Derek finishes this study by explaining why it is so important for us to say the right things. Jesus is in heaven representing us before the throne, as the high priest of our confession. What we say on earth is heard in heaven—and it needs to affirm what He has done for us. Identify yourself with what the Word of God says!
It’s good to be with you again, as we draw near to the close of another week. Today I’ll continue, and complete, the theme that I’ve been following for the past two weeks: Does Your Tongue Need Healing?
In my talk yesterday I answered a question which is basic to this whole theme of the tongue: Why did the Creator give each of us a mouth with a tongue in it? We found the answer to this question by comparing two passages of Scripture, one from the Old Testament, The Book of Psalms, one from the New, The Book of Acts. In the Book of Psalms, David uses the phrase, “My glory rejoices.” But quoting that passage on the Day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts, Peter says, “My tongue exalted.” So what David calls his glory, Peter calls his tongue. This is the key to understanding why God gave each of us a tongue. Our tongue is our glory. Why is it our glory? Because it’s the one member above all others in our body with which we can glorify God. The supreme purpose, the very reason for having a tongue, is to glorify God. Our tongue is our glory. And as a result, we see that every use of our tongue, which does not glorify God, is a misuse. And so we have to learn how to receive God’s supernatural provision to use our tongues for His glory. The supernatural provision comes through the Holy Spirit. “Be not drunk with wine,” Paul says, “but be filled with the Spirit speaking... and so on.” Only the Holy Spirit can enable us to use our tongues the way that God created them to be used. We cannot merely renounce the negative, we must yield to the positive.
Today I’m going to explain how the right use of our tongue links us in a very special way to Jesus Christ as our High Priest. Most of the passages I’ll quote will be taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews because that’s the Epistle which above all other books in the Bible reveals to us Jesus as our High Priest. You see, the High Priesthood of Jesus is an eternal ministry which goes on continually in heaven. After He had dealt with our sins, paid our penalty, died and risen again, and ascended into heaven, he entered into a ministry as our High Priest forever in the presence of God, always representing us in God’s presence. But the condition on which He is our High Priest is that we make the right confession with our tongues.
Listen to what the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 3, verse 1:
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” (NASB)
Note that last phrase. Jesus is the High Priest of our confession. It’s our confession that links us to Jesus as High Priest. If we merely believe, but make no confession, then His High Priesthood cannot operate on our behalf. It’s not on the basis of our unspoken faith; it’s on the basis of our spoken confession that Jesus operates in heaven as our High Priest. That’s why it’s so tremendously important that we make and maintain the right confession. Let me explain that the word “confession” means literally, “to say the same thing as.” In this kind of usage in the Bible, confession is saying the same thing with our mouth as God says in the Scripture. It’s making the words of our mouth agree with the Word of God in the Scripture, and when we do that, when we make the words of our mouth agree with what God says in the Bible, in faith, then that enables Jesus to exercise His High Priestly ministry as our representative in the presence of God. If we make the wrong confession, we frustrate His ministry. It depends on our making the right confession. It’s our confession that links us to Jesus as our High Priest. This is brought twice more in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Hebrews 4:14:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” (NASB)
Notice, it’s our confession that continues to link us to Jesus as our High Priest. And then again, in Hebrews 10:21 and 23:
“Since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (NASB)
Notice, every time it speaks about Jesus as our High Priest, it says we have to make and maintain and hold fast the confession of our faith and our hope. It’s our confession that links us to Jesus as our High Priest. If we don’t maintain the confession, we frustrate His ministry on our behalf. Right confession is actually essential for salvation. Romans 10:8 through 10:
“The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (KJV)
Notice again, as we’ve seen all the way through, there’s a direct link-up between the heart and the mouth. Jesus said out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. So, salvation depends on two things—on exercising faith in our heart, but that’s not sufficient, and also on making the right confession with our mouth.
Now in the Bible, salvation is the great all inclusive word for all the blessings and provisions of God that have been obtained for us through the death of Jesus Christ. It includes spiritual blessings, physical blessings, financial blessings, temporal blessings, eternal blessings. All those blessings that were purchased by the death of Jesus are summed up in that one word “salvation.” So to enter into the fullness of God’s salvation, in every area of our lives, we have to make the right confession. In every area, whether it’s spiritual, physical, financial, whatever it may be, we have to say the same with our mouth as God says in His Word. When our confession agrees with the Word of God, then we are moving into the full provision of God in salvation and we have the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest operative on our behalf in heaven. And with His support, with His standing behind us on the basis of our confession, there’s nothing that can hinder us or keep us from moving on into the fullness of our salvation. But it’s our confession that links us to Jesus as our High Priest. What we say with our mouth is determinative of our experience.
In closing this talk today, I want to return briefly to the picture that we’ve looked at before of the tongue as the rudder of the human life. Again, looking at the words of James in chapter 3, verses 4 and 5:
“Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body...” (NIV)
In other words, what the rudder is to the ship, the tongue is to our body, to our life. The right use of the rudder directs the ship aright. The wrong use brings shipwreck. The same with the tongue. The right use of the tongue brings success, brings salvation in its fullness. The wrong use brings shipwreck, failure and so on.
Now, I just want to pick out one word there. The ship is steered with a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Let me give you just a vivid picture in closing. You may take a great ocean liner with a captain of many years of experience. But when he comes into a harbor in another land, he is not permitted to berth that ship himself. It’s an almost unvarying rule that he has to take on board a pilot and at that last final moment, the pilot takes over and assumes responsibility for the use of the rudder and is responsible for berthing the ship. That’s just a little picture. You and I may feel we’re capable of handling our lives, but there are situations where we cannot manage. We have to take a pilot on board and he assumes responsibility. Can you guess who the pilot is? Of course! The pilot is the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit alone who can enable us to use our tongues aright, continually to make the right confession. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. He’s the Spirit of Faith. When He motivates and controls our words and our speech, then they become positive. Then they honor God. Then they bring the blessing of God into our life. We need that pilot. Everyone of us needs the pilot who is the Holy Spirit. He is the ultimate solution to the problem of the human tongue. God permits us to come to a place of failure. He says, “None of you can control your own tongues,” and then He says, “But I have a pilot; will you invite the pilot on board?”
And I want to close with that invitation to you. Have you ever fully yielded yourself to the Holy Spirit? Have you ever said to the Holy Spirit, “Holy Spirit, I really can’t control my tongue aright, will you come in and will you take control; I’ll yield to you; give me a tongue that glorifies God, Amen.”
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll be sharing with you on another exciting theme from the Word of God.