Are my words sweet, or bitter?
Do I bless God, but then turn around and curse men?
We looked at James’ illustration to show the tongue has the power to destroy.
We want to zoom in on the tongue ‘blesses’ and ‘curses’ and this ought not to be.
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Oh Lord, we are hungry for You and Your Word. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see what You are saying. Please grant us the understanding we need. Thank you!
LOOK at What God Says
Let GODcha point the way.
Where will you begin?
Begin By Reading
Let’s read James 3:1-12 again with purpose.
Let’s concentrate on James 3:9-12.
What comes from the mouth?
What is the contrast?
What are the 3 illustrations James gives to make his point about this contrast?
What does James conclude?
Let’s Unlock the Meaning to the Text
What words are Key to these verses?
Understand God’s Words
Did you check the key words out?
They are just a tap away.
I was curious about:
Bless, eulogéō; to speak well of, (I) Of men toward God: to praise, speak well of with praise and thanksgiving.
Curse, kataráomai; against. To invoke evil or ruin upon.
TIP: Remember to take the meanings back to the text.
9 “With it (the tongue) we bless (speak well, praise) our Lord and Father, and with it (the tongue) we curse (wish evil or ruin) men, who have been made in the likeness of God;”
10 “from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”
And then. . .
Fresh, glukús; sweet in contrast to salty.
Bitter, pikrós; bitter, cruel, malignant.
11 “Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh (sweet in contrast to salty) and bitter (malignant) water?”
12 “. . .Nor can salt water produce fresh (sweet).”
Now THINK and REASON
Incorporating ALL the Skills We are Learning
And as we do keep asking the 5W and H questions.
Let’s reflect on the 1st illustration.
1. What does James ask?
Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? (Jam 3:11)
Can this be?
Of course not!
2. We’ll come back to the fig tree, but for now let’s keep our focus on water, how does James answer and conclude in v12?
Salt water can’t produce sweet, fresh water.
We see: a fountain cannot give forth 2 kinds of water.
3. What is James point?
A bitter heart can’t produce fresh (sweet) words.
Understand: we know from our discovery in Ch 1 and 2 that believers have new hearts.
Understand: A new heart speaks fresh (sweet) words, NOT bitter words.
4. Now THINK about the fountain of water,
How important is water?
What do we need water for?
We can’t live without water, it is life giving.
Now, hang on to this thought!
Let’s Stop and check out some Cross References.
Let Truth Explain Truth About
The Fountain of Water
What do we learn from Proverbs?
a. The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. (Pro 18:4)
b. The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. (Pro 10:11)
THINK: If we need water for life, what does one’s words need to do?
We see: With the parallel, that water is life giving, then the words of believers are a fountain of wisdom and give life.
Respond to God…LIVE it out!
Now let’s look a bit further.
Read James 3:12
1. What are the next 2 illustrations?
Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives,
or a vine produce figs? (Jam 3:12)
What’s the answer?
Of course not!
2. What’s James point?
A tree cannot bear 2 different kinds of fruit.
3. THINK: How important are trees?
Now, THINK about the root system of trees.
I googled trees. Trees:
Give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil.
Offer beauty, shade and bear fruit.
Like water, are life giving.
Provide us with food, and the materials for tools and shelter.
We see: as water is life giving, so are trees that bear fruit!
Let Truth Explain Truth About
1. What does Luke tell us about trees to help us understand one’s words?
Good trees do NOT produce bad fruit,
and bad trees do NOT produce good fruit.
Thus, a good man’s heart brings forth good;
the evil man’s heart speaks what is in his heart. (Luk 6:43-45)
We see: as a good tree bears good fruit, so a good man will speak good things.
Understand: A believer is known by their words, their speech.
Understand: Our words reveal our heart, our inner character.
2. What does Peter say about the tongue?
1Pe 3:10 is actually a Term of Conclusion, giving the reason for good conduct, quoting (Psa 34:12).
We see: One must keep the tongue from evil and the lips from speaking deceit, lying.
Understand: We must watch our words, control our tongues.
Respond to God…LIVE it out!
Let me leave you with a few thoughts!
