Text: Leviticus 24:10-23
I. Shelomith had married a non-Israelite and it appears that her son took more after his father than his mother
A. He got into a fight with an Israelite. During the fight he cursed and blasphemed the name of God. For this he was jailed.
1. He wasn’t jailed for fighting but for his language.
2. I suspect that people today would wonder why because they would see this as justifiable and normal.
B. For the Israelites, it was a new problem, so they took it to Moses, who in turned asked God.
1. The sentence was death
2. Clearly words matter. Cursing cannot be lightly dismissed
II. If you can control your mouth, you can control your actions - James 3:2
A. The idea should not be surprising, many things are control by something small - James 3:3-4
B. The uncontrolled tongue causes great damage - James 3:5-6
1. Think how many fights are started by poorly chosen words, how many relationships are ruined, how a person’s view of himself is bruised - Psalms 140:3-4
2. It isn’t just mean, hurtful words.
a. Words can lead people into sin, such as the words of a seductress - Proverbs 7:4-5
b. Words can be used to deceive people or to hide what they are really doing - Proverbs 29:5
C. Controlling your mouth isn’t easy - James 3:7-8
1. This doesn’t mean the tongue can’t be controlled
a. You have to treat it like a wild animal, like a lion in a circus act. You have to constantly be on guard because can never assume that you have it mastered - I Corinthians 10:12
D. We can’t accept cursing and think it is normal - James 3:9-12
1. When bad is mixed with good, all you have is bad.
2. People understand this:
a. “Vulgarity is no substitute for wit” - Violet Crawley
b. “Profanity is the use of strong words by weak people” - William J. Ward
c. “If you can’t be interesting without profanity, then let’s face it: you’re not interesting.” - Michael Hyatt
III. Guard the door - Psalms 141:3
A. If I’m not careful, I will sin with my mouth - Psalms 39:1
B. Claiming to be religious and not controlling your mouth makes your religion useless - James 1:26
C. God will judge us by every idle word - Matthew 12:36
1. Why? Because the words you say when you aren’t being careful about your word choices more often reflects the true you.
IV. Make your words useful
A. Use your words to make other people better - Ephesians 4:29
B. Use words that God would approve - Psalms 19:14
C. You can control your words - Psalms 17:3-5
V. Get rid of the filthy language - Colossians 3:8
A. Instead, season your words with grace - Colossians 4:6