today was another amazing sermon on james! the topic was something that i know every one of us struggles with so i thought i’d share my notes with you again.
if you want to start by listening to the sermon, you can do that here.
we’ve all said stupid things, hurtful things and things we regret. in this humbling text and message, james alerts us to the deadly power of words and what to do about it.
1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men,who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
we’ve all heard the saying “stick and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. this is not true. in fact, words can and do hurt.
as we’re looking at james, we are looking at what it means to have a living faith. a living faith has everything to do with what we say.
1. the truth about our words
james 3 begins with a warning – let not many be teachers. this is serious, not to be taken lightly. to be a teacher of God’s word means to approach each message with fear and trembling. we must beware of the person who wants the mic, who longs for the stage.
but this warning is not just for teachers. james 3:2 says we all stumble in many ways. matthew 12:36 – 36 But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
as women, we must be extra careful to bridle our tongues. its said that men speak about 8,000 words a day, but women speak about 20,000. that is a lot more words that we nee to be mindful of. totally made me think about monks and vows of silence, how much less sin would be in our lives if we didn’t speak!
some ways that we misuse our tongues: arguing, innuendos, lying, slander, rude joking, complaining, gossiping, profanity, self promotion, belittling, criticism, taking God’s name in vane.
a. the tongue is powerful (3:1-6) – although the tongue is relatively small, it has great power.
– like a horse’s bit (vs. 3) – it directs the entire body; great force and strength is controlled by a small bit
– like a ship’s rudder (vs. 4) – has the power to control a massive ship; if it breaks the ship loses control; it sets the course of our lives
– like a fire’s spark (vs. 5) – all it takes to light an entire forest (or a friendship, a marriage, a community)
much of our sin usually involves our tongue in some way. want to know where the sin is in your life? trace your words.
2. applying God’s gospel to our words
ways that we can use our tongues in a positive way: encouragement, exhortation, sharing your gospel story, sharing Christ with those open to it, prayer, give thanks to the Lord, loving confrontation
no one can tame their own tongue, but God, through the gospel, can tame it.