Good morning, everybody. You can all grab a seat. Coming back to that memorial service for Deputy Cordero, we were able to share the gospel. I was encouraged to do that by the sheriff and others.
I said, you got it. It was my privilege to do so. I led a prayer for all the officers and all the other folks in attendance where one could ask Christ to come into their life by praying that same prayer. We put Bibles out for them to take if they would like one. Over 400 officers came forward and took home New Believers' Bibles. Isn't that great?
Well, good morning to Harvest Orange County, Harvest Kumulani, and all you that are watching online as well. We're back in the book of James. Who wants to get back into James again?
Yeah, me too. It's a series we're calling, Walk This Way, and we're in James chapter 3. The title of my message is, Talk This Way. Let's pray. Now, Lord, as we open your Word, we believe it's alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. We know, Lord, that our faith should influence us in the things we do as well as the things we say and don't say. Speak to us now from your Word we ask in Jesus' name.
Amen. A number of years ago, I was in Virginia. A friend of mine, Mel Graham, actually, he's a nephew of Billy Graham, has a cabin there. He invited Kathy and I to stay in his cabin, which seemed like a lot of fun.
It was very cold and there was some snow out there. He said, now here's the problem with this cabin. There's no central heating. We use a fireplace and a potbelly stove to heat it, so you have to keep the fire going all day and night long.
Well, listen, I'm from California. I have a gas flame in my fireplace. My experience is turn on the gas or get a Duraflame log at the market.
I said, honestly, I hate to admit this. I don't know how to build a fire. He says, well, you start with kindling. I said, okay, where do you buy that? He says, you don't buy it. You go pick it up off the ground.
I said, okay, what does that look like? So he took this California boy out and we're tromping through the forest, picking up little sticks and different things, kindling. He showed me how to build a fire.
We built a very nice fire. Then he said, okay, so now when it fills with ash, you scoop it out and you put it in the metal bucket. You keep it on this concrete surface. When the bucket is filled, you need to give it some time to cool down. You don't want to throw burning embers out. Then you throw it out.
I said, okay, got it. The next night it was getting really cold and the buckets are full of ash. I thought, I'll just throw out the old ash and I put some more logs on the fire. Went outside and I flung this bucket and it's like everything went into slow motion because much to my shock it was filled with burning embers. They were going into dried leaves.
They went here, there. Literally immediately the little fires are, oh no. I jumped over this side. I'm literally picking up burning embers with my hands and throwing them up on the gravel driveway trying to stop a forest fire.
I'm yelling out, Kathy, Kathy, help me. We couldn't find a hose. I found a bucket like the smallest bucket I've ever seen.
I'd fill it with water, run over, run over. Oh my gosh. I almost had a heart attack. I literally thought I was going to burn the whole forest down. All night I kept waking up and looking out the window hoping to not see a fire.
Thankfully one did not start. I learned the truth of what James says in James chapter three verse five. The tongue is a small thing and makes grand speeches but a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. I want to talk about our words because that is the theme of James chapter three. You've heard it said, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
Actually that's not really true, is it? You can be very hurt by words. You go back to your childhood and maybe you remember some words that stayed with you. Something said to you by your parents or a teacher. Maybe they told you you would never amount to anything, that you would surely fail. Or someone said to you, you're unattractive or you're overweight or you'll never amount to anything. Those things somehow stuck with you.
Now turn that around. You might also remember words of encouragement where someone believed in you. Hopefully it was your parents. Maybe your grandparents. Maybe a teacher. Maybe a coach.
Maybe a pastor. They said something to you that helped you and gave you hope and it reminds us of the truth of Proverbs 18, 21. It says, death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. It's interesting that neuroscience has proven the impact that words can have on us. Two doctors wrote in an article that was titled the most dangerous word in the world and they wrote and I quote, if we were to put you in an MRI scanner and take a video of your brain and flash the word no less than one second, there would be a sudden release of dozens of stress producing hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals immediately interrupt the normal function of your brain. They impair logic, reason and communication.
