Christian live differently and talk differently.
We are a new creation, with a new heart, and a new mouth.
Indeed, the tongue is the best of you or the worst of you.
How should we speak?
1. Speak Truthfully
Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak TRUTHFULLY to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Stop lying, no more half-truth, tell the truth, let honesty be your best policy.
Proverbs 12:19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
You can lie for a moment, but you cannot lie forever. You can lie to somebody, but you cannot lie to everybody.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
Lying is very burdensome because you have to keep track and remember all the lies that you have said. It's better to tell the truth and don't have to worry about forgetting what you said.
Speaking truthfully is not only about not lying, it's also about the sincerity of your heart.
Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
The Bible warns against those who flatter others with a hidden agenda.
Jude 16 These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
Proverbs 28:23 In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.
2. Speak Lovingly
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in LOVE, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Speak truthfully does not mean harsh and unkind words.
Don't use the truth to beat people up. Shine the light to show the way, not to blind people's eyes.
Truth without love hurt others
Love without truth harm others
Truth with love help others
Proverbs 27:5-6 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
3. Speak Wisely
Proverbs 12:18 Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but WISELY spoken words can heal.
To speak wisely is to be tactful, appropriate and guided by the Word of God.
Being sensitive, considerate and thoughtful in your words.
Your have an option with your words: either heal or hurt, develop or destroy, build up or tear down. Which one would you choose?
Proverbs 16:23 Intelligent people THINK before they speak; what they say is then more persuasive.
Think before you speak. Bear in mind the occasion, the timing, and the need.
Ephesians 4:29 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.
4. Speak Graciously
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with GRACE, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Gracious words are kind and gentle words.
How we speak and what we say can either calm down or heat up, persuade or provoke. Which do you prefer?
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 25:15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
The key is in the tone, and the secret is found in patience.
Instead of blasting your displeasure, anger and accusation, learn to speak graciously, using kind and gentle words.
Proverbs 16:24 GRACIOUS words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
An old saying: "You get more bees with honey than with vinegar."
5. Speak Politely
Never take people for granted. Always observe good manners and courtesy when you speak. It reflects more about you than the other person.
Philemon 8-9 That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do, 9 but because of our love, I prefer just to ask you. So take this as a request from your friend Paul, an old man, now in prison for the sake of Christ Jesus.
Turn your demands into requests.
Learn to say “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”
Isaiah 50:4 The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to LISTEN like one being taught.
Listen and learn, first from the Lord and from people around you, then you will know how you should speak.
Psalms 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.
We need the help of God to guard and watch over our mouth. There are seven sicknesses of the tongue that desperately needed healing:
1. Excessive Talking
Proverbs 10:19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
If you talk too much, you bound to make mistake and say something wrong.
Ecclesiastes 5:3 As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.
Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
How much is too much? How do I know whether I have the sickness of excessive talking?
Ask yourself two questions:
First, do you have something to say or do you have to say something?
Second, do you talk more than you listen?
When you are talking, you are not listening. When you are not listening, you are not learning. When you are not learning, you become a fool!
Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.
2. Idle and Careless Words
Matthew 12:34-37 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.
Careless words are thoughtless and insincere words.
Too often we say what we don't mean and don't mean what we say.
We say hurtful words like, "I wish you were never born," "Why don't you go and die," even though we don't mean it.
On the other hand, we say nice things like, "I will pray for you," "I will help you," but we don't mean it either.
One day we will have to give an account for every word we have spoken. God will judge us by our own words.
Matthew 5:37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil."
In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say.
If you say it, mean it. If you don't mean it, don't say it.
3. Lying and Falsehood
Proverbs 12:22 The LORD detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful.
God hates lies!
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.
John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
4. Gossips and Slanders
To gossip is to speak about others behind their back, typically involving details that are not true or unconfirmed.
When you gossip about others, you are slandering or tearing down their reputation.
Gossip and slander bring about suspicion, misunderstanding, quarrel. They destroy friendship.
Proverbs 16:28 A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
Oftentimes, gossips and slanders contain half-truth, which make them more convincing.
But half-truths are not truth, they are still lies. And remember, God hates lies!
What is the best way to stop a gossip?
Don't listen to it!
Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
5. Critical and Judgmental Words
Do you find yourself constantly talking about others, saying that they are wrong, they are no good, etc.?
Matthew 7:1-2 Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
A Christian can judge and must judge the sinfulness of an act: Sin is sin, wrong means wrong.
But there are 5 principles to adhere to:
First, the standard must be based on the Word of God, and not our personal view.
Second, don't make superficial judgment, make sure it is fully investigated and you have all the facts.
Third, we are not God, and we cannot judge the heart and motive of a person.
Fourth, we should not condemn the person. Judge the sin, not the sinner. Give grace, show mercy, seek to restore and not to condemn.
Fifth, make sure we are not committing the same sin while we are judging others.
Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intention.
Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
6. Grumbling and Complaining
Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing.
James 5:9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Stop complaining about the problem, start contributing the solution.
Stop complaining about what you don't like, start listening to what other people like.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
7. Negative Words
Negative words are words of unbelief. They act like curses and self-fulfilling prophecies.
Numbers 13:27-28 They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there."
The fatal "but" negates and destroys faith in the promises of God.
Numbers 13:30-32 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.
The positive voice of faith says, "Yes, we can!" The negative voice of unbelief says, "No, we can't!"
