| Lying tongues and gossip|
I had a request the other day from someone in house church. They wanted to know if there is a good sermon on the topic of lying tongues and gossip. Please note that I am not talking about the gifting of tongues, but about deceitful tongues that lead to lying, gossip, pain, etc...
Any sermon recommendations that would give a biblical breakdown on this topic would be great.
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| 2010/4/11 11:53||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
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[b]Satan Found A Whisperer by Keith Daniel[/b]
[b]The Tongue by Keith Daniel[/b]
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2010/4/11 12:01||Profile|
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Thank you Greg, I will check these out.
| 2010/4/11 12:08||Profile|
| Re: Lying tongues and gossip|
Here is an article from Last Days Ministries and written by Leonard Ravenhill. I don't know if there is an audio version of this message available, but it speaks on this subject.
Click [url=http://www.lastdaysministries.org/Articles/1000008614/Last_Days_Ministries/LDM/Discipleship_Teachings/Leonard_Ravenhill/The_Taming_of.aspx]HERE[/url] to view the full article.
[b]The Taming of the Tongue[/b]
by Leonard Ravenhill
Last Days Ministries
Until recently, we were pretty much in the dark about the human body. But then came the X-ray with its peeping eye
a marvelous instrument which has saved us much human misery. It was able to show us the human heart, but it couldnt show us the soul of the spirit.
It could show us the throat, but not the voice. The brain, but not the mind. Nevertheless, medical science has done much to help this outward man that perishes. If our eyes are getting dim, we can get glasses. If our kidneys or heart fail, we can have a transplant. But as far as I know, there is one member of the body that has never been transplanted. If we used our arms and legs as much as we use this part, wed be incredibly stiff and sore. But this member never gets tired, and Ive never seen one with a splint on it. As you get older you may get dentures - but you will always have the same tongue you were born with! There are artificial joints made these days, but no artificial tongues.
My mother was pretty smart when it came to the tongue. She sprinkled her daily conversation with wise sayings like "Keep your tongue between your teeth" and "Think twice before you speak once." The Scottish people have some proverbs, too: "Keep your tongue a prisoner and your body will go free" and "A long tongue shortens friendships." My mother would also tell us, "Remember, one day youll answer to God for every word you say."
The Bible mentions many kinds of tongues. There is a flattering tongue (Psalm 5:9), a proud tongue (Psalm 12:3, 73:9), a lying tongue (Psalm 109:2, Prov. 6:17), a deceitful tongue (Psalm 120:2), a perverted tongue (Prov. 10:31, 17:20), a soothing tongue (Prov 15:4), a healing tongue (Prov. 12:18), a destructive tongue (Prov. 17:4), a mischievous and wicked tongue (Psalm 10:7), a soft tongue (Prov. 25:15), and a backbiting tongue (Prov. 25:23). James also talks about the tongue. He says its a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. He calls the tongue a fire, the very world of iniquity. James says it is untamable, a restless evil full of deadly poison, used both to bless God and to curse men. But James also told us that a man who doesnt stumble in what he says is a perfect man. (James 3:2-10)
I wonder how startled James would be today to find out how much man has "conquered." Weve put men into big, fancy tin cans, and shot them off into space. Weve sent men into submarines without coming up to the surface for months. Man has had the moon under his feet and hes left his footprints on the ocean floor as well. Weve also put some fantastic canisters up into the sky, bouncing our voices off these satellites to countries around the world. Look at how weve harnessed the wind with giant windmills, and made the rivers and waterfalls drive our turbines. What incredible power man has over his world! And yet, he has still not conquered his own tongue.
A Damaging Sword
In Psalm 64:3 the tongue is called "a sword." This sword has certainly damaged, bruised, wounded, and killed more people than all the swords in all the wars since history began. Youve seen it many times. That newly married couple - so lovey-dovey for days and days on end. But one day the fellow lost his temper and slashed into the heart and affections of his wife with uncontrollable anger and with words he might regret forever. But it was said. The damage was done. How often we need to remember that old saying: We cannot call back the arrow weve shot into the air, the water under the bridge, or the spoken word. One of the earliest poems I ever learned was:
Angry words, O let them never
From the tongue, unbridled slip.
