3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 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. 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! 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. 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. 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.
James 3:3-12 ESV
I. The Power of Words (3-6)
A. The power of words is undeniable. It’s obvious in our own experiences. It’s obvious biblically.
B. Words have the power to build and they have the power to tear down.
C. The power of the tongue is not in in its size but the scope of devastation it can create.
D. The tongue is too often the tool of Satan as lives are destroyed with a few simple words. (Proverbs 18:20-21)
II. The Poison of Words
A. Not only is the tongue powerful, it is poisonous to us as well.
B. The tongue is poisonous but unlike poison it is unable to be controlled by man, which makes it quite literally the wildest thing in the creation.
C. The only way to get the tongue under control is to submit ourselves, our whole selves and not just our speech to God for Him to change and renew and redeem.
III. The Penetration of Words (11-12)
A. The tongue is not just powerful and poisonous but penetrating as it reveals what is really on the inside of us.
B. The solution for what the varied things going on in all of our hearts and souls is the same: having and holding onto our identity in Jesus Christ.
Next Week: The Truth about Wisdom Part 1 James 3:13-16