Deep Creek Baptist Church
Sunday May 1
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        Sunday Morning Service

        June 5, 2022 - 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
        Members' Meeting
      • Psalm 24:1–6ESV

  • Psalm 150
  • Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (Nettleton)
      • Romans 5:8–10ESV

  • All I Have Is Christ
  • INTRODUCTION
    Evidently Arabella Young talked too much.
    After she died and was buried in Hatfield, Massachusetts, someone added this epitaph:
    Beneath this stone A lump of clay Lies Arabella Young Who on the 21st of May 1771 Began to hold her tongue.
    Ouch!
    Let’s hope we learn our lesson better than she did. Evidently Arabella Young never learned to control her tongue, but she’s not the only one. We’ve all known people who couldn’t stop talking.
    They say that women speak 18,000 more words a day then men. Someone once said they have to speak that much more because they have to repeat everything for their husbands who do not hear them.
    In this passage James gives us the situation the solution and the strategy of taming the tongue.
    Lets’ read James 3:1-12 together this morning.
    Main Thought

    Main Thought: If you can control your words, you can control your life.

    James 3:2 (ESV)
    2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
    The tongue is not just an index of the heart, but it can actually serve to guide our heart and life.
    If we can learn to get our tongues under control, we can get everything else in our life, our thoughts and our actions, under control too.
    Controlling the tongue is the gateway to controlling the rest of our bodies. If our tongue is out of control so will the rest of us.
    Now James explains to us how easily our tongues can lead us to sin and why it is so difficult to tame the tongue.

    The Situation: Our tongue is mastered by sin

    The problem is that our tongue is rather destructive when ruled by sin.
    The further we allow sin to rule our life and tongue the more damage it causes.

    The tongue has disproportional power.

    for good and/or evil
    Words are powerful. We might try to deny it with platitudes like, Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, but that isn’t true!
    Some of the most hurtful things done to me were not physical, they were verbal.
    I have never been beat up but I have been the recipient of many tongue lashings
    People vocalize the venomous thoughts in their minds,
    and they hurt!
    Has anyone else here this morning been deeply wounded by words?\
    To show the tremendous power of words, James illustrates by using a bit to a horse and a rudder to a ship.
    He compares the tongue to a a very small piece of metal a bit in a horse’s mouth, which is larger, that the rider uses to steer the horse.
    James is marveling that such a little piece of metal can control an entire horse.
    James 3:4 (ESV)
    4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
    Ever Greene - Suez Canal
    Ever Forward - Chesapeake bay missed a turn that little rudder caused so much trouble.
    Bigger than a horse is a ship.
    A giant ship is controlled by a comparatively small rudder. The captain moves the rudder to the right, the ship goes to the right.He moves it to the left, the ship goes to the left. Rudders and bits are small things with great power.
    Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, with great power.
    Compared to our body mass, the tongue is petite, but it can make a world of difference.
    these illustrations include the rider steering the horse and the pilot steering the ship. So even the illustrations connect the “means of control” to the “guiding desires.”
    James is now applying that to the tongue.
    Our hearts desires guide our tongue which then has massive impact on everything else—for good or bad.
    When the tongue is constrained by gracious desires flowing from a love of God’s glory, our lives will move in the course that God set out for us. For example, the woman in
    Proverbs 31:26 ESV
    26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
    The opposite is also true....
    Romans 3:13 ESV
    13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
    It can sooth a crying child. It can make people laugh.
    It can worship God through song.
    It can say the powerful words, “I love you.”
    Our tongues have incredible potential for affecting the world for good.
    But that is not the direction James is taking us.
    He warns that our tongue may be small but it has incredibly destructive power.
    James then explains his point in verse 5,
    James 3:5 ESV
    5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

