Sermon Reflections from Taming The Tongue | Alex Hardt | July 9, 2023
July 16, 2023
James is such a practical book as it is filled with advice and admonitions about how to live our best Christian life. A life where our walk and our talk line up with scripture and are pleasing to God. Pastor Alex took this Sunday to walk us through James Chapter 3 gleaning important truths for us to remember and put into practice.
James starts with the admonition to be careful if you are a teacher. At first glance most of us would say- I don’t teach. But all of us are teachers of spiritual truths by the way we speak and act. Our children, spouses, family and neighbors all hear and see our ‘teaching’ each and every day. I know James was talking about teaching spiritual truths and the need for them to be accurate so that we give out the Word of God correctly. We do not want to cause others to deliberately stumble by what we say and do. Take a few minutes and think about a spiritual truth- God is love, God desires us to be just and righteous in Christ, etc. How have others seen these truths in your life? Are you giving a true picture of Christ and His love? James reminds us that we need to be mindful of the messages we give to others and be sure they are aligned with scripture and show who God is.
Next James talks about the power of the tongue. It is a small member of our body but used improperly it can do great damage. We only have think about a time we said something to someone that was unkind or hurtful. I’m sure we have all experienced the repercussion of those types of remarks. Pastor Alex talked about the tongue being a container that we carry around with us that can greatly affect everyone and everything. He wanted us to remember that the power of the mouth has the ability to give life to those around us- positive, hope filled encouragement or to give death with putdowns, discouragement, slanderous, and even evil thoughts. We can praise God or curse God with the same tongue. It holds a lot of power and we need to be mindful of how and when we speak. When we are speaking ill of something, it is like using deadly poison or pouring gasoline on a fire. David describes a poisonous person in Psalm 140:1-3 “Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers; protect me from the violent,
2 who devise evil plans in their hearts
and stir up war every day.
3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s;
the poison of vipers is on their lips. I know we all agree with David that only the Lord can rescue us from such people and their vile tongues!
I love the way James 3 concludes. He talks about 2 kinds of wisdom. Wisdom from God and wisdom of the world. We know we cannot all be perfect but we can seek God’s help, wisdom and guidance to live as best we can for Him. He empowers us through His Holy Spirit to stand firm and resist the devil and his enticing desires. Worldly wisdom is described in James 3:14-15” 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, demonic.” Worldly wisdom causes strife, bitterness, selfish desires and untruth to grow in our lives. The root of this type of wisdom is unspiritual and of the devil. It is filled with evil desires and leads to chaos. The wisdom of God, by contrast, is described in James 3:17-18 “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 reap a harvest of righteousness.” God’s wisdom leads to peace, hope, living well with others, showing others about Jesus and His righteousness. What a contrast- chaos vs peace! Pastor Alex reminded us that God’s Wisdom produces good fruit. James calls it a ‘harvest of righteousness’. Isn’t that what we all truly desire?
So how do we get there?
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