James Chapter 3
James has given to us many things that are necessary once we are saved.
James has taught us how we can live in the victory of Jesus.
James has taught us that we should love without discrimination.
James has taught us how to be dependable servants.
Today James will teach us how powerful our words can be.
We should clearly understand that the same faith that saves us from the eternity of Hell, will also produce good works after salvation.
Not only are we to live by following the ways of Jesus Christ, we are to also weigh our words to others wisely.
We must listen to what the Word of God teaches and God’s Inspired Word will bring us to the right kind of “faith”!
No amount of works can ever produce “saving faith”.
And, the wrong “faith” will never produce “good godly works”.
James continues with this theme in our lesson today.
*****Jas 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
James is still speaking to our brothers and sisters in Christ as he continues.
That word “masters” in this verse means, an instructor or a teacher.
Teaching is a gift of God.
1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, “thirdly teachers”, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
We should note that this gift of teaching is not the same as a talent but comes only after salvation.
Some people truly have the a talent to teach and God will make use of such people in some way.
This gift of teaching in verse 1, is the gift that comes by the Holy Spirit after salvation and it must be done for the glory of God.
Every preacher will also be a teacher, but not many teachers will ever be preachers which is a special calling from God!
Every teacher must have a great interest in the Word of God and must be willing to study God’s Word.
Every teacher must fully believe the Word of God!
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Every teacher must be apt to teach:
2Ti 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2Ti 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
James says there will not be many teachers because God will condemn that teacher who does not teach the Word of God according to it’s truth.
At the judgment-seat of Christ, God will require more from teachers than from others!
This chapter of James is more about the teacher and the preacher than it is about the believer.
Each believer must know these things in order to know the truth when they hear it!
The study of the Bible is for every believer!
*****Jas 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
There is not one single preacher or teacher who can walk so closely to God that he never stumbles.
There is not one single preacher or teacher who will never say something that will not be offensive to someone.
And God’s Word will always offend the non-believer in many ways.
There are no perfect preachers nor teachers and there are no perfect believers!
The lesson for us all is, that through the Word of God, we can learn to be in control of our entire body.
No man can live without sinning against God and in many things we will offend all who listen to our words.
It is the Word of God that must be our bridle!
*****Jas 3:3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
Horses are without man’s understanding. Horses are strong animals and would be unruly unless bits and bridles were put into their mouths.
A good use of the bit will have a great influence on the attitude of this animal!
God tells us that we must not be like the horse:
Psa 39:1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
A good use of the Word of God will also have a great influence on our attitudes.
*****Jas 3:4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
Ships are a very large and would drift endlessly without direction if not for the small rudder. To control the helm is to control the direction of the ship.
The tongue is to the rest of our body as the rudder is to a mighty ship.
The New Testament Church is that mighty ship on the open ocean, tossed to and fro when driven by Satan’s temptations, and the world’s persecution, ready to be carried away by false doctrine.
But the Church can be directed on the right path, when those in it control of their tongues and preach and teach the truth of the Word of God!
When we walk in the Word of God, we are going in the right direction!
*****Jas 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
The tongue is one of the smallest parts of our body but can be the largest troublemaker that we have!
As Christians we are to control our tongues!
We are to keep our speech truthful:
Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
We are to keep our speech gracious:
Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
We are to keep our speech serious:
Eph 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
We are to keep our speech relevant:
Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
We are to keep our speech courageous:
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
We are to keep our speech corrective:
Tit 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
And we must keep our speech purposeful:
Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
We must always be ready to speak the Word of God!
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
When the Word of God is on our tongue then foolish people will come to know the truth of Our God!
Psa 37:30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
Pro 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
When we just boast of great things, the fires of sin will be kindled.
*****Jas 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
It can be said that our words are the expression of our thoughts and our thoughts are the revelation of our character.
The spoken word can be a weapon or it can be a thing of peace.
Because of this we need to exercise complete control over our tongue.
The tongue can be a fire.
When our words inflame others we leave from controlling of our tongues to become part of that same flame.
Our tongue must be treated as any other part of our bodies in which we have complete control.
We control our arms and legs and we need to control our tongue.
It does not matter how much good work for the Lord we have done with our bodies, our tongue can ruin our testimony!
The Greek word used here for our English word “Hell” is “Gehenna”.
This word appears 12 times in the New Testament and by it’s meaning is “the fire of Hell”, the “everlasting fire” and “eternal punishment”.
Of those 12 times the Lord Jesus Christ used this word 11 times and in James is the only other occurrence of this word.
The tongue can be a world of iniquity when it is set on the fire of Hell!
Every fire begins with a small flame but every flame that that is fanned can grow until it consumes everything it it’s path!
Sin is exactly the same!
Sin begins with a simple thought but when the flames of sin are fanned then that sin will grow until it has consumed the entire body, the soul, and our entire being.
Hell is itself a world of iniquity and there is no deliverance from Hell once you are there!
We are all sinners that can only be saved by the “Grace of God”!
So inside this body of flesh we are still full of depravity, and unfaithfulness.
Hell is exactly the same!
All those that will inhabit Hell will be there by choice because they have refused to accept the eternal presence of God made available only through God’s sacrificial love by Jesus Christ!
There is no deliverance from Hell beyond the grave but there is a deliverance on this side of the grave by our faith in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ!
A true Christian will have some control of his own tongue just as he will in all of the actions of his body.
*****Jas 3:7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
Jas 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
James, by the Holy Spirit, is teaching us that if the actions of our “faith” in the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot control the actions of our flesh, including our tongue, then our faith that is lacking.
Every animal on the face of this Earth can be tamed except maybe the sheep.