The article continues on. Yet positive words such as peace and love. Peace and love man. Peace and love alter the expression of genes strengthening areas of our frontal lobes promoting the brain's cognitive functioning.
Isn't that interesting? Words really do matter. Even the President of the United States needs some encouragement. After President Lincoln was assassinated in the Ford Theater, they found in the pocket of his jacket a worn out newspaper clipping that was praising him saying Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest statesmen of all time.
Apparently despite his amazing accomplishments as our president, many regard him as the greatest of all American presidents. President Lincoln got down and a little word of encouragement from that article was helpful to him. Proverbs 25, 11 says the right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver. I would add to that the wrong word at the wrong time can be devastating. We have heard these horrible stories of young people taking their lives when they read comments on their social media feeds, on their Instagram posts or whatever they might be and people mock them or put them down and this is so wounding and more than one young person has taken their life. By the way, if you are a young person, these people don't mean anything.
Who cares about these people living in their mother's basement? Forget these people. Remember the words of God to you, how He loves you, His plan and His purpose for your life but these words affect people and words do affect people. More people have died by words than any weapon that man has ever produced. Dedicated to God, our tongue, our words can be a powerful force for good. Left unchecked especially when yielded over to the devil, our words can do great harm and the tongue in fact is the most destructive weapon on the face of the earth. Let's see what the Bible says about our words in James chapter 3 starting at verse 1 and I am reading from the New Living Translation. Dear brothers and sisters, underline that, dear brothers and sisters, you might also translate that, dear fellow Christians, not many of you should become teachers in the church for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed we all make mistakes for if we could control our tongues we would be perfect and could control also ourselves in every other way.
We can make large horses go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth and a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go even though the winds are strong. In the same way verse 5, the tongue is a small thing and it makes grand speeches but a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire and among all the parts of the body the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a world of wickedness corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and fish but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil and full of deadly poison.
We will stop there. So what do we learn about the tongue? What do we learn about the words from James?
If you are taking notes here is point number one. What you say reveals who you are. What you say reveals who you are. Verse 2, if you could control your tongues you would be perfect and you would control yourself in every other way. The tongue is really a barometer of Christian maturity.
Socrates once said to a young student, quote, speak friend that I might see you. You know we evaluate a person by what they say and if your life is really transformed by Jesus Christ your words will be transformed as well. Your faith will impact you in what you say and what you don't say. Jesus said in Luke chapter 6, a good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. So what we say is so important because ultimately the Bible teaches that we will be judged by our words. Jesus said in Matthew 15, 19, every careless word that people speak they will give an account of in the day of judgment for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned. In fact the first sin committed after the fall was a sin of the words when Adam effectively slandered God and he said, Lord this isn't my fault. Lord this isn't my fault.
It's the woman you gave me. You're responsible for what has happened. So it was a sin of the words. And notice in verse 1 James addresses his words to Christians. Dear brothers and sisters, this message of the misuse of our words is directed specifically toward followers of Jesus Christ. Now we may pride ourselves as Christians in the fact that we don't do certain sinful things anymore.
And that's a good thing. But at the same time we can also be responsible for doing other things with our words. We would never think of having someone we don't like assassinated. But we would assassinate their character over Sunday brunch. We would never think of pulling out a knife and stabbing someone.
But we would think nothing of stabbing the blade of sin or taking the blade of slander and stabbing someone in the back. So we need to control what we say. The Bible says that every man be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. But we're usually the opposite right.
We're quick to speak. You know I don't want to listen. I don't even want to hear the rest of what you're saying. I just want to say what I want to say.
And maybe what I'm saying isn't even based on truth. But I'm going to say it anyway. And so we're told to control this. Number two, we need to control what we say.
