Volume. XXVIII, No. 31
Sunday, 02 February 2014


The Test of the Tongue


If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this mans religion is vain. James 1:26.

James is a very practical book. It was written to Jewish believers (1:1) who had been scattered abroad as a result of persecution. His main theme is that real, genuine faith can be seen in our lives (2:17-18). In the verse quoted above, James gives a test for us to see if our religion is vain (empty) or real, the test of the tongue. He expands on this in chapter three. The Bible has a lot to say about speech so we will glean wisdom from other areas of it too.

Firstly, what does it mean to bridle the tongue? To bridle is to restrain or control something. In this case the phrase means to control ones speech. In James 3:2 he says, For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. This shows that it is not an easy thing to control ones speech. After writing about how mankind has been able to tame all kinds of beasts, birds, serpents and sea creatures, James says, But the tongue can no man tame (3:8a). I think that this is something we can all attest to, especially in fits of anger. We have a greater danger of saying things we later regret. James advises us in chapter 1 verse 19 to be careful, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: and gives the reason why in verse 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. We want to do things which bring glory and honour to God but getting angry and letting words blast out doesnt tend to do that.

Why do we need to bridle our tongues? In James 3:3-6 he says that even though our tongues are small they can have a big effect either in directing something or in causing damage. He gives examples of a bit controlling a horse and a helm controlling a ship, then also of a small fire kindling something big. He even calls our tongues unruly evil, full of deadly poison (3:8b). How can we bridle our tongues? Well, not on our own strength. Matthew 12:34b tells us, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh so it is really that which is in our hearts which is the source of our problem. We need God to make our hearts right and His help to keep them right.

He has given us some guidance in Ephesians 4:29, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Corrupt communication is any kind of evil or destructive speech. There are things which quickly spring to mind such as blaspheme (Mat 15:19), cursing (Psa 59:12) and lying (Psa 120:2). It also includes many other things such as bitter words (Rom 3:14), sowing discord (Pro 6:19), murmuring (Php 2:14), complaining (Jude 1:16), gossip (Prov 26:20), deceitful words (Psa 10:7), flattery (Prov 29:5), filthy, foolish talking and jesting (Col 3:8a), cutting remarks (Ps 55:21b), and grievous (i.e. provoking, offensive) words (Prov 15:1).

Although blaspheme does spring to mind I think that maybe it is not understood well, for I hear it even from some Christians, though it goes clearly against the third commandment (Exo 20:7). Blaspheme is speaking disrespectfully about God, taking His name in vain, such as using it lightly or emptily, loosely, without thinking. Instead we should honour Gods name, hallowing it, as we pray in the Lords prayer (Matt 6:9).

On the positive side, we are to speak words which are good to the use of edifying, so words which build-up, and we do this to minister grace unto the hearers. What a privilege God gives us to be His instruments in giving grace to people.

Lets look at some examples.

1 Chronicles 16:9 says, Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. In verse 23 of the same chapter we are told to Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. As we sing and praise God we can remember His goodness and His greatness and share it with others. This goes along with evangelism, testifying of the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world and died on the cross to save us sinners, then rose again, offering eternal life to all who put their trust in Him and receive Him as Lord and Saviour. I dont think that there is a greater way we can minister grace to hearers than this.

Singing can also be used to admonish or teach one another. Col 3:16 says, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.. It can be a good way of remembering Gods word or biblical truths. We sing in our worship services, fellowship groups and on visitation. We can sing in our homes. Many hymns were written to go along with sermons that were preached.

Some songs are for thanksgiving but we dont need to sing to give thanks. Yes, we should give thanks to God (1 Thess 5:18), for He has given us much and done much for us, but it is also good to appreciate those around us (Phil 1:3).

We can comfort one another with words (1 Thess 4:18). In times of grief, sadness, loss, pain, and trials we may need comfort. Maybe at these times we dont know what to say but we can pray with the person and help them to turn to the God of all comfort (2 Cor 1:3-4).

In Proverbs 31:26, we read that the virtuous woman speaks wise and kind words. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. We can speak to give good counsel and advice.

God told Moses to encourage Joshua in Deut 3:28, But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see. Later God emboldened Joshua himself, telling him to be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed and promising that He, the LORD his God would be with him wherever he went (Jos 1:9).

Paul told Timothy to Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. Reproving and rebuking may not sound like positive words, but their purpose is to bring someone who is heading the wrong way, back onto the right track.

What does the test of the tongue say about your faith? Can people tell you are a Christian from what comes from your mouth? I would encourage you as you go through your week, at home, at work or elsewhere to think about your speech and whether or not it brings glory to God.

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster Leader: Today: Bro Edwin DMello. Next Lords Day: Bro Phil Surman
*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm. Good Bibles (English & Mandarin) available.
*Sanctuary Flowers Roster: Serve the Lord with gladness - Three dates still available.
*Church activities - Sparks4Christ starts on 7 Feb. Parents and new friends invited. Adult Sunday School next Lords Day.
*Basic Bible Knowledge Class commences on the first Lords Day in March 2014. Anyone wishing to know about the Christian faith, church membership or preparing for Baptism and Re-affirmation are encouraged to attend this class. For details, please see Elder Michael Lee.
*Please note: Bible Study every Wed. Starts at 7:30 pm and finishes at 8:40 pm (latest). From 12 Feb, Rev Ed Paauwe will conduct How to interpret the Bible for 10 weeks. All are encouraged to come to study Gods Word.

Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Mrs Lehia Paauwe (SA); Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Melb/Adl); Bro Ming Sheng Lim (Newcastle); Sisters Alice Lee (Melb/Adl) & Michelle Lee (Adl); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Church activities in past week.
3. Gods daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
4. Visitors & new worshippers.
5. PR visa approval: Sis Clara Sim

Prayer Items
1. Health & Gods healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (Spore); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (Spore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicias father - Spore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Margaret Hooper, Grace Gans father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Ruth Ngoma, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi & Sis Mavis Wongs mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wongs father); Mrs Maggie DMello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
2. Special Prayer: Bro Sis Nita Chongs cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo - salvation & healing) & Sis Iris Surmans brother (healing).
3. Gods comfort & strength: Sis Julie Tan & family, & relatives; Mrs Helen Jenkins & family.
4. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.
5. Cambodia Missions - Rev Srun Chivan & Ministry(Sihanoukville); Bro Sun Sokha.
6. Battam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry; Filadelfia B-P Church, orphanage & kindergarten.
7. New Life BPC (London) - Gods encouragement & guidance; Congregation to remain stedfast in the faith; Rev Colin Wongs visa application to be approved.
8. Ministry in Hope BPC - Gods guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng.
9. Journey mercies: Sisters Xandrea Cai, Jillian Chia & Yashu Qin (Adl); & others travelling.
10. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
11. Job - Bro Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Yashu Qin (Adl) & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for stable jobs.
12. Health in pregnancy: Sisters Kerrie Lam, May Lau & Tabitha Tan.
13. Final weeks of pregnancy: Sis Monica Tan - safe delivery & health.
14. Recovery & strength: Sis Susan Weng; Development & health: Caleb Weng.
15. Bro Ming Sheng Lim - further medical training in Newcastle. Gods guidance to a Bible-believing church & in his spiritual life.
16. Gods guidance & wisdom for those in authority in this country. Comfort - those who lost homes in bush fires.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063