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September 1, 2019 1:00 am
James chapter 3 let's go there this evening James chapter 3 as we continue through this book. On Sunday night wonderful, wonderful, practical book. James the pastor of a local church is getting down to brass tacks down to where the rubber meets the road, and just dealing with stuff in his church members lives. Have you ever heard the phrase I'm fed up that there come across your lips. Or maybe your parents lips are whoever slips I'm fed up. That's what I since Jamison's is James rather is feeling as we get to what is our chapter 3 ICs dealing with some issues among the body.
They're not thinking saying I'm fed up with this. I will call this one this and deal with this in the church is if I can get this straightened out.
Let's look at it together. James chapter 3, beginning in verse one.
By the way the words in that song. Finding a settled rest. Don't miss those things settled rest and I may be anxious at times and I'm a friend at times. Thank God there's an anchor in our souls.
We have found in Christ.
A settled rest. This Pam and I've been dealing with friends and others who have some challenges, illnesses, deaths, and I thought about my own death this afternoon. Thank you go live forever, and I thought Tom I hope by lapse of this before but what if I'm sick and close to going home feel my room was Scripture give me the word I want the word of God in those moments, but I thought hopefully in grace all have the faith to wonder over and rest in the fact that I have found higher pleasures greater delights in the one to whom I'm about to go to so actually leaving nothing but gaining everything settled rest all want to walk in that more faithfully, don't you James chapter 3, verse one. James writes to his church, a hurting church a suffering church, but they're still able to see him a lot. Let not many of you become teachers, my brother know that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says he's a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well that if we put the bit into the horses mouth so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires, so also the tongue is a small part of the body and get it posted great thing see how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire in 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 in this set on fire by hell.
Every species of beasts and birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tame by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil and full of deadly poison with it we bless our father in God and with it we curse men, who been made in the likeness of God from the same mouth come both blessings and cursing my brother these things ought to be this way does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives or vine produce figs will nor can salt water produce French almost just worried that meditate for a while go home on me that strong. Someone said that's strongest dogs.
This strong meat just penetrates and it's very very humbling. Now James is already written about a number of things to his people concerning Christian maturity in these first of all started off talking to them about these terrible trials. They were going through and I think it from a physical viewpoint you and I cannot relate to that all losing your job because of your faith martyrdom because your faith being scattered around the known region by your enemies. Just because of your faith. These people were suffering and James is consider it all joy when you encounter various trials or are you facing the trial a difficulty something that brings anguish to your soul hurt, disappointment, anxiety, then you must consider it all joy you got to determine God ordered this for my good and for his glory that you don't always see it right off. But he did so.
He's basically saying that's the mature way to grasp this, and by the way I am. My experience at something of a process to I get to get to that point. Rather, where I say I can embrace this and don't justify the wickedness it's been done on the MIP maliciousness is been done whatever's been done. That hurts, but I can consider it all joy is my God knows what is that that marks when you're reaching maturity when you can see God's hand behind those things. He's talked to them about some being patient and trials in overcoming those things.
There's one other one here practicing truth course chapter 2 then we come to chapter 3 and then he gets to this thing of showing your maturity by having some discipline in your speech and so I call, I entitled this is your tongue tied. Is your tongue tied. Is it tied to Christ as your tongue tied to selflessness. Is your tongue tied the wisdom where you don't speak, just out of your thoughts. You speak saying what's God up to here before I respond was God doing here before. I just give my spouting off of what I think are you tidies your tongue tied to God's glory is this glorify God is your tongue tied to Christian love. Sometimes folks assume that Christian speech is only sweet and meek and and and and kind will know sometimes Christian love has reproof, rebuke and correction and it is your tongue tied to Christian love, think about what a privilege. The tongue is with your tongue. You can praise God. You can preach the word, you can lead the loss to faith in Christ. Also, you can tell a lot and hurt one's reputation or break someone's heart without me just a moment tongue can go from one to the other is talk first about I about the power of the tongue.
In verses one through five. The power of it will, there's a lot we can save it to not pull out. Maybe everything this there will take five verses in this section, any begins there in verse one let not many of you become teachers because teachers use their tongue, they're speaking a lot is that many of you become teachers, my brethren, us a second time. He uses brethren he uses again verse 12, so the context here again is local church life. My brothers and sisters in Christ and how we correspond intercourse one to another in verbiage is just like many of you become teachers, my brother, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
I think first of all the that the teacher here is the office of teaching the elder of the church and one scholar suggests that since some James is already pointed out that guy salvation is by grace through faith. And it's not of works, that a lot of people were thinking, well then I don't have to have any kind of qualification I can just say I'm a teacher out to have that authority in that office insult. Many people were popping up thinking they could be teachers, but he says be careful. Teachers will incur a stricter judgment.
