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The Tongue - Bible Survey Part 15

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 21, 2021 7:00 am

The Tongue - Bible Survey Part 15

So What? / Lon Solomon

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September 21, 2021 7:00 am

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Tonight I want us to look at the book of James. Now we have four questions, four basic facts about this book that we want to answer quickly. Number one, who wrote it? Well it was written by James the half-brother of the Lord Jesus and we say half-brother because Mary was his mother and Joseph was his father but remember for the Lord Jesus Joseph was not his father, the Holy Spirit was.

So that's why we say half-brother. And Galatians chapter 2 verse 9 Paul writes and calls this man James a pillar of the church in Jerusalem. Peter left Jerusalem and the leader of the Jerusalem Church became this man James. Eusebius the church historian tells us that he was martyred in 61 or 62 AD in Jerusalem.

So that's who wrote it. When did James write it? Well James makes no mention in his book of the Jerusalem Council which was held Acts chapter 15 and 47 AD in which he played a major role nor does he mention the enormous theological issue of that council namely the admission of Gentiles into the church. So most scholars believe that this letter was written before that council took place and therefore in around 45 to 46 AD making it the earliest of all the New Testament letters. Number three, to whom did James write it? Well he says in verse one I'm writing to the twelve tribes meaning Jewish people who are dispersed abroad throughout the Roman Empire but not to all Jewish people. It's clear from the contents of this letter that James was writing to Jewish believers throughout the Roman Empire. And finally why did James write this letter? Well James addresses a variety of topics in his letter but all of them deal with the issue of authenticity in how we are living out our Christian faith and the very famous verse of course from James chapter 1 deals with this topic James 1 verse 22 which says be doers of the word not hearers only be authentic in how we live out our Christian life. That's the theme of his book. Now in the early 1500s the book of James became the centerpiece of a huge theological controversy between Martin Luther and the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. I want to tell you about it. In 1520 AD Martin Luther was serving as a Roman Catholic monk and theologian and as he studied the Bible particularly as he studied the writings of the Apostle Paul he became convinced Luther did that salvation is a free gift from God Romans 5 15 that God gives to people and that the way people qualify for this free gift is by placing their total reliance for their salvation in Jesus's work on the cross plus no human works of any kind not even any religious human works. Now I want to repeat that because this is the whole foundation of what we think of today as as Protestantism and the Reformation and evangelical Christianity so this is really important let me repeat it Luther came to the position based on studying the Bible that salvation is a free gift that God gives to people and the way a person qualifies for this free gift is by placing their total reliance for their salvation in Jesus's work on the cross plus no human works of any kind not even any religious human works some of the verses that convinced him Romans 3 20 therefore Paul says no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by observing the law by human works Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8 Paul says for it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith and not of yourselves it is the gift of God watch not by works so that no one can boast and Titus chapter 3 verse 5 Paul said not by works of righteousness that we have done but by his mercy God saved us now Luther began writing about this position that he had come to understand from the Bible and before long his writings began to spread throughout Europe like wildfire Luther said in one of his writings and I quote it is clear that salvation cannot be acquired or grasped by any work law or merit and we cannot yield on this point even though heaven earth and everything else falls end of quote well all this put Luther in direct conflict with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church they taught that salvation comes through faith in Jesus plus the works that the church offered people for example confession for example indulgences for example penance for example communion etc and in 1521 the Pope excommunicated Martin Luther and he convened the Council of Trent where he the Pope specifically appealed to James chapter 2 remember I told you James the book of James is right in the middle of this controversy right the Pope appealed to James chapter 2 to refute Luther's position here are the verses that he used James chapter 2 verse 14 what good is it James says if a person claims to have faith but has no works can such faith save him James 2 24 so you see James says that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone and finally James 2 26 for as the body without the spirit is dead so faith without works is dead you say wow long looks to me like the Bible has a huge contradiction in it well actually it