September 19, 2021

Taming the Tongue

Passage: James 3: 1-12
Service Type:


September 19 2021



  • We thank Rev. Shirley Cochrane for leading our worship today and pray that the Holy Spirit will grant us understanding and wisdom to answer God's call upon our hearts today.
  • We pray for those who are struggling with health issues and for all who mourn. May God bring you all comfort, peace, and healing.

From sunrise to sunset,
Let us praise God’s holy name.
With the wisdom of the aged and the energy of the young,
Let us praise God’s holy name.
In our work and in our homes,
Let us praise God’s holy name.
Let us praise the Lord with our whole hearts!
We will worship God now and always.

HYMN 371 Love divine all loves excelling

1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.
2. Breathe, oh breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit,
let us find the promised rest;
take away our love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
3. Come, almighty to deliver,
let us all thy grace receive;

suddenly return and never,
never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee, without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
4. Finish then thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly re stored in thee,
changed from glory into glory
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love and praise.

God of all creation,
you have opened the world around us and filled it with purpose.
Each creature declares your praise - the mountain states your majesty;
the ripened field, your generosity. Birds flying aloft sing of your freedom;
the tiny ant works with your persistence.
But what do we declare about you in our lives, O God?
We pray that our work will honour your justice and mercy.
May our relationships speak of your love and compassion.
So may we praise you, O God, not just in this hour of worship
but in all the hours you grant us as we follow Jesus Christ,
our Lord, our Saviour, and our Friend.
Hear us as we confess together ….
God of all creation,
you have opened the world around us and filled it with wonder,
but we confess our eyes are not always open to its harsher realities.
Our ears are sometimes deaf to cries of need.
Our minds are often shut to opinions which differ from our own.
Forgive us when we seek greatness instead of goodness.
Forgive us when we miss the wisdom you intend us to embrace.

Hold us close in the name of Jesus our Lord AMEN
The prophet Micah reminds us that God requires of us three things:
to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.
To all who truly repent and seek reconciliation with God and neighbour
in kindness and humility, God offers forgiveness and peace.
The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

May the peace of the risen Christ be with you and also with you
Let us share a sign of peace in our waving hands

HYMN 445 Open our eyes Lord X2

Open our eyes, Lord,
we want to see Jesus,
to reach out and touch him,
and say that we love him.
Open our ears, Lord,
and help us to listen.
Open our eyes, Lord,
we want to see Jesus.

James 3: 1 – 12

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

I speak in the name of God the Father , Jesus th Son and the Holy Spirit AMEN
A young man, ridden with guilt during the Middle Ages, went to a monk, and said,
“I’ve sinned by telling slanderous statements about someone in town. What should
I do now?”
The monk said, “First I want you to put a feather on the doorstep of every person
to whom you have spoken in town.”
The young man followed the monk’s instructions. When he was finished he
returned to the monk to see what he was to do next.
The monk said, “Now, go back and pick up all the feathers.”

The young man replied, “That’s impossible! By now the wind will have blown
them all over town.”
Seizing the moment, the monk replied, “So has your slanderous word become
impossible to retrieve.”
In our text today, James is concerned about taming your tongue. He wants your
speech and mine to be gracious. Sometimes we say things we really don’t mean to
say! Speech is the most creative and most destructive force in all of creation.
The taming of your tongue is anything but an easy task! In verses 7-8 of our text
James writes, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are
being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a
restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
But surely this battle with our tongues is winnable sometime before death? Of
course it is! In order to help you do that, James outlines four critical truths about
taming your tongue in James 3:1-12:
1. Your tongue is a mark of your spiritual maturity,
2. Your tongue, although very small, is very powerful,
3. Your tongue has the potential to be very destructive, and,
4. Your tongue can be a great power for good.
In the Early Church, teachers were held in very high esteem. Because of that,
many insincere people were seeking to be teachers. So basically James says to
them, “If you want to know how spiritually mature you are, consider your
tongue.” He makes this point by speaking first to those in the church who hold the
office of teacher. James writes, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers,
my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
Even though the position may at times appear to have high status, teachers will
face a stricter judgment. They will be held accountable to God for what they say to
others in his Name.
James goes on in verse 2 to make the point that all people will be held accountable
before God for the use of their tongues, teachers and non-teachers alike. Here he
writes, “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says,
he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” James is saying here
that although teachers will be judged more strictly for the use of their words,
everyone else will still face judgment for the words they speak as well.

