James: Speaking & Boasting Week 4

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Title of the message this Morning

James: Speaking & Boasting - Week 4

Big Idea:
Words are incredibly powerful and carry in them both life and death.
“Oh Lord, please transform our words into messengers of hope and reconciliation.
Help us resist the temptation to speak evil of others and instead, give us the strength to share the hope of Jesus with everyone we can.”
Scripture: James 3:1-4:17
(All scripture quoted comes from the ESV unless otherwise noted)


Welcome back church!
I’m so excited about today’s message and I’ve got lots to share with you as this is our largest section of James in this series.
Conveniently for me, it’s all about words.
As you probably know already, the book of James spends a lot of time, probably close to a third of the book, devoted to the words we speak, how we speak, and why we speak.
And as I’m sure you also know, words are powerful!
American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne said,
He is best known for his novels The Scarlet Letter (1850) and The House of the Seven Gables (1851). His use of allegory and symbolism make Hawthorne one of the most studied writers.
Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent and evil they become in the hands of someone who knows how to combine them.”
Yes, words can be evil and destructive.
Honestly, if you’ve ever lived through the Junior High years you know just how true this is.
But words can also be life giving, creative, and wonderful.
Simply think for a moment about a time when someone spoke encouraging and life-giving words to you.
Wasn’t it absolutely amazing!?!
In fact, we know from the book of Genesis that God literally spoke the world into existence.
And Psalm 33:9 says,“For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
Words are powerful!
Words have meaning.
An ill-timed or perfectly timed word spoken to another can impact them for their entire lives.
Think about that for a momentYou can change the trajectory of another person’s life, simply by the way you speak to them.
This might have been some of the reasons why James devoted so much time to this subject in his letter.
And because this is the largest section of James we’re going to cover, I’m going to tackle the chapters in bigger chunks to see what James has to teach us about both speaking and boasting.
So let’s get started, we’ve got lots of ground to cover today.

Main Teaching

I. Read James 3:1-5

James begins this section by making a point about the judgement teachers (or preachers) will incur because of their position… Which wouldn’t make a ton of sense if not connected to the rest of the chapter where we learn just how powerful words are.
And of course, words are the primary medium through which teachers teach and preachers preach.
Maybe James is trying to acknowledge just how serious the situation is by revealing the weight of responsibility he carries.
Either way, he immediately moves on in verse 2 by saying, We all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body.”
In simple terms, if you’re able to control your mouth, then you can control anything.
You have reached the end of the journey, perfection.
All of us have said things we wish we could take back or changebecause even though the tongue is such a small part of our bodies, it can have an immeasurable impact.
James goes on to give three practical examples (Verses 3-5) about how something large and powerful is controlled by a comparably tiny thing.
A horse’s bit, the rudder of a ship, and even a small fire are all used to make a big point.
All of these things are ultimately under the control/will of something else.
It’s a good reminder that we do have a role to play in all this—we have a responsibility over our words, our tongues, and the choice to use them for profit or destruction in the kingdom.
And what is the potential for disaster here?
Why is this such a big deal?
Just read verse 3:6 and think about all the ways the tongue is described in one verse:
Is a fire
A world of unrighteousness
Set among our members (All the “members” of our bodies)
Staining the whole body - This one member has the ability to stain and pollute all other members of the body.
Setting on fire the entire course of life - this is better translated as the circle of life. Which shows the tongue’s ability to spread evil beyond just the individual and literally to everything in its sphere of influence.
Set on fire by hell - The tongue has the unique potential to “unleash hell” on others.
That’s a pretty intimidating list… and the point James is trying to make is getting clearer and clearer.
No human has been able to tame the tongue! In fact, “with it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.” James 3:9-10
“My brother and sisters, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:7-10)
When we curse others and then sing praises out of the same mouth it sends the wrong message to others.
But worst of all, it reminds us of our inherent sinful nature.
Yes, we are new creations, yes we are being sanctified, and yes God will bring us through trial and suffering all the way to perfection.
But, our words often remind us, in very painful ways, just how rotten and awful we can be to one another.