Now, while I believe he's primarily referring to the office of elder in the church, the office of teacher in the church. I believe that does trickle down to you folks and many of you in here tonight are Sunday school teachers or small-group teachers, you will incur stricter judgment and that's why I would like to remind you on this Sunday evening that your Sunday school class is not your kingdom.
To do with as you please. Your Sunday school class. Your small group is not your little church you're an extension of the overall teaching ministry of the preaching pastor in the church elders. That's what I would strongly advise you to always and I don't know of anyone who doesn't do this but always stay within the outline and the teaching that we give you to teach why because there is a responsibility to that you will give an account for. If you stay under your elders are covered by their authority.
If you get out on your own. I think God may indeed judge you as if you were an elder because used took that place in the sense by force stay under the authority of your church leaders ice very very common in churches today for small group leaders just to study whatever they want to study. I think that is an outlandishly foolish notion.
How can I as a pastor give an account to God for the people in my church when I don't even know what their study know what they're learning. There needs to be some systematic structure and style are purpose to why we study what we study when we study so I know what you have learned what you haven't learned what you have been exposed to it you haven't been exposed so those of us who feel called and the gospel ministry shouldn't be flippant about or careless about it. There is a strict and awesome judgment of those who stand and teach the teacher is in a position to do much good or great evil one least remember if you desire the perceived prestige or power of the office of teacher in the church. You must also bear the responsibility and accountability before God of being a teacher I have earlier in my ministry ran into many a person who wanted the authority in the church, but they didn't want take responsibility before God for the church. Are they had thought it through.
So first of all using our words. He said understand the power of this thing you need to be careful desiring the office of pastor teacher in the church and in teaching in general.
Now look at verse two 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 appointed thing is is that the most difficult member to keep in line is the tongue speech and nothing changes point and I know this same of the root word of this WordPerfect here is used earlier as a and in a statement that means come to maturity and maybe that's what James means here. If you're able to have discipline of your tongue spiritually speaking you you're walking in a very mature state.
Or maybe he means it.
Hypothetically, if you can control your tongue was nobody can really do, then you are absolutely perfect because it's all downhill from there you can keep that rascal and controller thing is these the power unit were talking about your event. It's neat when the Bible gives you the illustration so you think about yourself. James gives us the illustration verse three naturally put the bit into the horses mouse so they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well then uses a runner on the ship verse four. Look at the ships also but they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are still directed by very small rudder winner of the inclination of the pilot decide so so the bit in the rotor are small, but they have a great effect in the city compared to your brain your tongue small red graffiti your hands, your tongue is small, but no it's small it's very powerful, just like the rudderless ship it may be a massive ship and comparatively speaking, the rotors, a small spark part, but it directs the path the ship's great power horses Marty but you can put one bit into its mouth in the way that bit works in pressure in the how the horses mouth. You can control that. Great work, small but powerful element bodies nor the psalmist said no God make this our prayer. Psalm 141 versus three and four.
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth. I think with the Psalms are saying is I'm no match for my mouth, God, you will have do something here help me with my own mouth set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth keep watch over the door of my lips do not incline my heart to do any evil thing practice deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquity do not let me eat of their delicacies so we come to that truth that I want a fight. Well, I'm constantly emphasizing to us that the heart is the key.
Dr. Adrian Rogers used to say that the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart, so true in the hearts. The key out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Psalmist is basing no God help me have a right heart and then my speech should flow out of that when Jesus is Lord of the heart. He's Lord of the lips also the power to direct is in the tongue and it has power that affects the lives of others. For example of that, horses and controlled by that Betty can trample those around them. If the ship and have an effective rudder.
It can run aground RRR coming to some other calamity and destroy many lives and so it is with our tongues the power there. It's small, but it's so powerful that now you may think with the file evil callused slander and maliciousness that we see on social media today and through media today. You may think. How did man gets so vile and corrupt and he's always been that way. We just have social media now to splice it everywhere. You still we only could listen to a few crazy people. Not every crazy person. Disputes about the unit to study some histories that will are our political campaigns are so wicked and mean and off all the lies that all the stuff look at some of the ancient County chip are the campaigns of history in early America. They were vicious know the heart had gotten a different… Now we're exposing a whole lot more. And it is ugly it proves the point here that this this tongues up little thing but tedious powerful. Think about it, the tongue of the judge's is guilty and everything changes the tongue of the president declares war and everything changes. Power of the tongue. Look at verse five. So also the tongue is a small part of the body. And yet it boasts a great thing this tongue can speak and speak.