James tells us that there is a whole world of evil that the tongue can bring to pass.
When James says that the tongue “itself is set on fire by hell” he means that the
ultimate source of that evil can actually be traced back to Satan himself.
Remember the advise of the monk ? Those who spread gossip and slander are
being used by Satan to cause discord, strife and pain between people. Although
they lack any real facts, they still freely share their information with others. Satan
uses them to drop subtle bombs that explode in the minds of others by lighting the
fuse of suggestion. All the while they see themselves as being nothing more than
“innocent channels” of unsure information. But the truth is that they are nothing
more than peddlers of slander who will one day be judged by God for what they
have wrongly passed on.
The one who learns to control his tongue, teacher or non-teacher, James calls a
“perfect man” This does not mean that such a person is sinless but rather is a very
mature person. The Greek term used describes “a completeness and a fullness of
character that marks one who is spiritually mature.” The point is that the person
who has learned to control his or her tongue is also the type of person whom you
can be sure will have control over the rest of their life as well.
Karl Marx said, “Give me 26 mighty soldiers and I will conquer the world.” He
was referring to the 26 letters of the alphabet. Genuine faith will always show itself
in speech. If you want to know how healthy you are spiritually, pay attention to the
things you say and the things you don’t say,
It is with the tongue that parents and teachers stretch the minds of children and
young people, attorneys defend their clients, ambassadors represent their nations,
and mothers sing their babies to sleep at night.
Think about it. Without the tongue no-one could comfort those who are suffering
or share the message of God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Without the
tongue, our communication would be reduced to unintelligible grunts and shrugs.
God has given us a tremendous privilege by creating us in his image and thereby
giving us the ability to communicate. And to whom much is given much will be
required! Your God-given ability carries with it a tremendous responsibility. Your
tongue, although very small, is very powerful. One word of gossip, one lie, one
insinuation, one harsh criticism and the fire can begin. Human hearts, dry from a
lack of genuine love, then catch fire and it spreads from heart to heart across a

community and leaves behind it charred and burned reputations, broken hearts and
broken homes. The damage can be so severe and extensive!
In Proverbs 10:11a we are told that “the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of
life.” Proverbs 10:20a says, “The tongue of the righteous is like choice
silver.” Proverbs 10:21a says, “The lips of the righteous nourish many.”
In Proverbs 12:18 we are told that the tongue of the wise brings healing. God
wants your tongue to be an instrument of forgiveness, encouragement, wisdom and
healing in the lives of the many people he brings your way. The Proverbs say that
“the tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21a). Death words
destroy, hurt, and create hateful and humiliating feelings. Life words build and
increase strength of character. They lift spirits. They center on the truth, and they
set people free who would otherwise be in bondage.
But how can you do it? How can you tame your tongue? Doesn’t James tell you in
verse 8 that no person can tame the tongue? What then are you to do?
You must first realize that James’ emphasis here is on the words, “no man- no
person .” That is true, for no one can tame his or her tongue. But the good news is
that what we cannot do, God can! God can enable you to tame your tongue! He
does it by dealing with the root problem which lies behind the tongue. Jesus tells
us in Matthew 15:19 that the real problem is not the tongue but the heart. He said
that “the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a
man ‘unclean.’” According to Jesus, the tongue is simply a neutral messenger that
carries the words from the heart. It is the bucket that goes down to the well, dips
into what is there and then dumps out of the mouth what it picks up.
The good news is that Jesus promises a new and clean heart to all those who will
turn from their sin and trust in him. When a person believes the gospel, Christ
starts changing the person including his or her speech. As God moves upon a
person’s heart, he also moves upon his or her tongue. No cruel or unfair words
have ever come from a heart controlled by the God of love. No bigoted
conversation has ever come from a heart controlled by God. No lying speech has
have ever come from a heart controlled by the God of truth. When God controls
the heart, he controls the tongue.
I have found it to be a personal challenge as we journey through the book of
James. I am challenged as to whether or not I am a mature Christian. My attitudes,
my words, my actions and my lack of actions are under examination. To be honest,
I fall short in many areas.

