We opened up our time together by singing "O Father, You Are Sovereign" (hymn #17).
MEMORIZATION & DISCUSSION
As a group, we spent some time reviewing James 2:24-26 by memorizing, reciting, and reflecting as a group.
Faith without works is dead, just as the body without the spirit is dead.
Faith is ultimately hearing, believing, and trusting.
"When did you hear what God said and start to believe in it?"
Preview of James 3:1-5
- Many people desire to become teachers in the church, but James discourages it because teachers will certainly incur a strict judgment that will come in the future.
- This judgment and accountability is before God, not men. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul says that the one who examines him as a steward of God's word is God alone.
- Everyone is accountable before God, but those who are teachers have a higher and stricter accountability before Him. For example, in 2 Timothy 4, Paul charges Timothy to preach the word in season and out of season.
- This accountability before God has to do with whether the handling of the Word is being done faithfully and accurately. Are teachers being faithful to teach what Scripture says?
- In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul charges Timothy to "be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."
- Faithful teaching of the Word has nothing to do with personal charisma or attractive presentation - it has everything to do with whether you are accurately handling the Word.
- Does the church need teachers? Absolutely! But those who embrace the role of teacher must take it seriously, for they handle the very Word of God and teach others in the church to understand and obey it.
- Question: Is James addressing incumbent teachers, or prospective teachers?
- Both, but primarily those who are already teaching in the church in some capacity.
- Question: Is James specifically addressing those who hold the office of pastor?
- The way James refers to teachers does not seem to be limited to pastors only.
- 1 Corinthians 12 points out teaching as a spiritual gift, and so it is not limited only to those who are in the role of pastor-teacher. There are capacities other than those of the pastor-teacher that can involve a teaching responsibility.
- If you can control your mouth, you can bridle and control your own body.
- This ability demonstrates an obtaining of a level of maturity. For example, words of anger that are staved and suppressed can calm down anger and avoid potential opportunities for sin.
- Horses are large, powerful, and intimidating creatures. But when we place a small bit in the mouth, we are able to direct the horse to wherever we want it to go. In a similar analogy, ships are also large and powerful, yet they are directed by the captain of the ship by a small rudder. These analogies help us comprehend the fact that although the tongue is but a small part of the body, it is able to boast of and accomplish great things. Our words can be a great source of good and encouragement for others, but they can also be a cause of great damage, even from unintended slip-ups.
- In Ephesians 4:29, Paul commands us to speak words that are good for edification according to the need of the moment so that they will give grace to those who hear.
- Let us use our tongues rightly and have our speech be seasoned with grace, rather than letting our tongues be causes of great strife and damage.
- Question: What are some ways that our tongues can cause great damage?
- Gossip & slander
- Before we feel compelled to speak about others, we should train ourselves to ask, "If I say this, and the other person found out, how would they feel? If I were that person and someone said that about me, how would I feel?"
- Hateful assault
- False promises
- Approval of evil