Monday, April 03, 2006

Scattered thoughts on James 3:2-5a

The Power of the Tongue
James 3:2-5a

-In verse 2 James continues to write about the importance of controlling the tongue.
-Here we see just how important it is for us to guard our speech.
Matthew 12:33-37:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the
tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

I. The proper use of the power of the tongue (vs. 2).

a. We all stumble in many ways.

-By saying this James’ exhorts us to meekness. It is so much easier to forgive other’s sin when we remember our own sin.
-Both in various ways, and very often.
-We are also less likely to put ourselves in a place of temptation when we understand our propensity towards sin. If we understand our problem with lust then we will not put ourselves in a situation where we will be alone with a girl. Or, if we understand our problem with using careless word we will not fill our minds with music, movies, or TV that is full of careless words.
-There is nothing that will help inhibit pride like a biblical anthropology.
-When James says that we all stumble he includes even himself; this problem of spiritual failure is common to all without exception.
-2:10. We are all guilty of the entire law.
-We are all sinners and to think differently is to deceive ourselves (I Jn 1:8; 10).
-Man’s problem is not a lack of self-esteem, but rather a view too high of himself.

b. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man… Able to bridle to the whole body as well.

-James is either speaking hyperbole when he says the perfect man, or he is speaking of the same result that he spoke of in 1:4.
-uses of teleios in James: 1:4a; 1:4b; 1:17; 1:25; 2:8; 2:22; 5:11. It is completeness and maturity, not the absence of sin.
-This is the goal of all Christians. We should all be working toward this end.
-“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” –Abraham Lincoln
-We must overcome the tendency of the mouth to stay closed when it would be more profitable for it to be closed.
-We must follow the example that Christ set for us when he controlled his tongue at the most crucial of moments: 1 Peter 2:21-23.
-If we can just control the tongue, which is prone to sin, then everything else will follow. If the Holy Spirit has control of the most volatile part of our being, how much more susceptible will the rest of our lives be to His control?
-This ability to restrain the tongue, and consequently the body, comes through the Spirit (who works through the word of God).
-Instead of sinning with our tongues we must, with James, admit our sins. It is when we can do this that we will find forgiveness through Christ (I John 1:9).

II. Illustrations of power of the tongue (vs. 3&4).

a. Horse.

-A horse can be controlled through the use of the bit. This comparatively small instrument, when placed in the mouth, enables the master to control its movements.
-Controlling the horse’s mouth controls the head which in turn controls the body.
-The bit lies on top of the horse’s tongue.
-Even the most gentle of horses, that have been rode for many years, are virtually uncontrollable without bits in their mouths

b. Ship.

-The largest ships in James’ day would have paled in comparison with the mega-ships that we have today. The ship that Paul sailed on when he was transported to Rome held 276 people on it.
-The point is not the size of the ship; the point is the size of the ship in comparison with the rudder.
- “Loose lips sink ships.”

IV. The danger of the power of the tongue (vs. 5a).

a. The tongue is a small part of the body… Yet it boasts of great things.

-Like the illustrations of the horse and the ship the tongue is small in comparison to the body, but it has great control over it.
-Like the WWII slogan looses lips can sink lives.
-Proverbs 18:6-7; 26:19
-Man’s natural tendency is to boast and to have too high a view of themselves. This is why James began these verses with an exhortation to humility.
-People will always talk about what is important to them. How many times do you use the word “I” in a conversation?

c. What our tongue should be saying: Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

-In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we get a great picture of what we should be talking about.
-Two of the most important resources in an army during NT times would have been the cavalry, and the navy. A cavalry with not bits and a navy with no rudders would have been useless.
-We must not be like a horse with no bit, or a ship with no rudder. We must let God’s word be the bit on our tongue and the rudder that guides our lives. When we are doing this our lives will be useful to God, and we will be mature and able to control our bodies.


Blogger Morgan said...

Congratulations... I really have nothing else to say, haha.

4/4/06 2:15 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home