We need to control what we say. The tongue is like a bit in a horse's mouth. I mean it's an amazing thing. How many of you ride horses? Raise your hand. Not a lot of horse people here.
A few. Well it's amazing. You get on the back of this incredible animal and with your reins and with the bit in the mouth of the horse he will go where you want him to go. You can actually control a whole team of horses in the same way. We manage to tame all kinds of animals.
Verse seven. People have managed to tame animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. No one can tame the tongue. We just had the Rose Parade. And I remember years ago I went to the Rose Parade, the only time in fact, and I remember seeing a guy riding a buffalo down the street. I mean that's a big animal. The buffalo.
So man this guy with the bit in the mouth of the buffalo was able to control it. And you think of the fact that we can tame killer whales. We can tame crocodiles. We can tame tigers.
And these images are supposed to be appearing. There we go. Look at these things. So we can tame all of these creatures. But we can't tame this creature. Waiting. That guy.
I don't even know who this guy is. But he is sticking his tongue out. So we can tame the wild beasts. Ok we can take that image down now. I don't want to traumatize people. But think about that. All these animals can be controlled but we can't control our tongue.
Or can we? It's set on fire by hell verse 6 says. A single match from a cigarette or a campfire that hasn't been put out can start a forest fire. You remember the words of the great theologian Smokey the Bear. Who reminded us all only you can prevent forest fires.
Mountain climbers have told us that the vibration of one whisperer can bring down an avalanche. Bringing me to point number three. Our words used right can do so much good. Our words used right can do so much good. Just one statement can set the course of your life.
A single word of a judge can condemn or pardon you. Saying I do to a partner for life means marriage. And I told you before my secret to a lasting marriage and we are approaching 50 years Kathy and I and we are thankful to God for that.
My secret to a successful marriage is marry yourself. In case you don't know the story you know my last name is Laurie which is a girl's name as you all know. And I didn't like that name growing up as a kid.
When I was in military school we went only by our last name. So I was known as Laurie. And so when I started dating Kathy people would often get confused and call her Laurie instead of Kathy. So when we got married Pastor Chuck performed this ceremony and at the end he said I now pronounce that Greg and Laurie are man and wife. He meant to say Greg and Kathy.
He said Greg and Laurie. So I married myself. There you go. But that one word when you say I do that that is for a lifetime. Also saying I won't to the temptation of an extramarital affair can save that marriage from destruction. And most importantly saying I will to Jesus Christ can change your eternal destiny.
Number four. Our words used wrongly can do so much damage. Think about one single man from history. Adolf Hitler. With his demonic rhetoric that he gave to the nation of Germany and eventually effectively started World War II. And not only was his nation destroyed in so many ways by his rhetoric but also over six million Jewish people. Six million Jewish people I should say lost their lives in the Holocaust.
And many Christians were put to death at this time as well. One man dedicating his tongue to the devil. But now we take another man in contrast Billy Graham our farm boy in Charlotte North Carolina who aspired to be a baseball player one day. But the call of God came to him. And he dedicated his words to God and the result is millions and millions of people have put their faith in Jesus Christ. So it just reminds us death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Who have you dedicated your tongue to? And there is many ways that we can use our words to hurt others. One is through gossip and backbiting. Gossip and backbiting. Proverbs 20 verse 19 says that gossip betrays it confidence so avoid a man who talks too much. We are also told in Proverbs 26 22 modern translation listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy. Do you want junk like that in your belly?
That is a great translation. And I don't eat a lot of candy. But when I go to a movie I like to eat milk duds with my popcorn. And I don't know what is going on. And if anyone who owns theaters is listening out there bring the milk duds back.
What is going on? They are not anywhere now. They are not in any theaters. And I went to a movie recently and there were no milk duds. And you know I don't feel good after I eat milk duds but I must have milk duds with the popcorn. I was in the drugstore the other day and they actually had milk duds and I bought like four boxes of them. And I brought them home.