    The tongue devastates our humanity

    The tongue can be powerful to accomplish very good things, but when ruled by sin it devastates our humanity.
    How many times do we hear reports of a small campfire or a smoldering cigarette setting on fire acres and acres of property?
    The tongue may be small,
    but when it’s ruled by sin, it becomes a destructive fire.
    James even calls it,
    James 3:6 (ESV)
    6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
    Apart from grace, the tongue rambles with the system of evil
    and rebellion against God (cf. Jas 1:27; 4:4).
    It’s morally destitute.
    You ever had a doctor tell you to stick out your tongue?
    He can tell a great deal about your physical state by looking at your tongue.
    The same here in terms of our spiritual state. Only, when God looks at our tongues, he finds “the world of unrighteousness.”
    And when the tongue proves to be the world of unrighteousness,
    it has devastating consequences.
    Verse 6 says that it defiles us:
    James 3:6 (ESV)
    6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
    He also says that it destroys life.
    I just want o take a small portion t speak to you as your shepherd.
    As a dad I am well aware how when an unintentional overbearing tone crushes my child's spirit. my words are colored by frustration, exhaustion, and anger and I make things worse.
    Many times I have done what Paul says not to do.
    Ephesians 6:4 (ESV)
    4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
    My tongue satins and begins to destroy my relationships to those closets to us.
    As your Pastor I want to remind how our words affect those of our church.
    It “sets on fire the entire course of life.” You may have heard the expression—maybe referring to a rumor or gossip—that it “spread like wildfire.”
    There is a reason why every chapter of this book contains instructions on the tongue, because it does such damage to the church.
    We as a church have experienced that, I truly believe that outside of doctrinal error, sins of the tongue
    Gossip,
    unwarranted criticism,
    unloving correction,
    complaining,
    unbiblical judging
    are more dangerous to a church, its unity, and its witness, then a pastor’s failure, embezzlement, or
    We as members of this church must take our sins of the tongue seriously, and understand that little sins of the tongue can have a domino affect on the health of the church.
    The most famous fire in American history was on October 8, 1871, in Chicago when at 8:30 p.m. Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern. It started the great fire of Chicago that burned 17,500 buildings.
    Oh the damage one little fire can do.
    Our words are like that.
    They light small fires around us.
    They create conflict and pain that can spread out of control.
    When we are angry, we say words we hope will burn others then burn out.
    Guess what? They don’t. They burn others, then they are repeated and start a fire in place and time we never intended.
    The evil of our words, like a fire, spreads and rages out of control.
    After Karen Carpenter the singer died of heart failure at the age of 32 brought on by years of fighting an eating disorder, it came out that her fatal obsession with her weight was triggered by a single reviewer’s comment. When referring to Karen, this man called her “Richard’s chubby sister.” While I’m sure there were other factors attributing to Karen Carpenter’s struggles, this one comment unleashed a flurry of self-doubt, which led to her eventual disease and death.
    We really need to watch our words, don’t we?

    The tongue defies human restraint

    So the solution is just to get our acts together, right? We know the perfect; we see the problem is pretty bad. Let’s just stop using our tongue that way. That’s all there is to it, right? Wrong. James’ says next that the tongue defies human restraint.
    James 3:7–10 (ESV)
    7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
    The most wild and harmful creatures are tamed by man.
    Go to the circus and watch a trainer work with lions and tigers.
    Watch elephants trained to balance on a foot.
    Even the deadly cobra can be tamed using a little horn.
    While the most deadly creatures on the planet are brought under control, the one thing a man can not tame is his own tongue.
    It is a “restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
    It is extremely hard, but the tongue must be reined in under control.
    When it is, everything else in our lives can be brought under control.
    What, then, is our only hope? Our only hope is in God’s provision, in God’s grace coming to our rescue.

    The Solution: The tongue can only be tamed by God.

    God’s grace comes to our rescue in sending his own Son, Jesus Christ.
    We needed a perfect, human substitute
    who could take away all our sins, even our sins in word.
    God sent his Son to become that perfect, human substitute.
    Listen to
    1 Peter 2:22–24 (ESV)
    and I want you to listen to it in light of what we’ve been discussing about our tongue.
    22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
    Everywhere that we’ve rebelled against God with our tongue,
    Jesus proved faithful with his tongue.
    Even in the moment when he had every right to threaten great judgment,
    he remained quiet to atone for all the ways we’ve abused our tongue.
    By his death alone, our guilty stains are washed away.
    By his death alone, the punishment we deserved in hell was spent on him.
    And by his death alone, we’re also freed to live to righteousness,
    even righteousness with our tongues.
    Before Jesus is our perfect example in word, he’s our perfect substitute for our words.
    But if we’re going to experience all of Jesus’ saving benefits, and actually live to righteousness with our tongue,
    God’s grace must also come to our rescue in giving us a new heart.
    And I believe James is hinting at this in verses 10-12, where he’s shocked by the inconsistency of the way God’s new people are using their tongues.
    James 3:10–12 (ESV)
    10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
    What’s he getting at?
    He’s getting down to the source of the tongue’s problem,
    namely, the heart—
    the very core of our person.
    A salt pond can’t yield fresh water. A fig tree can’t bear olives. A grapevine can’t produce figs. Why?
    Because it’s contrary to their nature. I
    n the same way, using our tongues for evil is contrary to our new nature given by God.
    James 1:18 (ESV)
    18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
    How does somebody tame the tongue?
    God must give us a new heart, a new nature.
    He must create a new humanity.
    And he does this through regeneration, the new birth.
    He puts his DNA in us by bringing us into union with Christ.
    He summons us to life from the dead.
    And when he does, he starts a work inside that enables change!
    That enables us to bring our tongue into humble submission to the lordship of Jesus.
    That enables us to take every thought captive for Christ’s sake.
    That enables us to speak the truth in love and edify our brothers with gracious and fitting words and preach the good news to those who have never heard.
    In other words, God’s grace enables us to use our tongues as his image bearers now free in Christ.