With the souls best impulse
Ever check them,
Ere they soil the lips.
Angry words are quickly spoken,
Bitter thoughts are rashly stirred,
Fondest links of life are broken,
By a single angry word.
Is there something that could be numbered greater than the incomprehensible amount of stars in the heavens? What about the sands by the sea, every blade of grass, or the leaves on the trees? I believe if we could add all of these things together, there would still be something that would exceed them in number! Its the things said by this little monster called the tongue. This uncontrollable little red rebel that lives in a red cave guarded by two rows of white soldiers called teeth. Think about how many words are being spoken today just over all the telephones worldwide. And how about all the words slung around the globe by our TVs and radios? The tongue has done more damage than any other instrument in the human body.
We are responsible for the words that we speak. "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned." (Matt. 12:36-37) Our own words snare us. (Prov. 6:2) We are ensnared by vows and promises spoken, but not kept. By reckless criticisms and rash judgments. "How can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil."(Matt. 12:34-35)
The human heart can be a snake pit, a dungeon of devilry, a foxhole of filth, a pit of perversity. Actually, its the manufacturing place of all uncleanness and all sin. The showcase of the heart is the tongue. My simple words cannot exaggerate the corruption of the heart. And the filth that comes out of a filthy heart comes through the lips. But when Ive said all I can about it, the strongest thing is surely said in Proverbs 18:21 -"Death and life are in the power of the tongue..."
A Rolling Story
A rolling stone gathers no moss, but a rolling story gathers something fresh every time we say it. Every time we repeat it, something is added and something is taken away until its nothing like the truth. Some little bit of gossip starts with a whisper, then it swells and becomes a tumult, and somebodys left heartbroken. Do you wonder that Proverbs 10:19 says, "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise"? Or Ecclesiastes 10:14, "The fool multiplies words
How often we sing (full of self-pity) "Oh what needless pain we bear..." Someone should write a verse about what needless pain we cause when we lacerate people, wound them, and bruise them with our tongues. I want to sound a word of caution about the flippancy of our language, and the carelessness and exaggeration in the language used by preachers. What awful things come from their lips these days that cannot be justified by Scripture!
Just this week I spoke with a big strong professional football player who has now become a full-time evangelist...a very godly man. He broke into tears as he told me about the slander and deceit used against him among Christians. He said through his tears, "Mr. Ravenhill, Ive suffered character assassination." I said, "Friend, youre under a delusion that most Christians are under. Theres nobody that can assassinate your character. Character is what God knows you are. Reputation is what men think you are. They might have lied, wrecked your reputation, and made it almost impossible for you to get into other pulpits, but remember this" (as you read this, you remember it too): "The only one who can wreck your character is you. God doesnt listen to gossip except to judge it. The only one who can lower or higher you in the estimation of God is you - by your obedience or by your disobedience."
Products of the Tongue
Have the Christians of today improved over the Christians in Corinth? They didnt have a Bible to read but Paul wrote boldly to them, "For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders ,gossip, arrogance, disturbances." These are all products of the tongue. Hey, friend, before we go any further, make out your checklist. Have you been in unprofitable, ridiculous debates, arguing just to win someone over? So very often we win the debate and lose the friend. Paul said that among these professing Christians there was strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disturbances.
After Jesus Himself, I believe that Paul was the greatest preacher who ever lived. But when writing to the Corinthians, he said, "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling." (I Cor 2:1-3) That doesnt sound like the Apostle we think of, clothed with all the armor of God, pulling down strongholds and putting the devil to flight.
But then he goes on in verse 4, "And my message and my preaching werent in persuasive words of wisdom..." I doubt he was a fascinating preacher, juggling with words that sparkled. His job was to glorify Jesus. If we preach and people remember us, weve missed it. He says that his preaching was not with persuasive words of wisdom, "but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." He didnt spend hours like some preachers, selecting the most fascinating and flashy words. Maybe we might say "fleshy" words. His concern was to project Jesus Christ only and Him crucified. There was nothing flippant or fleshly about what he said, and certainly nothing foolish.
