27 March 2016

HE IS RISEN INDEED


Luke 24:1-7

Let’s go in time and put ourselves in the shoes of these heartbroken people who watched the stone roll over the opening of the tomb. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to watch the one you loved die after everything He did on this earth (The miracles, the teachings, the outpouring of love for lost and broken sinners). Can you imagine what it must of felt like for Mary (the chosen sinner) to see her son and Lord Hang their on that cross. Can you imagine how Peter felt seeing His Lord from a distance especially after the last words he spoke in front of His Lord was “I do not know the MAN”. Can you imagine what it felt like for John to see His Lord breath His last breath and the last words Jesus says to Him is “Behold your mother”

“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved (John) standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”  John 19:26-27

Can you imagine the thought running through Nicodemus mind as He carries the body of the Man who said to him “unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God”.........and what was Nicodemus’ last words “How can these things be?” Can you imagine the feeling of hopelessness they must have felt when they rolled the stone over the opening to seal it shut. Can you imagine what the attitude of the people who loved him, after the stone was rolled into its place that day? Was it joy or sadness? Because Luke writes that Jesus asked a question to the 2 men walking on the road to Emmaus “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” (v17). Can you imagine as one of them saying to yourself “No what do we do?”

SEE THE
  • Jesus had to be forsaken by the Nations, this world system.
  • Jesus had to take the place of the guilty (you and me and this world).
  • Jesus had to be forsaken by the Father, abandoned as He poured out the cup of wrath on His only begotten Son.
  • Jesus had to declare to the world with His last breath “It is finished”

Every Christian’s greatest hope is this! “In the resurrection of the dead!" When Socrates lay dying, he was asked “Shall we live again,” to which he replied “I hope so!” Ours is not a dead hope though, but “A LIVING HOPE” not a “hope so,” but a “hope sure! See the story of Jesus doesn’t end at the cross. The Angel asks…..Why do you seek the living among the dead? (v5). Why are you here this morning? Have you forgotten about His promise to you?Did you forget what Jesus said to you while He was with you all?

(Matt 16:21)  "From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day."

(John 2:19-22)  "Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"  But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said."

(Luke 9:22) saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day."

(Mark 10:33-34)  "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles;  and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."

It amazes me how quickly they forgot the Lord’s Promises. It amazes me how little their faith was at times. It amazes me we are the same as them and we need to be reminded of this promise.

See!
  • He had to be crucified for our sin and rebellion.     
  • He had to be the sacrifice for reconciliation    to happen for us.
  • He had to complete His mission that the Father sent Him on.   
  • He had to defeat sin and the grave on our behalf.
  • He had to fulfill what scripture said about Him.

Acts 2:24-27 we readWhom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.....” David desired to see that day fulfilled when he penned these words in Psalm 16:8-11) 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow your Holy One (Jesus) to see (undergo) corruption”. David had hope and believed in the promises of God even before Christ was physically born. David believed in a real resurrection and this brought rest and joy to his heart.

THE RESURRECTION……. Testifies to character of a holy God in all His splendour, in all His glory. Seals the promise of His divine providence for redemption. Cries to the world “that all things are under His sovereign control and power.” Displays that His word is truth and His authority and promises will stand forever? Is confirmation that “God says what He means and means what He says”

DO YOU REALIZE THE ENTIRE TRINITY PARTICIPATED IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST! 
  • The Father (Rom 6:4) “...raised by the glory of the Father...”
  • The Spirit (Rom 8:11) “...the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead...”
  • The Son (John 10:48) “I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again”

See the messenger from God asks! Why do you seek the living among the dead? For He has RISEN! You could say “Why are you here with the spices?  What are the implications made to this bold statement? What does this mean for a person of that era to 2016, and beyond? When the Angel proclaims this truth about Jesus “why do you seek the living among the dead?” Before I answer that let’s examine briefly those who are deceased of other major religions who claim God like status.

