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December 2, 2020 7:00 am
Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of convincing evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically.
I don't know if you're at all like I am after our days start a such as we did on the verses that come at the end of the second chapter of James about the need for works if there's true faith. I kind of wish that James the author would go on and talk about something spiritual, it's like he's been to personal into detailed and I would like a nice theological discussion about the nature of God or why fire engines have to make noise as they do in Philadelphia on Sunday evening. Maybe I should talk about fire engines for a few minutes got away. We read something practical and it seems it's all we can do to focus our attention on it for a few minutes.
Then we wish we could just retreat back into the safety of the theological are the spiritual what we want to do is what the woman of Samaria. When Christ got too close to her know-how.
He began a conversation with her and asked her at one point to go call her husband, knowing full well she wasn't really married, but was living with a man she replied somewhat evasively so I have no husband and he let the truth out saying that is true that you have no husband and the one that you're living with now is not your husband. That was just about as practical as she wanted to be.
So she launched into a theological discussion set off half her. I perceive that you are a prophet.
Now if you're a prophet. Perhaps you could answer this theological question that is been troubling me for some time. I want to know where a person should worship should we worship here in Samaria.
The priests of Garrett seems say or should we worship in Jerusalem as you Jews insist there wasn't any chance in the world she was going down there to Jerusalem to worship, but nevertheless that was the kind of question she wanted him to deal with and he began to lead her into an understanding of a relationship with him.
I think that's what we do when we come to a subject like that faith and works and the insistence that James makes upon works. We wish we could retreat off somewhere theologically instead of that, James focuses then on what is probably the most practical section of the entire book for most of us, he talks about is the tongue. The need for tone control because of the damage that unbridled speech can do later on he is going to talk about the rich.
He's going to say very harsh words to them. Most of us don't have to worry about that too much, but here he talks about home control all there is something that we have a problem with absolutely every day of our lives, we tend to make light of it.
We are caught saying something that we shouldn't say somebody rebukes his formats and what we replied. We say all I didn't mean it. I was just joking. As if simply to say that we are joking make something all right or we say well it's true. Sometimes I'm rather outspoken. That's my nature. I inherited from my father, but at least I'm no hypocrite. That's decided because were not a hypocrite were all right doing the other things. It reminds me of the prostitute who said I don't smoke I don't drink in two out of three isn't bad. Say we try to justify one crime by the fact that we don't commit another James won't have any of that right here at the very heart of the book and some of the most direct language he has speaks of this problem that we all have and says we have to conquer it. If we really to be God's people. What's the problem really spells it out very nicely and the first thing he says is that although the tongue is small. It is very very effective, effective either for good or for evil rethinking history of man who, by the force of their speech virtually ruled nations.
One of the great orators of ancient times also be awnings of Athens was noted for his speech. It was said that when he spoke he could get the people to do anything. Eventually they got rid of him.
They had to go to Sparta because from the point of view of the authorities. He was so dangerous become the modern times we can think of a person like Churchill who literally rallied the nation of England to the great task they had opposing forces of Hitler's Germany same time, however, when we talk about Winston Churchill and his acknowledged oratorical ability.
We think on the other side of the channel of Hitler himself and his oratorical ability and the way you use that lead his nation and the militarism and the period of time. Virtually enslave Europe under the powers of the axis more machine see in history we have the very demonstration of the things that James is saying uses three illustrations to make a very graphic undoubtedly learn this way of teaching from the Lord always used illustrations drawn from life, he says, look up bridal is a very small thing to put it in the horses mouth. But although it's small, it controls the horse again.
He says a runner of the ship was a very small thing when you turn it it directs the whole motion of the ship or again, he says the fire at the beginning can be a very small thing, just a tiny spark yet is quite capable for the spark to set an entire forest on fire and bring destruction.
I think over those images. It seems to me that he saying something different with each one that we doesn't spell it out in great detail when he talks about horses talking about a creature of strength.
He saying strength is a good thing but strength has to be controlled and we can have a great deal of strength for a great deal of deal of influence, but the direction in which that is used is going to be determined somewhat by the way we use our time again when he talks about the ship, he speaks of something as valuable something that transports people in merchandise yet the rhetorician operating correctly that merchandise may be transported, but to the wrong destination. It doesn't get where it's supposed to go no doubt what he speaks of a fire he comes closest to what he really wants to say because when he speaks of a fiery speaking of something destructive and he saying an uncontrolled tongue is a very very destructive thing we think of course of a person like Hitler and it's obvious to see the destruction that he caused.
We don't see is the damage that we do as individuals simply by what we would call an untimely word or perhaps a not quite fair evaluation or perhaps a small slander which we would gladly correct.
