James so far:
Trials ≠ absence of faith, but the presence of it.
The plan of God includes trials!
Our standing in Christ is more important than our standing in life.
We manage what God gives us.
We must see the Gospel in each other.
Faith and Action must be seen together.
Our words have the power to steer.
James 3:1-4, NIV 2011 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
James 1:26, NIV 2011 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
Our words have the power to destroy.
James 3:5-8, NIV 2011 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Our words have the power to delight.
James 3:9-12, NIV 2011 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. “
James 1:6-8, NIV 2011 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Matthew 7:15-20, NLT 15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Our words have the power to change lives.
Ephesians 1:15-20, NLT 15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Colossians 4:6, NIV 2011 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Read James 3:1-2. What do you think James had in mind when he said that not everyone should become a teacher? What would be the primary concern? What do you think this says to people who like to “teach” others?
James says that we all stumble in many ways. In what ways would this be a warning to the believers then and now? How could it be an encouragement?
Read James 3-8. In what ways does the illustration of a “forest fire” bring about the idea that even the smallest word can create the most awful destruction? How have you seen this in your own life? Are you willing to admit a time when you have been the one who set the fire? Have you taken that to LORD and sought his forgiveness? If not, let me encourage you to do so now.
It is likely significant that James says, “no man can control the tongue”. (v8) What do you sense was his intention in saying it this way? What does it mean to know that the same God who created the brain, heart, lungs, and overall way the body functions also created the tongue? What do you think James would say to a common response among people of “I didn’t mean to say that?”
Read James 3:9-12. Why do you think James says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” What connection do you see between the two? Why is it so difficult to remember this? What could you do to help correct this? (consider Eph. 1:15-20; Matthew 6:9-15)