Sermon:  The Need for a Bridle

Summary:  Since speech can be a strong force for destruction and is not easy to tame, 
we need to keep it under control.  If we do not, then our religion is worthless and 
repugnant to God.  Instead, we ought to focus on using our tongue for good.

Know:  Human speech is a strong force that needs to be reigned in

Feel:  Cautious and careful about what we say

Do:  Discuss and reflect on the power of speech and the various forms of speech (spoken, 
written, etc.).  Evaluate the nature of your own speech.  List ways to control your 
speech and use it for good rather than destructive ends.

Text:  James 3:1-12

Scripture Reading:  Prov 12:16-19 ;18:19-21

1.  A photographer wanted to photograph a forest fire. 
	a. To much smoke on ground level, kept trying to find a way in
		- Kept bugging the officials
		- Finally they told him a plane waiting for him on the pad.  
	b.  He arrived, saw a plane was warming up, jumped in and said let's go.  
		- "But", said the pilot...."Now!" said the photographer.  
		- When neared the fire, photographer said make some low passes
	c.  Why? Asked the pilot
		- So I can get some clear pictures. Said the photographer
		-  Why? Asked the pilot  
		- Because I'm a photographer, and that is what photographers do.
	d.  You mean..... you're not the flight instructor?
2.  Perhaps a good illustration for, "Be quick to listen and slow to speak"
	a.  Book of James is all about being a "real" Christian
		- Not about wearing a label or a name
		- It is about being a doer of the world, having a faith that is active
		- The "action" of faith includes what we do with our tongue 
	b.  A characteristic of a real Christian is one that controls his tongue
	c.  Chapter 1 introduced the thought - Be quick to listen and slow to speak
	d.  This morning's text will expand on the idea
3.  (James 3:1-12)
	a.  What you do with the tongue is serious business
		- It can eternal consequences
		- Not trying to discourage becoming teachers (Heb 5:12 - you ought 
		   to be teachers by now)
		- Figure of speech, showing the importance of your speech
	b.  The instruction:  A Christian must control his tongue
	c.  The text gives several reasons:

I.  Your tongue is powerful
	A.  Old proverb:  Sticks and stones may break my bones, words never hurt
		1.  Gives you the idea that the tongue is of no consequence
		2.  Nothing is further from the truth!
		3.  Text says the tongue boasts/brags of great things
			a.  Your body has many strong parts - Muscles, bones
			b.  Tongue is the smallest, no bones at all
			c.  Yet the tongue brags.  Why?  Can't run, lift, make art, etc.
			d.  Tongues says, "I capable of more than you can imagine?
	B.  Look at how the text describes the power of the tiny little tongue
		1.  Compares the tongue to a rudder
			a.  Small compared to the rest of the ship
			b.  There can be huge waves, winds, storm
			c.  Yet that little rudder has the power to steer the ship
		2.  Compares the tongue to a bit in a horse's mouth
			a.  Remember one of my boys first time saw a horse close
				- Not like the horse in the book or on T.V.
				- Overwhelmed by the sheer size
			b.  Horse a magnificent animal
				- Horse weighs 1200 to 1500 pounds
				- It's going to go and do what it wants
			c.  Yet, a tiny little bit in its mouth will control it
			d.  It is like the tongue, small, but powerful
		3.  Compares the tongue to a fire
			a.  Just a tiny little fire can burn down a forest
			b.  Tongue is small, yet can do big things
	C.  ILL:  Ever seen an out of control fire?
		1.  Driving across Oklahoma, sign say, "Do not drive into smoke"
			a.  We wondered what in the world that could mean
			b.  There was nothing around but fields
		2.  One year, driving through at night, orange glow in the sky
			a.  It was miles and miles away, what was it?
			b.  Realized it was miles and miles of grass fire
			c.  Now the signs made sense
		3.  Probably didn't take much to start it
			a.  Something as small as a cigarette
			b.  Maybe just a spark
			c.  Could be a pair of glasses and sunlight
			d.  Something small
		4.  What if I lit up right here, and drop cigarette on floor?
			a.  Could start a fire
			b.  One spark can bring the whole church down
			c.  Could cause people to be burned to death
	D.  Tongue is powerful, so you need to control it
		1.  Text says you are a complete/mature man if you can do so
		2.  You and those around you can be hurt by what you say,
 		     But probably not by what you do not say
		3.  Be quick to listen, slow to speak
		4.  Control your tongue, it is powerful

II.  Your tongue is wild
	A.  In other words, your tongue is untamable
	B.  Mankind has proven his superiority over
		1.  God has given mankind the capacity to have dominion 
			a.  He gave the command to have dominion
			b.  Man has been doing that from the beginning
		2.  Think about it
			a.  Mankind has harnessed all kinds of energies
				- Power found in petroleum
				- Power of wind and water
				- Power of the sun, turn into electricity
				- Even the power of the atom - atomic power
			b.  Also domesticated and tamed many animals
			c.  Dogs and cats are now house pets
			d.  Then there are the larger dangerous animals
				- Lions, tigers, bears in the circus
				- Horses, Bulls, other livestock
				- Even tamed 10,000 pound elephant
				- If Wooly Mammoth still exist, tame them too
		3.  One beast mankind has not be able to subdue - the tongue
			a.  It is the most destructive beast of all
			b.  It may seem domesticated, but by nature is wild
			c.  Does more damage than the other beasts
	C.  ILL: May have heard about Pitbull that attacked & killed for no reason
		1.  Who was held responsible?
			a.  God was put to sleep
			b.  The owner was held responsible and punished
		2.  Yes, owners can go to jail if their dog kills someone
		3.  Some animals by nature cannot be trusted, they are wild
		4.  Solution?  Keep them on a leash or locked up
	D.  Tongue is wild, a restless evil, untamable 
		1.  Needs to be kept on a leash, under control, or it can destroy
		2.  Col 3:8 - Put away abusive speech from your mouth
		3.  A sage once said, "I have often regretted my speech, but never 
 		    my silence."
		4.  Be quick to hear, slow to speak, consider your words carefully

