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Sunday, October 6, 2013 am                    Purer in Heart Index

 

PURER IN HEART (16)
Dangers to the Pure Heart – 6
The Tongue

                 Over the course of the last few lessons we have been discussing dangers to the pure heart.  We have in detail discussed several dangers – lust of the flesh, eyes and pride of life (sensual, materialism and pride), Ignorance & Unbelief, busyness and clutter, and bitterness.  We could discuss many other dangers similar to these, but we want to conclude this portion of our study by noting one final danger – the tongue.  As we shall see, the tongue is clearly identified as a danger to purity.  In this lesson we will notice some reasons why and some examples of the danger of the tongue.

 I.                    The dangers of the tongue

a.        In James 3:1-12, we find a discourse on the tongue.  In it, James does not list sins of the tongue, but he describes the damage the tongue can do and just how important it is.  In this text we find:

                                                   i.      We ALL stumble in word (vs. 2).  In fact, James points out the power of tongue by saying if we can master our control of it, we can control the whole body.   Think about it – avoiding lusts (sensual, material and prideful), ungodly attitudes (such as bitterness and anger), and ungodly behaviors (mistreating others, breaking laws of the land, etc.) can all be achieved if we can keep our tongues from saying sinful things.  If we can control our tongues, we can discipline ourselves to do what we ought to be doing (studying to avoid ignorance & unbelief, praying, doing good deeds, etc.), to take care of ourselves properly, and to care for others (family, brethren, neighbors, etc.). 

                                                  ii.      That even though the tongue is “small” in relation to the body, it is as important as a rudder to a ship or a bit in a horse’s mouth.  (3-4)

                                                iii.      Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.”  (5) Here we begin to find the dangerous influence of the tongue. 
In fact it is equated to a fire.  Just as a little flame can set an entire forest ablaze, so the tongue can do great damage.

                                                iv.      IT is described as, “a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and is sets on fire the course of nature.” (6)  In that, James is saying that it has impact on everything we do and our interaction with others.

                                                  v.      It is set on fire by hell” (6b), an expression which means that tongue is influential in so many sinful activities we engage in.  It is responsible for the fallen condition of this world (NOTE: The first sin of mankind began with a lie!)

                                                vi.      It cannot be tamed. (7-8) Man has tamed all different types of beasts in this world.  But you cannot tame the tongue of mankind (NOTE: This doesn’t say you can’t tame your OWN tongue).

                                               vii.      It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (8)  Again James describes the damage an uncontrolled tongue can do!

                                             viii.      With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.” (9)   IT often portrays our inconsistencies and double-mindedness.  HERE James DOES note that the tongue can be used for both good or bad, but often it is used for both, which is a problem.

                                                ix.      Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (10)  NOTICE how James says this is NOT how things are supposed to be.

                                                  x.      In. vs. 11-12 he speaks of springs bringing forth both fresh and bitter water (it can’t happen) and a fig tree bearing olives.  These are “against nature.”

                                                xi.      The whole point of this text is to WARN us to guard our tongues because of its potential for damage.

b.       The tongue does great damage – whether we are speaking of the world in general, societies, families, churches or even as individuals, so much damage can be done. 

                                                   i.      Words have started wars, severed friendships, destroyed families, and divided churches.

                                                  ii.      Words have led to suicide, depression and feelings of worthlessness.  Words have caused good people to give up in utter despair.

                                                iii.      Words often frustrate good works and have kept many from reaching their potential.

                                                iv.      Abusive words often cause us to not deal with problems – i.e. brethren whose harsh words cause others to avoid them rather than going to them with concerns. 

                                                  v.      Words have led many away from the truth as false doctrine is taught.

                                                vi.      The damage of words goes on and on.  The sins of the tongue of legion.

c.        It corrupts the pure heart by introducing impurities.  See vs. 11-12 above.  (also see lessons on ignorance & bitterness)  What happens when you mix fresh water and bitter water?  It ALL becomes bitter.  That is what the tongue does to the pure heart!

