Let Us Refrain Our Tongues from Evil (1 Peter 3:10-11)
1. According to 1 Peter 3:10-11, Christians are to "seek peace." 2. In connection with seeking peace we are to refrain our tongues from evil. 3. In our lesson we are concentrating on a text of Scripture that deals with "controlling the tongue" (James 3:2-12).
I. (vs.2-4) THE TONGUE IS TO BE CONTROLLED
A. (vs.2a) Because we are human we all stumble in many ways. 1. This refers to sins we commit through weakness. 2. (vs.2b) However, if a person does not stumble in what he says he is a perfect individual who is able to control his whole body. B. (vs.3-4) James gave 2 illustrations. 1. (vs.3) The first illustration involves a horse. a. A horse may be large and powerful, but if he has a bit in his mouth his entire body will be under control. b. With no bit in his mouth he will not be under control. 2. (vs.4) The second illustration involves a ship. a. A ship may be very large, but a small rudder will cause it to go in the direction that the captain desires. b. With no rudder the ship will not be under control. C. The point: Christians must have their tongues under control. 1. What good is an uncontrolled horse or an uncontrolled ship? 2. What good is a Christian who has an uncontrolled tongue? (see 1:26)
II. (vs.5-8) THE UNCONTROLLED TONGUE IS DESCRIBED
A. (vs.5) In comparison to other parts of the body the tongue is very small. 1. However, if it is not controlled it is capable of boasting great things. 2. Even though the tongue is very small it can start a great fire. B. (vs.6) The tongue is said to be a fire and a world of iniquity. C. (vs.7-8) The tongue is said to be untamed. 1. Man has tamed all kinds of animals. a. However, no man has been able to tame the tongue. b. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison [like a poisonous snake]. 2. The tongue can be tamed, but only the person who owns it can tame it. a. Each person is responsible for controlling his own tongue. b. The key is having good things in the heart (Matthew 12:34-35).
III. (vs.9-12) THE TONGUE IS TO BE USED CONSISTENTLY
A. (vs.9-10) We do not use our tongues consistently if we bless God and curse men who are made in God's image. 1. This includes sins such as gossip, slander, railing, backbiting, whispering, talebearing, and murmuring. 2. Concerning such sins James said, "My brethren, these things ought not so to be." B. (vs.11-12) James gave 3 illustrations. 1. Does a spring bring forth both fresh and salt water at the same time? 2. Can a fig tree bear olives? 3. Can a grapevine bear figs? C. A Christian who blesses God and then curses his fellow man uses his tongue inconsistently, and he will be held accountable.
1. A person who has things in his heart such as envy, uncontrolled anger, hatred, and vengeance will likely have a problem controlling his tongue. 2. A person who has things in his heart such as gentleness, courtesy, compassion, mercy, meekness, patience, forbearance, humility, and forgiveness will likely not have a problem controlling his tongue. 3. The key to having the right things in the heart is thinking on the right things (Proverbs 23:7a).