A few weeks ago I had the privilege of finishing out the book of James with the Saturday Night Bible Study. My text was James 5:13-20 "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."
James gives three examples of small natural elements that cause an effect 100 times its own size: bits, rudders and sparks. A bit in the mouth of a horse can direct the large beast. A small wooden rudder can direct a massive ship through the water. A small spark can ignite a huge forest fire. And embedded within these examples is the principle that a pure life is possible if the tongue is under control.
But does James suggest this as a hypothetical to tease out the depravity of man? Is he dangling a carrot in front of eyes to motivate holiness? Is the tamed tongue on display behind a glass window? These are some of the questions we looked at on Saturday night as we studied James 3.
I'd love to hear your opinion on James 3 and specifically verse 2. Is James saying that it is possible to tame the tongue or is it just a hypothetical point that leads to a bigger point? What do you think?
Pull the trigger. Ship the product. Execute. Finish the race. We are all familiar with these sayings. And the idea is communicated by James within the first chapter of his letter. This isn’t just activity for activities sake. James it talking about actions that are issued as a response to the text. "I read this here and so I’m going to do this now." Earlier this month I had the opportunity preach at CCCM from the book of James. Here is the sermon in its entirety.
I want to be a better doer of the Word
- Read with understanding
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth every time you open the Bible
- Make regular use of basic commentaries and study helps
- Sit under good Bible teaching through your church
- Make application to your own life
- Identify the principles in the text (sometimes they teach us about God and other times they teach us about ourselves)
- Talk to God about that principle (prayer)
- Evaluate your life based on that principle
- Plan to do the Follow Up Action
- Start with a personal pronoun “I”
- Identify the verb “Relate the action to time “today”, “this week”
Note: This is why journaling or writing things down can be helpful. To do this whole process in your brain and then remember it is nearly impossible.