doesn't friend the truth is that James is right and Paul is right you say hmm see you line have been living in Washington too long no no no no no no they are both right and let me tell you how that works I'm quoting from RC Sproul who explains it about as well as anybody I've ever read here's what he said he said and I quote James is saying that if a person says he has faith but his faith shows no outward fruits of obedience or works of righteousness it is not saving faith and Martin Luther would absolutely agree with James on this end of quote folks so does the rest of the Bible agree with James on this Matthew chapter 7 Jesus said every good tree bears good fruit and every bad tree bears bad fruit a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit therefore by their fruit you will know them in 1st John chapter 2 John says if you say you've come to know Christ and yet you do not keep his commandments you are a liar and the truth is not in you and in Matthew chapter 3 John the Baptist was baptizing at the Jordan River and a bunch of the self-righteous rabbis showed up from Jerusalem to be baptized and John said to them Matthew chapter 3 verse 7 he said you brood of vipers what a great way to greet people you brood of vipers produce look what he says fruit in keeping with the New King James says produce fruit that fits with your repentance in other words John says hey you say you've repented before God fellas well I want to see it in your actions before I am willing to baptize you because if you've really repented it will show in your actions there will be fruit that comes from your repentance back to RC Sproul and I quote he says James is saying not that a person is justified before God by his works but that his claim to have saving faith is proven to be genuine by the outward evidence of his works end of quote so let's summarize here's the point the point is that Paul and Martin Luther were looking at the root of a person's salvation namely that we are made righteous in God's sight by trusting what Jesus did for us on the cross by putting our faith in his finished work on the cross that's the root of our salvation got it James is saying meanwhile he was looking at the fruit of a person's salvation and was saying that faith if it's genuine will always result in changed behavior changed actions changed attitudes that reflect obedience to God and his word and in chapter 2 all James is saying is that if there is no fruit then there is no root of salvation everybody together on how the Bible is not contradicting itself yes all right now let me just say that there's a verse in the Bible that is always been very concerning to me it says 2nd Corinthians 13 5 examine yourself make sure you're in the faith test yourselves and I suppose all of us we want to make sure that what we have is saving faith I remember when I was a very young believer the guy who led me to Christ said Lon you you need to challenge your faith and make sure it's real faith and make sure it's saving faith and I was like well how do you do that well let me tell you how we do that folks a few years ago Bill Gaither wrote a wonderful song about a friend of his who used to have an enormous alcohol problem was in the bars all the time but then he came to Christ and his whole life changed and he wrote a song about it entitled thanks to Calvary and I remember hearing that song when I was a very young believer and being so able to identify with that song because all my fraternity brothers were asking me hey what happened to you and you know I had stopped drinking I had stopped doping I had stopped partying and I'd stopped cursing and they were like man what happened to you and I felt like this song it was exactly the answer of what had happened to me and had proven that the faith that I had shown in Christ was real faith it was saving faith here's how the song goes today I went back to the place where I used to go today I saw that same old crowd I knew before and when they asked me what had happened I tried to tell them that thanks to Calvary I don't come here anymore thanks to Calvary I'm not the man I used to be thanks to Calvary things are different than before and while the tears ran down my face I tried to tell them that thanks to Calvary I don't come here anymore amen yeah now listen my question to you is this my friend thanks to Calvary are there places that you don't go anymore thanks to Calvary are there things you don't do anymore thanks to Calvary are there words you don't say anymore thanks to Calvary has your life been changed into something that you made even harder to even recognize yourself anymore based on what you used to be folks that's change saving faith there's fruit that's what James is saying there's fruit and if there's no fruit then there's no root it's just that simple now if you're here and you can't sing that song thanks to Calvary I'm not the man or the woman I used to be because there's been no kind of change in your life I want to challenge you that the faith that you may think you have in the Lord Jesus might not be saving faith and friends you need to make sure of that you come on up front here and you see our down front people after the service if you have doubt or if you're out at loud and you go up front and see pastor Jim or the others that are out there or you email my assistant Megan and we'll make sure that we have somebody