart is worthless.
        • If you yell at your kids before church – your religion is worthless.
        • If you pray before dinner and then chastise your spouse for all their failures that day – your religion is worthless…
        • If you have bible verses on your Facebook, and you speak words of death to others….your religion is worthless.
      • You have to recognize that man centered solutions and just being religious sometimes will not work…we need a messiah…
        • we need a savior to die on the cross to pay for our sins of the tongue, the restless evil that defile us before our God.
      • James 3:-9-10 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
        • Our inability to control our tongue helps us see our need….
        • Christ’s ability to control His tongue and obey the father perfectly, shows us His ability to meet our need.
      • 1 Peter 2:22–23 — 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
        • Jesus never sinned with His mouth, so he is able to pay for our sins that so often proceed from our mouth
        • James says, we can’t bless God and curse men.
        • We need to see that our heart needs to change, so that we see people as created by God, and when we sin against people, we are sinning against God and because of that, and we need a savior, we need forgiveness from our sins.
      • James 3:11-12 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
        • James point, is if you don’t change what you love, what you worship…you won’t at the last second speak in a way that communicates a love for God, a worshipful attitude toward God.
        • Matthew says it like this…
      • Matthew 12:33–37 — 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. 36 “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
        • Where is your treasure, what do you love…you can’t speak words of kindness consistently and over time and through trials without a heart that treasures God above all else.
      • James wants His readers to endure, to live out their faith with works…He wants them to see that their words reveal what is in their hearts…
        • and He wants his readers to respond in a way that their religion, their relationship with God is not worthless…that it permeates every part of them…and comes out in the way they speak to each others.
      • So think back to how you spoke to people this week…were you justified or condemned by your own words.
        • Did your words reveal what you treasure…who your God is….
        • We will give an account for every careless word we speak…
        • This should sober us…and drive us to our knees and ask the Lord for help to tame our tongue…it should drive us to the cross and the perfect savior who never gave into sin…and who stands ready to save us, and also then sanctify us…to help us grow.
      • John 7:38 — 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ”
        • So if we have believed the good news of Christ… the way we speak is to be characterized by rivers of living water…refreshing, life giving truth is to flow from our lips because it has flooded our hearts.
      • My friends, James speaks direct and He doesn’t pull any punches…he says Faith without works is dead…and that should get our attention, but know that Living out our Faith has so many blessing to also motivate us to keep growing.
      • When we through our relationship with Christ bridle the tongue, there is great blessing in our own life…James says…
      • James 3:2 - If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.
      • We all stumble, but we are to grow, to mature…
        • If you develop maturity…you are a perfect man…someone who is growing, someone who takes each word you say to people seriously because you see each word you say as connected to your relationship with Christ…you are able to have self-control in a whole bunch of areas as well. Scripture says you are able to bridle the whole body as well.
        • You see being careful how you speak , can translate to being careful what you look at, be careful how you spend your money, be careful how you steward your body…and the blessings of self-control just multiply…be it health, financial freedom, or strong relationships…
      • Prov 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
        • Those who respect the power of the tongue, who admit our sinfulness and turn to Christ and seek to grow in speech will eat good fruit.
        • Those who speak words of death, will eat the fruit of the destruction of relationships, trust, and ministry opportunities.
      • Prov 10:20-21 - The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding.
        • The lips of the righteous feed many…you give nourishment to others with your words, especially when you are speaking the word of God to comfort, build up, and encourage others.
        • That is what the church is to be characterized by….people who are growing in the way they communicate and interact…
      • Ephesians 4:15–16 — 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
        • Each Sunday we are to build each other up.
        • I want to challenge you each Sunday to say at least one things that is loving and encouraging to another person at church…
          • now we want to be genuine and not fake, but we also need to be intentional, and this is not natural…we naturally destroy with our tongue, and we need to grow by controlling our tongue and building each other up in love.
      • Ephesians 4:29 — 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
        • I also want to encourage you to think about this week…were there any unwholesome words…course jesting, making fun of someone, bullying someone, using someone’s weaknesses against them….
        • If there were words you said that were not characterized by the grace you have received from the Lord, I want to encourage you to ask the Lord’s forgiveness and the person or persons you spoke to or in front of for forgiveness.
        • If we take each little word seriously, and we stamp out the brush fire…by God’s grace, we can avoid the destruction that just a few words left unaddressed can bring.
      • and that is the greatest blessing that we get to represent our God accurately…
      • We can bless our God and bless men who were made in the image of God…we give him the honor He is due in the way we speak to Him and others.
      • We do this Through Christ….as Hebrews says…
      • Hebrews 13:15 — 15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

And today we will be continuing forward into James Chapter 3 to look at how James takes his discussion from showing the works that characterize a saving faith in Jesus Christ to now being very specific of one way that those works become clear, and that is not with our actions, but with our words.

[Read James 3:1-12]

3 Truths about speech and how we communicate with one another

I. Recognize the Power of Your Speech

A. Your speech powerfully influences others

B. Your speech powerfully directs your life.

So the tongue directs…and it does not automatically directs to a wonderful location…the autopilot of your tongue is going to naturally take you off a cliff, drive you into an iceberg,…You see….

C. Your speech can cause destructive effects

James says recognize the immensity of the problem, recognize you have a responsibility…but recognize you are not the ultimate solution….to grow we must humbly….

II. Acknowledge Your Inability to Tame the Tongue on Your Own

A. You cannot tame the tongue on your own

And so this problem directs us to Christ….you see…

B. Only Christ can tame the tongue

We need a new heart, so that we can tame the tongue, and bless God and bless people made in the image of God.

C. Taming the tongue requires a change of heart.

Jesus says…

When we treasure the Lord and speak accordingly...it is delightful…we are to…

III. Delight in the Blessings of Growing in Your Communication

A. The blessing in your own life

Not only are you blessed but growing in this way brings about….

B. The blessing in the lives of others

The result is that we are blessed and others are blessed, but mostly importantly God is honored…

C. The blessing of bringing glory and honor to our Lord

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.