Join us this Friday from 7:30-9:30pm at the Family Christian Centre, 160 Dickins Drive in Thickwood, for an evening of worship, bible teaching, and fellowship with other students from around the city!
Click here for directions!
Note that the gathering times are slightly different than usual. There will be snacks and drinks provided, and Pastor Asa will be sharing a short Bible teaching.
Session Six | James 3:1-12
Big Idea: Words are powerful! Do yours help or harm?
Key Verse: “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” James 3:10
How do you help or harm people by what you say? The words we speak have so much power to effect other people, and it’s up to us whether we want to build someone up or tear them down. Think about the things people have said to you before. I’m sure there have been times you’ve felt crushed by someones words. But you also know what it’s like to have someone lift you up and show love and encouragement with their words!
How do you help or harm people by what you say?
James begins this chapter with a warning: if you are thinking about teaching others, remember that you will be held to a higher standard by God! Why do you think that is? Well we all know the power that comes with a position of leadership. When you are a teacher, many people listen to you and even change the way the think and act based on what you say. If you are not careful to teach the truth, you could seriously mess up the lives of many people. Especially when it comes to teaching the Bible!
Does that mean that this chapter is only for teachers? Think again. James goes on to address the entire topic of words. No matter who you are, you have a tongue. And that tongue is one of the most powerful parts of your body. James compares the tongue to a bit, a rudder, and a spark. These are small things that have huge influence. A bit controls the entire body of a horse. A rudder steers an entire ship. And a spark can set an entire forest on fire. James’ point is this: your tongue is powerful, how are you going to use it?
We’re saved by faith in Christ, but true faith will change the way we speak.
Now let’s keep in mind one very important truth. The things you do and the say are not what save you from your sin. Only God can save a person, and this happens when a person places their faith in Jesus Christ and what HE did and said. But God’s desire for our lives is to transform the things we do and say. At the end of this section in verse 12, James uses the illustration of fig trees and grape vines to teach us about our faith. For the sake of familiarity let’s imagine some trees that are a little more common to us. Can an orange tree produce bananas? Can a rosebush produce oranges? No! In the same way, someone who truly follows God cannot continue to speak like they did before they trusted in him. We all make mistakes and will continue to make mistakes until the day we die, but something should be different.
What’s the importance of this passage? James wants his readers to understand that their faith can only be real and effective if it can be proven through their words and actions. Why would anyone want to follow Jesus if the people who claim to follow him don’t act any differently than the world? We must live according to what we say we believe. Thankfully there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ for all the wrong we’ve ever done, and strength through his Spirit for all the good that he wants to do for others through us. Let’s be people who act and speak in a way that causes others to want to follow Jesus!
Live It Out
- Memorization: Learn James 3:9-10. This isn’t your normal type of memory verse, but it might prove helpful in real-life situations.
- Stop-Phrase: When you find yourself speaking badly about someone, stop – in mid-sentence if you need to. Find a phrase to run through your mind in those cases. Maybe it’s James 3:9-10. Maybe it’s just “This should not be.” Or maybe it’s a more positive statement like “Bless the Lord, O my soul” or the prayer from Psalm 19:14.
- Encouragement: Think of three people you can encourage this week, and do so. Be as specific as possible. Can you bolster their confidence or their faith?
- Thanks: Who has encouraged you in the past? Who has spoken words into your life that truly helped you? Can you find them and thank them for that?
- Media Fast: Many of us learn unkind habits of communication from talk radio, cable news, or online videos. If this is a problem for you, engage in a “fast,” abstaining from those media sources for a period of time – perhaps the next seven days. Then re-evaluate.