me or someone else meet with you and talk to you but folks no fruit no root that's what James saying got it and you ought to be able to sing that song if you have real saving faith thanks to Calvary I am NOT the man or the woman that I used to be I hope you can sing that amen I hope you can sing that amen all right good if you couldn't say amen come let us help you with that now that's as far as we're gonna go in the letter that James wrote but we're gonna stop now we're gonna ask our most important question of the evening you know what it is sure you do what do you mean no sure you do of course you do oh my gosh okay all you guys out at loud and are you ready here we go nice and loud one two three oh yeah you know in the book of James and it is a wonderful book they're like so many of these other letters there's just so much that we could talk about literally for weeks so what I had to do is just pick one thing and what I've been trying to do is pick the things that the Holy Spirit really speaks to me and my heart about and that's what I've done this week so let me read it to you James chapter 3 verse 6 the tongue is a fire a world of evil among the parts of our body all kinds of animals have been tamed by man but no man can tame the tongue it is a restless evil full of deadly poison with it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse men who have been made in his image out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing my brothers these things ought not to be I was at the gym the other day and I was thinking about these verses and about how easy it is for us to all justify speaking negatively about other people and gossiping about other people and I was riding the elliptical and there were two ladies behind me and every turned around and looked at him don't even know who they were but I heard him talking and this one lady was saying the nastiest meanest most critical stuff you ever heard in your life about somebody I don't know who and then I couldn't believe it I heard her say she said and I want you to know she said the only reason I'm saying this is because I love her and I thought I was gonna puke I really did I thought that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life no she just sliced her to like little pieces and said it's because I love her yeah all right you know what folks I've met Christians who are so excited that they don't go around cussing and saying nasty words and yet those same people slaughter others with their words and I will say to you my brothers and sisters these things ought not to be and why is why is talking negatively about people in slander and backbiting and and gossip so bad three quick reasons I want to share with you from the Bible number one because it causes strife between people Proverbs 26 verse 20 without a wood a fire goes out the Bible says and without gossip strife quiets down hey you mark it down at work at church in your family I don't care where it is where there's conflict where there is strife where there is friction where there is disharmony there is always somebody at the bottom of it with a big unkind slanderous mouth right yeah it's true number two the reason that it's bad this kind of talk is because it poisons people's hearts towards other people Proverbs 18 8 says the words of a slanderer are like dainty morsels that go down into the innermost parts of the body listen we may slander a person and never think about it again but the person who hears that slander will never forget about it again and slander always has two victims the victim that we're slandering and the person whose mind were poisoning about that person and I know there are still negative things I remember about people that were said to me 30 years ago 40 years ago that I still remember the person who said it I'm sure has forgotten it decades ago but it still lives inside of me it poisoned part of me about the person they were talking about folks this is evil to do this and finally number three why is this kind of talking bad this kind of slanderous talk because number three it has eternal consequences Jesus said every careless word that a person speaks they will have to give an account for it on the day of judgment you say even Christians yeah even Christians you say but Lon look sometimes you're forced to have to say something negative about somebody like if you're sitting in a performance review of this person hey that is not what James is talking about you know that and even when those times do happen we still need to be very careful circumspect about what we say about people it's not just open season to slander them because we're in a performance review situation you say alright Lon I agree with you all right I hear what you're saying we all have a problem with this so how can we do better well I have three suggestions from the Bible and then we're done my first suggestion is to ask the Holy Spirit to purify and change our hearts you see Jesus said Matthew 12 verse 34 out of the abundance of the what say it the heart the mouth speaketh in other words the reason that you and I slander people with our mouths is because we're already slandering them first in our hearts that's what Jesus is saying and what comes out of our mouth is just the symptom the real disease is what's in our hearts about people and so my first suggestion is that we ask God to purify how we're