Paul warns us, "In reference to your former manner of life, lay aside the old sel
be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth... Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." (Eph. 4:22-31)
Paul also exhorts us, "There must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting..." (Eph. 5:4) Ive heard preachers eating dinner together get into borderline jokes, and then someone pushes it further until its totally disgusting. I like humor, but I dont like stupidity, filthiness, or coarse jesting. Oh how many silly, stupid things are said. Dr. Tozer used to say to me, "Len, be careful. Remember, never, never, speak lightly of the devil. Dont tell any jokes about hell." The devil is not almighty, but we must not forget that he is mighty. All too often Christians speak too lightly of the kingdom of darkness, as if to treat the whole thing as unimportant. (Jude 9)
Muzzle Your Mouth
David says, "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle." (Psalm 39:1) We usually think of other parts of our body as being agencies of sin, but not our tongue. David says "I will guard my mouth."
Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt." Not pepper! Sometimes anger gets in our speech and spoils everything that weve said. Psalm 12:3 says, "May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that speaks great things." These surely are stern warnings to believers.
Psalm 15 asks, "Lord, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart." So there you have it: walking and talking. Walking uprightly, speaking the truth in your heart. And in verse 3, "He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend." I believe we sabotage a lot of our prayers because were doing what James says one minute were blessing God, and then afterwards were cursing men. Not blaspheming or using vile language, but criticizing them. One minute our tongues are speaking about holy things, and the next, unholy things. You see, the tongue is an index of the heart.
Do you wonder that I shudder when I look at a large congregation singing, "Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemers praise..."? Goodness me, if they did have 1,000 tongues, there would be 999 times more gossip and criticism and slander than there is now! Earth would be hell and the Church would be as bad. Oh no, if we cant control the one we have, how could we manage 999 more? How often do we sing our great Redeemers praise? For five minutes in two Sunday morning hymns? And the rest of the week its careless and silly talk. Talk of anything but the deep things of God.
Showcase Of The Heart
Our words reflect whats in our hearts. If a man loves sports, he talks sports. If he loves money, he talks money. If he loves art, he talks art. I marvel at the slackness of speech among Christians and at how often preachers are guilty of gross exaggerations in their reports about their meetings, and at how carelessly they slander others. I was at a ministers conference some years ago and we drove back and forth in packed buses all week between the hotel and the conference center. But never once among all those ministers was the conversation about God or holiness or the coming of Jesus. It was sports, or golf handicaps, or how big their Sunday School was. It was just senseless chatter even among preachers. But preachers arent the only ones guilty of conversation which is unprofitable and unedifying.
Do you wonder that the psalmist in Psalm 51 cries "Create in me a clean heart"? Weve already considered the foulness of the human heart, yet God can take that heart and make it pure and beautiful and eloquent for Himself. Theres nothing that gives us away as much as our speech. Our speech shows where our hearts are.
You cant cover up your heart. If theres bitterness in our hearts, it will come out through what we say and how we say it. If theres hatred, hatred will come. If theres anger, anger will come. No wonder James says that the tongue cant be controlled. The heart is engineering all that the tongue is going to say.
The heart is the factory that produces all these vile things, and the tongue is the showcase of the heart. Surely one of the most amazing things about the transforming grace of God is, that man loses his filthy language, lying tongue, and unholy anger when he gets saved. Theres little use carrying a big Bible and wearing a lapel pin saying how spiritual we are, if we explode at the office, speak unkindly to our children, or if were critical and bitter and become known as somebody who carries on.
Stick Out Your Tongue
In the springtime my mother used to say, "Put out your tongue and let me see what its like." Shed say, "Oh no, youre not in good condition," and then she had some horrible concoction that we had to take. I wonder, if we had to put out our tongues at the end of each day if they would be unclean with gossip, slander, criticism, or bitterness? Or do we have them under control, as Paul says, "sound in speech which is beyond reproach"? (Titus 2:8) Is our speech always with grace, seasoned with salt?