  • Muhammad………is still dead
  • Joseph Smith……..is still dead
  • Ellen White……….is still dead
  • Buddha………..is still dead
  • Ron Hubbard…………is still dead
  • Jesus Christ of Nazareth……IS RISEN and the tomb is empty!

See! This is an important statement the Angel is making to the ladies. “Why do seek the living among the dead.” Without His physical bodily resurrection we are doomed. There are over three hundred references that relate to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Therefore it must be considered as a vital element of the faith of a Christian. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel” 2 Timothy 2:8. The Resurrection of the Lord is too important to dismiss or neglect. A Christ who is not physically resurrected from the dead is really no Christ at all. If Jesus was not raised from the dead then Christianity is a false religion. If Jesus was not raised from the dead then the message we preach concerning salvation in Christ is false. If Jesus was not raised from the dead then there is no forgiveness of sins. If Jesus was not raised from the dead then we have no hope of eternal life. If Jesus was not raised from the dead then in reality we are the most foolish people who have ever lived, for we have built our confidence upon deception. If Jesus was not raised from the dead then we might as well live as we please in this world because we are doomed anyway. All this had to happen according to the scriptures!

HIS RISEN BODY WAS NECESSARY TO COMPLETE THE GOSPEL.

1 Cor 15:16-22 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.  And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile (vain, empty, worthless); you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep (death in Christ, Old Testament saints, prophets, believers before the cross, and after) in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable (miserable).  But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (those who died) . For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive (born again believers who put their faith in Him alone).” If this event never happened or took place then we are still sinners without any hope. We would be forever lost to a Christ less eternity. But we know He is Risen according to the scriptures.

HIS RISEN BODY IS OUR HOPE OF FUTURE THINGS.

1 Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” His death and resurrection is our security and joyful assurance over sin and death. This is everlasting for all eternity promise to you and me, proven through His physical, bodily resurrection.

HIS RISEN BODY IS OUR HOPE OF RESURRECTION TO ETERNAL GLORY.

Romans 8:33-39Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. A life of unending fellowship with Him, the eternal blessing of being in His glory forever. There is no condemnation for God’s children and this only made possible through His death and bodily resurrection.

HIS RISEN BODY REMOVES ANY HUMAN DOUBT/ SKEPTICISM.

John 20:26-29 “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."  And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord (master, my authority) and my God!" (affiriming His deity, position, supremely Divine) Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Thomas put your fingers here! Feel, touch, the scares that I endured for you! Remove the doubt and believe in who I said I was “The great I”AM the One who is Risen! The Resurrection and the Life! Watchman Nee said this about the beauty of the resurrection! "Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.” As the Apostle Paul said His might power “upholding all things by the word of His power” Col 1:17. The universe and everything is constantly sustained by the power of the Son’s words, His voice………..That’s our RISEN King!

So where is our King today? Because He is not in the grave! The Lord Jesus Christ is alive and well sitting on the Throne in all His glory. As the Hebrew writer said “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Heb 1:3. He has been given the Name above all names “Lord” (Phil 2:9). He is King of kings and Lord of lords  (Rev 19:16). He has won and crushed Satan, the fulfillment of what was said in the garden by our LORD HIMSELF (Gen 3:15) “her Seed will crush your seed” How important are these words spoken to Mary by the messenger sent by God? “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
  • The resurrection gives evidence that the Word of God is true and reliable.
  • The resurrection means that Jesus is the Son of God.
  • The resurrection means that salvation is complete, Christ conquered Sin.
  • The resurrection establishes the church “I will build MY church” Jesus said and the “gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18).
  • The resurrection proved that death itself could not prevent Christ from establishing His church.
  • The resurrection of Christ proves that Heaven is waiting for the true believer.

As Jesus said "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.   John 14:1-3. This is a precious and wonderful truth for you and me this morning! A wonderful promise for you and me as we anticipate His wonderful return! Can I ask you! Does your spirit jump for joy this morning, knowing this truth? Can you imagine what it is going to be like to be able to see Him in all His glory? Especially knowing that He has conquered death for us and that He will return to receive us unto Himself. MY SUNDAY QUESTION IS FOCUSED FOR THE UNBELIEF, THE ONES ON THE FENCE, THE DOUBTERS, AND THE SCEPTICS.