What about you? Can you go back over the first two chapters of James and say that
you really don’t struggle with some of the requirements of being a mature
Christian? Do you doubt God when you ask Him for things? Are you quick to
listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry? Do you look after those who are
in need? Are you polluted by the world in which we live? Do you show
favouritism? Do you simply tell people how to deal with their problems or do you
actually get involved in helping them?
We can easily get discouraged thinking about these things. We might even
question if our faith is real. That is why the first part verse 2 of chapter 3 is very
important. "We all stumble in many ways." We not only sin often but in many
ways. There are three important considerations in these words.
The first is for us not to get discouraged. Yes, we are to strive for spiritual
maturity. But on this side of heaven we will fail. We will stumble. And it is easy
for us to give up and say "What’s the use, if I really believed or was a good
Christian, I wouldn’t sin and stumble as much as I do." Or else we can simply
accept our sins and say "well that’s part of being a Christian." Both views are
wrong. We stumble but we are saved through our faith in Christ by the grace of
God. And because we are saved, we hate our sin and we struggle to over come it.
So we must be realistic, we will stumble but we must neither be overcome by or
complacent to our sins.,. Hopefully James can help us be aware of our sins so we
can take steps to overcome them, even though this is a life long process. Hopefully
we can and will see progress
Secondly, we need to watch what we say. What do we do with our words? Do we
hurt, or do we heal? Do we discourage, or do we encourage? In fact sometimes it
is in the midst of a person’s worst failures that a person needs to hear the word of
encouragement most.
There is an old chant that many of us would sing as children. “Sticks and stones
may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Of course, that has never
been true. Words can hurt. Or ,they can heal. Proverbs (18:21) says, “the tongue
has the power of life and death.” Therefore, we need to watch what we say to
The fact is our witness is most naturally everywhere in between. We should not be
silent, and we will probably never be threatened because of our faith.
What we need is the most casual kind of courage. We need the courage to be

Thirdly , Jesus has forgiven us and He calls us to change in the way we speak and
act. Everything we say and do should be consistent with who we are. The spring of
living water in us will only become a flood plain if we let it flow out freely. We
don’t have to confront people with our faith to express it. We don’t have to impose
Jesus on them to mention Him. We just have to love enough to be open, and be
honest enough to be real.
Journalist William Norris was often quoted because of his unique ability to put in
rhyme and jingle sayings that were worth remembering. This piece is often quoted
from his works:
If your lips would keep from slips,
five things observe with care:
To whom you speak, of whom you speak,
and how and when and where.
So, believe the gospel and allow God to tame your tongue. AMEN.

HYMN 407 Praise my soul the king of heaven

1. Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
to his feet thy tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
who like me his praise should sing?
Praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him,
praise the everlasting King.
2. Praise him for his grace and favour
to our fathers in distress;
praise him, still the same forever,
slow to chide and swift to bless;
Praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him,
glorious in his faithfulness.
3. Fatherlike he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows;
in his hands he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes:

Praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him,
widely as his mercy flows.
4. Frail as summer's flower we flourish;
blows the wind and it is gone,
but, while mortals rise and perish,
God endures unchanging on:
praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him,
praise the high eternal One.
5. Angels, help us to adore him,
ye behold him face to face;
sun and moon, bow down before him,
dwellers all in time and space,
praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him,
praise with us the God of grace.

