“WHAT TO SAY, WHEN TO SAY IT” (James 3:13-18)
Series: JAMES July 2, 2017 10:30 AM
FBC Earlville, NY J B Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S SPECIAL: From the book, The Best Golf Stories Ever Told” – “Golf & The Parson”:
There is the story of the golfing parson who could not keep from swearing when the balls went wrong.
His friend told him, “Golf and the ministry don’t seem to go together. Take my advice before it’s too late, and give it up, Thomas.”
A few months later Thomas met his friend again.
“You were right, Jamie, “cried the parson cheerily, “they didn’t run well in harness; golf and the ministry. I have followed your advice, I have given it up.”
“Then what are you doing with that sack of clubs?” Inquired Jamie.
“What am I doing with them? Repeats the puzzled Thomas. Why I am going to play golf with them.” A light broke upon him. “Great Heavens man!” He continued, “ye didn’t think twas the golf I’d given up?”
INTRODUCTION This section in 3:13-18 is one of the classic New Testament passages on the subject, “wisdom”. But remember in our book outline, this chapter’s heading is “The Taming of the Tongue”? These verses are connected to the whole chapter! They are more than just a brilliant insight on wisdom. They are God’s wisdom on how His child should be taming his tongue! PRAYER
#1. THE RED FLAGS OF EARTHLY WISDOM (vs. 13-16)
a. Remember, James is trying to teach us the instruction, “how to build a church”. This section is teaching us “how NOT to build a church”!
b. True wisdom – a life lived for God – is seen by one’s tongue which is the evidence of the heart (v. 13)
c. See Proverbs 2:1ff. This is the Old Testament brilliant passage on how true wisdom is an evidence of one’s walk with the Lord.
d. James shares the red flags of a life not walking with God:
(1) Envy, selfish ambition, denying the truth (v. 14)
(2) The source: identified as Satan himself (v. 15)
(3) Flags: jealousy, envy, selfish ambition – I must prove that I am right! – not God controlled. It is an all-around uncontrolled spirit (v. 16)
e. Note that James takes 4 verses to share “earthly” wisdom. Now in one full verse, he shares “divine” wisdom!
#2. THE RED FLAGS OF DIVINE WISDOM (v. 17)
Ask yourself, better, examine yourself! How’s your tongue? Match your tongue habits against these 7 elements of a tongue which is governed by and an example of divine wisdom:
a. FIRST pure. Undefiled! Matthew 6:33 is a key verse: “seek FIRST God’s kingdom”. God’s wisdom is FIRST pure. “First” is an important word – it shows that the Lord and His wisdom are priorities in your life.
b. Peace-loving. The Living Bible describes this well as “a quiet gentleness”
c. Considerate. This is courteous, gentle.
d. Submissive. A willing to yield to reason. It allows for discussion. Approachable!
e. Full of mercy and good fruits. These are kindly actions. Compassion is your trademark.
Illustration: Before we were married, I used to hold the door open all the time for my bride to be. It wasn’t long after the wedding that that action stopped. But when we headed out for a vacation for our 25th anniversary, I thought to myself, “I’m going to start holding the door open for her again.” She sure was surprised! And even others commented on how wonderful I was to do that. Little did they know that it took 25 years to renew the habit. The trademark: compassionate!
The point is that our trademark should be having a tongue which is full of mercy and good fruits!
f. Impartial. Free from any wavering to people.
g. Sincere – no hint of hypocrisy. This is an old Greek word referring to the masks that Greek actors would hold up in front of their faces. They were actors! They were play acting! They were hypocrites! But divine wisdom is sincere.
Years ago, we planted day lilies in our flower beds. It took a while for them to mature. And, unfortunately, when they did bloom, we were often on vacation throughout the beginning of July and never saw the fruit of our planting. Not this year! They are in full bloom now! What we planted, we harvested! But God’s harvest isn’t a garden – it’s God’s work among the people He has wisely put you and me with to build His church! Harvest (v. 18) is the result of verses 13-17! As we close, ask yourself the question: “am I a peacemaker when I talk? Am I encouraging peace at the cross between my listener and the Lord of the harvest?” May we have tongues filled with words endowed with God’s wisdom – that our tongues will wisely be instruments of pointing our listeners NOT to earthly wisdom but to Jesus Himself and His cross!
Close in Prayer