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Recap: We’ve been studying in James about how to have a foolproof faith – a faith that can’t be fooled into embracing anything not of God if you’re saved, and a faith that can’t fool you into thinking you’re saved when you’re lost.
Setting: Throughout the letter, James has been offering verifiable proofs that authenticate genuine faith in a believer’s life. In the first (3) chapters James specifically addresses the saved people in the church, but starting in chapter 4, he turns to the lost people w/in the church who think their saved. As we discussed last week, these well-meaning unregenerated people can be identified by (4) actions: they create conflict, they’re judgmental, they’re defiant, and they’re greedy. Today we’re going to look at the second issue of a slanderous, judgmental spirit.
Text: Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him, speaks against the law, and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:10-12
Note: As James begins to address the issue of judging, he points out that a critical spirit manifests itself w/ a slanderous tongue. Here we go again. The tongue is a troublemaker that causes us to trip and fall. (see Pr. 13:3)
Trans: A few months ago, a pastor friend of mine was diagnosed w/ nodules on his vocal cords. This isn’t a good problem for a preacher since he has to speak so often. His only cure was to not speak for 2 months – which meant he couldn’t preach, teach or counsel. We were talking about it one day and he commented, “You would be amazed at how godly you can be when you can’t talk.”
Note: As I have thought about his statement I couldn’t agree more. Our mouths get us into more trouble. More times than not, it is my children’s unguarded words that get them into trouble more than their actions; and the same is true for most people. According to James, slander is just the tip of the iceberg to a much more crippling issue – a critical, judgmental spirit.
I The RULE of Slander and Judgment
Text: Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law, and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
Word: slander (katalaleo) it refers to mindless, thoughtless, derogatory, untrue speech intended to tear down other people.
Note: Slander is kin to gossip. Gossip is spreading truth about someone w/ the intent to defame and injure their person and credibility, while slander is spreading untruth w/ the same intention.
Note: But I want you to see something especially frightening about slander – it is authored by Satan – he is the master slanderer. One of his names (devil) means to slander. Satan unveiled this malicious tactic in the Garden of Eden when he slandered God’s integrity and motives before Eve. Think about it. The first act of slander was tied to the very first sin in human history.
Note: Now before I go any further, I want to be clear. Everyone is capable of spreading untruth w/ malicious intent – Christians included. Thus, while James might be focusing on the lost people in the church
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