    The Strategy: Moving towards Christ-like speech.

    So, where does that leave us today after seeing how much of a restless evil our tongue truly is?
    It leaves us in a place of hope for change.
    If God has forgiven us through the cross and freed us to live to righteousness and given us new hearts,
    it gives us hope that we can change the way we use our tongues and compels us into that change.
    Perhaps it’d be helpful to close with just a few ways we can move toward the perfect day by day.
    FIRST

    Confess where you fall short

    One of my favorite scenes in Scripture is the vision of God’s glory in Isaiah 6.
    Isaiah 6:5 (ESV)
    5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
    The Lord pulls back the curtain, so to speak, and Isaiah sees the Lord of hosts, seated on his throne in all his splendor and holiness.
    But the effect it has on Isaiah is very much the same effect that James 3 has had on me—“Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips…for my eyes have seen the King.”
    Only when we see the perfect as he truly is will we see our sin for what it truly is, and how much we need God’s saving grace.
    If the tongue is the barometer of our spiritual maturity,
    where does that leave you this morning?
    Perhaps it’s left you in a very desperate place; it has me.
    When we see the depth our depravity,
    let us humble ourselves before the Lord and confess our desperate need for his grace. James 4:6 says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
    Second,

    Remember who you are in Christ.

    James 1:1 (ESV)
    1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
    You’re no longer a slave to your own passions (cf. Rom 6:16; 2 Pet 2:19).
    You belong to God. You’re purchased and owned by Christ.
    When he purchased you with his blood,
    your tongue was included.
    Give it to him daily.
    Pray in the morning that he would become Master over every use of it.
    THIRD

    Be slow to speak.

    James 1:19 (ESV)
    19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
    One way to pursue conformity to Christ in word is by slowing down this little mechanism.
    Isaiah 53:7 (ESV)
    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
    He knew when to speak and when to be silent, and all for our salvation.
    Consider God’s will and God’s word first, that it may transform how you speak in every situation.
    FOURTH

    Speak only to build up one another in love.

    In the church James is writing to,
    some are speaking harshly to the poor (2:1-7),
    some are fighting and quarreling (4:1),
    James 4:1 (ESV)
    1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
    some are speaking evil against each other (4:11),
    James 4:11 (ESV)
    11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
    some are grumbling about each other (5:9).
    James 5:9 (ESV)
    9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
    The reason James is addressing this issue is
    because he wants them to be a community where God’s love
    is evident both in our deeds and in our words (2:8, 12).
    Jonathan Edwards once put it this way:
    Resolved, Never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule…[ii]
    LASTLY

    Live as if your words matter eternally.

    James began his discussion on the tongue with the sobering reality of judgment (3:1).
    Let the judgment of Christ restrain your lips from speaking evil.
    James holds out for us the perfect. Christ-likeness in word is the perfect. He begins somewhat abruptly with a word of caution for those aspiring to be teachers:
    James 3:2 ESV
    2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
    He begins somewhat abruptly with a word of caution for those aspiring to be teachers:
    What’s the logic here?
    It’s not that some stumble and others don’t;
    and the ones who don’t stumble get to be the teachers.
    No way.
    I’m all too familiar with my own sin every week I get up here.
    Even the apostle James includes himself in the picture—we all stumble in many ways.
    The point is that even the most mature Christian still stumbles in many ways,
    and we will give an account for all of it at the judgment.
    That’s especially true for teachers whose primary ministry is carried out with the use of their tongue.
    Their words have incredible influence on the church for good or bad.
    That should produce some level of soberness when considering the role of a teacher.
    How much do your words reflect God’s character?
    What impression does your speech leave on the people you interact with?
    And is it the impression of one who belongs to Jesus?
    If James assessed your Facebook comments, how mature in Christ would he find you? Our speech tells the truth about the state of our soul. Jesus said that it’s “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:32; cf. Jas 1:26).
    Wherever we cannot bridle our tongue, there we will find spiritual immaturity.
    Spiritual maturity is measured by the way we use our words. Are we growing and maturing toward the perfect, Jesus Christ, in word?
    When we can control our tongue we can control our life.
  • Take My Life, and Let it Be
      • Hebrews 13:15ESV

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