What more does He need to do for you in order for you to believe?
  • He breathed life into existence
  • He Spoke to Abraham
  • He was with Moses at the Burning Bush
  • He was born of a virgin
  • He died
  • He was buried for 3 days
  • He rose again and the tomb is empty
  • He ascended into the heavens
  • He is seated on the Throne the Majesty on High
  • He is preparing a place for those who believe (who trust in the promises of this book) and call upon Him by faith!
  • He showed the greatest act of love by loving us first. 

As John Piper says “The highest act of love is the giving of the best gift, and, if necessary, at the greatest cost, to the least deserving. That’s what God did. At the loss of His Son’s life to the totally undeserving, God gave the best gift – the display of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.” Jesus Christ has Risen from the grave and defeated death for us!


“WHAT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR YOU BELIEVE?  HE IS RISEN!

21 March 2016

The Adopting Grace Of God (Part 1)


Gal 3:26-29; 4:6

Over the past few months the Canadian government completed their commitment by bringing into our country 25,000 Syrian refugees in search of a new life.
  • Some come looking for employment.
  • Some come for better education.
  • Some are seeking a better economy.
  • Some want (and need) better healthcare.
  • Some are fleeing an oppressive government.
There are many reasons that people seek to come to our country. And if you ask the overwhelming majority of immigrants they will say that they came here in order to find “a better life.” In fact, most people, whether immigrant or natural born will tell you that they want a better life. But there is a problem that many people use to measure “a better life.” People think that things would be so much better if they could just attain certain positions and possessions. You have heard the old saying that “the person with the most toys at the end winsNothing could be further from the truth. There are countless examples of people who have everything that money can buy and they are some of the most miserable people on earth. I have no doubt that many people here today would say “I WANT A BETTER LIFE”. I have good news! You can have a better life; in fact you have an opportunity to possess ETERNAL LIFE! When this life is over, it is not going to matter how many “toys” you have… how new your car is or how big your house is. It will not matter what your bank account, RSP’s or stock portfolios look like, your social standing and how many friends you have on Facebook, will not matter… Even your career achievements will not matter. But what will matter is whether or not you are “in Christ”. When I say “in Christ” I am referring to those who are genuinely born into the family of God by faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And according to Paul’s letter to the churches he was reminding them the position or the value we have in our relationship with Christ through the gospel. (v26-v29).

We are God’s children, period! And the amazing thing is that it’s not dependent on what we do. It is dependent on who we are in Christ. There are those that say that we are all God’s children. And to that I say, yes, God is our Father in that He created us, and yes, all human beings are brothers and sisters in that we share the image of God in man. But spiritually speaking, we can only become sons and daughters by grace and through faith. When Paul says “sons of God” he is referring to those of saving faith in Christ. As a whole… God is the father of all people in a general sense, because He created them. In Acts 17:24-28 we read “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” ‘In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.'

What Paul is saying that this position is more than a general or physical? It’s a spiritual declaration to a person’s position in Christ as spiritual sons and daughters. It separates us from the unbelievers who are children of Satan. Jesus said this “The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,” Matt 13:38. In John 8:38-44 we read “I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father." They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” In Rom 8:5-9 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

God by His amazing grace chose to do something unbelievable…….He adopted you as sons and daughters. “Adoption” refers to a man’s giving the status of sonship to someone who is not his natural child. Because man is not naturally the children of God, they can become His sons only by divine adoption. God the Father takes us into fellowship with His unconditional love. In the Roman world “adoption” was an honored custom that gave special dignity and family membership to those who were NOT born into the family. It is told! Wealthy, childless man would adopt a young slave, who would trade his slavery for sonship, with all its connected privileges. This is the adopting grace of God to be loved and carded for all eternity though His Son. Do you realize as it stands there are currently 150 million ‘orphans’ in the world?