If it were possible. We say those things we let those words fall from our lips with everything twice about them because they don't concern us. After all, we smoke them about somebody else.
The other person hears them. In some cases, damage is done. The last a lifetime remembered as I was thinking about this of the story the Dale Carnegie tells in his book how to win friends and influence people. One of Dale Carnegie's principles is that you should never say anything bad about anyone. He recalls one person, one.
Wounded him by very few words and not even verbally, but rather by a letter he had written the letter this person who we thought to be important with the manuscript in his early days, and because he was young he did something which is, he looks back on. It really was kind of foolish. He had received letters from important people in your noted down at the bottom of the letter sometimes contain the man's name and underneath his initials with a slant line. The initials of the secretary who would type the letter and then the little notation dictated by Mr. so-and-so but signed in his absence while he thought that was really rather very impressive. So as he sent the manuscript into this particular important individual. He put down at the bottom dictated by Mr. Carnegie was signed in his absence and that he signed his name while he got back to rejection but it was a very rude one man wrote back to him and said young man your impertinence is exceeded only by your falling well. Carnegie said he knew it was foolish. He shouldn't of done it with those words wounded them to the quick. Years later, 20 years later when he picked up a newspaper one day and read this man's name in the obituary column. There was something in his spirit rejoice with joy unspeakable see the damage that words can do. James is well aware of this undoubtedly by experience in the church of his day, and he calls us to reflect on it as he writes let me read the first verses, but many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we'll teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways the anyone is never at fault in what he says he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. Tongue also is a fire world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell on the first point which those verses make so clearly is that the Congo small is very effective either for good or for evil.
The second point James makes is that the tongue is on controllable. I'm really surprised that he says it that way. You would think that an apostle of the Lord thinking spiritually and all that God is able to do so would say well the tongue is very difficult to control, but it can be controlled.
No doubt the back of his mind.
He's well aware of that.
He wants us to think of the spiritual resources that are available to us that isn't what he says so much as he carried away by his knowledge of what damage the uncontrolled tongue can do that. He says the tongue is so bad that nobody anywhere, any place is ever been able to control it. Look all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed in the been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tone, the restless evil, full of deadly poison. I suppose it's possible to think there that he's thinking of other people's talks, he saying it's impossible to control other people. You can walk them up, they can still shout obscenities at you even though you throw them in the dungeon. You can intimidate them when you're in their presence. You can shout them down doesn't make him stop talking.
They will often talk about you behind your back, and they can do a great deal of damage. Maybe he's thinking of that. I suspect he's thinking of something far more personal because in the very next verse he goes on to say, including himself and all of those to whom he is writing with the tongue we praise our God and father, and with it we curse men. In other words, I think he's thinking of our inability to control our own times, and not merely our inability to control the tongues of other men and women at very serious if were confronted with such an impossibility. Obviously, what we need is the help of the God, for whom all things are possible.
Let me say one other thing about the tongue. James talks about it in verses 9 to 12. He says this activity of the tongue is least in the life of those who know God something which is contrary to nature says with the tong we praise our heavenly father we come to church.
We sit there on a Sunday morning or Sunday evening. We sing the hymns. Our hearts are lifted up. We sing all wanted great God we have a wonderful he is and then we go out of the church afterwards and say did you see so-and-so why when we were singing that him they weren't singing. I wonder what they were up to what we say you hear what I heard about so-and-so this morning why what they're doing that terrible. I mustn't tell anybody about of course don't you tell anybody unless of course you want to tell so-and-so, but at any rate, this is what it is.
James says that's an anomaly you'll find that in nature says look spring either sends forth clear good water artisans for saltwater you don't find the two mixed together because a fig tree always produces things he speaks of a vine which always produces grapes yet he says in the life of a Christian. Strangely enough, the case one who belongs to God and should speak the words of God is found speaking that which is destructive of other human beings explanation isn't hard to find. Of course comes from the fact that were still sinners, though say we still have an old nature the old nature is contrary to the things of God. It doesn't do what it ought to do.
As Paul so clearly says in Romans. Consequently, we need God's help and provision for our growth in this area. That's the problem what's the solution. While the solution is a solution. I've already intimated it strolled it with a man such a thing is impossible. Nevertheless, as Jesus said, with God all things are possible, though, you and I can control our time God by the power of his Holy Spirit within us can control to give you three principles that I think will help three steps to tongue control are based upon the fact that the tongue speaks with the mind thinks, therefore, to have tongue control them is first of all, be mind control, I think of that connection of Romans 12 verses one to these of the verses in Romans by which Paul begins the great practical section of the epistle, Paul doesn't mention speaking, false or true things with the tong in that particular section, but what he says in Romans 12 one and two certainly has bearing upon everything that follows what he says there is this rather than submit yourselves to God. Give yourselves to him in order that you might not be conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God.