I helped at a funeral once where there were several teenage children. They sobbed and groaned and carried on as Id never seen anyone do at a funeral. I said to my senior pastor, "Oh, how much they loved their mother!" He said, "No, theyre just crying in remorse. They were the most disobedient, backbiting, sarcastic children ever. They always abused their mother with their words. They gave her an awful time. They just cut her to pieces with their tongues." Many of us suddenly feel this same unbearable guilt when someone dies and we cant take back the words weve spoken or heal the wounds weve made.
This is a day when people are screaming about ecology. We want pure rivers and pure air. What about pure hearts? Its a pity we dont raise our voice in the Church and call everyone to recite Psalm 51 and cry with David, "Create in me a clean heart!" Or, as Wesley put it,
O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free.
A heart that always feels the blood,
So freely shed for me.
A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My Great Redeemers throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.
If Christ were speaking internally all the time, we wouldnt come out with the rubbish that we utter so much.
When you get to my age, you look back and its an awesome thing. I think about the millions of words I must have said in 60 years of preaching. Speaking at least 120 words a minute, I can speak 1,200 words in ten minutes. In 60 minutes Ive spoken 7,200 words and Ive done this twice a day sometimes and done it for years. Then theres all the words Ive written.
What a day when all the great orators stand before the Lord. Oh, that we might find men today whose hearts are burning with love and devotion, and because their hearts are burning, their speech will burn - with love, with adoration, and with hatred for sin. My prayer is, "Lord, teach me to hold my tongue. Teach me to do as the psalmist says, set a watch at the door of my lips that my speech may always be seasoned with grace. My tongue never a sword. My speech always edifying, uplifting, and that which glorifies God." Amen.
For further study:
II Corinthians 12:20
| 2010/4/11 14:02||Profile|
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The Evil Tongue
"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity." (James 3:6)
The apostle James in this Scripture, describes the evil of the tongue, "The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity."
1. "It is a fire." It burns with intemperate heat; it causeth the heat of contention; it sets others in a flame.
2. "A world of iniquity." It was at first made to be an organ of God's praise, but it is become an instrument of unrighteousness. All the members of the body are sinful, as there is bitterness in every branch of wormwood, but the tongue is excessively sinful, "full of deadly poison" (verse 8).
Doctrine: The tongue, though it be a little member, yet it has a world of sin in it; the tongue is an unruly evil. I shall show you some of the evils of the tongue.
1. The evil tongue is the silent tongue; it is wholly mute in matters of religion; it never speaks of God or of heaven, as if it cleaved to the roof of the mouth. Men are fluent and knowledgeable enough in other things, but in matters of religion their lips are sealed up. If we come into some people's company, we do not know what religion they are of, whether Jews or Mohammedans, for they never speak of Christ; they are like the man in the gospel, who was possessed with a dumb spirit (Mark 9:17).
2. The evil tongue is the earthly tongue; men talk of nothing but the world, as if all their hopes were here, and they looked for an earthly eternity; these have earthly minds, "He that is of the earth, speaketh of the earth" (John 3:31).
3. The evil tongue is the hasty or angry tongue; it has no command of passions, but is carried away with them, as a chariot with wild horses. I know there is an holy anger, when we are angry with sin: Christ had this anger when they made the temple a place of merchandise (John 2:15). That anger is without sin, which is against sin; but that is an evil tongue, which is presently blown up into exorbitant passion; this "tongue is set on fire from hell." A wrathful spirit is unsuitable to the gospel; it is a gospel of peace, and its author is the Prince of Peace, and it is sealed by the Spirit, who came in the form of a dove, a meek peaceable creature. You who art given much to passion, whose tongue is often set on fire, take heed you dost not one day in hell desire a drop of water to cool thy tongue.
