top of page

Sermon2 James3 Guide

James 3:1-12, recitation verse James 3:2

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks worshipers who worship with spirit and truth.

Traveling from place to place amidst poverty, persecution, and suffering, the early church saints kept their faith and truth in Jesus Christ. What thoughts do you think they have as they lived the life of a nomad? Today, through the book of James, we hope to learn a lesson by examining their lives of wise and gracious words, through James 3:1-12.

1) Today's passage comes from the Epistle of James. As its name suggests, James, the brother of the Lord, wrote this letter in AD 44-48 to Christian Jews who were scattered in Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, fleeing persecution after the martyrdom of Stephen. Through this letter James encouraged those Christians to endure their hardships which will make them be mature so that they may live the life of charity toward poor brethren as their obedient lives to God's word and live the life of wise, peaceful and merciful words.

2) To reinforce this message, James introduces three themes of suffering, wisdom, and poverty, repeating them and developing each theme individually or combining two of them throughout the letter. The first theme of suffering was introduced in James 1:2-4, 1:12-18, and 4:13-5:6, and through this theme, James explained that this sufferings would make them be mature spiritually, resulting in the crown of life in the end so that even he encouraged them to rejoice in their sufferings. The second theme of poverty was introduced in James 1:9-11, 1:22-25, and 2:1-26, and James tried to teach that true faith should be manifested in love, specifically in the life of giving to the poor, as their obedience to God's law.

3) Lastly, the theme of wisdom was introduced, developed through and deepened in 1:5-8, 1:19-21, and 3:1-4:12. James exhorted them to ask God for wisdom through prayer, which would help them understand the meaning of their sufferings, heal their internal "anger," and lead them to live a life of pure and wise words, resulting into the peaceful relationships and avoiding fights with each other.

4) In summary, through this letter, James wanted to encourage the scattered Christian Jews who were suffering in poverty, to endure their trials which resulted in spiritual maturity, praying for wisdom to understand this meaning of their sufferings, and living the life of pure, wise and peaceful words, while also obeying God's law by caring for their poor brothers and sisters.

5) Through today's passage, we would like to receive some graces. Firstly James explained the power of the word using five metaphors in the passage. In verses 1-4, he uses the metaphor of a bit and a rudder, in verses 5-8, the metaphor of fire, and in verses 9-12, the metaphor of a well and a tree to explain the power of the word. Through the metaphors of a bit and a rudder, he explains that language has the power to guide and guide us onto the right path, as Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." While God's word has the power to guide and teach us on the right path, but on the other hand, if we use our words wrongly, as Proverbs 18:7 says, "A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul," the words have the power to cause us to fail. As the conclusion, the power of the words can guide us on the right path or lead us to the path of destruction.

6) The second metaphor of fire represents of the power to destruct, as we have already experienced the destructive power of the words in our daily lives as we can see in the report "Violence Against Children" released by the WHO in June 2022, over 10 billion children aged 2 to 17 have experienced verbal violence in some forms, and also as a report by RAND Inc., reported that 13.1% of men and 12.4% of women have reported experiencing verbal violence in their workplace. However, this metaphor of "fire" can have positive aspect. As Proverbs 12:18 says, "The tongue of the wise brings healing," language has the power of purification and healing. Lastly, James uses the metaphor of a spring and a tree to teach that the word has the power to bless or curse others, just like a spring can produce clean water or poisonous water.

7) As conclusion, depending on how it is used, the word can either guide others towards the right path and help, heal and bless others, or lead them down the wrong path and curse them. Therefore, we believe that as mature Christians, we should control our words well.

8) Then how can we control our lips well? As it says in verse 8, "No human being can tame the tongue." Therefore, to control our lips, we must attach a "bit" to our tongues. In other words, as Psalm 39:1 says, "I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will keep a bit on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence," we must put a bit on our lips, as Joshua 1:8 says "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth." We believe that we must always attach the bit of the Word to our lips. That's why Paul said in Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

9) However, just putting the bit of the Word on our lips is not enough, because Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-20 "But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them." Therefore, it is impossible to control our language without first purifying our hearts.

10) Therefore, as Deuteronomy 4:6 says, "Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people,” we believe that we should first fill our hearts with God's Words of wisdom. And secondly as 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption," we believe that we should invite Jesus, who will be our wisdom, just as Calvin said, "In Christ, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden." When Jesus, who is true wisdom, dwells within us, our hearts will be filled with wisdom, and our words will also be filled with words of wisdom. This is why Jesus said in John 15:4, "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."

11) I pray that we may make the Lord in our hearts, and that He may dwell within us, filling our hearts with wisdom and our lips with words of wisdom, so that we may become Christians who are full of wisdom.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 In 1 Corinthians 1:30, the Lord is said to become our wisdom, which is holiness, righteousness, and salvation, and in John 15:4, the Lord says to abide in Him, we have to invite Him into our heart. Do you believe that the Lord is present in your hearts? Then it would be great if we could share your thoughts on what it means for the Lord to be present in your hearts.

Q2 I believe that the statement that the Lord is present in us and that He is the Lord of our lives or the Lord of our lips means different things. After meditating on what it may mean that the Lord is the master of our hearts and of our lips, you may share your thoughts with each other.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

( ) God ( ) !

Thanks for ( )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( ),

please forgive (heal) me and help me not to ( ).

I learned that ( )

Please help me (or someone) to ( )

I pray in ( ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


bottom of page