May 27, 2017 Memorial Day Tribute ( James 3: 1 – 17)

Today, I want to celebrate Memorial Day by honoring both the Biblical foundation of the rights we enjoy in our Constitutional Republic of The United States of America, and the military personnel who have served and died defending those rights.  The US Bill of Rights begins with the freedom of religion because America’s Founding Fathers realized that through the Ten Commandments God was securing the inalienable rights they reference in The Declaration of Independence, which are that“we have a right to not be murdered; and not to be sexually molested, nor threatened by having males and females in the same bathrooms. We have a right to not be lied to or about; and we have a right not to be stolen from nor have our persons, people, positions or possessions coveted by the government, which includes those who would manipulate government to take those things from us.

Esteem for the culture that developed from these Biblical concepts being applied to civics and government, which we call “The American Way of Life”, has motivated generations of US military personnel, like myself, to serve, so others also might enjoy them.

Today in honor of veterans like Theresa, who are male and female and come from all ethnicities, I am going to read a poem she wrote called Retreat Thoughts.

LCF Memorial Day Tribute Sunday May 27, 2017

"RETREAT THOUGHTS”
By Theresa Higgins Raffael
I stand before Old Glory, with tear dimmed eyes each night.
And proudly salute the colors that have no stain or blight.
I know it's just a piece of cloth, several centuries old.
But all the meaning behind it, and stories that could be told.
The red stands for innocent blood shed for you and me.
While the white reminds us of our country's purity.
Now we come to the last, that color which is blue,
Surrounded by fifty stars, showing how our nation grew.
And as its being lowered, slowly to the ground,
Perhaps we stop to think of the coffins it has mound.
And now its being folded, by those who serve it well,
Comrades of soldiers, who in the front lines fell.
Now to climax all these thoughts and put them into one,
To stand retreat’s a privilege that human blood has won.
(May God bless America and continue to lift us up in liberty.)

Walk Thru The Word for Today:  James 3: 1 – 17

1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,a and set on fire by hell.b 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,c these things ought not to be so..

11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.  13Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Message Map:

James 3: 1-17“We Travel To Where Our Tongues Take us”

“Is The Tongue Taking You To Where God Directs or Wants You To Travel?”“Is The Tongue Taking You To Where God Directs or Wants You To Travel?” Click To Tweet

  • Speech Directs Our Lives, Like a bit directs a horse and like a rudder directs a ship
  • Perfect Speech = Perfect Christians
  • Boasting = Wickedness & Unrighteousness speech
  • Wisdom from Above Produces –

the 7 ways of wise speech

 James 3: 2 2For we all stumble (fall, sin, err, transgress) in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

To Stumble means to fall into misery, become wretched.  Jas 3:2 says there’s a link between us being wretched and what is coming out of our mouth.

Here’s a chicken and egg test: What came first the chicken or the egg?

In creation, the chicken came first, but after that the egg comes before each chicken.  In life, the tongue speaks what soon will be our reality.  So what eggs are our tongues laying today that will hatch and bring chickens home to roost tomorrow?

Will we be hatching wretchedness and misery – or the fruit of the Spirit?

Speaking right indicates we are able also to bridle our whole body. & direct our lives into God’s will and course.

Perfect Speech = Perfect People  (James 3: 1 & 2 Tim 2:15) 

According to James 3:2, controlling what we say makes us as perfect – as humanly possible in God’s sight.

Being able to control our tongues demonstrates we are …

  1. a) spiritually complete, b) full grown in Christ, c) mature in Christ, d) we’ve been in Christ long enough to know when to keep out mouths shut

 A boasting tongue burns many things James 3: 4-5 

James 3:4  3 A bit in the mouth of a horse is that which “curbs the spirit” and guides their whole bodies as well.

4Large ships driven by strong winds are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

So our little tongues direct the great course of our lives!

 Our Small Tongues Have Great power James 3: 4-5 

James 3: 5 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts (haughty language which wounds and provokes others, and stirs up strife.) of great things.  How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

 Boasting = Wickedness & Unrighteousness Speech – James 3: 5-6

James3:5b How great a forest is set ablaze (ruined) by such a small fire!

A Forest is meant to be a place of life and shelter for animals, but fire ruins it.

Fire = fire; strife, trials; the eternal fire.

6And the tongue is a fire, a world of  wickendess/unrighteousness (binjustice, unrighteousness, hurt). The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,a and set on fire by hell.

What We Should Believe About blessing & cursing

James 3: 8-10 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless (speak well of) our Lord and Father, and with it we curse (imprecate evil on) people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,c these things ought not to be so.