True to their own words, they ate the fruit of their tongue accordingly. Caleb entered the Promised Land while the doubters died in the wilderness!
Has it ever occurred to you that maybe the problems you are in are created by your own mouth?
You have been creating the wrong kind of future by your negative words.
You have been your own worst enemy!
Time to heal your tongue and use it to speak words of life and blessing.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
If we use our tongue properly, it will be a tree of life. Otherwise, it will be a tree of death.
Either way, we will eat the fruit of our own tongue. Will it be the sweet fruit of LIFE? Or will it be the bitter and poisonous fruit of DEATH?
It's been estimated that per day, man speaks about 20,000 words, while woman speaks about 30,000 words. The trouble is that by the time the man returns home, he has used up his 20,000 words whereas his wife is just dying and waiting to begin her 30,000 words with him.
God gave us a pair of ears, a pair of eyes, a pair of nostrils, but only one mouth. That should tell us something.
James 1:19 Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.
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 must learn to control our tongue. It is a clear sign of our religion and spirituality.
Chinese doctors look at the tongue to see the condition of our body. Likewise, our words reveal the condition of our heart.
James 3:1-12 uses 6 pictures to shows us the power of the tongue.
I. Control Where We Go (3:1-4)
Both the horse bit and ship rudder are weak and small in themselves, yet they can control the direction of the strong and powerful.
What you say determines your destiny!
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
What you say reveals what you think; what you think is what you will become.
While the word is yet unspoken, you are master of it; once it is spoken, it is master of you.
- Arabian Proverb
The real danger of the tongue is that it not only controls your own destiny, but also the destiny of others.
We often say the worst things to those we love the most.
The story of Karen Carpenter: Her obsession with weight began when a reviewer called her "Richard's chubby sister." She died of anorexia in 1983.
On the other hand, a word of encouragement can propel a person very far.
If you lose control over your tongue, you lose control over your destiny, and even wreck the lives of others!
II. Consume What We Have (3:5-8)
Fire, poisonous snakes and ferocious beasts have one thing in common: they are extremely dangerous and they can cause great damages.
A tiny spark of fire can destroy entire forest, even affecting neighbouring nations, resulting in millions of financial losses.
A tiny spark of unkind words can hurt someone's heart.
A tiny spark of gossip can kill someone's reputation.
A tiny spark of complaint can poison someone's mind.
Would you let lose poisonous snake and ferocious beasts in your house? You won't! Yet we let lose our words freely, destroying lives, friendships, marriages and churches.
Sinning with the tongue is the most common and easiest to commit, because we carry it with us everywhere we go.
v.8 says that no one can tame the tongue. Only the Lord Jesus can tame it.
The tongue can be set on fire by hell, but it can also be set on fire by heaven.
Give your heart to Jesus and surrender your life to Him. Let Him fill you with the fire of the Holy Spirit!
III. Uncover Who We Are (3:9-12)
The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.
Matthew 12:34 "You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart."
What fills your heart will overflow into words. What you constantly speak about reveals what you really care about.
What is the answer to the problem of the tongue? You need a new heart in order to have a new tongue.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Revelation 4:1-2 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things." 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.
It can be quite depressing reading the news. As the Bible says, we live in dangerous times. The world is full of wars and rumours of wars, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, human tragedy, etc. At the same time, we face daily challenges in our personal life.
The message we need to remember is this: God is on the throne and He is in control!
What throne? Throne of the universe, the seat of His rule and reign over all creation.
A clear and certain vision of the Lord keeps us in the faith.
Revelation 2-3 speak of the Condition of the Church:
Christ had no complaint about the church at Smyrna and Philadelphia. What kind of churches were they? Smyrna was severely persecuted and poor, while Philadelphia had very little strength. But both were incredibly faithful to the Lord!
John wasn't discouraged by what he saw in the Church, because he first saw the Head of the Church.
Chapters 2-3 speak of the Condition of the Church, but Chapter 1 reveals the Glory of the Risen Christ. He is in control over His church.
JESUS IS ALIVE and He is in Control!
Revelation 6-20 speak of the Endtime Events on Earth: Rise of anti-Christ, 7 years tribulation, disasters, judgment, etc.
John wasn't fearful of what he saw in the endtime, because he first saw the Lord on His throne. Today, He is still in control over your life.
Chapters 6-20 speak of the Endtime Events on Earth, but Chapters 4-5 reveal the Eternal One of Heaven.
GOD IS ON THE THRONE and He is in Control!
Listen to this truth: God is on the throne means that no one else is - not the devil, not us, but Him and Him alone!
The devil is not in charge, God is. Therefore, be encouraged!
Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
God is on the throne and the devil is under your feet.
The question is, who is seating on the throne of your life?
Beware of the great sIn of prIde. It's the big "I" that leads to all kinds of disobedience and even rebellion against God.
Romans 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God.
Don't ever forget that God the Savior is also God the Judge.
Do you want to come to the throne of grace or to the throne of judgement?
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Whosoever will may come to His throne of grace. But be careful, that you don't get caught up in the daily grinding of life, become so busy that you neglected to come.
In Revelation 1, John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day: He heard (v.10), he turned in response (v.12), he saw the Lord (v.13-16), and he fell down as though dead (v.17).
In Revelation 4, John saw an open door (v.1), he heard the invitation to come up higher (v.1), he was in the Spirit (v.2), and he saw the Lord on His throne.
Come up higher!