James Chapter 3

April 4, 2014

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on James. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

James now starts talking about how the life of faith should impact our day to day living.

James 3:1-18 (NIV)
1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 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. 5 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. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a 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. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:1-18

Taming the tongue is one of the first challenges we deal with in a life of faith.
Let’s talk about the power of words.

James 3:8-12 (NIV)
8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

We can use our words to build people up, and we can use our words to tear people down. The power of words is an amazing thing. The childhood school yard saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a lie. Hurtful words can hurt a person for their entire lives. Many people have lived their entire lives under the oppression of words spoken to them that just weren’t true. Instead of being built up, they were told they were no good, would never amount to anything, that they were stupid.

We need to be aware of the power of our words and we need to use them to build up, to encourage, to bless. But just like learning to think, hear and see God’s way, we need to learn to use our Words the way God does.

James 3:3-5 (NIV)
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 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. 5 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.

We need to choose to use our words for good. We need to be ready bite your tongue.

Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Before you speak, ask yourself these quick questions:

1.) Is what I am saying true?

If it is not true, don’t say it. If you are not sure if it is true, don’t say it. And don’t pass it along in an email. Do you know that not everything that comes to you in an email is true? Try truth or fiction dot com.

2.) Is what I am saying helpful?

Are you speaking to build the person you are talking to up? Does it really need to be said? Please don’t ever start a sentence with, “I don’t mean to be rude, but”

3.) Is what I am saying loving?

Are your words loving? Are they motivated by love for the person you are talking too? If there is another motivation, anger, frustration, vengeance, bite your tongue.

What we need to be focusing on is speaking words of life.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)
25 An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.

Our words should bring life to people. Our words should encourage, inspire, calm, and sometimes challenge the people we are talking to. We are to speak the truth in love, always tempering our words with kindness and compassion, with grace and mercy. Even when it is necessary to try and correct someone, it should be done in an encouraging way, pointing up strengths and encouraging people to bring out their best. How are you using your words? To bring life, to encourage, to inspire, or to gossip, discourage, and deflate?

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