James 3 (2)

(Continued from last month)


3) And Jesus says that not what enters the mouth but that which comes out and is expressed by that tongue defiles the man!

b) But the tongue corrupts the whole existence of mankind.

1)  The teacher can and often does corrupt the masses and sets the wheel of society and of nations in ways of gross evil.

2)  And in this connection bear in mind that the tongue of the false teacher sets in course, starts the wheels turning of the whole scheme of doctrine and walk of life of the church.

a) With their tongues teachers make big boasts but have not the courage to go all the way that their doctrines lead.

b) But the fire has been kindled by a little flame of departure and the whole course of that denomination’s or congregation’s existence is determined; and those taught dare to take the next step until there is a big fire, a world of iniquity in the church and the whole course of nature is defiled.

c) From past history and current church life give examples of this power of an evil tongue to kindle fires that defile churches.

e. It is set on fire of hell.

1) It was the serpent’s tongue as used by the chief inhabitant of hell that kindled the spark that produced the fire that destroyed the whole world and made it a world of iniquity instead of one of righteousness and corrupted the whole nature or existence of man!

(a) It is not literally set on fire out of hell, for it is not literal fire.

(b) And Satan is not yet in hell.

(c) But he is the chief potential inhabitant of hell, and the tongue is set on fire by him and through his servants who likewise belong in hell.

2) This is still the case today and explains why that tongue cannot be tamed.

3) It is set on fire of hell because it is the heart’s sounding-board.

(a) Man’s heart is his spiritual control center out of which are all the issues of his life.

(b) Perfection consists in having a clean heart, that is, one that loves God.

(c) Having such a heart a man will be able to control not only his tongue but all his members in the way of God’s commandments.

(d) But our hearts were kindled with hatred of God through Satan’s words expressed by the serpent’s tongue, and the tongue reveals this.

1) The tongue is attached directly to the heart spiritually.

2) Since that heart is set on fire with hatred of God, the tongue is a fire kindled by hell.

d. It cannot be subdued.

1) Wild beasts have been subdued in one way or another the word is subdued rather than been tamed.

2)  The tongue no man can subdue.

      (a) It is an unruly evil from the negative point of view and a death-bearing poison receptacle from the positive point of view.

      (b) It cannot be subdued because it is set on fire of hell.

(1) We are spiritually dead and not simply sick, weak or partially paralyzed.

(2) Satan is a powerful enemy for whom we are no match.

(3) Although God can and does subdue that tongue by regeneration, the statement stands that no man can subdue it.

(c) Even in the regenerated child of God the tongue still wags without control.

(1) We will bless God therewith, but we will still continue to curse men.

(2) That which you will not find in nature, namely, a well bringing forth both bitter and sweet water and a fig tree bearing olive berries, you will find in the regenerated child of God.

(a) These things ought not so to be.

(b) But that they are there indicates regeneration, for the uncontrolled tongue of the unregenerate brings forth only bitter water and cursing.

3. The Wisdom From Above. Verses 13-17.

a. James delves more deeply into the previous matter.

1) This is not a new and unrelated subject.

(a) This is evident from verse 14 where he speaks of the boasting (rather than glorying as in the translation) of the evil tongue of a would-be teacher.

(b) The question likewise of, “Who is a wise man? links the two matters together by presenting the perfect man as a wise man with understanding.

2) It is the requirement which God must give us, if we arc to control our tongue and cease from being many teachers.

(a) We must have a wise and understanding heart.

(1) A wise heart is one that is able to choose what is right in God’s sight.

(2) An understanding heart is one that knows the will of God and is experienced in that knowledge so that it can choose the good.

(3) This wisdom and understanding must be in the heart, if the tongue is to be controlled. See also 2, c, (3), (a) above.

(b) And God must give us that heart through regeneration.

(1) It is the life and wisdom from above of which Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3:3 where we ought to read, “Except a man be born from above “

a) There is one from below wherewith we are born; and this one is devilish, that is from out of the mind of the devil, characterized by his thought and will, and sensual, that is, minding the fleshly, sinful ambitions of the soul of the natural man.

b) But the one above is from Him Who is above at God’s right hand.

(2) And this God must give us, as is plain from the fact that it is from above stored where we cannot reach it but can be and is dispensed by God in Christ.

b.The wisdom which God gives us, exactly because He gives it is:

1) Pure (chaste, holy, and sacred) for it comes from out of a pure fountain. What is that fountain?

2) Peaceable, not contentious. (Remember that the many teachers were exactly contentious, ready at a moment’s notice to speak up and give their mind and opinion and criticize all others. One such an opinionated “teacher” can cause a lot of trouble in a church (congregation) or in a society-. What then, when there are many such “teachers”? No wonder James speaks of envying, strife and every evil work. And how evident that he is not yet off that subject.

3) Gentle and easy to entreated, that is, pliant and easily persuaded. Discuss in regard to what? Doctrine? Ready to compromise? Look the other way when there is sin and false doctrine in the congregation? If not, what then? Compare also with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

4) Full of mercy and good fruits as contrasted with bitter envyings and strife. What is the implication of the fact that the wisdom from above is full of mercy and of good works?

5) Without partiality and without hypocrisy, that is, not bigoted, not unfair and not talking out of both sides of the mouth, not deceptive.

c. And he presents the indispensible requirement of righteousness.

1) Our conversation is our entire walk of life and not simply our speech.

(a) Literally it is our turning up and down. Even the English word has the idea of turning in it as also suggested in the similar word conversion.

(b) Unless all of our activity is right our conversation is not a “good” conversation, verse 13, nor is it righteousness, verse 18.

2) Righteousness is sown in peace by peacemakers.

(a) Again the underlying idea reverts to the first verse of mans teachers who sow strife and by their tongues become troublemakers rather than peacemakers and stir up in the congregation “confusion and every evil work, and allow the church no moment of peace. What a world of fire and iniquity the tongue is!

(b) For the peacemaker is one who is meek.

(1) Meekness is not weakness but strength of character. Jesus was the meekest of men and yet likewise the strongest in spiritual character, The Righteous One and The Peacemaker.

(2) Meekness, as in the third beatitude is the strength to commit all to God Who will recompense and Whose alone may vengeance be. With such you cannot further strife in the church, and such will not be many teachers. The wisdom from above will produce this meekness.

(c) When the wise man with his meekness sows peace, the harvest will be righteousness.

(1) You cannot please God and walk right before His face by an uncontrolled tongue that moves you to be swift to speak and to stir up strife, confusion and every evil.

(2) But a wise man will be meek with that wisdom that is pure, peaceable, etc. and sow that which is right in God’s sight.

(a) Do not consider yourself wise, if your tongue is not controlled by a meek heart, and if you are ready to add yourself to the list of many teachers.

(b) But do not deceive yourself either to consider yourself righteous. See also James 1:20.

(c) Be slow to speak except in regard to crying unto God for such wisdom and meekness that you may have the fruit of righteousness in your life.