III.  Your tongue is poisonous 
	A.  Text says it is full of deadly poison
		1.  Poison can be almost invisible
		2.  One of the most deadly poisons is Anthrax
			a.  Since it is bacterial, you don't see it
			b.  Effects of poison often not seen immediately
			c.  Spread through body without notice
			d.  By the time you realize it, damage already done
		3.  Doesn't take much poison to do serious damage
			a.  Could be a leading question, suggestive remark
			b.  May seem harmless, but intent to do damage, it will
			c.  Once poison starts to spread, sometimes it's irreversible
		4.  Antidote?  
			a.  Best thing is to not say anything at all
			b.  Be quick to hear slow to speak
	B.  This affects yourself and relationship with God
		1.  How affect yourself:  Defiles the entire body
			a.  But I keep self pure, don't fornicate, keep bad company...
			b.  Mt. 15:17 - Not what goes in mouth that defiles, but out
			c.  That is why James compared tongue to a tiny bit and 
 			     rudder,if you don't control it, affects your whole body
			d.  It will defile you
		2.  When you are defiled, it comes between you and God
			a.  Look at how the text describes it
				- Fountain where half of water is good, half is bad?
				- Fig tree that also produces olives or vice versa?
				- Salt water, where part of it is fresh?
				- Can 't be, it is either all one, or all the other!
			b.  How it is when same mouth curses men and blesses God
		3.  (1:26) Religion is worthless if not bridle your tongue
			a.  During week, speak harshly, back bite, gossip, curse, etc.
			b.  Then with the same mouth, sing praises to God
			c.  What is God's reaction?
	C.  ILL:  How many own a cat or a dog?
		1.  Does your pet have its own dish?  Our dog has his own
		2.  What if I were to invite you over and use his dish to give you 
 		    food and drink?
			a.  Would you eat out of it, or lose your appetite?
			b.  Okay, what if I were to take a towel and wipe it out?
			c.  Still no?
			d.  Make you sick - Like Lucy on Peanuts when kissed by 
 			    Snoopy - Uck, bluch, poison dog germs.
		3.  Why?  Because it is the same dish the dog uses!
			a.  You don't feed the dog with the dish, then feed people 
  			    with the same dish
			b.  No, you use a dish sanctified for human use
		4.  If we won't accept that, why do we think God would accept it?
			a.  When the same mouth curses and blesses, repugnant
			b.  It is not only worthless, but disgusting to God
	D.  Tongue is full of deadly, disgusting poison
		1.  That is why it is important to control it
		2.  Can poison self, relationships, and even relationship with God
		3.  Be quick to hear, slow to speak

1.  We have been talking about controlling the tongue
	a.  Not just about what comes audibly out of your mouth
	b.  Includes social networking sites 
		- Not spoken words, but same principle applies
		- These can be just as destructive if not more
2.  Consider this - Once the damage is done, you cannot undo it
	a.  ILL:  A man always gossip about his teacher, until teacher found out
	b.  Man felt remorse, what could he do to make it up?
	c.  Teacher's solution
		- Take feather pillow to bell tower on campus
		- Cut it open, empty feathers, and come back
		- Man did so and came back
		- Rabbi said - Go and collect every single feather
	d.  Can't be done, can't undo damage done by tongue
3.  We have been talking about destructive power of the tongue
	a.  End with a positive word
	b.  Words have capacity also to build up, of good and beautiful things
	c.  Consider God's word
		- God created the world with all its wonder and beauty
		- Using words, God promised redemption, hope and blessing
		- The word became flesh, and demonstrated the magnificent 
 		  character of God
		- Ultimate character of God's word is redemptive (inv)
	d.  Remember we also can use our words for something beautiful, from 
		- Like a beast that has been bridled, tongue can be useful
		- Tongue can do wonderful things 
4.  Consider these verses 
	a.  (Tit 2:8) - Be "sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the 
            opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us"
	b.  (1 Tim 4:12) - Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in 
 	     speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example
	c.  (Col 4:6) - Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, 
 	     so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
	d.  (Eph 4:15) - We are to "speaking the truth in love"
5.  Question:  Which will you do with your tongue
	a.  Tear down, damage destroy, which renders your religion worthless
	b.  Build up, do something beautiful, which is precious to God


Sermon:  The Need for a Bridle

Summary:  Since speech can be a strong force for destruction and is not easy to tame, 
we need to keep it under control.  If we do not, then our religion is worthless and 
repugnant to God.  Instead, we ought to focus on using our tongue for good.

- What radio personality do you appreciate for inspiring words?  What radio personality 
do you not appreciate?

Explore (James 3:1-12)

1.  What message is this passage trying to get across in its seemingly discouraging words 
about becoming teachers?

2.  Discuss the various metaphors for the tongue in this passage?  What do they communicate 
about the nature of the tongue?

3.  What other metaphors might you use to describe the tongue?  (Or other forms of 
communication that might not be audible speech?)

4.  How does your tongue affect you and your relationship with God?


5.  What sins of speech do you sometimes overlook as not being very serious?

6.  What things influence your speech, whether good or bad?

7.  What are some ways to ensure your speech is good and godly?

8.  Are there ever times when harsh speech might be acceptable?  If so, how do you determine 
whether it is acceptable?

9.  What are some ways you can use your speech to build up?