Kathy says, What are you doing? I said, Well I can't find milk duds anywhere. I was so excited. So I wanted to stock up.
These were big extra large boxes. Ok. She says, You shouldn't have bought them. But that night she made some popcorn. She was eating the milk duds. Why are you eating them if they are so bad?
But you know the problem is you can't just eat one. Well I will have one more. We will have two more.
I will have five more. That is gossip. There is something very tantalizing when someone comes up and says, Hey have you heard the latest? I don't even know if this is true but stop. If your sentence begins like that do not say what you are about to say.
I don't know if this is true but no. Don't continue on. Or I wouldn't tell you this but I know it won't go any further. And we rationalize the sin of gossip and will say, Well I am telling you this so you will pray. Shut up. You know why you are telling them that.
You know why you are listening to that. And yes gossip is a sin. Here is another way we can sin through gossip. Innuendo. The cousin of gossip is innuendo. That is where you don't say it but you imply it. Then there is a more subtle misuse of our words through flattery. Flattery. In Proverbs 6.23 the Bible tells us that if we keep His word He will keep us from the immoral person and the flattering tongue of the seductress.
Listen to this. Gossip is saying behind a person's back what you would never say to their face. Flattery is saying to a person's face what you would never say behind their back.
Let me say that again. Gossip is saying behind a person's back what you would never say to their face. Flattery is saying to a person's face what you would never say behind their back. These are us misusing our words.
Point number five. If you control your tongues it is a sign of spiritual maturity. Again if we would control our tongues we would be perfect.
The word perfect means full grown. A true mark of spiritual growth is controlling what you say. I heard about a little boy that went over to a pastor's house while the pastor was doing some carpentry. The little guy is just standing there watching the pastor work away. Finally the pastor looks over at him and says well son are you here to pick up some carpentry tips? The little guy says no I just want to know what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer. You know I think a lot of people are watching us. What are you going to say?
What are you going to do? You are the follower of Jesus and they are not rooting for us necessarily. We want to be careful but let's be honest even some of the greatest men of God failed specifically in the area of what they said.
Job is a good example. God called Job blameless and upright but Job had trouble controlling his tongue as revealed in the final chapter of his book when he says in Job 40 verse 4 I am unworthy how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. Isaiah was a great prophet of the Lord. Then Isaiah 6 he had a vision of glory. He says I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne. He was high and lifted up and his glory filled the temple and the angels cried holy holy holy is the Lord.
So what was the reaction of Isaiah to all of this? He said and I said woe to me. I am undone.
I am a man of unclean lips. As he saw God in his glory he saw himself in his own sinfulness and the thing he specifically became aware of was his words. One man who seemed to have more trouble with what he said was than any other was Simon Peter. I mean Peter was the kind of guy and you know a guy like this or a girl like this and you might be a person like this you always speak your mind.
By the way did you know there are inside thoughts and outside thoughts? Some things are better left unsaid but we just blurt out whatever comes under my we just blurt it out and that was Peter. One of the best illustrations of this is on the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter James and John went with Jesus. They fell asleep and they woke up to see this sight.
There on the mountain stands Jesus surrounded by Moses and Elijah. What a sacred holy moment. And Peter decides to say a few words. And he stands up and says it is good we are here. I wonder if Moses turned to Jesus and said who is that?
Yeah he is with me. That is Simon. And then Peter is not done. He says let's build three tents. One for Jesus.
One for Moses and one for Elijah. And I love the commentary in the gospel that says Peter said this because he did not know what to say. Have you ever had a moment like that? You want to say something and you don't know what to say and you end up saying the lamest thing of all time? There is an old proverb.
It is not in the Bible but it is a pretty good one. It says better to be silent and be thoughtful than to open your mouth and dispel all doubt. You know you might be impressed with a certain person. Well I like this person. And then they talk. I don't like that person.