Not including…..
  • 150 million street children
  • 1.2 million Trafficked children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multi-billion dollar commercial sex industry.
  • 10’s of thousand child soldiers
I came across of a story of a woman, now 40 telling about her experience as an orphan to a group of people. "When I was a tiny little girl, my parents died and I was put in an orphanage. I was not pretty at all and no one seemed to want me. But I longed to be adopted and loved by a family as far back as I can remember. I thought about it day and night, but everything I did seemed to go wrong. I must have tried too hard to please the people who came to look me over and what I did was to drive them away. "But then one day the head of the orphanage told me that a family was coming to take me home with them. I was so excited that I jumped up and down and cried like a little baby. The matron reminded me that I was on trial and this might not be a permanent arrangement, but I just knew that somehow it would work out. "So I went with this family and started to school. I was the happiest little girl you can imagine, and life began to open up for me just a little. But then one day a few months later, I skipped home from school and ran into the front door of the big old house we lived in. No one was at home, but in the middle of the front hall was my battered suitcase with my little coat thrown across it. As I stood there it suddenly dawned on me what it meant---I didn’t belong there anymore." When she stopped speaking there was hardly a dry eye in the group. But then she cleared her throat and said "This happened to me seven times before I was 13 years old. But wait, don’t feel too badly. It was experiences like these that ultimately brought me to God---and there I found what I had always longed for---a place, a sense of belonging, a forever family."

This is a sad story with a happy ending and it’s the same for us under different circumstances. Think about for a moment with me! An offended God adopted us into His family. why was He offended?

When I……
  • Cursed Him with my lips
  • Hated Him and loved rebellion
  • Despised Him and sought this world for joy
  • Blasphemed His name to others
  • Shook my fist at Him
  • Denied Him before man
  • Loved my sin
  • Was self-seeking to making me happy
  • Trying to find a better life for me without Him
  • Ran away from His compassion, mercy and grace.
  • When I was a slave to sin and death
  • When I was rightfully condemned by Law to be a curse deserving of death.
Despite all this and much, much more! He adopted me/you into His family. God chose to save me and redeem me through His Son by becoming a curse for me…so that I could cry out to Him “Abba Father” He chose to pour out His affection and generosity towards me and you. The adopting grace of God not only justifies and sanctifies, He also adopts us into His family by His agape love. In order for this adoption to happen He crushed His Son (Jesus) so that we could be redeemable. What’s more amazing is that you weren’t looking for Him and you added nothing to being adopted. God was looking and planning to adopt you before the foundations of the world were put into place. WOW! Again as Paul said “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Eph 1:3-6. I did some research on adoption this week and it was amazing all the work and stuff you have to do in order to adopt a child.

For example:
  • be at least 21 years of age, financially stable, and responsible mature adults,
  • complete an application and multiple paper work.
  • share information regarding their background and lifestyle,
  • provide relative and non-relative references,
  • show proof of marriage and/or divorce (if applicable),
  • agree to a home study which includes visits with all household members,
  • allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household, and
  • attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children.
  • Medical examination and drug test.
  • Stacks upon stacks of paper work
  • Money (generally between 10 to 25 thousand dollars
What I find amazing during all this……. A child/orphan is completely oblivious to all the red tap the parents are doing behind the scene to adopt this child. The only thing that matters is the day the mom and dad walk into the Orphanage look at the child and says “You’re coming home with us” Isn’t that picture of you and me before Christ came to save us and bring us home? Can you imagine the look on the child’s face when this happens? It must be priceless! The same could be said for you and me! All this hard work being done by a holy God behind the scenes to make this happen for you and me. Before the foundations of the world…planning and preparing our reconciliation and adoption to bring us back home to a place where we taste eternal love and grace by a holy God. It came at a great price and all the hard work behind the scene came to fruition when I was unlovable, rejected and lost by this world......And was purchased back and adopted by amazing grace….to be called a child of God. See we are His children based on His saving grace through Christ and the gospel. How is that possible? How is that we are His children? If it’s all about grace….what is the purpose of the Law then? To show us our desperate need for a Savior. (v24) this is all done by His adopting grace, which is founded and secured in the gospel of Christ. As John Piper said “The deepest and strongest foundation of adoption is located not in the act of humans adopting humans, but in God adopting humans. And this act is not part of his ordinary providence in the world; it is at the heart of the gospel.”