4. The evil tongue is the vain tongue, that vents itself in idle words: "Under his tongue is vanity" (Psalm 10:7). A vain tongue shows a light heart; a good man's words are weighty and prudent; his lips are as a tree of life to feed many and his speech is edifying, "The tongue of the just is as choice silver"
(Proverbs 10:20). But, "The mouth of fools Pours out foolishness" (Proverbs 15:2). How many idle away the day of grace in frivolous discourses? A wise man's words are like gold, weighty, and will sink into the hearts of others; but the words of many are light and feathery and will make no impression, "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).
5. The evil tongue is the censorious tongue, "Who art thou that judgest another?" (James 4:12). Some make it a part of their religion to judge and censure others; they do not imitate their graces, but censure their failings. Such an one is an hypocrite, for this comes from pride. Were men's hearts more humble, their tongues would be more charitable. The censurer sits in the chair of pride, and passeth sentence upon another, and does reprobate him; this is to usurp God's prerogative, and take his work out of his hands; it is God's work to judge, not ours. He who spends his time in censuring others spends but little time in examining himself and does not see his own faults. There is not a greater sign of hypocrisy than to be overhasty in judging and censuring persons.
6. The evil tongue is the slanderous tongue, "Thou sittest and slanderest thy own mother's son" (Psalm 50:20). Slandering is when we speak to the prejudice of another, and speak that which is not true. Worth and eminency are commonly blasted by slander; holiness itself is no shield from slander: "John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking, yet they say he hath a devil" (Matthew 11:18). Come and let us smite him with the tongue. A slanderer wounds another's name, and no physician can heal these wounds. The sword doth not make so deep a wound as the tongue. The Greek word for slanderer, signifies devil. Some think it is no great matter to belie and defame another; but know, this is to act the part of a devil. The slanderer's tongue is a two-edged sword, it wounds two at once; while the slanderer wounds another in his name, he wounds himself in his conscience. This is contrary to Scripture, "Speak not evil one of another" (James 4:11). God takes this ill at our hands, to speak evil of others, especially such as are eminently holy, and help to bear up the honour of religion: "Were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" (Numbers 12:8). What! My servant who has wrought so many miracleswhom I have spoken with in the mount face to facewere not ye afraid to speak against him? So will God say, You must take heed of this, it is a sin your nature is very prone to; and remember, it is no less sin to rob another of his good name, than to steal his goods or wares out of his shop.
7. The evil tongue is the unclean tongue, that vents itself in filthy and scurrilous words, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth" (Ephesians 4:29). A sign of a great distemper, that the fever is high, is when the tongue is black: a sign men's hearts are very evil, when such black words come from them.
8. The evil tongue is the lying tongue, "Lie not to one another" (Colossians 3:9). The Cretians were noted for liars (Titus 1:12). It becomes not Christians to be Cretians. Nothing is more contrary to God than a lie; it shows much irreligion; lying is a sin that does not go alone, it ushers in other sins. Absalom told his father a lie, that he was going to pay his vow at Hebron (2 Samuel 15:7), and this lie was a preface to his treason. Lying is such a sin, as takes away all society and converse with men; how can you have converse with him, that you cannot trust a word he says? It is a sin so sordid, that when the liar is convicted, he is ashamed. God's children have this character, they are children that will not lie" (Isaiah 63:8), the new nature in them will not suffer them. The liar is near akin to the devil, and the devil will shortly claim kindred with him, "The devil is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). He seduced our first parents by a lie (Genesis 3:4). How does this sin incense God? He struck Ananias dead for telling a lie (Acts 5:5). The furnace of hell is heated to throw liars into, "Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" (Revelation 22:15).
9. The evil tongue is the flattering tongue, that will speak fair to one's face, but will defame, "He that hateth, dissembleth with his lips" (Proverbs 26:24). When he speaks fair, believe him not; dissembled love is worse than hatred. Some can commend and reproach, flatter and hatehoney in their mouths, but a string of malice in their hearts: better are the wounds of a friend, than the kisses of such an enemy. Hierom says, "The Arian faction pretended friendship; they (says he) kissed my hands, but slandered me and sought my ruin." Many have dissembling tongues, they can say, your servant, and lay snares, "A man that flattereth his neighbour, spreadeth a net for his feet" (Proverbs 29:5). You often think you have a friend in your bosom, but he proves a viper. To dissemble love is no better than to lie; for there is a pretence of that love which is not. Many are like Joab, "And Joab said to Amasa, art thou in health, my brother? And he took him by the beard to kiss him, and he smote him in the fifth rib that he died" (2 Samuel 20:9). For my part, I must question his truth towards God, that will flatter and lie to his friend. God will bring such an one to shame at last, "Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation" (Proverbs 26:26).
