Summary: James teaches that it is extremely important to control the use of the tongue and Solomon, in the book of Proverbs has many helpful comments about controlling the tongue.
1. Open your bibles to James 3:1&ff.
2. In our last lesson we discussed the warning that James gives to those who are teachers of God’s word.
(1) James warned that teachers that misuse their tongue in the teaching of God’s word will be judged with a much stricter judgment.
(2) James is not discouraging anyone from becoming a teacher, but he does want everyone who teaches to realize that all who teach must use their tongue correctly as they teach God’s precious word.
3. In the next few verses from James 3, James reminds Christians of many serious matters about the Christian life and the importance of controlling our tongue.
I. FIRST, JAMES 3:2 (the first part) REMINDS US THAT WE ALL FREQUENTLY COMMIT SIN.
1. James 3:2a says, “For we all stumble in many things”. The KJV says, “for in many things we offend all”.
(1) The word “stumble” refers to slipping and committing sin. The word “offend” refers to breaking God’s law and committing sin.
(1) The Greek word for the word “stumble” and “offend” is in a tense which refers to the fact that we frequently commit sin.
(2) The Greek is referring to continuous action. The best of Christians are frequently slipping and breaking God’s laws and committing sin.
2. Turn to 1 John 1:7. In this passage reference is made to the blood of Jesus continually cleansing the Christian of their sins.
(1) Let’s read 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” “Walking in the light” refers to walking in the light of God’s word.
(2) “Cleanses” is also from a Greek word that refers to continues action.
(3) When we read 1 John 1:8&9 we learn that the continual cleansing of the blood of Jesus requires that the Christian to repent, confess their sins and pray to God for them to be forgiven and stay in a right relationship with God.
(4) Let’s read 1 John 1:7-10, “7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(5) James and John are teaching Christians that as we fall and stumble into momentary lapses of sin, not intended or deliberate, and then strive to walk in the light of God’s word, repenting and making necessary corrections and praying for forgiveness, that the blood of Jesus will keep us acceptable in the sight of God.
3. Since James has brought up the fact that Christians stumble in many things we need to point out the fact that many of those sins are done in ignorance or momentary weakness, but then the bible also speaks of sins that are sometimes done deliberately and intentional.
(1) Turn in your bibles to Heb. 10:23-31. This passage warns us to understand that deliberate sins will not be automatically forgiven by the cleansing blood of Jesus. Punishment will be sure to come if we do not obediently & fully correct such sins.
(2) Let’s read Heb. 10:23-31. “23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
4. One other thing that this first little statement in James 3:2 brings to focus is the fact far took often and far too many Christians are guilty of committing many different types of sin. James says, “For in many things….”