thinking about certain people and how we're feeling about certain people in our hearts believe me friends if our hearts get purer our mouths will follow yeah number two my second suggestion is simply talk less James said it he said let every one of you be quick to hear slow to what to speak Proverbs 10 19 where there are many words sin is unavoidable but he who restrains his lips is wise hey I got to tell you something folks I have never regretted something I didn't say but I sure have regretted a bunch of stuff I did say you know what just talk less because have you been in these conversations where the more people talk it starts out okay the conversation starts out fine but everybody keeps talking and talking and talking and talking and talking until somebody says something and then everybody goes well I'll tell you how to avoid that just shut up sooner it's just that simple don't keep it going like that talk less and listen more finally my third suggestion is decide that with God's help when we do speak we're gonna say only those things that honor God and build people up we're gonna be deliberate about this Ephesians 4 29 says let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth he said well I don't cuss but that's not what this talking about just I mean that's good I'm good I'm happy you shouldn't but look what it goes on to say but only that which is good for building others up the unwholesomeness of what Paul's talking about here is not cursing it's about ripping people down with our words we should make it our deliberate goal that every conversation you and I walk away from we leave behind us the sweet aroma of harmony and peace and unity with the people that we walk away from but we've got to be deliberate about that you know before Woodrow Wilson became president of the United States and by the way he was a wonderful Christian he was the president of Princeton University and he tells the story one day how he was sitting in a barbershop there in Princeton and the usual loud talk and profanity was going on in the barbershop when suddenly another customer walked in and here's what President Wilson said and I quote he said he sat in the chair next to me and every word he uttered showed a personal and vital interest in the man who was serving him after the man left Wilson says I lingered in the barbershop in the room and observed the effect that his words had made upon the barbers Wilson says they talked quietly in undertones they did not know the man's name but they knew his words had elevated their thoughts and as I left that barbershop I felt as though I was leaving a place of worship end of quote that man who walked in the barbershop and sat down next to Wilson was named Dwight L Moody the famous evangelist and what you need to know is that Moody is a young man when he first came to Christ had made a commitment to God that from that point on in his life every conversation he ever got in he was going to use his mouth he was going to use his tongue and his words to seek to glorify God now I got to tell you God really convicted me on this this week maybe I'm preaching to myself and you don't need this but he really laid it on me this week that had way too often way too often I allow my mouth to say things that dishonor God and that tear down people and that this is just evil and it's just sin and it's just wrong and so this week I committed myself going forward a new to changing this to trying to only say those things that build people up and that promote harmony among people and unity among people and to try to say those things that bring hope to people and encouragement to people and strength to people and point them to God and to his love for them and to not allow my mouth to say things that do the opposite of this and in light of what God has said to us from his word I want to invite you to join me in making this kind of commitment I want to invite you to say Lord my mouth is my worst enemy and by the grace of God I'm gonna do what moody did I'm gonna make a commitment with your help from this day forward I'm gonna use my mouth to glorify God to the best of my ability let's pray together I hope that you can do that Lord Jesus what a privilege it is that you give us the ability to speak and Lord we know that you gave us that ability that we might use it for the glory of God and so Lord I pray that you would forgive me for the many times I use my mouth differently and that you would forgive all of us here for that I pray that you would grip our hearts today with the need to use our tongues in a way that honors you and in a way that blesses other people and that every conversation we get into this week that we would be thinking about this deliberately father I also pray you'd work in our hearts and clean them up from the sinful ways we think and feel about other people Lord we need a great work of your spirit on our hearts and on our mouths and I'm so grateful that you're bigger than our hearts and you're bigger than our mouths and that you can change them both so father please begin that work in me deepen that change in me and do the same for all of us here I pray who know you and love you starting today and we ask these things in Jesus name and God's people said amen you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 15:09:14 / 2023-06-11 15:18:17 / 9

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