10. The evil tongue is the tongue given to boasting, "The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things" (James 3:5). There is an holy boasting, "In God we boast all the day" (Psalm 44:8), when we triumph in his power and mercy: but it is a sinful boasting, when men display their trophies, boast of their own worth and eminency, that others may admire and cry them up; a man's self is his idol, and he loves to have this idol worshipped, "There arose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody" (Acts 5:36). Sinful boasting is when men boast of their sins, "Why boasteth thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man?" (Psalm 52:1). Some boast how wicked they have been; how many they have made drunk; how many they have deflowered; as if a beggar should boast of his sores; or a thief boast of being burnt in the hand. Such as boast of their sinful exploits, will have little cause to rejoice, or hang up their trophies when they come to hell.
11. The evil tongue is the swearing tongue, "Swear not at all" (Matthew 5:34). The Scripture allows an oath for the ending of a controversy, and to clear the truth (Hebrews 6:16); but in ordinary discourse to use an oath, and so to take God's name in vain, is sinful. Swearing may be called "the unfruitftil works of darkness." There is neither pleasure nor profit in it; it is like a hook the fish comes to without a bait, "Because of swearing the land mourneth" (Jeremiah 23:10). Some think it the grace of their speech; but, if God will reckon with men for idle words, what will he do for sinful oaths?
But it is only a petty oath, they swear by their faith?
Surely they which have so much faith in their mouth, have none in their heart. "But it is my custom": Is this an excuse, or an aggravation of the sin? If a malefactor should be arraigned for robbing, and lie should say to the judge, "Spare me, it is my custom to rob on the highway": the judge would say, "'Thou shalt the rather die." For every oath you swear, God puts a drop of wrath into his vial.
Butsome may thinkwhat if now and then I swear an oath? Words are but wind. But they are such a wind as will blow you into hell, Without repentance.
12. The railing tongue is an evil tongue: this is a plague-sore breaking out at the tongue, when we give scornfull language. When the dispute was between the archangel and the devil about the body of Moses, "The archangel did not bring a railing accusation against him, but said, the Lord rebuke thee" (Jude 9). The archangel did not rail against the devil. Railing often ends in reviling, and so men bring themselves into a premunire, and are "in danger of hell fire" (Matthew 5:22).
13. The seducing tongue is an evil tongue. The tongue that by fine rhetoric decoys men into error, "By fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:18). A fair tongue can put off bad wares; error is bad ware, which a seducing tongue can put off. The deceit lies in this; a smooth tongue can make error look so like truth, that you can hardly know them asunder; as thus, in justification, Christ bears infinite love to justified persons; this is a glorious truth, but under this notion, the Antinomian presseth libertinism; believers may take more liberty to sin, and God sees no sin in them. Thus, by crying up justification, they destroy sanctification; here is the seducing tongue; and error is as dangerous as vice; one may die by poison as well as by a pistol.
14. The evil tongue is the cruel tongue, that speaks to the wounding of the hearts of others. The tongue is made almost in the fashion of a sword; and the tongue is sharp as a sword, "Their tongue is a sharp sword" (Psalm 57:4). Kind, loving words should be spoken to such as are of a heavy heart, "To him that is afflicted pity should be shown" (Job 6:14). Healing words are fit for a broken heart: but that is a cruel, unmerciful tongue, which speaks such words to the afflicted, as to cut them to the heart, "They talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded" (Psalm 69:26). Hannah was a woman of a troubled spirit, "She was in bitterness of soul, and wept sore" (1 Samuel 1:10). And now Eli, in verse 14, "Said unto her, how long wilt thou be drunken? Put away thy wine from thee." This word was like pouring vinegar into the wound. When Job was afflicted with God's hand, his friends, instead of comforting him, told him he was an hypocrite (Job 11:2). These were cutting words, which went to his heart: instead of giving him cordials to his fainting, they use corrosives. This is to lay more weight upon a dying man.