13 March 2016

TAMING THE TONGUE


James 3:1-12

There was a happy little family, living in a small town in North Dakota, even though the young mother had not been entirely well since the birth of her second baby. But each evening the neighbours were aware of a warmth in their hearts when they would see the husband and father being met at the gate by his wife and two small children. There was laughter in the evening too, and when the weather was nice father and children would romp together on the back lawn while mother looked on with happy smiles. Then one day a village gossip started a story, saying that (the father) was being unfaithful to his wife, a story entirely without foundation. But it eventually came to the ears of the young wife, and it was more than she could bear. Reasons lefts its throne, and that night when her husband came home there was no one to meet him at the gate, no laughter in the house, no fragrant aroma coming from the kitchen, only coldness and something that chilled his heart with fear. And down in the basement he found the three of them hanging from a beam. Sick and in despair, the young mother had taken the lives of her two children, and her own. In the days that followed, the truth of what had happened came out, a gossip’s tongue, an untrue story, a terrible tragedy.

John MacArthur says “the tongue is YOU in a unique way. It is a tattletale that tells on the heart and discloses the real person. Not only that, but misuse of the tongue is perhaps the easiest way to sin. There are some sins that an individual may not be able to commit simply because he does not have the opportunity. But there are limits to what one can say, no built-in restraints or boundaries.

IN SCRIPTURE THE TONGUE IS VARIOUSLY DESCRIBED AS...


Wicked
Deceitful
Perverse
Filthy
Corrupt
Flattering
Slanderous
Gossiping
Blasphemous
Foolish
Boasting
Complaining
Cursing
Contentious
Open grave
Sensual

Vile


See the tongue is a great concern for James and it should be for us today! The tongue is capable of 2 things! It can be used to build up............... AND.................It can be used to tear down! JAMES SAID THIS IN THE BEGINNING OF HIS LETTER ….“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4. So here is another test that James gives us to test our skill to taming the tongue. I HAVE 2 QUESTIONS FOR US THIS MORNING! Are you displaying a proper us of the tongue according to what God expects from each and every one of us? Are you always using your tongue to do evil which is what Satan wants? The tongues capability to cause harm not only to ourselves, but to those who are around us!

THE CHRISTIAN TONGUE IS CAPABLE OF CORRUPTION (v6-v8)

James says the tongue is like a fire! (v6) Those who misuse the tongue are guilty of spiritual arson! A mere spark from an ill-spoken word can produce a firestorm that can cause so much damage and devastation to whatever it touches. In October 8, 1871, poor Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over the lantern as she was being milked, starting the great Chicago Fire. That disaster blackened three and one half miles of the city, destroying over 17,500 buildings and left 125 000 people homeless. The fire lasted two days and took 300 people’s livesJames is reminding us that there is great destructive power in the tongue. James uses the expression “fire” to help us understand the power of the tongue. The tongue is capable to reproduce itself in an almost unlimited way as long as it has fuel to burn...A wicked tongue corrupts the whole person. Why didn’t James us the word picture of water?...........Because water causes a lot of damage as well! Water cannot multiply....when it is poured out; no matter where it goes or what it’s poured on...... it never expands into a flood. But FIRE feeds on itself...if there is sufficient flammable material and enough oxygen to sustain combustion, it will burn on indefinitely. Now put that in the context of this part of James letter! Is your fire still going or has it been put out? Is your tongue being used for evil?
  
LET’S ALL OF US.........TAKE THE TEST THIS MORNING!