Paul recognize that if anything good is to follow in our lives, we must first of all, be the transformation of our minds.
So we begin to think about is the world thinks and according to the world standards but is Christ things and according to Christ standards this he says is to be achieved in the first instance only as we surrender ourselves to God, you done that in your own life you said to God, I am not my own belong to you do with me as you wish. Here is my mind. Here's my talent here is anything else I possess.
These are yours. Use them make them over in the what you would have them be not done that you have and on the first step. If you have, then God will begin to use that to bring about the kind of discipline that you and I need and secondly Paul says in second Corinthians the 10th chapter verse five we have an obligation to bring every thought into obedience to Jesus Christ at the second step, first of all, we have presented ourselves so that all we have, including our minds is God's asking them to do with that as he wishes.
Then comes the practical point of translating that into practical obedience to Christ's teachings is no use saying, well, God here I am usually do anything you want and then we turn our back and say now I'm going to do what I want just doesn't work that way were serious about committing ourselves to Christ, that we must be serious about seeking out what Christ has said Mark Christ Lester obeying price and you're not obeying Christ unless you're paying particular attention to the things that he taught.
He said why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do the things that I say say there's something of discipline and obedience is as we begin to search the Scriptures to see what our Lord would have us do.
The way in which he would have us live and then actually set about to do that to obey it. It's in that way the Jesus himself through the power of his Holy Spirit begins to change our minds. We begin to think differently and as we begin to think differently. We begin to speak differently in this matter of tongue control becomes a reality as one more point, but only why must we control our tongue negatively so that we don't say things we ought not to say it was control our tongue positively.
So we say the things we ought to say God himself tells us that he hears what we say and takes note of it. I'm thinking of a verse that occurs toward the very end of the Old Testament in Malachi the third chapter where it says toward the end of that chapter verse 16 that those who knew the Lord met together and talked about them often and it says the Lord took note of it and wrote up their words in the scroll, which he held before see it's as sweet. Take these problems which God is given and use them in a disciplined way truly to praise them but with speech only, but with the mind that goes behind it. God blesses that speech he remembers it gives us the ability to be a blessing by that means with other people. Last section of this chapter deals with wisdom and I'm sure there's a connection to bridge portion of the book, because in the last verse, he speaks of peacemakers and peacemakers carries on the idea that he's going to begin to develop in chapter 4, but it's a bridge in that it's also a connection with what is gone before. It's as if James would ask this question. Who is the wise man among you, and then answer it.
One was able to control his tongue contrasts two kinds of wisdom here, the wisdom of the world that would seem Saul lives and so sophisticated before which the needs of this world by those who come to those who just seem overpowering in their brilliance and say all of only I could be like that yet a wisdom that's exercised.
According to the standards of the devil for personal and or he says that wisdom comes forth from God. The doesn't call a great deal of attention to itself, but is first of all your and peaceloving and considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. I think there's a very practical word here for those who are in academic institutions, particularly in the secular world and are challenged by the brilliance of this age very easy to be swept up by those who are apparently so brilliant to say all I wish I could be like that.
I wish I had a mind like that'll give me a wisdom like that I think of James were here, he wouldn't put down the knowledge of the secular world. Truth is truth wherever you find it, but he would say don't be too impressed by the wisdom asked this kind of question asked. First of all, what kind of fruit is the wisdom produced in the individuals personal life.
Is this a person. It was at peace as a person who is happy is as a person who has joy in that which he knows that which is able to do for others asked that question before your swept up with that kind of wisdom.
Secondly, I think he would say ask what that person is doing for other people because God's wisdom, he would say is the wisdom of Jesus Christ came and gave himself for us, not counting that which was his do a right to be held on to rather something he gladly relinquished in order that he might do good for others.
Jesus is our example Peter know it speaks about it. The second chapter of his first letter when he calls upon us to set Christ before our faces is our example, he says he is our example humbled himself and suffered showing how we to ought to live. I don't know how study can be more practical than that. I don't know how a study can be more terrifying than that we don't have the strength of God within the other hand, will look to God for that help what you provides then I don't know study that can be a greater blessing either here or in your homes or whatever you may be because God works through things like words to bless other people and made it abundantly. Christ sake, let us pray our father, we thank you for the screws bless them to our hearts give us the grace to live them out in practical ways. We ask it in the name of Christ to set that great example before us the name of Jesus. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.
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