Great thinks that it has no capacity to control are really to carry out this thing of the fire comes up in the text (verse 5C hug a great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire just researched fires and there was a fire in London in 1666 an old London 1666, a fire started. It lasted five days. Just raging out of control in downtown London 13,200 homes were lost 87 churches were destroyed and historians say that 70,000 of the 80,000 citizens of London were left home while because one baker was a little careless making his bread that morning. Just a little flame and watch carefully and almost destroyed almost completely destroyed one of the greatest cities of that day in the world.
I don't always handle songs about his children. The fire in Chicago, what, when, was that in 1871 and the fable is because we don't know for certain, but the rumor was that Miss O'Leary was mimicking her cow in the shed and the cow kicked over the lantern. Now you have. In your mind, don't you. She kicked over the cow kicked over just a little flame. Probably a 2 inch flame on the lantern fell into the hay started the fire and all the Chicago soon was in the blaze as it spread 100,000 people were left homeless, 12,500 buildings were destroyed. 300 people died in in that case calculation. It cost $400 million in debt from one little flame.
That's what the text says the tongue is like flame, it can cause super great damage. Think what happens is were kinda like the psalmist and Psalm 39 verse three where he says my heart was hot within me and while I was abusing the fire burned and then I spoke with my tongue. That's when you could should be quiet don't speak when you're angry don't speak when your heart. Don't speak by the fires burning within you. You're very able to start something that can destroy the damage so many hurt so badly. Proverbs 1727 29 reminds us he who restrains his words has knowledge and he who has a cool spirit as a man of understanding and he who is slow to anger has great understanding that he was quick-tempered exalts folly. Somebody said hotheads and hot hearts lead the burning words that we later regret.
While tell them. Don't be a fool when you to not look you may be dealing with the fool. The progress is going give an answer to the fool… Giving the answer he's looking for.
Don't get on his level.
Hold your words in. I'm just wondering, this is convict you as me because if I was able to completely control my tongue of a perfect man bundled tell you what James is writing to the brethren what he saying among the regenerate family of called out assembled once the local church. You guys can do better than the world us your pattern should not be like the world's pattern. You don't seek revenge like the world seeks revenge.
You see God behind things that happens to you, don't destroy with the tongue because you're defending yourself child of God in the church of Jesus Christ is better than that. And can I say it's from my perspective, a very grateful word to you. We just don't have a lot of that around here. I don't see people getting full of themselves overpower controller wanting their way in the church and spouting this off and starting up but you just don't I'm I'm sure we do stuff like that but I don't see it… And I'm very grateful that I see a good level of discipline in the body about. I'm not going hurt the body of Christ over these things and hold the tongue. Never underestimate the power of the tongue. I found this some time ago but on April 22. In 1855, a Sunday school teacher named Edward Kimball went to the Holston shoe store in Boston because there was a boy in his Sunday school class. He was burden for that boy's name was Dwight L. Moody in there that thank God for faithful Sunday school teachers who try to reach their boys and girls with the gospel.
There he pleaded with DL Moody to come to Christ deal, Moody comes to faith in Christ. We may not agree with everything about Moody's methods but God didn't use Moody to win countless thousands to Christ. Millions and millions and millions of others preaching he and Charles Haddon Spurgeon were were quite close friends. The story this to show you the humanity of guys this not off up I'm going to share the storm of the world number him number two did have anything to the tongue actually did let me tell it to themselves under the tone. DL Moody was a big barrel chested beefy guy across the middle and DL Moody. The story goes, when in the Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a Spurgeon's greatest Baptist preacher's far popularity in his writings have a great circulation to be preacher of all time. I guess you'd say, our circulation goes Moody's. This world-renowned evangelist and Moody walks into Spurgeon's office and Spurgeon smoking a cigar I didn't quite have the taboo that we have on them today, but he still wouldn't will anyway.
He smoked a cigar and Moody walks in and points at his cigar to Spurgeon that saying is first important meal.