II. Read James 3:13-4:10

So, what’s the antidote to all this ugliness?
James says it’s humility, meekness, and kindness. Humble yourselves before God, and He will exalt you.James 4:10
The word exalt means, to lift up or raise up.”
Isn’t it true that so many of our arguments and divisions stem from a place where we want something
Where we have a hole that needs to be filled.
Whether it’s to be seen as smart, or funny, or wise.
Maybe it’s to be wealthy and powerful or healthy and free-spirited.
Whatever the case may be, we often use our words to try and accomplish for ourselves what we never would be able to on our own.
We want wholeness, peace, and contentment.
Yet somehow, ironically, we cause so much destruction in our pursuit.
“Do not speak evil against one another…There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” - James 4:11-12
These couple of verses are a great reminder of what Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:1-2; “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
God is the only true judge of the thoughts, motives, and intentions of others.
When we speak evil of, revile, or slander another person we aren’t speaking kingdom life into them.
To the very opposite, we are speaking the language of the devil himself when we do such things.
His native language is death, condemnation, shame, slander, and destruction.
And none of us want to be part of that
We’ve got to resist him, and resist the temptation to speak like him (James 3:7)
(Pastor - This could be a great place to share a personal story of a time when either your words, or someone else’s words were damaging. How did it feel, and how did you learn to resist in the future?)
Weigh your words carefully church, for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

III. Read James 4:13-17

And where do things like boasting come from?
What about arrogance?
You guessed it - straight out of our mouths…
With all these examples that have been given through chapters 3 & 4, it’s easy to see why James is so passionate about it.
But this last example brings up something else about our speech that’s so important to remember.
Having to do with the power and sovereignty of God.
How many of us have flippantly spoken about all the things we were going to do, all the projects we were going to complete, so on and so forth?
We often talk as if we have control over the future.
As if we can simply speak things into existence, like a beautiful 2000 square foot deck overlooking our backyard, and it will be so.
The truth is, like James says, we are just “mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” -James 4:14
From dust we came and to dust we will return.
In light of this reality, what we should be saying is that we will do such and such “if the Lord wills”...
I realize that it might sound odd, even off-putting to others, but maybe doing something like this will keep us in our right place and God in His right place.
Maybe a little reverence could go a long way.
Both in our hearts and in the hearts of others around us.
The truth is, we really don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and I think we can agree it’s somewhat foolish of us to talk as if we’ve got next summer’s trip to Cancun all locked down. We don’t know.
But God knows, and He’s sovereign.
He watches over us from the morning to the evening. (Psalm 121)
His loving mercy and kindness are fresh every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)
And His word has an awful lot to say about how we should use our words.
Here are a few gold nuggets of wisdom for you from just one of the chapters in Proverbs:
Proverbs 18:2 - “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
Proverbs 18:4 - “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”
Proverbs 18:6 - “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.”
Proverbs 18:7 - “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”
Proverbs 18:20 - “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.”
Proverbs 18:21- “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.


Death and life are truly in the power of the tongue.
With our mouths we praise God the Father in one setting and curse our neighbor in another.
I think if pastor James were here with us today he’d say, “Church, we can do better.”
And the upside for us in the 21st century is we have lots of new mediums where we can practice being humble and kind.
Places like Facebook and Instagram.
Mediums like email and review sites like Yelp or others.
These are all spaces where we as believers can enter in and shine the light of Christ.
These are spaces where we can be quick to listen and slow to get angry.
Places where the words of life are so abundantly necessary.
So, with that in mind, I want to challenge you this coming week to be even more intentional with your words.
Let them be life giving and uplifting to others.
Let them be encouraging and filled with humility.
American poet Emily Dickinson said, “A word is dead when it is said some say. I say it just begins to live that day”
Let your words come to life this week, and set them free to give life to others.
Let’s pray together.
Now for those of you who do not know Jesus!


The Word of God says in:
John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 10:13
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you’d would like to receive Jesus today, please pray this prayer with all of us:
Lord I believe that Jesus is the son of God, and that He died On the cross for my sins and His resurrection from the dead gives me eternal life. I ask forgiveness of my sins, and I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Amen.
Church Office: 909-922-8090
And I will send you a Bible & a Free Book on how to begin your first 21 steps with Jesus (show the book)
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Pepper Praise Reports
James Chaplain Ministry -
As a Chaplain, James was able to speak to a patient that was transitioning . The patient love baseball. Chaplain James gave a wonderful analogy, he compared the man’s live to a game of baseball: to the man he said, it’s the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, 2 outs, He’s the runner on third base, getting ready to come home to meet Jesus! What a praise report!
Please send in your Praise reports!
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Daniel in hospital - pray for healing
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I come against cancer, Stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease
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Lord we pray not in our own strength, but in the power and in the name of our Lord and Savory, Jesus Christ!
Closing Blessing

18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

This is Pastor Doc & Lady Pepper with:
Faith Vision Christian Ministries

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