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Scripture Reading: James 3:1-12
The Deadly Tongue
1. What takes years to build can take only seconds to tear down.
2. Tongue can murder the good name and life of another: “it is full of deadly poison” (Jas. 3:8), a sword that slays another (Prov. 12:18).
3. The tongue can kill reputations, influences, gospel opportunities, Bible studies, relationships, unity and our souls.
4. Consider how the tongue can be so deadly.
I. DEADLY USES OF THE TONGUE.
A. Gossip, 1 Tim. 5:13 (tattlers, KJV).
1. phluaros: “(φλύω, ‘to boil up,’ ‘throw up bubbles’, of water; and since bubbles are hollow and useless things, ‘to indulge in empty and foolish talk’); of persons, uttering or doing silly things, garrulous, babbling, [A. V. tattlers]: 1 Tim. 5:13” (Thayer, 655).
2. Gossip is:
a. Empty, idle words about others that discredit, not built up.
b. Idle talk intended to turn one’s opinion against a person or situation.
c. Gossip can be true or false; it is still gossip.
d. Often encouraged by idleness (1 Tim. 5:13; 2 Thess. 3:11).
B. The Busybody, 1 Tim. 5:13; 2 Thess. 3:11 (A busybody gossips).
1. periergos (1 Tim. 5:13): “busy about trifles and neglectful of important matters, esp. busy about other folks’ affairs, a busybody” (Thayer, 502).
2. periergazomai (2 Thess. 3:11): “used apparently of a person officiously inquisitive about other’s affairs” (Thayer, 502).
3. Derived from ergos, business, employment, that with which any one is occupied; what one undertakes to do, enterprise.
4. It is to actively undertake to be involved in the matters of others.
5. Meddler in the lives of others, 1 Pet. 4:15 (mischief-maker, RSV).
C. Talebearer [“scandal-monger (as travelling about)],” A trafficker in scandalous reports about others, Lev. 19:16 (A talebearer gossips).
1. The talebearer is:
a. Untrustworthy, Prov. 11:13; 20:19 (reveals confidences).
b. Stirs up strife, Prov. 26:20 (hated by God, Prov. 6:19).
c. Hurtful, Prov. 18:8 (wounds, KJV); cf. Prov. 17:9.
2. A whisperer is a type of talebearer: Speaking evil of one who is absent and not being willing to accuse him to his face.
a. A cowardly sin, Rom. 1:29; 2 Cor. 12:20 (Matt. 18:15).
b. The action of a hater, Psa. 41:7.
c. “Whispering” is the evil of detracting from others, or exciting suspicion against another by dropping hints that they are evil (secrecy, Rom. 1:29). [*See Whiteside’s comments*]
D. Slanderer, 2 Tim. 3:3 (accuse, defame, malign with falsehood).
1. diabolos: “Those who are given to finding fault with the demeanor and conduct of others, and spreading their innuendos and criticisms in the church” (Vine, 580). (1 Tim. 3:11)
a. Foolish, Prov. 10:18.
b. Slander is driven by pride and envy, Psa. 101:5.
c. Overcome slander by overcoming envy and pride.
d. Or, be destroyed by God, Psa. 101:5.
2. Backbiting is a type of slander, Rom. 1:30; 2 Cor. 12:20.
a. katalalos: “a defamer, evil speaker” (Thayer, 332).
b. More open and bold than the whisperer, although such a person does not face the accused with his slander.
c. Backbiting causes anger, Prov. 25:23.
d. Backbiter does not abide with God, Psa. 15:1, 3.
II. HOW CAN WE AVOID SINS OF THE TONGUE?
A. Refuse the Tasty Morsel, Prov. 26:22.
B. Guard Your Tongue, Prov. 13:3; 21:23.
C. Ask Yourself these Questions:
1. Is it true? Eph. 4:25 (Are you sure?)
2. If so, why am I saying this about someone else? (Motive: Hurt? Impede? Justify self? Deflect attention from my own sin? Envy? Pride? Ambition?)
3. What will be the outcome: Harm or good for the person? Eph. 4:29
4. Have I talked with the person about whom I am speaking?
D. Consider the Result of these Sins: Strife (Prov. 26:20), wounds (Prov. 18:8), trouble for the soul (Prov. 21:23), death (Prov. 18:21).
1. Idle words bring condemnation, Matt. 12:36.
2. What we say can send us to hell.
3. Therefore, restrain the mouth, Psa. 39:1.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: July 9, 2018