IS IT BEING USED TO GOSSIP?

Prov 16:27-28 “A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

IS IT BEING USED FOR COMPLAINING?

Num 21:4-5 “From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way.  And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food."

IS IT BEING USED FOR SELFISH GAIN?

2 Tim 3:1-5 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

IS IT BEING USED FOR DISHONESTY?

Col 3:8-10 “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,”

IS IT BEING USED FOR PERVERSE TALK?

Prov 10:31-32 “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.”

IS IT BEING USED FOR BLASPHEMING GOD?

Acts 13:44-45 “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming (defame, insult, speak evil) they opposed the things spoken by Paul.”

We MUST always be cautious of our tongue. Especially how we are to use it! Why? Listen to this profound warning by Jesus himself. Matt 12:36-37 But I say to you that for every idle (inactive, useless) word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." The tongue is evil and full of wickedness and untameable by man! (v8). We must have disciplined lives with the leading of the Holy Spirit....because it’s only by the help of God anyone of as are able to tame the tongue. We must be genuine in our speech not hypocritical (fake, two faced)........ when we are at certain places or around certain people! (v9-v12)

DO YOU DISPLAY ANY OR MANY OF THESE CHARACTERISTICS? If you do, you need to check to see where you stand in the Lord Jesus Christ! Why I say that? Because the Genuine believer will not contradict his or her profession of faith........................... by regular use of unwholesome words. As Jesus said in Matt 12:33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruitSO WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TONGUE? WHY DOES IT GET SO MUCH ATTENTION IN THE BIBLE? 

Because it is suppose to be used for:


Praising God
Worshipping
Prayer
Building up
Encouraging
Teaching
Communicating true Biblical Love



THE CHRISTIAN TONGUE IS INTENDED FOR EDIFICATION (v10-v12)

We are to edify one another. Edify (means) “the act of building" ("to build") the promotion of spiritual growth. As Paul said to the church in Ephesus from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Eph 4:16. Now put that definition of edification into the context of James chapter 3....we see! The tongue must be used for the purpose of good……..not evil. We must bridle our tongues as James said in (v2). Bridle (means) "to lead by a bridle, to hold in check, restrain;" it is used metaphorically of the tongue and of the bodyWE MUST USE IT FOR GOOD........How do I know it’s being used for good?

IS IT BEING USED FOR PRAISING GOD?

(Heb 13:15Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.

IS IT BEING USED FOR SHARING THE GOSPEL?

Matt 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

IS IT BEING USED TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS?

(1 Thess 5:12-15)  We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

IS IT BEING USED TO COMMUNICATE LOVE?

Eph 4:14-15  “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.”

IS IT BEING USED FOR GENUINE PRAYER?

(1Peter 3:12)  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

If anyone who knew what the tongue was capable of.........Peter is an expert in this area! The tongue is small and is capable of so much! May we always use it, for what it was intended for...........Bringing Glory to the One that saved us from the evil one! We are to look to God and His sovereign Power in help to overcome to tame the tongue. We must live disciplined lives under the control of the Holy Spirit. God gave us the ability for a new redeemed holy speech to speak ONLY that which is.............HOLY AND GOOD. As Paul said “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Col 4:6. A HATEFUL HEART is an unconverted heart and it CANNOT and WILL NOT produce loving words or works. A LOVING HEART is a regenerated heart and it CANNOT and WILL NOT produce hateful words or works. In Matt 7:18 we read "A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit." HOW DO WE ANSWER THE 2 QUESTION MENTIONED EARLIER? Are you displaying proper us of the tongue? Are you always using your tongue to do evil? Jesus went on to say in Matt 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire Thus you will recognize them by their fruits....” Can you leave here today with confidence that your tongue is being bridled by the Power of the Holy Spirit. DO WE HAVE A TONGUE THAT IS BITTER LIKE SALT WATER? DO YOU HAVE A TONGUE THAT IS PURE LIKE FRESH WATER?