Memory verses for this week:
148:5 Let them praise
the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
Psa 148:6 He
hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree
which shall not pass.
In chapter 2 of James, we found that we are to treat all men
and women the same. A
poor person and a rich person should be treated equally.
We also discussed how we should treat others as we want to be
treated, and that our works should always be present to prove our
salvation. In chapter
3, we will be studying how we can use the tongue for both good and
Power of Small Things
3:1 My brethren, be not
many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater
3:2 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.
The term masters here seems to mean teachers.
We know that the teacher has a greater responsibility than
the pupil, and should know what he or she is teaching.
Verse 2 says that if we offend not in words, we are perfect
does not mean that we are without sin, but it means we are mature.
Perhaps the most difficult perfection to obtain is in
reference to our tongue.
James tells us that it is harder to do right in talking than
in anything else. If
we can control how we speak, we can control the whole body.
3:3 Behold, we put bits
in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about
their whole body.
3:4 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.
3:5 Even so the tongue
is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a
matter a little fire kindleth!
James uses three illustration of small things and their
A bridle used for a horse is a small thing, yet with that
bridle a person can guide
the horse wherever he desires.
He uses the helm of a big ship as an example.
A helm is a little instrument that makes a large ship go in
any direction desired.
Verse 5 uses the example of the little fire that could burn
up great things. The
tongue is like this.
The tongue is very powerful, and can be used to do a lot of
good. It can be used to
teach right things to people. However,
if used wrongly, it can be like a fire that destroys much. A few wrong words can destroy more in a few moments than the
church can build up in a year.
The lost person can be greatly hindered from being saved by
wrong words. If
we want progress for our church (and our personal lives), we must
learn to use right words, and never use those that hurt or destroy.
Christians can be hindered because some one said something
that they should not have spoken.
These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an
abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be
swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth
discord among brethren.
Verse 19 says that God hates the man who sows discord among
nothing hurts the harmony in a church than a brother or sister with
a loose tongue that uses it to demean and hurt fellow church
unwise or unkind word spoken may be the beginning of big trouble
that may cause strife and division in the church.
This is not God’s will for the church.
2 Cor 13:11
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort,
be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall
be with you.
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same
love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on
the things of others.
The Impossibility of Man Taming the Tongue
3:6 And the tongue is a
fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that
it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of
nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
An unruly tongue defiles the whole body, and can set on fire
the course of nature. Satan
uses the tongues of men to accomplish his purposes.
J. Vernon McGee said this about the tongue.
The tongue is like
a fire; when it is under control, it is a blessing; when it is out
of control, it is devastating. It can be a cure, or it can be a
curse. In Proverbs 12:18 we read, “There is that speaketh like the
piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” The
tongue can be like a sword that kills, but it also can be health
itself. What a picture this is of the tongue! Again in Proverbs we
read, “The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge:
but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness” (Prov. 15:14).
me repeat the proverb I quoted a little earlier: “Thou art master
of the unspoken word, but the spoken word is master of you.” If
you haven’t said it, you cannot be held responsible, but once
you’ve said it, it can condemn you. I have learned through
personal experience that a slip of the tongue (especially if it’s
made on a radio broadcast which is heard by many) can have great
repercussions. You remember that Simon Peter’s tongue betrayed
him, and he denied that he knew his Lord. But on the Day of
Pentecost, what was it that the Lord used? It was the tongue of that
blundering, stumbling, bumbling fellow, Simon Peter. The tongue can
be either a curse or a cure.
Brush and forest fires scorch and blacken and are a plague.
Like a fire, the tongue can burn through a church, burn through a
community, burn through a town, and even burn through a nation. 
3:7 For every kind of
beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is
tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
3:8 But the tongue can
no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
3:9 Therewith bless we
God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made
after the similitude of God.
3:10 Out of the same
mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things
ought not so to be.
The wild beasts, birds, serpents, and animals of the sea have
been tamed by man. However,
even though we can tame wild animals, he is not able to tame the
tongue. James says the
tongue is an unruly member that is full of deadly poison.
We sometimes use it to bless God, and then turn and use it to
curse men. These
things should not be in the life of a Christian.
Nature shows Only One Thing from a Plant
3:11 Doth a fountain
send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
3:12 Can the fig tree,
my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no
fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
A fountain that brings forth sweet water does not suddenly
bring forth bitter. The
fountain is consistent. Fig
trees bring forth figs, as a berry vine brings forth berries.
They do not bring forth some other type of fruit.
In man, we may bring forth both good and bad, and this is not
pleasing in God’s sight.
The Wisdom From Above
3:13 Who is a wise man
and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good
conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
3:14 But if ye have
bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not
against the truth.
A wise man is a man of faith. He is one that is subject to the leadership of the Holy
Spirit, and has a teachable spirit about him or her.
A wise person will manifest true spiritual state by good
behavior. Their speech
will be with meekness of wisdom.
3:15 This wisdom
descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
3:16 For where envying
and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
3:17 But the wisdom
that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy
to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality,
and without hypocrisy.
3:18 And the fruit of
righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Two wisdoms stand out in vivid contrast.
One that is of the earth and one that is of heaven.
The earthly wisdom is of the world and is according to
nature. It produces
envy, strife, lack of restfulness, and every other unholy work.
In contrast, the wisdom that comes from heaven is the fulness
of wisdom found in Christ. Only those who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have this
wisdom is pure, peaceable, and gentle.
We need to keep in mind that a tongue controlled by divine
grace and can be a mighty instrument
to be used for good. A
tongue that is used by Satan can do a world of harm.
How will you use your tongue in this upcoming year? I pray we will all let God guide us by the leadership of the
Holy Spirit and bring honor to God in so doing.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness.
Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.