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has lectured around the country on the powerful and often negative impact of words. He has asked audiences if they can go for twenty-four hours without saying any unkind words about, or to, anybody.
“If you cannot go for twenty-four hours without drinking liquor, you are addicted to alcohol.
If you cannot go for twenty-four hours without smoking, you are addicted to nicotine.
Similarly, if you cannot go for twenty-four hours without saying unkind words about others, then you have lost control over your tongue.”
He goes on to say, “There is no area of life in which so many of us systematically violate the Golden Rule.” He encourages his audiences to monitor their conversations for two days. “Note on a piece of paper every time you say something negative about someone who is not present. Also record when others do so, as well as your reactions when that happens. Do you try to silence the speaker, or do you ask for more details?” He adds, “To ensure the test’s accuracy, make no effort to change the content of your conversations throughout the two-day period, and do not try to be kinder than usual in assessing another’s character and actions.” He states, “Most of us who take this test are unpleasantly surprised.” (Imprimus [1/96], p. 1).p. 2).
Alan Redpath suggested, and his members agreed, to apply a simple formula before speaking of any person or subject that was perhaps controversial. . . . BEFORE you speak THINK….is it: true? helpful? inspiring? necessary? kind?
Since we ALL stumble in many ways . . .
especially in what we say, we need a strategy, a battle plan.
What can we do?
1. Go back over all the Scripture References we LOOKED at.
Let God’s Word sink down deep and lead and guide you.
2. Realize believers have God’s Divine Power:
a New Heart,
the Holy Spirit within
that cause us to obey all God has taught us about the tongue. (Eze 36:26-27)
3. We need to:
Fill our hearts with God’s Words, so we speak His Words.
Be slow to speak!
4. Ask God for help.
No one can tame the tongue, but God can. (Jam 3:8)
5. Let our Words be few.
“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (Pro 10:19)
“He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” (Pro 21:23)
6. Go back over what James has said, and the wrong use of the tongue. Be obedient and think about our words. Do not have an:
- Accusing tongue – Blaming God and/or others when tempted to do wrong (Jam 1:13-14)
- Hypocritical tongue – says he is religious but….(Jam 1:26)
- Judgmental tongue – expressing partiality (Jam 2:3-4)
- Unmerciful tongue – (Jam 2:14-16)
- Boastful tongue – setting a fire (Jam 3:5)
- Cursing tongue – (Jam 3:9)
- Slanderous, judgmental tongue – (Jam 4:11-12)
- Grumbling, complaining tongue – (Jam 5:9)
- Swearing tongue – (Jam 5:12)
Be diligent and make a conscience effort to be obedient to God.
Let’s Call It a Day
Hopefully you are beginning to experience God in a fresh new way as you LISTEN to Him speak to you personally.
How has He touched your heart this week?
One of the tests that proves the reality of our faith is in our speech.
Can you and I pass the test?
Meditate on all He has taught you about the tongue, for it pleases Him. Be glad in Him, (Psa 104:34).
What have you learned about yourself?
Is there some action God is requiring of you?
Do you need to confess and repent?
Journal What You LEARNED
Did you start a list on the ‘right way to use our tongues‘?
Note your discovery.
Turn What You LEARNED Into a Prayer
Perhaps. . .
FATHER, thank you for speaking Your Word to us. Thank you that it is ever so clear. Forgive us this day for blessing You in one breath, and then in the next, cursing men. If we have been saved, and are in the process of being transformed, these illustrations to teach us Truth should have pierced us today, realizing to bless and curse is inconsistent with You. Father, we admit that we have not bridled our tongues, when we should have. Father, we repent! We turn today from using our tongues to curse anyone. Forgive us for bitter words, condescending words, grumbling and complaining words, critical and judgmental words, unloving words, and the list goes on! Oh Father, help us control our tongues. Help us to be slow to speak. May we begin this day to think and speak sweet words, loving words. Words that build up and not tear down. Help us guard our mouths! May we surrender in this area of our lives and be obedient to You. Thank you Lord!
Next: we will pull everything that we have learned about the tongue together and wrap up this paragraph!
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