They should have kept their mouth shut. There was another instance with Peter and Jesus at a place called Caesarea Philippi. And Jesus was with the disciples and He says who do people say that I am? And one responded well some say that you are Elijah resurrected. Some say you are a prophet of the Lord.
And He says well who do you say that I am? Peter says you are the Christ the Son of the living God. Jesus said Peter flesh and blood did not reveal that to you.
You didn't think that up on your own buddy. And you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church. Now by the way Jesus was not saying He was going to build His church on Peter. He was saying He was going to build His church on this statement of Peter that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God. And then Jesus goes on and says the Son of Man speaking of Himself is going to be betrayed. It will be crucified.
It will rise again on the third day. And Peter who probably thought he was on some kind of roll because of what he just said began to rebuke Jesus repeatedly and the Lord had to turn to him and say get behind me Satan for you are offending me. So in one moment he speaks a statement given to him from heaven and a few moments later he literally gives a statement from hell. That is how the words that we use work. If we would just pause before we speak. Now I have told this to you before but I want you to think about it. And it is up on the screen. Think.
An acronym. T-H-I-N-K. Before you speak. Before you post. Before you tweet. Before you communicate.
Run it through this grid right now. T. Is it true? What you are about to say is it true and are you sure it is true?
Number two. Will it help? Sometimes something is true but you don't need to say it.
Wow you look overweight. Is that true? Yes. Is that helpful to the person? I don't think so.
Think about how it will affect the person you are seeing it to. Is it true? Will it help? Is it inspiring? Is it going to bring someone down or is it going to lift them up?
Number or N. Is it necessary? Do you need to say this? Could it be better left unsaid? And lastly K. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring?
Is it necessary? Is it kind? You say Greg if I were to apply that principle to what I say I would basically say nothing. Hallelujah.
Let it be. Number five. One of the greatest use of our words is to proclaim the gospel. To proclaim the gospel but with that comes great responsibility in bringing God's Word.
Verse three. Dear brothers and sisters not many of you should become teachers in the church for we who teach will be judged more strictly. James is not discouraging us from sharing our scriptural insights. We should share what we learn from the Word with other people.
First Corinthians 14 26 says when we come together brothers and sisters every one of you should have a song or a word of instruction. I never aspired to be a preacher or a speaker. I was a behind the scenes kind of a person. My interest was in art and design and drawing cartoons and not standing in front of people. But I remember after I became a Christian I had this burden to talk about what I had learned and discovered. And I still remember the day I spoke up for the first time. I was in a little small Bible study group. High school students and people were just sort of sharing what they read in the scripture. And I had read something in the Word that day and I thought should I share it.
My heart is beating beating beating. And I finally blurted it out and it was just great because I thought that is what the Lord showed me and I am thankful I can share it. But then one thing led to another and I found myself speaking publicly. And I realized I needed to prepare myself because I am representing God. And that is why the Bible says study to show yourself approved unto God a workman that does not need to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. You know I have had people say to me well what is it like to stand in front of a huge crowd and speak. It must be really fun and thrilling.
It isn't as thrilling as you think. The reality of it is I feel a real responsibility when I stand in front of any group of people and speak for God. And when I because I know I am a representative of God just as you are a representative of God and so I pray and I prepare and I study and want to have just the right words because I will be held accountable for what I say one day. My job as your pastor is to bring to you the Word of God.
That is my job. I am not here to be a political pundit. I am not here to be a social commentator. I am not here to be an entertainer or a comedian though I am very funny at times.
Or at least I think I am. But I am here to bring you God's Word and I take that responsibility seriously. And we all should take that responsibility. Number six we should use our words to build up and not tear down. Use your words to build up not tear down. No one can tame the tongue verse eight says.
It is a restless deadly poison. Sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God and sometimes it praises our Lord and Father. You know a word of encouragement.