The sheep is a dumb but peaceable animal that will always be in need of a shepherd to keep from becoming lost which is why God chose to come as a Shepherd for His Own lost sheep which we are.
In the act of salvation, God delivers us from deceitful tongues.
Psa 120:2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
If we then continue with our own lying lips and our own deceitful tongues, how can we say we have been delivered?
When we have been delivered we will have the proper tongue:
Psa 126:2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.
It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that our tongue can be tamed!
*****Jas 3:9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Even though we are scarred by thousands of years of sin, we should not ever forget, that all humans were created in the image of God.
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
We need to acknowledge ourselves as God’s “created beings” and respect that every human being are also part of God’s special creation.
God is still a “whosoever will come” God!
Even the most depraved sinner can still be “Born Again” into that image of God!
Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
God’s new man will then be changed!
*****Jas 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
When we can come into God’s house and worship Him and offer Him praise and then leave God’s house and speak as the world speaks, then we must question our salvation!
The Apostle Paul gave us these words:
Rom 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, “but not according to knowledge”.
Rom 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, “have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God”.
Words are very powerful and almost everyone has been harmed by words from time to time.
If we say we love God then we cannot also not love God’s created beings and all of God’s creation.
To believe in any part of evolution is to not believe the Word of God!
We seem to always forget that God will first judge the Church before He will judge this world we live in!
James gives us some examples.
*****Jas 3:11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
This question has an obvious answer. A spring of water from the ground will either be sweet or bitter, it cannot be both.
So it is with the believer.
Holiness cannot come from a heart that is unholy!
*****Jas 3:12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
All the way back in the Book of Genesis, God says that each plant and animal can only reproduce after it’s own kind.
We can see that James clearly understood Creation was an act of God.
Just as a fig tree cannot bear olives and a fountain cannot yield both salt and fresh water, there is something wrong with a man’s mouth that can worship God and curse his brothers and sisters in Christ and any other human being!
When our hearts are with with God, then our tongues will be right in every circumstance!
Where did James learn these things? From his half-brother, Our Lord Jesus.
Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
We should be able to see a Christian before he ever speaks and when he speaks it should only confirm what we have seen.
Christianity is an inward principle practiced by living holy and sound speech.
When we are filled with the Spirit of God our heart and our mouth will react in the wisdom of Jesus Christ.
Heb 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, “the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name”.
*****Jas 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Wisdom signifies the knowledge, the lovingkindness and the fear of the Lord.
Psa 107:43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.
Why are these things so important? Let’s ask Daniel.
Dan 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, “thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words”.
When we do all these things in the ways of the Lord and through the Holy Spirit can control not only our tongues but our entire body, then God will hear our words and He will come to us in our prayers.
Why should we pass up this tremendous blessing?
The lack of Godly wisdom will surely open the door for the Devil.
Our conversation will reflect our style of life!
*****Jas 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
Jas 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
Jas 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Envy is the mother of strife.
Envy is the source of all errors in our doctrine.
Envy is a desire for our own fame and will cause us to act on impulse.
Envy can poison the Church.
All these things were part of our “Old Man” before salvation.
Mat 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
When we boast of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and these things still come from our mouths then we are lying against the truth of the Gospel!
We must understand there is no wisdom of this world that can lead us in the ways of God.
It is God’s Word that must be our road map to glory!
1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
Worldly wisdom is of the world, the flesh, and of the Devil.
Worldly wisdom is humanistic and will most always lead to envy and strife.
Envy and strife will always lead to confusion and then to the evil work of Satan.
Our “New Man” must be centered on Christ Jesus!
1Co 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
1Co 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
*****Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
What are the pillars of wisdom?
True wisdom comes from above.
Pro 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
1) God’s wisdom is first pure. This is not only the first thing on the list but without the “pure wisdom of God” none of these other things will amount to anything.
We also must begin in purity:
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
2) God’s wisdom is peaceable. We must make allowances for others. We must not only love peace but we must bring peace while keeping in mind that purity comes before peace.
Peace at any price is not worth having. We must stand on the Word of God!
1Pe 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1Pe 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
3) God’s wisdom brings with it gentleness. A Christian should always be a gentleman. We will always have to make allowances for others.
Php 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
4) God’s wisdom is easy to be intreated. God is reasonable. SO, We must be just, not unjust. We must yield to the things of God. We must believe the things of God. When we can give in to all the things of God we will be easy to live with.
Remember what we learned from the 1st chapter of this book.
Jas 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
5) God’s wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits.
To be full of something is to be controlled by it. When we follow God’s mercy we will also be full of mercy.
Luk 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
And everyone that is faithful should also be fruitful!
We are not walking worthy of the Lord unless we are fruitful!
Col 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
6) God’s wisdom is without partiality. We must look on every human as a special creation of God in His own image. We must remember God has a purpose for each of His created beings.
We must look into the heart of each individual just as God does. We must not be swayed by outward appearances.
Jas 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
7) God’s wisdom is without hypocrisy. There will not be one hypocrite in Heaven!
We cannot be hypocrites in our relationship with God, and we cannot be hypocrites in our relationships with other individuals.
We absolutely cannot pretend to be something we are not!
We must be sincere in our worship of God and we must be sincere in our relationships with others.
Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Righteousness is the product of the wisdom that comes down from above!
*****Jas 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
The theme of our lesson is “speaking wisely”.
There is a great difference between man-made results and God-given fruit!
Our fruit must be the product of our lives for the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we share the fruit of God with others, then they can be fed and they can also produce good fruit.
We must see the connection between what we say and what we say we are!
When our hearts are right with God, then the Holy Spirit can control our lives and the fruit of the Spirit will produce good fruit from good works!
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.