 

 II.                  The tongue and the pure heart

a.        Prov. 4:23 “Keep your heart, for out of springs the issues of life.”  Throughout our study of the tongue we have consulted this verse.  Let’s pursue this further as it relates to the tongue.

b.       Matt. 12:33-37, Jesus clearly tied our words to the heart.  He said to corrupt, religious leaders who rejected Him and His teachings, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

c.        In Matt. 15, dealing again with corrupt leaders who had bound their traditions thus nullifying the word of God, Jesus said in vs. 11, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.   Being asked to explain this to His disciples Jesus said, “So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”” (Matthew 15:16–20)
Thus Jesus teaches us plainly that the tongue is related to the heart.  It REVEALS the true quality of the heart.

d.       Prov. 15:4, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

e.       Eph. 4:29, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

f.         Proverbs 12:17–20, “He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy.”, NKJV)

g.        James 1:26, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.

h.       Prov. 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

 III.                Sins of the tongue

a.        We could spend many lessons addressing various sins of the tongue (which has been done in times past).  In various ways, each defiles a pure heart!  He we just briefly mention some.

b.       Some sins of the tongue

                                                   i.      Gossip – whisperings, slander, etc. - is speaking about another, that which is not necessary to be said.  Usually the intent is to cast disparaging light on the one spoken about.   It is a huge problem, as our society actually thrives on gossip (especially in Hollywood and Washington DC).  Gossip does damage in so many ways – it often leaves false or negative impressions that need not be, it often involves lies and slander.  It assassinates the character of another. 
NOTE: Gossip does NOT have to be a lie.  It can be truth that simply does NOT need to be repeated (personal information, etc.). 
2 Thess. 3:11 says, “For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 1 Thess. 4:11 tells Christians, “that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,

                                                  ii.      Complaining & criticism – while there is a time for “constructive criticism”, usually criticism is bad.  The one who is constantly complaining and criticizing others is not the one who is positively contributing to a situation. The criticizer is one who is not content and he is often self-seeking in his heart.  Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9)
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:14–15)

                                                iii.      Lying – When we think of a life, we often think of one who deliberately says something that is not true.  But I want us to understand that lies come in many different forms – outright lies, the “justifiable” lies (or so we think), excuses, half-truths, gossip, and teaching error.  One who lies does NOT have a pure heart, because he does NOT have truth in his heart.  We are constantly told to speak the truth. 
Rev. 21:8, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death,”  

Eph. 4:25, “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

                                                iv.      Profanity – the actual idea of the word “profane” is to make that which is holy – common.  When we speak of profanity, we usually mean filthy language, as our speech ought to always be wholesome.  BUT, a huge problem today is people taking God’s name and things that are sacred and using them in an unwholesome way. In fact, they are disrespectful their use.  And it betrays their heart!
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8)
Ephesians 4:29–32, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

                                                  v.      Many more sins could be added to these.  If you consider the results of such words, it becomes clear how they will damage the pure heart. 

 IV.                Dealing with the tongue

a.        The answer begins a realization of the damage the tongue can do.  That is what this lesson has been designed to remind us of.  Friends we must CONSTANTLY tell ourselves that our words will have an impact on who we speak to.

b.       Watch where you go and what you listen to.  Usually what comes out of the mouth (that defiles a man) somehow got in there in the first place!  Do we listen to filthy language?  Do we go places and continually associate with the profane?  Do we filter the content that comes into our house – via various forms of media?  You cannot continually listen to garbage without being adversely affected IN YOUR HEART!  1 Cor. 15:33 tells you, “Evil company corrupts good habits
NOTE: Don’t forget the positive of this as well.  Get your mind out of the gutter and INTO the word!  Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

c.        You have resolve that you are going to filter what you say.  You have to learn self-control!  Easy to say, difficult to do.  But if you make up your mind to do this you can.
David said, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)  
AND,  I said, “I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me.”” (Psalm 39:1, NKJV)

d.       THINK before you speak.  Jas. 1:19-20, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” (Proverbs 15:28)
Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.   OH how true that is!  WE all need think about that a little.  Do we talk too much?

e.       Seek to use your tongue for good - Realize that good words are just as powerful as bad words.  We seem to emphasize the negatives of the tongue (and we must).  But our tongues can also be used to praise God, build up and encourage one another, share the truth with the lost, complement that which warrants it, warn the unruly,  comfort the fainthearted and uphold the weak (1 Thess. 5:14). 

 

As we drive down the road, we see warning signs.  They are designed to WARN us of dangers ahead.  The goal is that we adjust our behavior and proceed with caution.   Heeding such warnings can save lives.  Friends, there are many dangers to the pure heart.  We have discussed a few of them.  IF we are alert, we will find there are warnings about these dangers, both in God’s word and as we observe the way we live.  May we, in all that we do, strive to guard our hearts from these dangers, lest we be overcome and they become polluted.  Think about it!