15. The evil tongue is the murmuring tongue, "These are murmurers" (Jude 16). Murmuring is discontent breaking out at the lips; men quarrel with God, and tax his providence as if he had not dealt well with them. Why should any murmur or be discontented at their condition? Does God owe them anything? Or, can they deserve anything at his hands? O, how uncomely is it to murmur at providence! It is fit for a Cain to be upset with God (Genesis 4:6).
(1) Murmuring proceeds from unbelief. When men distrust God's promise, then they murmur at his providence, "They believed not his word, but murmured" (Psalm 106:24,25). When faith grows low, then passion grows high.
(2) Murmuring proceeds from pride. Men think they have deserved better; and, because they are crossed, therefore they utter discontented expressions against God. He who is humble bears any thing from God; he knows his punishment is less than his sin, therefore says, "I will bear the indignation of the LORD" (Micah 7:9). But pride raises discontent; and hence comes murmurings. Murmuring is a sin that God cannot bear, "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation that murmur against me?" (Numbers 14:27). The murmurer discovers much ingratitude; a murmuring tongue is always an unthankful tongue; he considers not how much he is a debtor to free grace, and whatever he has is more than God owes him; he considers not that his mercies outweigh his afflictions; there's more honey than wormwood in his cup; he considers not what God has done for him, more than such as are better than he; he has the finest of wheat, when others feed, as Daniel, on pulse. The murmurer, I say, does not consider this; but, because he is crossed in some small matter, he repines against God. O ingratitude! Israel, though they had manna from heaven, to satisfy their hunger, angel's food, yet murmured for want of quails; not content that God should supply their want, but must satisfy their lust too. O unthankful! Israel's murmuring cost many of them their lives, "Neither murmur ye, as some of them did, and were destroyed of the destroyer" (1 Corinthians 10:10). Their speeches were venomous, and God punished them with venomous serpents.
16. The evil tongue is the scoffing tongue. The scoffer sits in the chair of scorners, and derides religion. Surely the devil has taken great possession of men, when they have arrived at such a degree of sin, as to scoff at holiness. It was foretold as a sin of the last times, "There shall come in the last days scoffers" (2 Peter 3:3). Some scoff at the authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the immortality of the soul; this is the worst sort of tongues. When men have laid aside the veil of modesty, and their consciences are seared, then they fall a scoffing at religion; and when once they are come to this, their case is desperate; no reproofs will reclaim them; tell them of their sin, and they will hate you the more, "Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee" (Proverbs 9:8). Such a man is on the threshold of damnation.
17.The evil tongue is the tongue given to cursing, "His mouth is full of cursing"(Psalm 10:7): a wishing some great evil to befall another; cursing is the scum that boils off from a wicked heart. Though it is true, the curse without cause shall not comeit is not in man's power to make another cursedyet to wish a curse is a fearful sin. If to hate our brother be murder (1 John 3:15), then to curse him, which is the highest degree of hatred, must needs be murder. To use a curse, is for a man to do what in him lies, to damn another. Some wish a curse upon themselves: so the Jews, "his blood be upon us". And so do your "God damnme's" as if damnation did not come fast enough: "As he loved cursing so let it come to him" (Psalm 109:17).
18. The evil tongue is the unjust tongue; that will for a piece of money open its mouth in a bad cause. The lawyer has a tongue that will be sold for money, "How long will you judge unjustly?" (Psalm 82:2). Some will plead any cause, though never so bad: though it appears the deeds are forged, the witnesses bribed, there's perjury in the cause; yet they will plead it. When a man pleads a bad cause he is the devil's attorney: as God hates false weights, so a false cause. Better to be born dumb, than open one's mouth in a bad cause. O, what times are we in! Many pervert justice, and, for enriching themselves, overthrow a righteous cause; these are worse than they that rob, for they fleece men's estates under a colour of law, and ruin them under a pretence of doing justice.
