August 22, 2021: 14th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Savior, You have given us a mouth in order to communicate and to praise You.  Since our tongues are another window into our hearts, we don’t want to use this gift in a manner which turns others off and disrespects You.  Today remind us to use our tongues wisely.  Amen


TEXT:  James 1: 17-27

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          You’re walking in the mall with a group of teenagers slightly ahead.  You overhear—on purpose—them using profane language and telling dirty stories about their girl, or boyfriends. They glance back, wanting to get a rise from you.  You silently shake your head and they all laugh.  You think back to when you were their age and your mother getting out that famous bar of soap to wash your mouth out, followed by a hairbrush applied to a sensitive area.  Too bad that isn’t accepted practice today.  All adults know that such behavior is a cry for attention.  Teens do it to appear more adult, but all it accomplishes is them appearing more immature. 

          But adults do it too. Profane language is more and more accepted.   It used to be men that were the worst offenders, but now women engage in it very often, as well.  We supposedly live in a highly advanced culture, educated and civilized.  But from the common, coarse language used daily by most, we’ve sunk to the barnyard, the outhouse, and reveal our debasement as a culture.  It doesn’t build up, but tear down humanity. 

What has caused this outcome?  Social media is certainly to blame.  But the root cause is sin and the lack of Christian standards which view speech as a gift from God.  God, “who chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might we a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”


          “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, or a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted within you, which can save you.”

          Christians are different than the world.  We’re holy.  We’re purified by the blood of Jesus Christ.  We’re reborn of water and the Spirit in baptism.  We wear crosses to mark our newfound status as children of God.  So why not show it even more clearly by using words which announce it to the world? 

          Talk is cheap because people cheapen it by how they speak.  We listen to words and don’t take them seriously.  Unfortunately we often apply this worldly principle to hearing God’s Word, too.  “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But  the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard,  but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”


          James then says that true religion worthy of the Triune God Who never lies and never misleads–does not use His gift of language in a profane way.  He never sought to tear others down but to build them up.  He never sought to hurt others but to lead them and comfort them.  Christ could be blunt and honest, but He was never malicious in His speech.  People know  where you stand by the words you employ and how you employ them.  So, don’t let the world pollute your tongue!  No one will remain in the stench  of a sewage plant for long because no one enjoys it. 

          The Son of God lovingly stood in the stench of our sins and died to free us from it.  He had better times and better things for us to do with our lives.  So speak wisely and show Him that His sacrifice was worth it…That you’re worth it….Amen


Pastor Thomas H. Fox  

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