We were glad that Juan and Aris (Sassoun's dad) joined us today!
We started off by singing Hymn #6, "The God of Abraham Praise"
MEMORY PASSAGE REVIEW
Then we spent some time to recite the passage we went through last time we met 2 weeks ago, James 3:1-5. First, we recited James 3:1-3 after 5 minutes of review, then recited James 3:1-5 after another 5 minutes of review.
There is a theme in this passage of small objects (bit, rudder) directing much larger objects (horse, ship). Our tongues are so small, but can do so much damage. Tying back to verse 1, those who teach need to have especially good control of their tongue.
Question: looking at verse 2, will controlling your tongue lead to perfection? Is there a causation here?
James points out that everyone stumbles, and that there will be sin in every believer's life, so we won't be perfect on this side of eternity. Looking at 1 John 1:5-10, for those who walk in Jesus, there is a continual cleansing (vv7), in spite of the vestiges of our sin (vv8) so long as we confess our sins to Him (vv9), and because God sees us for who we really are, will not only forgive us for the sins we confess, but cleanses us of all unrighteousness. This isn't a license to hold onto sin, because John is writing these things so that we may not sin (1 John 2:1), but continually stamp sin out of our lives.
Your control over your mouth has a lot to say about your control over the rest of your body. Your control of your mouth is a litmus test of your level of sanctification (ex: how do you talk about other people?)
Answering the question, it's not causation, but a demonstration of maturity.
NEW MEMORY PASSAGE
Verses 6-10 picks up from what James just said in the previous passage - the tongue can not only defile our entire body, but can also defile the course of our life. The imperfect is used in "is set on fire", pointing to a continual stoking by hell. "Set on fire by hell", points to the destructiveness of the tongue (it is not saying that the tongue will always send you to hell)
Gehenna (Gehinnom in Hebrew) was a place of destruction (place where trash was burned, associated with constant destruction). It was a physical location that the audience (Jews) are familiar with, so don't read anything else into it
"Sets on fire the course of our life" - In life, we can think about how our words set off a domino effect. There was a movie titled "Soul man", where a white man pretends to be black. One lie leads to the other, and before he knows it he's in too deep. Similarly, you can quickly find yourself in a very difficult situation because of your sin.
Looking at Matt 15:17-20, the way we use our tongues really shows what's in our hearts. Our mouths are a gateway for the defilement of our hearts to come out. Reading Matt 15:8, "this people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me" - there ought to be a connection between the mouth and heart.
Thinking about verses 8-9, we all use our voices to sing praises to God during our time of corporate singing on Sunday, but we can use those same vocal chords to speak bigotry, slander, or any other way to speak ill of other people, human beings who are made in the likeness of God. Jesus taught us to bless those who curse us (Lk. 6:27-29). Instead of cursing others, we bless, always doing good.