Bridle the tongue

(From a sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi -9/19/97)

I will read from James chapter 3 to lay foundation of this sermon.

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

 James was saying, everyone offends often, especially in word.
He said if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man.
Since no man is perfect, every man offends in word. It becomes
our responsibility to bridle our tongues.

 "Behold we put bits in the horses' mouth, that they
may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 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. Even so the tongue is a little member and
boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire

 He is comparing our tongue to a fire. We must control it.

 "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so
is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body,
and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire
of hell." 

We must keep our tongue diligently in this Christian race. Some
scribes spoke against the Lord Jesus when he was preaching in
Galilee, and he told them, "every idle word that men shall
speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
Why? because they called him Belzeebub. You may say they called
him Belzeebub because they didn't believe. Yes. But Jesus said
they were going to be held accountable for what they said.This
is why it is dangerous for anyone to utter evil words against
ministries. Even if we don't believe what the ministries do, it
is better for us to keep our tongue.

 "He that keepeth his tongue, keepeth his soul from trouble."

"But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall
speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou
shalt be condemned."(Mat.12:36-37).

 James was telling us to be careful of what we say with our tongue.
He went further in James chapter 3 verse 6 that the tongue defileth
the whole body. Just like the Lord Jesus said that "from
the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh". 

You should ask yourself why are you speaking like this? why are
such words coming out of your mouth? It is from the abundance
of the heart that the mouth speaketh. If we fill our hearts with
the word of God, evil words should not be coming out of our mouths.
Because it defileth the whole body. Christ said it is what comes
out of the mouth which defileth the body and not what goes into
the mouth. From the heart comes all the evil words, evil thoughts,
evil behavior. Why then should our mouth speak those words if
our hearts are not filled with it?

 "For every kind of beasts , and of birds, and of serpents,
and of things in the sea is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind:
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of
deadly poison. Therewith bless we God even the Father; and therewith
curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out
of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren,
these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at
the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren,
bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both
yield salt water and fresh.Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge
among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with
meekness of wisdom." (James 3:1-13). 

He said "out of a good conversation." Our conversation
must be right conversation. In fact it is so serious king David
said, "Lord, set a watch over my mouth". It's worth
praying about, because atimes, words that come out of people's
mouth are hurtful. The bible said "there is that speaketh
like the piercing of a sword"."Set a watch O Lord, before
my mouth. Keep the door of my lips." (Psa.141:3). Why will
a king say that? But there is a secret here in Psalm 73.In verses
14 and 15 David wrote: 

"For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened
every morning".

 David was complaining to God about what he was going through,
but in the next verse he indicated that if he was to speak as
he had been feeling, he would offend. Don't let your mouth err
because of what you are feeling. 

"If I say I will speak thus", that is if I will
speak the way I am feeling, "behold I should offend against
the generation of thy children." (Psa.73:15).

 That is, if he was to speak the way he was feeling he perhaps
would have been charging God foolishly. Generations later who
read about it would have gotten a wrong view of God. This is the
bridling of our tongue, so that we do not want to speak the way
we feel. Sometime, the way we feel make us want to say evil things
even at God, like "how can you let this bad thing happen
to me O God?" Some people even have cursed God. That is dangerous.
You cannot justify yourself of any evil word by claiming that
it is because you are angry. I have seen little children curse
their parents when they are angry. Adults are not expected to
behave the same way. You better don't speak the way you feel.
That is how to bridle one's tongue, especially in anger. We are
going to be responsible for what we say in anger. Whether you
say it to your children in anger, or to God, you are responsible
for what you say.

 In psalm 31:1, "I said I will take heed to my way
that I sin not with my tongue. I will keep my mouth with a bridle
while the wicked is before me." You might say, "King
David was saying all these words? what was he going through?"
But there is a revelation in this verse. Why did he say "while
the wicked is before me?" It's because, if you are angry,
the devil is hanging around, ready to put words into your mouth.
Once the words come out, you are defiled and you have sinned by
your words. The devil is the wicked. David was saying "I
will keep my mouth shut, while the wicked is around", lest
he put evil words into his mouth. You may say how can the devil
put words in your mouth? Let's see an example. The devil put words
in the mouth of apostle Peter right in the front of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Why was that possible? because we are dealing with forces
invisible. This is why we must bridle our tongue. Don't speak
the way you feel! It happened to Peter and the Lord Jesus did
not correct Peter gently like say, "Peter, don't say such
things!" He knew who was speaking.