See what a blow we have sustained by the fall; it has put out of frame the whole course of nature. Original sin has diffused itself as a poison into all the members of the body; it has made the eye unchastethe hands full of bribesamongst the rest it has defiled the tongue, "it is a world of iniquity." That which was made to be the organ of God's praise, is become a weapon of unrighteousness.
If there be so much evil in the tongue, what is the heart? If the stream be so full of water, how full of water is the fountain? If there be a world of iniquity in the tongue, how many worlds of sin are there in the heart, "Their inward part is very wickedness" (Psalm 5:9). If the tongue, which is the outward part, he so wicked, the inward part is very wickedness, "The heart is deep" (Psalm 64:6); it is such a deep as cannot be fathomed; deep pride, hypocrisy, atheism. The heart is like the sea, where is the leviathan, and creeping things innumerable (Psalm 104:25,26). If the skin has boils of leprosy in it, how much corruption is in the blood? If the tongue be so bad, how diabolical is the heart? It is the heart that sets the tongue a-work: "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh": there are the seeds of all atheism and blasphemy, "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries; these defile a man" (Matthew 15:19,20). If a branch of wormwood be so bitter, then how bitter is the root? O, what a root of bitterness grows in a man's heart! Some say they have good hearts; but if the tongue be so bad, what is the heart? If I see a smoke come out of the top of a chimney, what a fire burns within. "A wicked man walketh with a froward mouth; frowardness is in his heart" (Proverbs 6:12, 14). Solomon shows the reason why the month is so froward, "Frowardness is in his heart." The heart is a storehouse of wickedness, therefore called the "evil treasure of the heart" (Matthew 12:35). Original righteousness was a good treasure, but we were robbed of that; and now there is an evil treasure of sin. The word treasure, denotes plenty; to show the fullness and abundance of sin that is in the heart. The heart is a lesser hell, which is a matter of deep humiliation; the heart is, like the Egyptian temples, full of spiders and serpents.
If you would have better tongues, labour for better hearts. It is the heart that has influence upon the tongue. If the heart be vain and earthly, the tongue will be so; if the heart be holy, the tongue will be so. Look to your heart, get a better heart, and a better tongue.
How shall I get my heart bettered?
Get a principle of grace infused. Grace is like the salt cast into the spring; grace changes the heart, and sanctifies all the members of the bodyit sanctifies the eyes and makes them chasteit sanctifies the tongue, and makes it meet and calm. When the Holy Ghost came upon the apostles, "they began to speak with other tongues" (Acts 2:4): when God's Spirit comes on a man with a sanctifying work, he speaks with another tongue; the speech is heavenly. Grace makes the heart serious, and that cures the levity of the tongue; when the heart is serious, the words are savoury.
Remember, you must give an account to God, as well of your speeches, as your actions, "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36); words of no account, will have an heavy account. And, if God will reckon with men for every idle, angry word, then, what will he do for sinful oaths? "Oh that my words were now written!" (Job 19:23). Truly, if many people's words were written, they would be ashamed of them. And, let me tell you, your words are written: "The books were opened" (Revelation 20:12). In the book of God's remembrance all your words are written; you had need then be careful you offend not with your tongue; God writes down all you speak, and you must give an account to him. When the books are opened, God will proceed with you in judgement, according to your words; by your words you shall be saved or condemned: "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:37).
| 2010/4/11 14:28||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you for the sermons men. I am going to print these and give them out. :-)
| 2010/4/11 18:44||Profile|
| Re: |
I wanted to say thank you for these sermons as well. I struggled with gossip years ago and thought at the time that it was harmless. Once I was saved God opened my eyes to show me just how destructive it could be. I really seek to guard my words(even the typed ones) because I do not want to unwittingly hurt another or cause someone to stumble in there walk with the Lord.
| 2010/4/11 21:26||Profile|