Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book of James - Part 7: Taming of the Shrewd


The Book of James
Part 7 - Taming of the Shrewd
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


SCRIPTURE READING

James 3:1-9 Taming the Tongue
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 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. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

INTRODUCTION

There are warnings we must not overlook in the third chapter of James. 

First is to the teacher of the Word of God, second is of the power of the tongue, and thirdly, is of the only answer to taming what comes from your mouth.

The question James poses for you this week is simple,

Can a salt spring produce fresh water?
       I.            BEWARE TEACHERS OF THE WORD OF GOD

a.      Those who Teach the Word are Judged more Strictly

                                                             i.      Understanding the Word of God is not to be taken lightly
1.      2 Timothy 2:1515 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

a.      Too many mis-quote, mis-use, and misunderstand the scriptures...and they are setting themselves up for trouble, because God holds those who teach the Word to a higher accountability!

b.     To those who teach, He judges more strictly.


b.     It is easy to Stumble, Offend and Sin
                                                             i.      James addresses the issue of sin and perfection, and makes it clear that it is easy to stumble, offend and sin...but the scriptures are not referring to sin when we are called to be perfect.


c.      To be Perfect, One must Rightly Handle the Word of God
                                                             i.      James tells us in verse 2, “If any man offend NOT in the word, he is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”

                                                          ii.      To God, the man who teaches the Word with proper understanding, it is credited to him as perfection!
1.      In the previous chapter, last week James tells us how Abraham was considered RIGHTEOUS, not that he WAS righteous, but his faith was credited to him as righteousness.

2.      A few verses later, we see James telling us that although we sin, and it is easy to offend, by rightly handling and teaching the Word of God, we are considered PERFECT, not that we are perfect, but credited as such!
a.      We CANNOT be righteous, less we obey God’s Word

Isaiah 64:6
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
   and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

Isaiah 64 addressing the fact that because is dis-obedience to God’s Word, we have no righteousness.

b.     We CANNOT be perfect, less we rightly divide the Word

c.      We CANNOT be saved, less we have faith in the Word


ILLUSTRATION - Horses and Ships

 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 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.

         Like the horses bit, or the ships rudder, the tongue is a small part of the body, yet, just as the bit and the rudder, it holds great power, and is responsible for doing great things, whether good or bad!


ILLUSTRATION - Forest Fires and Sparks

Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

         James refers to the tongue as a FIRE, not just a spark.





   II.            THE POWER LIES IN THE TONGUE

a.      A World of Evil Among the Parts of the Body
                                                             i.      It is not what goes into a man that defiles him...

Matthew 15:10-11
 10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”


b.     The Tongue Corrupts the Whole Body
                                                             i.      Leading the body like an unbridled horse


c.      The Tongue Sets the Whole Course of One’s Life on Fire
                                                             i.      If the devil can control your tongue, he will control your destiny!


d.     The Tongue Itself is set on Fire by Hell
                                                             i.      What is coming from your mouth?
1.      Faith or dis-belief?
2.      Hope or hopelessness?
3.      Blessings or curses?
4.      are you speaking life or death?



III.            WHO CAN TAME IT?
a.      v7-8 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

                                                             i.      NOT MAN

                                                          ii.      The Holy Spirit is the ONLY way!
1.      From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks!

2.      What is your heart filled with?
a.      That is what you are speaking...

b.     v9-10  9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.

                                                             i.      Remember, we are commanded to love our brothers, our neighbors and our enemies!

                                                          ii.      I John 3:1414 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”

1.      Have a question about your salvation?  Ask yourself...do you love others?  The scripture says THIS is how we can KNOW we have passed from death to life!

                                                       iii.      I John 4:20 “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”


c.      Life and Death are in the tongue!
                                                             i.      James warns that our tongue is “restless evil, full of poison.”

                                                          ii.      Proverbs 18:20-21 20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

                                                       iii.      BEWARE...you will be FILLED with the harvest of your mouth, which has the power of life and death!  Which fruit are you filling yourself with?  Good or evil?


d.     One moment we praise God, the next we curse man created in His image...this should not be!
JAMES’ GREAT QUESTION

Can a salt spring produce fresh water?


CONCLUSION

To the teacher of the Word of God, STUDY, understand the very Word you are teaching, for God will hold you to a higher accountability.


As far as the power of the tongue, remind yourself that what you speak comes from what is stored in your heart, and you will eat the fruit of that harvest, whether good or bad.


The ONLY way to control, and tame the tongue, is by the Holy Spirit filling you with good things from Study of God’s Word...


Luke 6:44-45
44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.


The question James poses for you this week is simple,

Are you speaking life or death?