 In Mathew chapter 16 verse 16-23, after Peter had just confessed
Christ positively and was praised for it, the devil borrowed his
mouth quickly. "Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke
him, saying, Be it far from thee Lord: this shall not be unto

Just think about that, Peter began to rebuke Jesus, what he should
never have done. He got praised for one statement, and he felt
(feeling again) he ought to "rebuke" the master for
saying such "negative" thing about himself. He felt
it was his responsibility now to correct the Lord Jesus. 

"Then he (Jesus) turned and said unto Peter, Get thee
behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest
not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

The Lord Jesus knew where the word was coming from. The key thing
is "when the wicked is around, it is better to keep the bridle
over our mouth". Satan is always looking for opportunity
to put words into the mouth of holy people. Therefore, king David
said "I will keep a bridle over my mouth while the
wicked is before me." 

Job's wife is another example of someone who the devil was able
to put words in her mouth. Why? because she spoke the way she
was feeling. If you speak the way you are feeling, you will err.
(Job 2:9-10). It is very easy for the devil to put words into
the mouth of those who always speak the way they feel, who are
not able to control their feeling. We know the story. After Job
had lost his property and was afflicted with disease, his wife
just couldn't bear it any longer.

 "Then said his wife unto him: Dost thou still retain
thine integrity? curse God and die." (Job 2:9). 

The woman didn't know what she was saying! She was fed up with
what she was going through. Job had to rebuke his wife by saying,
"Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.
What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not
receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips!"

 God was not trying the woman; God was trying Job. That was why
she was not condemned here. But she had just let the devil used
her mouth in that statement. Watch! Don't let the door open for
the devil to put words into your mouth. Anger is one avenue for
the devil to come in through. Therefore "forsake wrath!".
In psalm 50, God classify that the wicked will not control their

"Unto the wicked God saith, what hast thou to do to
declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in
thy mouth? (see, words in the mouth?) Seeing thou hatest instruction,
and castest my words behind thee. ....Thou givest thy mouth to
evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest
against thy brother; (see, speaking by the wicked again?) thou
slanderest thine own mother's son." (Psa.50:16-20).

Every thing mentioned against the wicked in the above verses had
to do with the words of the wicked. Whereas in verse 23, here
is what we should be using our mouth for:

 "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that
ordereth his conversation aright, will I shew the salvation of

It is better not to say anything at all if we can't say good words!

Prov.12:18 -- Words are swords. "There is that speaketh
like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health."

Prov 10:11 - "The mouth of a righteous man is a well
of life, but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked".
It's all "the mouth, the mouth". If you don't
open your mouth, evil words won't come out. An African proverb
says "if the wall has no mouth open, the lizard will not
crawl inside". 

Prov.10:31 - "The mouth of the just bringeth forth
wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out."

Prov. 13:2 - "A man shall eat good by the fruit of
his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence."

Prov.13:3 - "He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his
life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction."
This is why David said, "I will keep a bridle over my mouth
when the wicked is before me."

In all of these bible verses, we can see that the mouth and the
tongue should be kept with a bridle. Especially in the days of
the latter rain revival, many bad mouthing will put some folks
into trouble with the Lord. The words of our mouth must be watched.

"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy
words thou shalt be condemned." 

Remember the spies sent by Moses in the wilderness to go search
out the land of Canaan. What killed those spies when they came
back with bad news? Their mouth! They said they saw giants in
the land- the sons of Anak! If they had not spoken such evil report,
they would not have erred, and they wouldnot have been destroyed.
The mouth! The mouth! We must be slow to speak. The scripture
saith "the foolish uttereth all that is in his heart, but
the wise keepeth it in till afterwards." Those spies were
snared by the words of their mouth. Let's bridle our tongue and
practise to speak good words out of our mouth. 

The devil has unleashed
spirits worldwide. Before people know it, they would have said
something evil, because the air is being filled with the demons
of wrath, anger, confrontation, clamour, evil communications and
so on. This is the age when the light of the saints must be kept
to shine brighter and brighter. Recognize the source of those
evil thoughts and wrath and resist the devil stedfastly in the
faith, and he shall flee from thee. Yea indeed, he that overcometh
shall inherit all things, saith the Lord. There is indeed many
things to overcome and keeping our mouth with a bridle is one
way to defeat the enemy.

I pray that the Lord will give all the believers the grace to
control the tongue and bridle the mouth in the name of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Amen.

Bro. Julius Adewumi

Gospel Distribution Ministry