Sunday Thought – Sunday 1st October 2017
“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 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. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 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. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” James 3:1-5
People have poked their tongue out at one person in particular, more than anyone else. THEIR DOCTOR! How many times have you visited your doctor and he has asked you to stick your tongue out? Because a doctor can tell a lot about your general health from your tongue.
Likewise James, in the New Testament, examines the TONGUE to get a picture of our spiritual health. What story does your tongue relate? We all at some time or other, offend others with our tongue. If we don’t, James tells us, we are PERFECT, but I very much doubt that I am speaking to any perfect people this morning. God declares each one of us IMPERFECT.
“If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man” James 3:2
“They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” Romans 3:12
First of all, James singles out BIBLE TEACHERS. (Masters) He tells his hearers that they shouldn’t desire to be a TEACHER of God’s word, without serious thought. Because a TEACHER of God’s word will have a much harsher judgment. We will be judged by what we teach others. If we teach things that are not true, we will bring judgment upon ourselves.
The office of BIBLE TEACHER (Ephesians 4:11) is one that I personally never wanted or asked for. It was God that called and led me into this avenue of service for Him. Because of this, I am very careful what I teach. I check everything out with God’s precious Word.
Not all Bible teachers are so careful unfortunately. The Bible makes this very clear.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
So we are urged not to desire to be a teacher without careful thought, because it involves using that little unruly member THE TONGUE.
We should always guard our TONGUE!. Words can be used to bless, heal, praise, encourage but also to hurt and deeply offend.
James goes on to show us how just a tiny thing, like our TONGUE can cause very big trouble. He uses the illustration of FIRE. Just striking a match can set a whole forest ablaze. An angry word, however justly caused, can split a whole congregation of God’s people. Gossip, even if the thing passed on is true, can sever relationships and friendships that may never be healed.
“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” Proverbs 18:8
The true believer, in these last days, should be using their tongues to BUILD UP, ENCOURAGE, and to spread the glorious GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should be warning folk today, in love, of the return of Jesus Christ. I urge you, and myself, to use the TONGUE for good. To allow our great God, by His Holy Spirit, to put His words into our mouths, and to speak to bring Him glory.
Forgiving one another will often calm a bad situation. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, we are all taught by Jesus to FORGIVE. Then there will be no temptation to use bad words and conversation that brings hurt to others.
Instead, use your TONGUE to praise our God!
“Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee” Psalm 63:3
Brotherly love…..Pastor Keith