Summary: We need to be very careful when we start to speak evil of another! Our speech will reveal a lot about us.
• SLIDE #1
• As we have been embarking on our journey through James, we have seen a lot of stuff that the church was dealing with.
• As we have examined the various subjects, it seems clear that over time not a lot has changes.
• People will always have things to struggle with and the basic struggles do not change much over time.
• Last week we dealt with a difficult message concerning not cheating on God.
• A few weeks ago we examined the damage that we can do with our words.
• The subject today feeds off these two subjects.
• In verse 10 of James 4, James encourages us to:
• James 4:10 (ESV) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
• These two short verses can be a sort of test for us to gauge where we are in the area of obedience and humility before God.
• If we are not careful our pride will lead us to destroy others with disparaging remarks.
• As a Christian, I am called to a higher level of conduct. I bet we have all been around people who seem to enjoy or they seem to have a desire to destroy others with their words.
• Imagine how destructive one can be whose desire to destroy others, this is one of the reasons divorces are usually so brutal. People know how to hurt each other.
• Imagine what can happen in a church when folks have a desire to destroy one another.
• The theme I wants us to reflect upon today is this, how we talk about others (especially the family of God) reveals where are heart is.
• Turn with me to James 4:11-12
• SLIDE #2
• James 4:11–12 (ESV) 11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
• SLIDE #3
How we speak of others reveals:
I. Our attitude toward others. (11a)
• There must have been some real problems going on here.
• In the first part of verse 11, James says, Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother
• What comes to mind when you think of someone speaking evil against another?
• We picture slanderous speech, rotten things being said, false accusations being made, back biting, defamation, and critical words about those who are absent.
• The phrase we translate “SPEAK EVIL AGAINST” is much broader than that. It not only includes FALSE speech or SLANDER, but it includes even truth speech carried out in an uncharitable manner.
• This can include gossip OR SHARING SO YOU CAN PRAY FOR SO AND SO. It is sharing true information to people who do not need to know what is being shared.
• By the way we see the phrase ONE ANOTHER. This implies that what was going on was a two way street.
• Someone started it and another tried to finish it by retaliating!
• The verb tense indicates this problem was on-going, it was not a theoretical problem. A Clear and present danger.
• When we get into this mode, we are looking for things to say that can hurt people, we act like we do not want to share the tragic story but all the while inside we are having a good old time.
• Jesus tells us that we are to love our neighbors as our self in Matthew 22:37-39
• SLIDE #4
• Matthew 22:37–39 (ESV) 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
• Now when we speak in such manner toward our brothers and sisters (and others) we are violating God’s command to love one another.
• We sit in judgment of our brother. When we sit in judgment of another, we show that we have a lack of regard for them.
• Our attitude toward others is that we feel they do not deserve God’s grace and love, instead we feel they should receive our condemnation and judgment.
• Jesus tells us if our brother has a fault we are to go to them first. Matthew 18:16-18.
• Now I want to take a moment clear up a VERY common misconception concerning judging others.