The Letter of James invites us to show gentleness born of God’s wisdom through
our good works. The gifts we offer to God support many good works through our
congregation and the work Presbyterians undertake together around the world.
May they bear much fruit in Jesus’ name.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him all creatures here below
Praise him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Wise and faithful God, we offer our gifts to you in thanksgiving for your gifts to us
in Christ and in creation. Bless these gifts and the good works in ministry and
mission they will support, so that the world may know your wisdom and
faithfulness through Christ, our Lord.

God of all people and places, we come to you in prayer, giving thanks that you are
with us in all situations. You bring us strength and courage when we are anxious or
afraid. You provide wisdom and direction when we face choices and challenges.
You speak to our hearts and control our tongues .Thank you for your faithfulness
to us.
In this time of prayer, enlarge our love and sharpen our vision so that we may serve
the world you love more faithfully. We pray for those who dwell on the margins of
the economy, facing the challenges of unemployment or financial insecurity in
these days of transition.
Give leaders in government, business and labour a mutual vision that reflects the
values of your kingdom, so that everyone has enough resources and respect to live
well and wisely Again we pray for our own Canada as tomorrow we vote in a
federal election --Inspire the hearts and minds of all the potential leaders that
together they work to bring order, liberty, righteous decisions for the good of all
peoples - that our country may be an inspiration to the other nations

We pray for all those facing famine and drought this year, and for those who have
lost everything through fire, storm, or pandemic. Bring support to those people and
agencies who work to alleviate suffering and help them rebuild lives and
We pray for the safety and well-being of those living in conflict situations. May we
all respond to God’s call to be peacemakers and speak out against forces of
We give you thanks for those who work for peace and mercy in a world divided by
bitter conflicts, and for those who keep peace and lead negotiations in international
disputes. Give them courage and perseverance. We remember those who face
violence, persecution, or discrimination daily, and pray for all whose lives are
marked by danger or upheaval. Send your Spirit to protect the vulnerable and
shame the vicious so that justice and well-being will prevail.
Thank you for the gifts of education, for insight into this ever-changing world and
the ability to distinguish truth from error. Grant those in education this year mutual
respect and commitment to the shared venture of learning
We pray for healing and peace in the church so that its witness and ministry is
focused and invigorated. AS we face the uncertainty of changing rules due to

pandemic considerations remind us that you are the great physician who holds
all in your hands
We pray for all those anywhere who struggle with pain or illness, disability or
daunting diagnosis. Stay by their side .Be with those who face death this day and
those who weep for loved ones who have died. Unite us in love, whatever we are
facing, and grant us the peace and hope you have promised us in Christ Jesus.
We lift to you the folks and situations we have voiced…………..

And we lift to you the unspoken requests of our hearts ………………
Hear us now as we say the prayer that Jesus taught all his followers:
The Lord’s Prayer
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, forever.

HYMN 376 Lord the light of your love

Lord, the light of your love is shining,
In the midst of the darkness, shining;
Jesus, light of the world, shine upon us;
Set us free by the truth you now bring us,
Shine on me, shine on me.
Shine, Jesus, shine,
Fill this land with the Father's glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze,
Set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow,
Flood the nations with grace and mercy;
Send forth your word,
Lord, and let there be light!
Lord, I come to your awesome presence,

From the shadows into your radiance;
By the blood I may enter your brightness,
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness.
Shine on me, shine on me.
As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness.
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story.
Shine on me, shine on me.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loves us and by his
grace, gives us eternal encouragement and hope, encircle your hearts and
strengthen you in every good deed and word. May the grace of God, the love of
Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always

CLOSING SONG May the peace of Christ
May the peace of Christ go with you And also with you
May the peace of Christ go with you In all you do (X2)

Online: Take oh take me as I am