Words and Wisdom. James 3

Words and Wisdom. James 3

February 25, 2024

Handout for Sermon: WORDS AND WISDOM. February 25th, 2024, Manchester                                                                                          How self-disciplined are you? James 3:1-18 A lesson in Spiritual maturity.

Introduction: As followers of Christ over time it is expected of us to mature spiritually. Unless we push ourselves there is a danger of a lack of progress. The Book of James was provided unto us by the Holy Spirit to challenge us and even convict us in areas where we may be falling short.  This epistle is provided for our spiritual growth and maturity.

Sometime ago I preached 3 lessons from the book of James. Lessons were provided from the James chapter 1 and chapter 2.  In those lessons we challenged our faith and our endurance (James 1:1-16). We also challenged how we listen to the word of God and if we were consistence in doing what God teaches (James 1:17-26). Then we studied further into James 2:1-13 where we noticed God’s warnings about being prejudice or a respecter of person. In my last lesson from James 2:14-25 we tested our faith to see if it could possibly be dead or in danger of dying.  In our study today of James chapter 3 we will see what additional things God reveals as necessary for our spiritual growth and maturing.

Lesson:  Our hearts are vital to proper Christ-like behavior. Unless our heart is in the right place we will not mature properly and there is a danger to our own soul and we can behave in a manner that will damage other people and their soul.  Mark 12:30-31 clearly states that we are to love God completely and we are to love others as ourselves. So, our hearts are at the core of our Christianity. Matthew 15:8 Teaches that the words we speak come from our hearts. In Philippians 4:8 God places the responsibility for how or what we think upon our own heart and our own thoughts! We are in charge and in control! Let us dive into James chapter 3 and learn about the connection between our words and our wisdom.

This chapter can be divided into two sections.

  • Verse 1-12 Words – The need for Christians to control their tongue.
  • Verse 13-16 Wisdom – The need for Christians to use wisdom in our speech.

1.CHRISITANS ARE EXPECTED TO EDIFY, ENCOURAGE AND BUILD UPOur speech is a manifestation of the heart and our feelings. God is very concerned about our speech. What we say and how we say it are equally important. God warns us about the possibility of a stricter judgment because of the great influence our words can have upon other people (James 3:1). Jesus clearly taught we are to be light and salt in the world. We need to consider our speech or our tongue in reference to the influence you and I have upon other people.

Have you ever considered that your words could be the determining factor in whether another person is interested in Jesus Christ or is turned away from Christ?  Romans 2:23 “You who boast in the law do you dishonor God by breaking the law?” Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 23:3 “therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” Romans 2:21-23 “you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?”

God teaches us to consider our words and how they will impact others. This can be a tough thing to do but that is what God expects of us. Maybe this is why James earlier taught us “to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger”, James 1:19.  We must not take this lightly.

Scripture: Ephesians 4: 15-16, 29-31, Colossians 4:6, 1 Timothy 4:12, Romans 15:2, 2 Corinthians 13:10

What about the tongue? James 3:1-10 The tongue is a spiritual gauge and reflects our maturity. The tongue can also be a steering mechanism in our lives and used to our own and other’s benefit. (Such as the ships rudder and the horse’s bridle.) Our tongue has an influential aspect, it can bless and it can destroy, much like fire. Finally, our tongue reveals to ourselves and others if we are mature enough to guard and protect our own integrity. Our tongues will actually reveal our wisdom or lack of wisdom.

A warning of being inconsistent. James 3:11-12 We can claim that we are godly and good but if evil, mean, and hateful words fall from our lips we know that the problem is our own heart! God brings this to our attention by mentioning a spring of water or a fig tree.

How wise are you actually?  James 3:13-18. God speaks of only two types of wisdom! We need to examine ourselves and decide if ours is godly or earthly. If you lack wisdom and want to grow in proper wisdom, what is God’s message to you? Read James 1:5. Please notice the words God associates with wisdom from above (Godly or spiritual) and wisdom from below (earthly or demonic).

Proverbs 4:23-25, Proverbs 8:1 & 6-9. Proverbs 10:18-21, Proverbs 13:2-3, Proverbs 14:2-3, Proverbs 15:1-7, Proverbs 18:5-8, 21, Proverbs 20,19-20, Proverbs 21:23, Proverbs 22;11

Conclusion: True followers of Jesus Christ are people who will understand the power of the tongue. They will consider what they say and how they speak.  God describes His people as “vessels” to be filled. In Galatians 5:22-23 we are commanded to be filled with the fruit of the spirit. These attributes ruling in our hearts will secure good, sound and encouraging speak from our lips.