Message preached at Whittlesea and Discussion Study prepared by Ben Warwick.

Our ability or inability to control our tongue will determine more than anything else the level of success we enjoy in our relationships.

Proverbs 10:19. ‘Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut’.

PROP (OPTIONAL): Toothpaste. Provides a helpful analogy that is explained in point 3.

Fun facts about words:
  • The average person speaks 16,000 words a day! Yet compare this to the Bible. David when he wrote Psalm 23 only used 118 words. This is significant as Psalm 23 is full of wisdom and clearly communicates how God guides and cares for people. David was able to achieve this in only 118 words! 
  • The Ten Commandments is 297 words in length. 
  • The Lords Prayer, where Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray is only 56 words long! 

We Live in a world full of noise. Everyone is talking, and often talking over each other. However, the Bible illustrates that often fewer words communicate more.

Discussion questions:
  • Can you think of other examples in the Bible where Jesus communicated a powerful truth using minimal words? 
  • Do you think you speak more or less than 16,000 words a day? 

Proverbs 18:21 says ‘the tongue can bring life or death’. Our words have power. How are we using our 16,000 words a day? Do the words that we say bring life or death?

What does wisdom with our words look like? 
1. Guard your tongue 
  • Guarding your tongue means practicing self-control. Proverbs 15:28 says ‘the heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words’
  • Guarding your tongue means practicing humility in speech. Proverbs 15:1 says ‘a gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare’. 
  • Guarding your tongue means sometimes not speaking. Proverbs 17:27 says ‘a truly wise person says few words’

Our words have power. James 3:4-5 compares our tongues to the rudder of a huge ship. 
James 3:4-5: 
‘A small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. A tiny spark that can set a great forest on fire’. 

Discussion questions: 
  • What does it look like to practice humility in speech for you? 
  • How do you go guarding your tongue? Have you ever said something you regret? What was the outcome? 

2. Listen actively 
  • James 1:9 says that we must be ‘quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry’. 
  • How is our listening? Do we listen to understand or simply listen to others to respond? Proverbs 14:29 says ‘people with understanding control their anger’
  • We live in a society that has lost the art of listening. Many people are good talkers, however, it can sometimes be hard to find someone who listens well. 

Discussion questions: 
  • How do you go listening to understand rather than just to respond?
  • What would our communities look like if people focused more on listening than talking? 

3. Choose encouragement 
  • Our words are like toothpaste. (Grab toothpaste to assist with illustration if available).  Once we have said them it is really hard to take them back! In the same way, it is really hard to get toothpaste back in the tube once it's out. 
  • Let’s be people who avoid language that tears down others and creates division rather than unity. 
  • Proverbs 16:24 says ‘kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body’. 

Discussion questions:
  • Do you remember a time in your life when someone encouraged you? what impact did it have on your life? 
  • Is there someone in your world this week that you can encourage?

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We recognise the sovereignty and Lordship of the one true God, revealed through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we work and live, the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.