Bridle your Tongue

Pastor Bruce Simpkins
Renewal Community Church
Caldwell, ID
Preached:  February 12, 2012

James 1:19

19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry


James 1:26-27

26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


Our religion is worthless unless we stop talking about what is right and start demonstrating what is right.  Don’t talk about what is right, just do it and then everyone will see what is right.


Some sayings about using the Tongue from the internet:


About Abrasive Speech:  Keep your words soft and sweet; you never know when you may have to eat them.

About Gossip:  Gossip is like soap — it is often made out of lye!

About Profanity:  Profanity is a public announcement of your ignorance.

About telling the Truth:  A lie is a coward’s way of getting out of trouble.

About Boasting:  When you sing your own praise, you end up with an audience of one.


When we do speak, James tells us to keep a tight rein on your tongue or you will end up with a worthless religion.  Lots of words do not make us religious.


It is better to let your actions do your speaking for you.  Such as looking after those in distress.  It is better to speak with our actions than our words.


When you do speak, make sure you have earned the right to say what you are saying to a person or people . . . especially when you are being critical.  Either you are an undisputed expert on what you are saying or you have built enough trust in the person that they will be able to accept what you are saying.


A king once asked his two wise advisors, “What is the best thing a man can possess and what is the worst thing a man can possess”.  The first wise man said the best thing a man can possess is his tongue, and the second wise man said the worst thing a man can possess is his tongue.


In chapter 3 James picks up this idea of bridling the tongue again and says:

James 3:9-11  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.   10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.


There are more scriptures about using the tongue than we could ever read in this service, but I would like select a few for all of the various ways we speak.  This list is not by any means exhaustive.  There are many more teaching about aspect of talking that go beyond the obvious ones here today.  None of these are abstract.  If you are a person who likes the Bible to just say it and not put it between the lines, this is for you.  But I have to warn you that it is a mirror that does not lie.  It may make you uncomfortable to see yourself in some of these.  The forgiveness of these are found in Christ and the mercy of God, not the words themselves.


Slow to Speak


Ecclesiastes 5:2  Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.  God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.


Tight Reign on the Tongue


1 Peter 3:10 Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.


Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.




Gossip has destroyed more people and more churches than any other weapon in Satan’s arsenal.  Mom was right, if you can’t say something nice about someone . . . don’t say anything at all.  Take it right to the person , and even then gently, with grace and mercy (coming up next page).


1 Timothy 5:13  not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to say.


Proverbs 16:28  A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.


Proverbs 26:20  Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.




Colossians 3:9-10  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.


Ephesians 4:25  each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.



Proverbs 6:16-19  There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.


Unwholesome and Filthy Talk


Ephesians 4:29  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.


Colossians 3:7-8  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.




Boasting is thinking more highly of yourself than you ought.


Romans 12:3  Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought , but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Dozens of scriptures tell us to be humble and not proud.


1 Corinthians 5:6  Your boasting is not good.  Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?  Even a little bit of boasting puffs you up like yeast in dough.  It is not good.


1 Corinthians 13:4  Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast , it is not proud.  Boasting is the opposite of love because it is focusing on self and not others.


So far we have been highlighting all of the negative kinds of speaking.  But the Bible also clarifies what kind of speaking can be used for good.


Gentle and Gracious


Proverbs 15:1  A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.


Colossians 4:6  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.


Titus 3:1-2  Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.



Teaching and Preaching


Titus 2:7-8

In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.


Mark 16:15  He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  He didn’t say “preach hell fire and condemnation” . . . GOOD NEWS!!


Matt 28:18-20  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded youThe only command that Jesus said was a command:  Love . . .


2 Timothy 4:2  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.


Romans 12:6-8  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach ; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


Praise, Singing, and Prayer


Psalms 63:3-5  Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.


There are dozens of scriptures in the Psalms alone, that tell us to praise and sing.


And finally, using our words in prayer is the most powerful use of our words.  I have said this before, but I encourage you to try this when you are alone.  Pray out loud with your voice.  Yes, God can hear our thoughts too, but speaking out loud to God gives ourselves much more clarity about what we are saying to God.  Some people say, “but I don’t know what to say”.  Just talk to Him like He is your very best friend.  If you are really stuck, you can do what the disciples did and ask Jesus what you should say.  Jesus told them how to pray and gave them what we now call The Lord’s Prayer.


Praying out loud help us stay clear minded and teaches us self control.  See what Peter says about this:



1 Peter 4:7-11

Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray . 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.


And since Jesus taught us how to pray, let’s use the words He gave us to close our message today.  We will use the familiar King James Version of the Lord’s Prayer:


Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Benediction – And now may the Lord help us bridal our tongues, get rid of all destructive speech, take on all beneficial speech that will build people up.  May the Lord draw us to Himself again and again on every Lord ’s Day and we will offer up our speech of praise, prayers of thanksgiving, and the proclamation of His gospel.  So be it . . . Amen!

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