Throughout Scripture we are told to have a new song in our mouth, to praise the Lord, to bless and not curse. As we yield our tongue to the Holy Spirit, our mouth should flow with praise, thanks, and blessing. Our words should reflect the glory of the One living in us and be a witness to Him.
It’s good to be with you again, as we continue with our theme which challenges each one of us to a fresh evaluation of our spiritual condition, and that includes myself. The theme: Does Your Tongue Need Healing?
We’ve seen already that the root of every problem affecting our tongues is in our hearts. Obviously this means that, in order to deal with problems affecting our tongues we must first deal with the root problems in our hearts.
Yesterday I explained the three steps we have to take to deal with these root problems in our hearts that are manifested through our tongues. These were the three steps: first, call your problem by its right name which is sin. Come to the moment of truth. God will not deal with you on any other basis but a basis of truth. God is the God of truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. It’s that coming to the moment of truth which is so decisive.
Second step, confess, receive forgiveness and cleansing on the basis of the promise in the First Epistle of John, the first chapter:
“If we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NASB)
Not merely does God forgive the past, but he cleanses the heart so that the problem itself is dealt with at the root and then there’s a change in the fruit that comes out.
The third step—two aspects of the one transaction—refuse sin, yield to God. Say “No” to sin, say “Yes” to God. Refuse sin and yield to the Holy Spirit. Yield to the Holy Spirit that unruly member which you cannot tame, the tongue. The only power in the universe that can control your tongue effectively for good is the Holy Spirit. So yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit.
Today I’m going to deal more fully with this third step, yielding our tongues to God.
Before we can do this effectively and intelligently, we must first understand the real reason why each one of us has a tongue. Why did the Creator give each of us a mouth with a tongue in it?
There is an answer to this in Scripture but it’s one of those interesting examples of truth in Scripture which can only be found by comparing two passages of Scripture and setting them side by side. And as we do this, there comes a revelation which is not given to us solely in one of the two passages. In this case the two passages that I have in mind are taken, one from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament. In the New Testament the Old Testament passage is quoted but it’s quoted in a way which brings out a meaning that is not apparent in the Old Testament. The Old Testament passage is Psalm 16, verses 8 and 9:
“I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely.” (NASB)
I want you to focus on that phrase, “My glory rejoices.” Now, on the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of God fell and the crowd gathered and wanted to know the reason, Peter preached his famous sermon on that day and he referred everything that happened to the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus. And he quoted various passages from the Old Testament to prove that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and the Son of God. One of the passages he quoted was that one in Psalms 16, verses 8 and 9. And the quotation is found in Acts 2:25 and 26 where Peter says this:
“For David says of Him, [that’s David in the Book of Psalms] I was always beholding the Lord in my presence; for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exalted; moreover my flesh also will abide in hope.” (NASB)
Now, we put together those two key phrases. Psalm 16:9: “My glory rejoices.” Acts 2:26, quoting the same passage: “My tongue exalted.” Can you see that? Where David in the Psalm says, “My glory,” Peter inspired and interpreting by the Holy Spirit says, “My tongue.” What does that tell us? It tells us something very profound, very important, that our tongues are our glory. My tongue is my glory. Your tongue is your glory. Then you say, “Why?” The answer is, because the Creator gave you and me a tongue for one supreme purpose—to glorify Him. The supreme purpose, the only reason for a tongue being there at all, ultimately, is that with it, you and I may glorify God. That’s why our tongue becomes our glory. Because it is the member by which, above all others, we may glorify the Creator. And this leads to a consequence of great importance. Every use of our tongue that does not glorify God is a misuse because that’s the reason we were given a tongue—to glorify God.
We can look at that well known statement of Paul in Romans 3:23:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (NASB)
You see, the essence of sin is not necessarily committing some terrible crime. The essence of sin is falling short of the glory of God, not living for God’s glory. People might be prone to argue with that and say, “Well it’s not true of me; I have never fallen short of the glory of God.” But I ask you to check the use of your tongue. Remember, the only reason you have a tongue is to glorify God. Every use of your tongue that does not glorify God is a misuse. I do not believe that there’s one of us that could honestly say, “We have always used our tongue for the glory of God.” Therefore we have to acknowledge the truth of Paul’s statement, “We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If not in any other area, then in the area of our tongue. We have misused our tongue, that which was put in our mouths that we might glorify God, we have used in many ways that do not glorify God.
You see, there are two different kinds of fire that meet on the human tongue. This is a fascinating revelation. First of all, there’s a fire from hell that inflames the tongue of natural, unregenerate, sinful man. In James, chapter 3, verse 6, James says this:
“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (NIV)
So there’s a fire in the human tongue that comes from hell itself and its fruit, its results, its consequences, are hellish. But on the Day of Pentecost, when God brought into being the redeemed community that He wanted to use for His glory in the earth, another kind of fire came from another source. The fire of the Holy Spirit came not from hell, but from heaven. And the place where it first operated in those people there in the Upper Room was in their tongues. In other words, the fire of God from heaven drove out the fire of hell that was in the natural tongue and replaced it by a fire that cleanses and purifies and glorifies God.
Let’s just read in Acts 2, verses 1 through 4:
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. [Note there was a tongue of fire for each one, and then what happened?] All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (NIV)
Notice where the Spirit operated first, in their tongues. The fire of God from heaven gave them a new way to use their tongues. And then the Scripture makes it plain, “Everything they said after that, through the Holy Spirit, glorified God.” They were using their tongues for the purpose for which God had given them tongues.
The key then to this problem is to yield our tongues to the Holy Spirit. This is so emphatically stated and clearly stated by Paul in Ephesians, chapter 5, verses 17 and 20:
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. [Now the next verse tells us the Lord’s will] Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [We need to put those two things together. It’s sinful to get drunk on wine, but it’s also sinful not to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The positive commandment is just as valid as the negative. Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. And in a sense, it’s two different kinds of drunkenness if you can accept that, because on the Day of Pentecost, when the men and women were first filled with the Holy Spirit, the mockers said, ‘They’re drunk.’ In a certain sense they were inebriated but with a totally different kind of inebriation. They were not drunk with wine but they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Now Paul goes on:] Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
Notice the next word that comes after the injunction, be filled with the Holy Spirit, is the word, “speak.” I’ve counted fifteen places in the New Testament where it speaks about people being either filled with or full of the Holy Spirit and I’ve discovered in every place, the initial manifestation came through the mouth. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. So when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the first change, the first manifestation will be that which comes out of your mouth, through your tongue. And instead of murmuring, complaining, criticizing, giving vent to unbelief, Paul says, you’ll speak, you’ll sing, you’ll make music, you’ll give thanks. The whole use of your tongue will be positive, not negative.
Understand the solution to every problem of sin in our lives ultimately must be positive. It’s not enough to give up sinning. We must have righteousness. It’s not enough to deny your tongue to the devil, you must yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak. That’s the remedy.
Well our time is up for today. I’ll be with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing on the importance of your confession.