Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

Use of tongue – great room for growth – sermon

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Use of tongue – great room for growth – sermon


Scripture reading – Lamentation 3:22.23: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”


We live in an imperfect world. And we are members of an imperfect church with imperfect people in it.


James 3:2 (KJV) says: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word the same is a perfect man and able also to bridle the whole body.”


We ALL offend in on-going style, says James. In how many things? In MANY things!


How does the Lord relate to our shortcomings, failures and sins? Is He angry with us? Does He keep us at arms length?


Lamentations 3:22.23 is His response. He is merciful and moved with compassion when we come short or fail. Through varied means and calculated providential leadings our loving Lord is perfecting His people for whom He laid down His life.


Life’s difficulties and trials are His chosen means to accomplish this.


Now back to James chapter 3. James goes on to point out that our tongue is often the cause that defiles the whole body (James 3:6: “And the tongue is a fire a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell (Gehenna).”)


What body do you think is James primarily referring to? Bible teaches that God’s people, His church is the body of Christ.


1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV): “Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.”


Dear brothers and sisters – our words have great power for good or evil.


Let me share with you from the book of Proverbs some wise counsels about the usage of our tongue and words. This has been an on-going challenge of my own life.


I would like to divide it into 2 categoriesnegative and positive. We will read the texts and each mark our own score – see the question answer quiz at the end.


On the enclosed paper you can mark points from 0 – 5 (from 0 doing very poor to 5 doing very good). This is for your own benefit so you will see where you need God’s grace and help. Please avoid the temptation to evaluate others – focus on your own!


Ready? Let’s start!


Proverbs 10:12: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”


Proverbs 10:18: “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips and whoever spreads slander is a fool.”


Proverbs 10:19: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”


Proverbs 10:20: “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little.”


Proverbs 12:18: “There is one that speaks like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health (or brings healing).”


Proverbs 12:19: “The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”


Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh word stirs up anger.”


Proverbs 15:4: “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness (Hebr. celeph = distortion, twisting things, vicious as to cause harm) in it breaks the spirit.”


Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”


Proverbs 16:27. 28: “An ungodly man digs up evil and it is on his lips like a burning fire. A perverse man sows strife and a whisperer separates the best of friends.” (Opposite of peacemaker and trouble or conflict solver)


Proverbs 17:9: “He who covers transgression seeks love, but he who repeats the matter separates the best of friends.”


Proverbs 17:27: “He who has knowledge spares his words and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.” (does not get agitated or upset over issues)


Proverbs 18:6: “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows.”


Proverbs 18:8: “The words of the talebearer are like tasty trifles and they go down into the inmost body.” (Comment: Do we like passing on or listening to defaming reports and readily accept them as true?)


Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Comment: 2 kinds of fruit, we’ll love one or the other)


Proverbs 20:3: “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.”


Proverbs 21:6: “Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.”


Proverbs 21:23: “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”


Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver.”


Proverbs 25:15: “By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded and a gentle tongue breaks a bone.”


Proverbs 27:2: “Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips.”


Proverbs 28:23: “He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.”


Proverbs 29:20: “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”


Proverbs 31:26: “She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”


Matthew 18:15.16: “Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”


How did you fare? Are there areas  that need God’s transforming grace? How do we go about changing the use of our words and tongue?


Luke 6:45b gives us a clue: “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”


Our hearts/minds need both the converting power of God’s grace and love and the renewing power of God’s word.(on a daily basis) – Romans 12:2


Let’s start surrendering our tongues and use of our talent of speech according to Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 4:29 (NIV): “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.”


Do we need more of God’s grace? James 4:6 we have the promise: “But He (God) gives more grace.”


Following is the quiz that is to be used with this sermon:


Evaluating usage of my tongue and words


Scale 0 – 5 with 0 as very poor, 1 poor, 2 starting on a right track, 3 still need more of God’s grace, 4 getting there, 5 I have matured in this area


Text: Total 25 passages


Scale, circle one

My score:

Prov. 10:12

Create strife/cover others’ wrong & reputation

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 10:18

Animosity twists facts, spreads slander

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 10:19

Talk too much/restrain my words

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 10:20

Choose words carefully/good words

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 12:18

My words are cutting & pierce or pacify & heal

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 12:19

I tell truth/tell untruth or half truth

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 15:1

Diffuse anger by calm words/respond harshly

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 15:4

Healing words/distort, twist, attack, blame

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 16:24

Speak pleasant, kind, healing words

0 1 2 3 4 5



Dig out past wrongs, scathe others for their faults, creating strife, enmity & separation

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 17:9

Love doesn’t destroy reputation of others by dishing out their past failures to other people

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 17:27

I spare my words and don’t get agitated or upset over issues or when provoked

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 18:6

I get drawn into arguments and get in trouble

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 18:8

I listen to slander and believe rumors about others

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 18:21

What kinds of words I love to communicate?

0 1 2 3 4 5


Pro. 20:3

I avoid arguments, quarrels and strife

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 21:6

To get what I want I can be untruthful

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 21:23

I carefully guard everything I say and how I say it

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 25:11

I just know what to say and how to say it

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 25:15

I am patient with other’s ways, don’t push my own way, respecting authority

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 27:2

I tend to show off or remind others what good I have accomplished

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 28:23

I have courage to help others when they do wrong rather than ignoring it or flattering them

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 29:20

I overreact or speak hastily and make unwise promises or commitments

0 1 2 3 4 5


Prov. 31:26

I speak wise and kind words in all circumstances

0 1 2 3 4 5


Mat. 18:15.16

I resolve grievances with the person who caused me hurt and don’t pass it on to others

0 1 2 3 4 5


Add your score (Maximum for a mature Christian is 125 points):