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The Most Dangerous Member in the Church - Pastor Stacey Shiflett

The Most Dangerous Member in the Church

James 3:1-12 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things


I. The Condemnation of the Tongue – vs. 1

  • 1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.


Masters – teacher

The more we talk, the more we will give account for at the Judgment Seat.

  • Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.


II. The Control of the Tongue – vs. 2-5

  • 2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

  • 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

  • 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

  • 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.


With God’s help, we can control our tongue. But it is the sign of a mature believer.

Psalm 15

  • 1 Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

  • 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

  • 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.


Psalm 34

  • 12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

  • 13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

(Quoted again in 1 Peter 3:10)


III. The Characterization of the Tongue – vs. 5b-8

A. The tongue is a fire – destroys; scars; defaces; devalues; causes irreparable damage;

destroys families, friendships, flocks, futures, etc...


B. The tongue is a world of iniquity – a wide variety of sins committed with the tongue

Lying, false witness, blasphemy;

The Unpardonable Sin:

  • Matthew 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.


C. The tongue is an unruly evil – unrestrained; causes evil that you cannot control;

Notice the unruly evil that is the result of an unruly tongue:

Titus 1

  • 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

  • 10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

  • 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

  • 12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

  • 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;


D. The tongue is full of deadly poison – makes sick, kills, lasting effects


IV. The Casualties of the Tongue 

               A. DEFILETH THE WHOLE BODY – not just personally, but the church as well

               B. SETTETH ON FIRE THE COURSE OF NATURE – destroys what God started

               C. IT SET OF FIRE OF HELL – is not of God

The tongue that thrives on destruction will be destroyed by God!

Psalm 52

  • 1 «To the chief Musician, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech.» Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually.

  • 2 Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

  • 3 Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.

  • 4 Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.

  • 5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.

V. The Cautions of the Tongue – vs. 9-12

  • 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

  • 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

  • 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

  • 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.


A. The Inconceivable Activity – vs. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.

B. The Imploring Appeal – vs. 10b My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

C. The Impossible Attribute – 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?


VI. The Contrasts of the Tongue

You get to choose what kind of tongue you have! And it matters!!!


  • Proverbs 10:20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.

  • Proverbs 10:31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.

  • Proverbs 12:18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

  • Proverbs 12:19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

  • Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

  • Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.



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