How wonderful it is. Have you ever been down and had someone write you a letter of encouragement. Maybe it just happened that you opened an envelope and there was a card and someone just said something very thoughtful and kind. Then maybe they wrote it a week ago. But it got to you at the right moment. Or they shot you a quick text. Or you ran into them and they just said these words. I just wanted to tell you this.
How helpful that is. It is like a fresh drink of water on a hot summer day. Proverbs 25 says good news from far away. It is like cold water to the thirsty. And I think one of the greatest needs that we have as Christians and that we have as people is we need to be encouraged. There is so much discouragement out there. So many things that bring you down out there especially if you scroll through social media and have a constant diet of media coming into your life be it television or other things.
It can really bring you down. And we need to encourage one another. When we come to church we are here to encourage one another. Hebrews 10 24 says let's spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Don't give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.
But encouraging one another and so much more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. The problem is some people don't know how to pay a compliment. It is called a complisult. Do you know what a complisult is?
It is when someone is supposedly complimenting you and it is really barbed. Let me give you an example. They show up at your house and you say wow you are on time. Which means you are usually late. How about this.
You are a really good driver for a woman. Oh wait what. I can't say that. It is a complisult. How about this one. You look so good when you wear makeup.
What is that? So you look bad most of the time but you will look better now when you are painted. Right. How about this one. You are so pretty. Why are you still single. Really.
You look great for your age. I have heard this one. Recently I was getting my suit tailored. I would like to say I was taking it in. I wasn't. I was wanting my suit to fit.
And so I don't know how I got on the topic. Well I just turned 70 and literally the tailor said what. I didn't say I am dead. I said I turned 70. And then he says wow you look good for your age.
I mean I think you are around 65 or something. None of this is a compliment. Ok. A complisult. I think some people think they have the gift of criticism. This is my gift. It is not a gift. You don't have it.
Number seven. We should use our words to praise God. When we open this service with worship. I hope you are all worshipping. Because this is one of the reasons God has created you. You are wired to worship.
It is the highest use of the tongue. David wrote thy loving kindness is better than life. My lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee.
I will lift up my hands unto your name. It is not enough to just think it. Any more than it is enough to think you love your parents or you love your siblings or you love your husband or you love your wife.
That is all great. When is the last time you told them. Verbally told them oh by the way. You don't even have to preface it with that. Just say I love you.
Maybe tell them why you love them. It is a good thing to say. Ephesians 5 19 says be filled with the Spirit speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Hebrews 13 15 tells us to give the sacrifice of praise to God. You know some people think well that is sort of fanatical.
I am not really into lifting my hands in church to God. Oh really but you go down to the football game and when your team scores you freak out. You are painted. Your face is literally painted in the colors of your team.
You probably have their logo on your shirt right now. You know who I am talking to. You are good with that but oh say something about Jesus and express your passion for Christ. That is excessive. No I don't think so.
Number eight. We are almost done. We should use our tongue and words to preach the gospel. I have got some water down here somewhere. Here we go.
And now for a break. We should use our tongue and our words to preach the gospel. You know Jesus did not say go into all the world and be a good example.
That is not to say that we should not seek to be a good example. And in fact when you are a good example in many ways it earns you the right to share the gospel but to the point Jesus did not say go into all the world and be a good example. He said go into all the world and do what?
Tell me. Preach the gospel. Now when we use the word preach it doesn't mean you have to yell. You can preach quietly. You can preach conversationally. You can preach on a keyboard through social media, through text, through other means. But the idea is to communicate verbally the gospel. That is how God has chosen to primarily reach nonbelievers. Hebrews 10 14 says how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him and how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him and how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them, tells them. So my job, your job, our job is to tell people about Jesus. That is one of the highest uses of your tongue.
One last thing. We should use our words to confess our sins. The Bible says if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
But if we will confess, that is verbally acknowledged, if we will confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We don't like to say I have sinned. We like to blame it on someone else. We like to blame it on our circumstances. But we need to say Lord I have sinned and we sin every day.
