Sermon Notes- Pastor Rafael- Week 3: James 3, 02.16.20
James 3:1-12 ESV
James begins chapter 3 by talking about teachers and those who may desire to be teachers.
- James is addressing believers.
- Teachers had, and still have, a great responsibility due to their leadership position in the church.
- Teachers have a lot of influence over those whom they are teaching.
- A teacher can guide the direction of a large congregation of believers, so they need to count the cost.
Though James is addressing teachers in verse one, this verse applies to ALL of us regardless if we are teachers or not.
- James is addressing teachers due to the great influence they have.
- It could be coworkers, your children, your family members, or your friends, etc…
- You know you are in a position of influence when you have the permission of those around you to speak into their lives, challenge their behavior, and call them higher.
Who has God given you influence over? How does this passage affect how you use that influence?
There’s another component to verse 1 that applies to our cultural context. Let’s play out this scenario:
God gives you a personal revelation, you have a personal conviction. That’s AWESOME!
You then go on Social Media to “TEACH” all those whom you believe NEED to hear/read what you have to say. You begin to JUDGE ALL those who may disagree with your view.
Things get heated and you find yourself in an ALL OUT WAR of written words.
How many have seen this play out on social media?
Too many people use social media as their virtual classroom. I want to remind us of James’ words:
- 1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
- In verse 2 James makes what I call a shifting statement.
- 2 For we all stumble in many ways.
- This is no longer just about teachers, because WE ALL stumble in many ways.
- The “many ways” here could represent the amount of times we stumble. Or, the different types of sins by which we stumble.
- Though we may stumble in different sins there is one common to us all, THE TONGUE!
James says “if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”
- This is something that applies to EVERY SINGLE ONE of us! Stumbling in what we say.
- 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
- Wherever the will of the pilot directs. The NLT reads “wherever the pilot chooses to go”
- We have to choose to display one of the fruits of the Spirit, self control, before we are in certain situations.
- We have to make a choice:
- Am I going to show honor, respect, and self control and represent Christ as He is worthy to be represented?
- Or is it more important to me to let my disagreement/disgust known?
How have you seen this in your own life?
Is the Holy Spirit speaking anything to you right now?
When it comes to what comes out of our mouths, WE HAVE A CHOICE!
- It doesn’t matter if that person is driving like an idiot.
- It doesn’t matter if your spouse is using hurtful words.
- It doesn’t matter if your kids are acting like little monsters.
- It doesn’t matter if your boss/teacher is getting on your last nerve.
YOU HAVE A CHOICE in the words you will use! Your RESPONSE is your RESPONSIBILITY!
You are accountable to God for YOUR words, not for the words of another.
Isaiah 53:7 ESV- “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
- Jesus was oppressed and He opened not His mouth.
- Jesus was afflicted and He opened not His mouth.
- Jesus was wrongfully accused and He opened not His mouth.
Proverbs 17:28 ESV- “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
- Better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt, right?
- In verse 5 James states “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”
- You see an amazing forest, beautiful and full of life. A single spark can bring unexplainable destruction.
- Think about what hate-filled words have done to our country, to the church, and to relationships.
Those words have brought DESTRUCTION! Once filled with beauty now lies in ruins.
Proverbs 18:21 NLT- “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
LET’S CHOOSE LIFE!
James adds: 8 “but no human being can tame the tongue”. Only God can help to tame our tongue.
James uses another metaphor, “It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison”
You remember the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones…” That’s not true!
- A broken bone can be mended, but hurtful words can’t be taken back.
- Some poisons destroy you slowly and painfully.
- Poison can go undetected.
- You may not know you’ve been poisoned until it’s too late.
As believers we should strive to use our words as an antidote to the poison others spew!
9 “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
- This is another “BE ABOUT IT” passage!
- Think about this, the same mouth we use to praise, magnify, and glorify God is the same mouth we use to dishonor, criticize, gossip, and hurt those WHO God created.
- In Judaism, the tongue was viewed as a symbol of double-mindedness.
- James says, “My brothers this ought not to be so!”
The phrase, “with it we curse people,” is not only referring to using profanity.
This truth that human beings were created in the image of God is SO important.
- Walking away from this truth has caused mankind to treat people as less than.
- Walking away from this truth has caused mankind to view one race above another.
- Walking away from this truth has caused us to look at a person’s sin/lifestyle as the determination of their worth.
People ARE worthy because we are IMAGE BEARERS of the ONE and ONLY true God!
Unpack this. Do you notice people you treat differently just because you don’t understand them? Do you feel the temptation to judge a person by their lifestyle?
Have you ever been treated this way by Christians? How did it make you feel?
If Jesus died for ALL of humanity, what gives man the right to dictate who’s worthy?!
We’ve been talking all this time about what comes out of our mouths, and rightfully so, Jesus said: Matthew 15:11 NLT- “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”
Now I want to challenge us to look at it from a different perspective. Think from the perspective of the hearer. Ephesians 4:29 ESV.
This is something I want us to keep in mind, our words evoke emotions!
What are you causing the hearer to feel?
- Are they built up or torn down because of your words?
- Are they encouraged or discouraged?
- Do they feel like they are image bearers because of your words?
- Do they see the love, compassion, and mercy of Jesus in your words?
Think in context of your coworkers, classmates, friends, people who are doing work for you, people you interact with in your daily lives. Think of those with special needs or those who may be different than you, your children, your parents, your extended family, those on social media, and that awkward uncle.
I saw this quote, “They will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”- Maya Angelou.
Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone that has fractured the relationship and a lot of time has passed. You may have forgotten the specific words they used, but you have not forgotten the HURT you felt.
Take a moment and think of an individual, or group of people, whom you have hurt with your tongue (or on social media) Do you need to repent? Do you need to make repent and make amends?
We need to ask our good Father to give us the ability to see people as IMAGE BEARERS.
We need to ask Holy Spirit to do an inward work of healing; because of the HURT others’ words have caused us. Is there some hurt that needs to be replaced by the Truth of Jesus? Maybe the group can take turns sharing what God thinks about you and/or the situation and start to bring healing to your heart.