Intro: 1. Be quick to listen and slow to speak 2. Text: James 3:1-12 3. A Christian must control his tongue. Why? Reasons I. Your tongue will Burn your world and ours to a crisp A. Illustrations of the capabilities of the tongue a. Rudder of a ship in a storm (tongue stronger than a storm) b. Bit in a horses mouth (tongue controls a great big horse) - ILL: First time Shane saw a live horse up close - ďOhhhhhĒ B. Then James describes the damage the tongue does 1. It boasts of great things a. Imagine all the parts of your body (muscles, feet, hands, etc.) b. Now imagine one the the smallest pieces with no backbone c. Tongue brags, why? Canít run, lift, make art, etc. d. It says, ďHey buddy, you havenít seen what I am capable ofĒ 2. Tongue defiles the whole body a. But wait, I keep self pure, I donít fornicate, keep bad company... b. Mt. 15:17 - Not what goes in the mouth that defiles, but out c. That is why James compared tongue to a tiny bit and rudder, if you donít control it, it will control your whole body d. It will defile you 3. Metaphorically, James says the tongue IS a Fire C. ILL: Remember going to Tulsa one year 1. Ten miles in the distance, coudl see sky glowing red - was a grass fire 2. On T.V., you see fires even bigger (How did that fire start?) 3. What If I smoked and decided to flick my cigarettes here on the floor? a. What harm can that do? b. One spark, can ignite the whole church and bring it down D. Question: Have I been a sparky around here? 1. Prov. 13:3 - ďThe one who gaurds his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruinĒ 2. Once the fire starts, you cannot undo the damage 3. Speech test: - Is this what Jesus would say? Does it build up or tear down? 4. Be slow to speak, quick to hear II. Your tongue is wild A. God gave mankind dominion over the earth 1. Mankind has subdued much of the earth 2. Harnessed power of the sun and turn it to electricity, power of atom 3. Domesticated all kinds of wild dogs, horses, lions and tigers and bears B. In the past several thousand years, there is one beast man hasnít subdued 1. Nope, not the elephants 2. Nope, not the Lions (just go to a circus) 3. It is the most ferocious beast of all - The tongue C. ILL: Pitbull killed a little boy without reason 1. Decision was made to destroy the dog and punish the owner 2. Owners can go to jail if their dog kills someone 3. Some animals by nature just cannot be trusted: 4. Solution? KEEP THEM ON A LEASH OR LOCKED UP 5. Your tongue can do more damage than any Pitbull (fights, murder, wars) D. You have to keep your tongue on a leash 1. This means being slow to speak and quick to hear 2. This means considering your words carefully before speaking them III. You tongue is full of deadly poison A. The tongue sometimes does its dirty work behind the scenes B. ILL: Poison is almost hidden 1. One of the most deadly poisons we have seen has been Anthrax 2. Since it is a bacteria, you really canít see it. 3. Effects of poison are often times not seen immediately 4. It spreads through the body, and by the time you recognize it for what it is, it might be too late C. Doesnít take much poison to do serious damage 1. A leading question, suggestive remark 2. May seem harmless, but have the intent to do damage 3. Once the poison starts to spread, sometimes itís irreversable D. What is the antidote? 1. Best thing is to not spread poison at all 2. Slow to speak III. An uncontrolled tongue is disgusting inconsistency A. Jamesí illustrations of inconsistency 1. Fountain where half of the water is good, and half is bad? 2. Fig tree that also produces olives or vice versa? 3. Salt water, where part of it is fresh? 4. It is either all one, or all the other! B. Cannot use the same mouth to praise God, then turn around and trash a brother 1. It is inconsistent. I am either defiled, or not defiled. 2. (V. 1-2) Note for teachers a. Stricter judgement Why? Tool is the tongue - Working with nuclear power here, so there is a great responsibility b. If you donít stumble in speech - Sign of Christian Completness -- Assumes if you can bridle tongue, you can master other parts 3. ( 1:26) Your Religion is WORTHLESS if you donít control your tongue 4. Worship every Sunday, class, involved, but if speak harshly, in anger, lash out, gossip, UNBRIDLED - Itís all worthless C. ILL: How many here have a cat? 1. What if I came over, had a snack from your litter box, ate out of garbage 2. Then I wanted to give you a holy kiss? Yuck! D. With the tongue we bless God, and curse men 1. You defile yourself and then come to worship 2. What is Godís reaction? Yuck! 3. That is why it says your religion is worthless Concl: 1. A True Christian must hold his tongue 2. Instead of just controlling the tongue, what about harnessing that power for something positive? a. With it we "bless" our brethren b. To bless someone is to say good things to them to build them up 3. Jesus said we are the "salt of the earth" (Mt 5:13) a. Col 4:6 - Our speech is to be seasoned with salt b. Does our speech bring good flavor? 3. Itís your choice, you can choose to tear down with your tongue, or build up. Which?