I am sorry to tell you that. Even James says we all make mistakes every day. None of us are perfect. So of course this is something we should confess on a regular basis. I am interested to point out that in Daniel chapter 9 we have Daniel leading the people in prayer. He says in verse 4, I prayed to the Lord my God and I confessed, O Lord great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of loving devotion to those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned and done wrong.
Now here is an interesting thing. When you look at almost every Bible character apart from Christ of course, every Bible character, every man, every woman that God used the Bible is very honest in pointing out their flaws. But in my study of biblical characters I have never seen any flaws though I know they had them pointed out about two people in particular. And that would be Daniel and the other would be Joseph. Now you could say well Joseph maybe shouldn't have done this or said that.
But really you have sterling examples in these men. Daniel was such a man of God. And yet he said let's pray. And he said we have sinned. He didn't say you have sinned pointing to the people. Or they have sinned. We have sinned.
We have to acknowledge our sin before God. So what is the best use of our words? Number one to build up not tear down.
To encourage not discourage. Number two to praise God. Number three to proclaim the Gospel. Number four to confess our sins. And as we close in prayer I can't think of a better thing to do to ask God to forgive us of our sins. Let me say a word to anyone who has joined us here in person or you are watching or listening wherever you might be. Maybe you don't have this relationship with Jesus Christ we have been talking about.
Here is the bottom line. We are all sinners. We have all broken God's commandments. We all fall short of His glory. We are never good enough to get to heaven because we have all sinned. But the good news is 2,000 years ago God sent His Son Jesus Christ to be born in the manger of Bethlehem.
We just celebrated that at Christmas. Then to live a perfect life. Then to die a perfect death on the cross for us. He died for us. I love how the apostle Paul said you love me and you gave yourself for me. He personalized it. Listen yes it is true Jesus died for all of humanity but if you were the only person on the earth He would have died for you.
That is how much He loves you. He died on the cross for your sin and you must understand that. What a sacrifice He made. And if you will turn from your sin and if you will admit your sin and stop blaming everyone else and just say I have sinned and turn from that sin God will forgive you. Am I talking to somebody here right now that is living without their sin forgiven? Am I talking to someone who is wracked with guilt and the pain of your actions?
Well you can be forgiven and you can have a fresh start. This is for a person who hasn't accepted Christ yet. By accepting Christ I meet a person who has asked Jesus to come into their life as their friend and their Lord and their Savior. And I am also talking to people who are believers but have lapsed. They have fallen away or to use a biblical word they have backslidden. But here is what God says. Return to Me you backsliding children and I will heal you says the Lord. So we have to come back to the Lord. I think of the story of that prodigal son that most of us know who came to his senses and he came home and said Father I have sinned. He admitted it.
Will you admit it? So if you need to ask Christ to come into your life I am going to give you an opportunity to do that right now. Let's all bow our heads and pray. If there is anybody here who has never asked Jesus Christ to come into their life to forgive them of their sin I want you to pray this prayer right where you are. You can pray it out loud if you like but this is a prayer where you are asking Christ to come into your life.
Just pray these words. Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner but I know that you are the Savior of the world who died on the cross for me. I turn from my sin and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. And Lord we all we all confess we sin and specifically we admit we sin with our words. We think of things we have said that we should not have said.
Words we wish we could retract. Lord help us to dedicate our tongues our words to your glory. To use our tongue to use our words for what they are designed for. To bring glory to your name.
To bring the gospel to other people. And to lift up not tear down. Help us to be bridge builders not bridge burners.
Help us to be stepping stones not stumbling blocks. Help us to be known as people of love who elevate others not tear them down. Lord we commit ourselves to you. We commit our words to you. And we commit this church to you now as we enter into a new year. Use us Lord for your glory. Thank you for this time to worship and open your word and we ask all of this in Jesus name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-09 05:22:09 / 2023-01-09 05:37:48 / 16