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Scripture Reading: James 3:1-8
Faith at Work (3)
1. James 2: Faith at work refuses partiality for profit, even as it knows that faith without obedience is spiritually profitless.
2. James 3: Faith at work is powerful. By faith, the powerful tongue is brought under control (3:1-12). In faith, heavenly wisdom is chosen and used to bear the fruit of righteousness (3:13-18).
I. FAITH AT WORK TAMES THE TONGUE, Jas 3:1-12.
A. Faith Controls the Tongue to be a Responsible Teacher of Truth, 3:1. (Matt 28:19; Acts 8:4; 2 Tim 2:2)
1. Speech enables communication; communication enables teaching.
2. God choose teaching to be how His word/will is communicated in order to save the lost, Rom 10:13-16; 1 Cor 1:21.
3. If we are going to save anyone it will be through gospel teaching.
a. Parents teach their children (faith at work). Eph 6:4
b. Older women teach younger women (faith at work). Tit 2:3-4
c. Elders, evangelists and teachers, Eph 4:11.
B. Teachers must have the Faith to Control our Words, Prov 10:19; 17:27
-cf. Stephen, Acts 6:8-10
1. To speak the oracles of God, 1 Pet 4:11.
2. To speak the truth in love, Eph 4:15.
3. To speak words of truth and reason, Acts 26:25.
4. To speak kind words which impart grace, Col 4:6.
5. To speak words that cannot be condemned, Titus 2:6-8.
-Stricter judgment: Judged by the law of liberty, Jas 2:12.
C. Faith Knows Controlling the Tongue takes Constant Work, Jas 3:2-12.
1. Maturity: not to stumble (sin, 2:10) with the tongue, Jas 3: 2; Prov 21:23.
2. Understanding, Jas 3:3-6.
a. Tongue’s power, 3:3-4; cf. Prov 13:3 (save or destroy).
b. Tongue’s potential, 3:5-6; cf. Prov 12:17-22.
3. Consistency, Jas 3:7-12.
a. Tame the tongue to bless God and men, 3:7-9; Matt 5:43-44; Psa 39:1; 34:13.
b. Faithless to bless and curse from same mouth, 3:10-12; cf. Matt 12:33-37.
c. Faith works to control the heart (self-control).
4. Tongue control equals heart control, Matt 12:34.
a. Faith at work speaks the truth (Eph 4:25).
b. Faith at work refuses profanity and all forms of corrupt speech, Eph 4:29.
c. Faith at work is committed to being a blessing whenever it speaks, Col 4:6.
II. FAITH AT WORK RELIES ON HEAVENLY WISDOM, Jas 3:13-18.
A. We Show by Our Words and Our Conduct whether we are Wise or Foolish, 3:13; cf. Prov 12:15; 9:10. (The meekness of wisdom, 3:13)
1. Earthly wisdom (foolishness) is faithless, 3:13-16.
-Wisdom of the world is foolishness to God, 1 Cor 3:19-20.
a. Not meek (humble and mild), but boisterous and self-seeking, 3:14, 15.
b. Bitter, envious, selfishly ambitious, 3:14.
c. Appeals to what is earthly, fleshly and devilish, 3:15.
d. Its outcome is confusion and evil, 3:16.
2. Wisdom from above is full of faith, 3:17-18.
-An “understanding heart” (hearing heart), 1 Kgs 3:9-12.
a. Pure: Free of moral contamination, cf. 1:5; Prov 2:10-15.
b. Peaceable: Removes strife (3:16), Rom 12:18; Heb 12:14.
c. Gentle: Fair, moderate, Titus 3:1-2.
d. Full of mercy and good fruits: Good will bears good fruit, cf. 2:13.
e. Without partiality: Equitable, 2:1.
f. Without hypocrisy (deceit), 1 Pet 2:1.
B. The Wise (and the foolish) are known by their Fruit, Jas 3:18.
1. Fruit of righteousness: Sown in peace by those who make peace.
2. Note: Peace is “made”, not merely wished, Matt 5:9.
1. The person whose faith is at work knows he or she possesses a great power in the tongue; power to build up, to strengthen, to make peace and to save.
2. When that power is not controlled to serve righteousness, its destruction can be massive. Earthly wisdom unleashes the tongue to serve selfish and sinful purposes.
3. God will judge us and the wisdom by which we either blessed or sinned with our tongues.