A Blessing is a) speaking thanksgiving; b) to confer benefit; c) asking for God’s favor and protection:

A Curse is  a) invoking a supernatural power to inflict harm; b) an offensive word or phrase to express anger, annoyance or disapproval; c) disrespectful name calling

Double tongued

A double tongued person expresses two different roles or interpretations. Double tongued people either are deceive or confused in their role in representing God.

Using out tongues in prayer and praise and then using them in cursing, reviling and slandering those who bear God’s image, is a great inconsistency. (Jude 9)

Jude 9: 9But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Michael did not dare bring a railing accusation but rebuked the devil in the name of the Lord.  I wonder if we are too casually expecting God to see others and the circumstances they are in when we want to curse them?

Wise Speech Reflects the ways of Wisdom from above

James 3: 13, 17-18 13Who is wise (learned and cultivated by God’s ways) and understanding among you? By his good conduct (honorable character when interacting with others) let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom (a divinely-balanced virtue that can only operate through faith).

17But the wisdom from above (divine insight, and intelligence from the Kingdom of Heaven), …  [leads to] 18… a harvest of righteousness [that] is sown in peace by those who make peace.

The 7-ways of Wise Speech James 3: 17

God works in us to reflect His “wisdom from above” in our speech by training us in the 7-

ways of Wise Speech, which includes making us to be…

  • pure = of a chaste condition prepared for worship
  • peaceable = profitably/knowing (discerning) the Lord’s will and obeying it while avoiding argument or violent conflict
  • Gentle = gentle, mild mannered (not easily provoked), forbearing (politely and patiently restrained from impulse), fair (in accordance with God’s standards, just & appropriate to the circumstance)
  • open to reason/Reasonable = willing and inclined to come to terms of win-win agreements with others. (vs win-lose.)
  • full of mercy and Good Fruits
  • Mercy = the pity & compassion God has for sinners,
  • Good Fruits = profitable deeds, resulting from actions done in true partnership with Christ, the Vine, united with Him as a faithful believer-branch
  • Impartial = undecidedly whole-hearted for God, without uncertainty, unambiguous.
  • Sincere = unfeigned, without hypocrisy, without selfish motives, free from hidden agendas.

 Is The Self or The Spirit Steering the ship?  

The Wisdom from Above is the James 3:18  harvest of righteousness  [that] is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Does our speech reflect that the rudder of our life is self or The Spirit of God?

Eph. 6: 16-20 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Eph. 6:18 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (sincere, earnest entreating of the Lord).

Supplication is the manifestation of both the Shield of Faith & Sword of The Spirit, and results from our head/thought life being right with God because we’re wearing our helmets of salvation and are mindful of our eternal position in Christ.

Righteous peace makers make righteous peace James 3: 17

The outcome of Wisdom from Above is a harvest  of righteousness  [that] is sown in peace by those who make peace.

The Harvest is the outcome of us yielding to Christ, and what is eternal, so His two life-streams Mercy & Good Fruits flow out from the Lord living His life through us.

Righteousness is that which is deemed right, holy just in God’s eyes.

Our goal is to express the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit

Sharing a message or “communication from the logos – The Bible that expresses God’s reasoning in our  words.”

The last words of King David are recorded in 2 Sam 23: 2-4  2“The Spirit of the LORD speaks by/through me; his word is on my tongue.”

Loving God Most Means Letting God Use Us To Teach Others

Dear God, please work within me to make me the type of person You can use to teach others about …

  • Who You Are
  • How You Love Us
  • How You Reconcile Us To Yourself Through Christ
  • How Your Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness Overcomes Our Shortcomings
  • How You Motivate Us To Be All You Want Us To Be

 At Today’s Communion, We Commemorate “God’s grace for tongues Gone Astray”

In Isaiah 6: 1 …I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. … 3And one called to another and said:  “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”b

4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

This scene foreshadows the Salvation by Grace through Christ’s Death on the Cross opens the door for us to be accredited with righteousness, and for the Holy Spirit’s purifying presence and fire to burn off the dross in our lives.

Thus Isaiah 1: 25-28 (KJV) says And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, …afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.

And Isaiah. 1: 28 says, “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”   God fulfilled this for us through Jesus Christ whom we celebrate at this table of communion.  Let’s take a moment to reflect on Christ and what He means for us, and where He’d like to better direct our speech to be more reflective of Who He Is in our lives!

1Cor. 11: 23- 26 the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”g 25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

To view the recorded message, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3a_doM5YmU