Moody's brilliance again that sin there words that connects the discernment of these were men who love each other and they were having some fun together but nevertheless word the tongue is powerful. Secondly, the perversity of the tongue. Notice the perversity of tongue versus 60 right here. I use perversity because perverse means self-willed and he uses the illustration of beast and that's the way beast are based. Don't think of anything but fulfilling their own self desire resist the tongue has a tendency to be like that if you will love him with at verse six and the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity. What a statement. What a strong lady said the wet very world of iniquity. But God is the world of evil effort is in the nursing home today.
By the way, so you remember the bill, dear friend of ours over many years, but Tom Bill Stafford said he was preaching on on gossiping on the tongue. A lady came up in his church was well known for her gossip.
She said brother Bill, our latest tongue only offer he said on you like a folded up several times to get on there is this just got the world of iniquity and it know and I'm not promoting any advice or any sin.
But sometimes some sweet little leg in the church get upset because he got to use tobacco. Or maybe he's battling smoking a cigarette here and there are maybes in the back your yard working on the lawnmower. He lets a word fly that he should not fly not condoning any of that. By the way, but here's what I'm go safe at probably not as a God of the tiny thing. Compared to a sweet little church lady that runs her tongue in gossip almost all the time. It has a perversity and it. The idea is it's killing it's destroying as opportunity allows it, it has a capacity to beast totally self-willed to say continues to and and James just lays it on here are six again in the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity. The tongue is set among the members at which that which defiles the entire body.
It sets itself up among the members of one's anatomy corrupting spotting soiling staining polluting the entire body.
Verse six says it sets on fire the course of life scholar say this is a picture book, we'll instruct the center of the will has the little fire in it.
But as the wheel spins the fire spreads and consumes the entire wheel.
He said that's the way the tongue is it's got a capacity just to set everything on fire spread everything is perversity, then verse six he said that's not enough. I want to really get my point.
I think of James. Again, this local church pastor saying I'm fed up with the stuff last phrase verse six and is set on fire by hell. Said one thing I want you to realize that your tongue is just the week. What's flowing out of it comes from the center of hail. I made it comes from the depths of hail the perversity that is a powerful powerful statement. If you if you are one who has not come to see your need of Christ. This didn't convict you to know that if you don't have a mighty miraculous salvation you're lost forever. Nothing will. As you can see the weightiness of our fallenness and sinfulness through our tongue's verse seven pieces for every species of beasts and birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea is taint has been tamed by the human race.
But no one can tame the tongue. It's unruly it's staggering it's reeling. It's uncontrollable now. All of this is in the natural man child of God, of course, is the implication the balance of biblical truth is that that the regenerate man can begin a pattern of walking and control doesn't have to live as the victim of whatever his tongue to do verse eight he says but no one contained the tongue. It is a wrestling evil click this phrase, full of deadly poison.
It's loaded with venom. The venom of hate.
The vendor of slander the vendor the venom of malice. The venom of gossip. It's a poison being a poison just a little poison sometimes can go a long long way. That concept of injecting a little poison in a conversation so that maybe that poison will spread hurt the person we want to be hurt unruly tone has no place in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ anymore than a ferocious beast does Psalm and the other day and he killed the 2700 pound Cape Buffalo is no real way we could let that thing loosen here he could literally rip all these cues up killer biting get around you and let that loose what James is saying less with the tongue is not controlled is like a vicious based ricin is a poison scientist, Phyllis. You can take to three grains of rice and the size of grains of salt in it with you is to thrilled tiny green benefit say like salt key James is that's what the tongue can do. It is such a poison.
It is such a perverse thing I noticed the tongue's pollution verses nine through 12.
With it we bless our father, our Lord and father, and with it we curse men, who been made in the likeness of God in the same outcome. Both blessings and curses my brightly things all not to be this way he talks about water here verse 11. The fountains confounds the that both the same opening fresh and bitter water it interesting that water can be most wonderfully refreshing. I've been trying to work outside often on and we had a little break with my goodness. The heat and humidity is just amazing how much water I can drink it. It is just wonderful. When you're that hot same time water out of control is deadly and destructive. I read about the famous Jamestown flood of 1889, 2200 people were killed and $10 million in property were destroyed and that's in their dollars that day. That's the way the tongue is this like water that produces both fresh and saltwater the tongue that blesses God on Sunday morning and curses his brother in Christ. On Monday, is in bad need of adjustment. This is incongruence it's inconsistent. It's like before could tongue of a snake. Proverbs 18 for reminds us the words of a man's mouth Irish deep waters and the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook all what a blessing. Our tongues can be. Proverbs 1011 the mouth of the righteous man is a well of life. Proverbs 1314 the law. Otherwise the fountain of life apart from the snares of death. Now think you don't lose the context, are you talking about local church life together. The children of God should not function this window don't get in balance to your some of the most vicious scathing public cutting statements I've ever read from the tongue of Jesus Christ read the Gospels.
