Posted by Joey Asher Tan
Please keep me in prayer as October will be a gruelling month. Above and beyond the commitments of a full-time job, I have a 30% assignment to submit on the 7th, a 30% written test to prepare for on the 19th, and a 40% group presentation to work towards on the 29th. (Yes, I can forget about having a decent birthday celebration this year.) Regardless, I desire to be excellent in all I do, nothing less, for the glory of God.
Oh Lord, I need Your grace more than ever. I need to put first things first. What matters most should never be at the mercy of what matters least; give me Your strength to sustain my walk with You and may I never fall into a performance trap! Help me to never compromise my time with You!
I’d like to post a recap of what I’ve shared over the pulpit last weekend. The most challenging (and exciting) part about preaching is to find the message in a passage. And this prophetic burden is best laid upon one’s heart through intercession. Yes, may the Lord reign, always, in all my sermons.
I titled my sermon “Must Master My Mouth Man!” and preached from James 3:1-12. I won’t be able to show my slides this time because I used Prezi; I’m thankful I tried something new because it halved my slides preparation time! I believe I will continue using Prezi.
It’s impossible to be perfect in speech
- Every once in a while we will say the wrong things, say things wrongly, and also say unnecessary things.
- A number of us would have hurt and been hurt by words; we tend to sin with our tongues so easily because we’re innately sinful.
- James doesn’t provide a solution since it’s impossible to be perfect; instead, he gives three pictorial analogies to help us understand the power of our tongues.
Power to DIRECT – picture of a bit and rudder
- Just as these relatively tiny objects actually determine the destinies of what they control, our speech has great influence over our lives.
- A 500kg-heavy, 170cm-tall horse is directed by a 12cm by 8cm bit; a 330m-long, 18,000sqm-big aircraft carrier is directed by a 6.7m by 8.8m rudder.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a bit, a rudder, or your tongue.
- Illustration: scolding people in Huangshan. Lesson learnt: words are indeed infinitely influential.
- Have you been a good testimony online or have you been careless with what you write on Facebook, Twitter or on your blogs?
- Whether you choose to speak life or talk nonsense, your words have the power to influence the way other people look at Jesus Christ.
- As long as it’s published for all to see, it’s no longer about you but about Him.
Power to DESTROY – picture of a forest fire and untamed animals
- If you leave your tongue on its own, it has the natural ability to destroy and injure people.
- Left on its own, a forest fire will destroy everything in its path; similarly, an untamed animal left on its own will attack anything in its path.
- Our words have the potential for construction or destruction; our speech can single-handedly destroy us and other people.
- Illustration: angry boy who hammered nails into the fence. Lesson learnt: let’s not leave scars and holes in people’s lives with the words that we use.
- Damaging words rob people of their potential and destroys their self-esteem. See Proverbs 11:9 and Proverbs 12:18.
- Do we pierce people with our word or with the Word of God?
- Destructive rumours are detrimental to the church; gossip is the number one killer of the church and Christians have a tendency to talk too much.
- When we participate in gossip, we become Satan’s instrument to destroy another person. Gossip kills but prayer heals. Let’s prevent Satan from getting access to our church.
- See Proverbs 26:20. If you are not happy with someone, resolve it with him face to face. When you agree to gossip, you add wood to the fire. Small things become big and big things become fatal.
- If all of us are sinners saved by grace then what gives us the right to speak ill of one another?
- It takes a good character not to gossip but it takes a great character not to listen to gossip.
- When gossipers have no audience, they will stop. Let’s make R-AGE a safe place where gossip or gossipers are not allowed to surface.
- Discontinue gossip. Choose to be a peacemaker instead and offer to help resolve the conflict between the parties involved.
- If you know someone who gossips all the time, avoid him, for you become who you hang out with. See Proverbs 20:19.
- Similarly, if you hang out with people who have control over their tongues, you will also be like them; choose your friends carefully.
- Learn to hold your tongue. See Proverbs 10:19. If what you say doesn’t build up someone, then learn not to say it; let’s be careful of passing unnecessary remarks on matters that do not concern us.
- If someone tells you to stop gossiping, don’t judge him; at the same time, don’t be afraid of being judged for doing what is right. No one can fault you if you keep doing what’s right.
Power to DISCOVER – picture of water and fruit
- The tongue has an uncovering quality; it investigates your character and inspects who you really are inside.
- Don’t expect seawater to be fresh and don’t expect freshwater to be salty; and if you plant an apple tree, don’t expect durians, and vice-versa.
- It just doesn’t make sense – it is ridiculous that we use our tongues for such different purposes – to praise God and curse men.
- The problem doesn’t lie with the control of the tongue but with the condition of the heart. See Matthew 12:34.
- Illustration: “I love sex!” declaration in an all boys’ school. Lesson learnt: let’s get real with each other – what you say is who you are.
- Your speech exposes who you are on the inside. Don’t bluff yourself. You are what you say. You can’t hide it.
- Your speech shows us what is brewing within you; the words you use, the jokes you laugh at, and the things you talk about reveal what’s in your heart.
- Whatever spills out of your heart comes out from your mouth.
Heart surgery and hurt surrender
- The Word of God is a mirror and judges the thoughts and intentions of our hearts; judgment is a good thing, for it brings us back to God.
- But do not despair, God doesn’t leave us in our wretchedness. See Ezekiel 36:26 – “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
- If your speech reveals that you need a heart change on top of a change of heart, know that Lord has already done that through your salvation.
- God’s grace is bigger than the condition of our hearts.
- The challenge isn’t just to choose our words carefully but to change our hearts completely.
- There’s no shame in wanting a heart that’s changed and renewed, and there’s no shame in surrendering your hurts to God and trusting Him to heal you completely.
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