2-8-04 DOGGETT

We all make a lot of mistakes. If someone doesn’t make any mistakes when he speaks,he would be perfect. He would be able to control everything he does. [3] We put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, and we have control over everything they do. [4] The same thing is true for ships. They are very big and are driven by strong winds. Yet, by using small rudders, pilots steer ships wherever they want them to go. [5] In the same way the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can brag about doing important things.  A large forest can be set on fire by a little flame. [6] The tongueis that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell. [7] People have tamed all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures. [8] Yet, no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison.  9] With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness. [10] Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen! James 3:2-10 (GW)


“I can guarantee that on judgment day people will have to give an account of every careless word they say. [37] By your words you will be declared innocent, or by your words you will be declared guilty.” Matthew 12:36-37 (GW)

There is a weapon that is more powerful than any other weapon known to man. And it has been in existence since the creation of mankind; it has been known to start wars, ruin friendships, spark national revolutions.  It has ruined more reputations, wrecked more homes, split more churches, driven more men out of the ministry and caused more hatred than any other weapon in the world. Contrary to popular opinion…. the most powerful weapon in the world is not the atomic bomb….nor is it some laser beamed from outer space.  Indeed it is not even a weapon made by man.  Concealed as a sniper, quick as a bullet and deadly as a gun it is the three-inch animal that lives in a pool of saliva behindan ivory cage of teeth known as the tongue.  Becoming more like Jesus will require you and I to learn how to tame our tongue.


Jesus said to the religious leaders:

“You poisonous snakes! How can you evil people say anything good? Your mouth says what comes from inside you. [35] Good people do the good things that are in them. But evil people do the evil things that are in them.” Matthew 12:34-35 (GW)

Jesus says that our words expose out heart…. it tells what kind of person we are. Our words expose one of three things about us. We either have a heart of a snake; a heart of a evil man or a heart of a good man.  Our words expose our true nature (character)…what lies beneath the surface…. What is deep down within our heart…our motives, desires, and ambitions.  Our words expose our true character: whether good or bad, kind or cruel.  What we say and how we say it is very important. Every word that we speak is an ambassador of life or death.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat thefruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  Our words are conceived in the womb of the heart, our words are delivered with the mouth (see Matt 12:34).  The law of sowing and reaping is ever working while we speak (Gal 6:7-8)  “Anyone who says he is a Christian but doesn’t control his sharp tongue is just fooling himself, and his religion isn’t worth much. James 1:26 (Living)


“So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark.” James 3:5 (Living)

The tongue can do great damage if it’s not delivered.  The tongue can be a torch.  It is like a spark in a forest of dead trees.  On October 8, 1871 a barn in Chicago, a cow by the name of Mrs. O’Leary accidentally kicked over a lantern.  That lantern fell into some hay, the hay caught fire and from that the fire spread…. and when the fire was over, over 100,000 people were left homeless….17,500 buildings were destroyed..300 people died…. and it cost the city over 400 million dollars….Just because of one spark.  It only takes one inappropriate word to cause a lot of damage.  I wonder how many fellowships have been destroyed…by the careless arsonist called gossip“ And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness, and poisons every part of the body. And the tongue is set on fire by hell itself and can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster.” James 3:6 (Living)  “ What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean. ” Matthew 15:11 (NIV)


“There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven that are disgusting to him: [17] arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, 18] a mind devising wicked plans, feet that are quick to do wrong, 19] a dishonest witness spitting out lies, and a person who spreads conflict among relatives.” Proverbs 6:16-19 (GW) Gossip destroys three people: the one who spreads it, the one who receives it and the one of whom it’s told.

Gossip is profanity.  Profanity is any speech that comes out of our mouth that is not in agreement with the letter and the Spirit of the Word of God…. words that are not in agreement with Christ’s character and nature.  Profanity is that which disagrees with the Word of truth.  The word profane in the New Testament means to “cross the threshold”, as the heathen or wicked man would do to profane or desecrate the Holy Place.  You arethat Holy Place(see 1Cor 3:16,17).  Don’t let the heathen in the door! We profane the temple of the individual, the home, and the local church when we cross the threshold of these areas and speak words which minister death and not life. When a person allows you entrance into their heart you are to watch what you say and how you say it.”  “Don’tGossip!”. Satan knows the power of the spoken word.  The only way that he can stir up trouble in the home or local church is with the tongues of men.  It is interesting to note that six is the number of man.  Look at the progression: First, the eyes are mentioned, then the tongue, the hands, the heart, the feet, and then the whole man. “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. Ephes. 4:29 (NIV)


“ And I tell you this, that you must give account on Judgment Day for every idle word you speak.” Matthew 12:36 (Living)

The talebearer or busybody is a person who travels about carrying or peddling tales.  This person is a slanderer and a whisperer just as the serpent in Gen. 3.

The talebearer himself has deep problem.  He belittles others to exalt himself.  He makes a tall man short by cutting his legs off.  While writing this lesson I’m reminded of the late sixty’s and early seventies when some of the popular Motown sounds were introduced.  One song that was sung by Gladys Knight and the Pips titled “I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE BECAME VERY POPULAR during his era.. It’s important to learn not to repeat something when you know it will harm others.  Some folks feel that they have to always know what’s going on.


“The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4 (KJV)

As Disciples of Christ we are learning how to speak the language of the Kingdom of God.  Just as we learned to talk in the Kingdom of Darkness, we are learning how to talk in the Kingdom of Light.  How we talk will reveal to others where we are in God, for your speech will betray you (Matt 26:73).  Our experience, our growth, our knowledge in God will change our speech as we are ever understanding how to speak with “the tongue of the learned”. God is giving his people the “tongue of the learned’ that we may know:

1)   How to speak

2)   When to speak (“a word”)

3)   When to speak (“in season”)

4)   To whom to speak (“to him that is weary’)


“With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness.” James 3:9 (GW)

Our tongues are to be used to bless God.  Our words ought to be bathed in prayer.  They ought to be soaked in praise.  If our words always bless God, there is no way that we could curse men.  How different our lives would be if we used our tongues to bless God.  How different the church would be if every tongue in our church was used solely for the purpose of blessing God.  How different would our fellowship be……We should use every possible opportunity to shower God with praise.  “


“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15 (KJV)

Our tongues are to be used to build up not tear down.  Here are four practical ways to stop a talebearer, especially when he or she peddles his wares under the guise of bringing something to you to “pray” about. If you don’t have the courage to tell these kind of people the truth, then look them in the eye and say:

  1. “Please write that down and sign it.”
  2. “Let’s go together and pray for that brother.”
  3. “Please…. I don’t want to hear it.  Don’t dump that trash on me”
  4. “Let’s go to the leadership of the church


My name is gossip. I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing.  I break hearts and ruin lives.  I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.  The more I am quoted the more I am believed.  I flourish at every level of society.  My victims are helpless.  They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more illusive I become.  I am nobody’s friend.  Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never quite the same.  I topple governments and wreck marriages.  I cause ruined careers, cause sleepless nights, heartache, and indigestion.  I spawn suspicion and generate grief.  I make innocent people cry in their pillows.  Even my name hisses.  I am called gossip.  Office gossip, shop gossip, Church gossip.  I make headlines and headaches.  The call me Gossip, pardon me have I met your acquaintance?

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