One occasion Jesus was invited to a supper at the home of a Pharisee. He was the honored guest. They fed him food and after the food was over, he just cut them to pieces of their wickedness. Hypocrisy two things here. First of all you and our Jesus to be careful with your rubric reprints and reviews. But secondly, sometimes if it's for the glory of God and out of love for the person there needs to be some sharp thing said I was in meeting many many years ago with the church leader who was obviously not being truthful and it was the potential damaging the church was great and I said somebody here is lying, and I will pray in my prayer asked God to kill them if they did get honest about it. I didn't finish my prayer before that person confessed to their sin never done that before noted on that sentence sometimes is a place for strongly dealing with something that you better make sure it's for the glory of God and for the good of the person most of the time it's better have some grace sometimes your parent of the situations, there needs to be some firm words and those come can come from a loving and spirit filled heart first on 10 three says by this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious. Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. Then first John 420 and 21 for someone says I love God, and hates his brother, he's a liar is pretty strong and strong words, but important in accurate words for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God who is not seen in this commandment we have from him that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
Here's the point.
Be careful with your tongue because you should now have the changed regenerate heart that has a deep, deep love for others who are God's children. Pain caused by the tongue can be severe.
Have your been the subject of false gossip of slander someone who took your words and spun them out of context. It is very painful. It's very difficult. It's like a hot dagger. Think of the times in our marriage as we speak words that are way too hurtful. Sometimes getting frustrated with our children. We can say words that are far too hard. Careful. It's almost impossible to get them back. But once again the point is not the word itself. It's the heart. The word comes from the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart, and I think we get a little insight here again like we saw up in verse three he calls them my brethren and in verse 12 he said, can a fig tree, my brethren, that were chasing you as Christians ought to have more consistency here were the body of Christ, we deal with each other differently. Was the Bible say, even with it comes to situation where you might have a rightful lawsuit with the brother he says, don't go to the secular courts and said let rather be defrauded than to take it in the public that you have a conflict in outward problem with the brother in Christ.
Now understand you and I live in a culture today work nearby in the South caused himself a brother in Christ, and they're not. That's different but I'm talk about folks with the same local church.
Proverbs 423 reminds us keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life and if we fill our heart with God's word and yield to the Holy Spirit. He can use us to be a fountain of delight to others in the last few years, I've thought more about what I want to believe be like when I grow old when you're almost 60 you're getting old you know that they they told 55-year-old man one time. What has it feel to be middle-age. He said middle-age semi hundred and 10-year-old man. Do you know is beyond mental but I'm real you pray for me. I'm really working on it that I will grow old sweet and kind tenderhearted when I listen something is leased to be justly condemned. I will be a man deal with when they say Abraham Lincoln, one who he was still velvet.
I will be that kind of person I don't know where I found this 12 word you can start using more that could transform your life. You hear the 12 words please. Thank you. I'm sorry I love you. I'm praying for you football words spoken in the right moment can have powerful help to brother sister in Christ. So this evening is your tongue tied. Is your tongue tied to Christ as your tongue tied, the selflessness is your tongue tied to wisdom. What's God doing you got the defenders of Constance and your tongue tied to God's glory is your tongue tied to Christian love is your tongue tied to the word of God is your tongue tied to the Holy Spirit. If it is that it is a great power for good. It needs to be because if not, it's a powerful perverse polluting poisonous spreading destroyer everywhere goes look while the major context.
Here's the body of Christ. Christians everywhere should talk differently than the world should be a marked difference in you know what why I think of the most powerful things in the world is is when you blow it and you go back maybe in that secular place of work. Maybe with kids at school and you say you know I do.
I shouldn't said that. And I'm a Christian I'm convicted that that was wrong when you forgive me. Sometimes when the most powerful things you can will. This is very convicting to me so I will say where there's a lot of words are many words transgressions unavoidable. My work is to use words and you what you yourself, to bear witness that I've had to come to this pulpit and asked forgiveness for saying things.
Either they didn't come out right or they came out the way I meant to be still wrong is your tongue tied