Teachers: Watch Your Tongues – Part 1 James 3:1
Am I watching my tongue?
Yesterday, we read James 3:1-12 slowly, with purpose, to see what God says.
Today, let’s take a small bite and chew on just verse 1.
Open GODcha to the Book of James.
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OR use your hardbound Bibles and follow along.
Before We Begin, Let’s Pray
Oh Lord, as we come to Your Word of Truth, may we come cleansed, with nothing that would hinder us from hearing You speak to us personally and individually. May we humbly receive what You say about our tongues. Please give us wisdom and insight to live radically changed lives. Thank you!
Context Rules Interpretation
We just finished seeing True Faith Works.
God is showing us through James that believers are brought forth by the Word of God, changing hearts in a new birth, resulting in a changed new life, which is seen in the way we live.
James has made it clear that believers’ works are ‘the doing of the Word’:
- by persevering through trials;
- by resisting temptations;
- by loving others in need and not showing partiality;
These works, of love and obedience, give evidence that believers have a true saving faith.
Now, James wants to show us that a changed life will be seen in our tongue, mouth, speech, talk.
LOOK at What God Says
Let GODcha point the way.
Where will you begin?
Read God’s Word
Let’s read James 3:1-12 again asking the 5W’s and H.
Now, let’s focus on James 3:1.
Who is James addressing?
What does James warn?
THINK, THINK, THINK:
Why did James begin with teachers?
What should teachers do?
Why would teachers incur a stricter judgment?
We teachers, in the church, use our tongues alot!
We need to be aware of the significance and influence of our words.
There is a danger, we can harm others, and lead them astray.
We who teach, use our tongues, and will be more accountable for ‘WHAT we teach’.
We will give an account to the Lord, receiving a stricter judgment.
Many Scholars note: at that time among the Jews there were official teachers, rabbi’s. Then, there were unofficial teachers who could stand, and speak and teach in the synagogues.
This carried over to the early church, and evidently there were many who wanted to teach and be spiritual leaders. Some suggesting many were impressed with the authority and prestige of the office.
This is not much different than today in the church.
Unlock the Meaning of the Text
SO, what words are key that we should unlock?
If you aren’t sure, GODcha gives suggestions.
Understand God’s Words
Check Out the Meaning
Let’s examine teachers, and judgment too!
They are just a tap away.
Teacher, didáskalos, instructor, master, teacher.
Judgment, kríma, a sentence of punishment or condemnation, implying also the punishment itself as a certain consequence.
TIP: Remember to take the definitions back to the text.
1 “Let not many of you become teachers [masters, instructors], my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment [a sentence of condemnation; punishment].”
Well, we’ve seen something about judgment already back in Chapter 2.
Do you remember learning our final judgment will be decided by our words?
You might search out ‘judgment‘ when you have time using GODcha’s Word Search.
For a bit more clarity take a LOOK at the judgment for:
A believer. (2Co 5:10)
The ungodly sinner. (Jud 1:15)
Now let’s turn our attention to teachers.
It might help us understand the seriousness of a teacher’s tongue when we understand what God has to say about teaching and teachers.
Truth Explains Truth
I realize there are several Cross References for ‘teachers‘. We’ll check out a few today, and then the rest the next time.
Remember there is no rush!
Your goal is not to get through a passage(s), but rather to hear from God. You don’t want to miss what God is showing you, teaching you, desiring of you.
Remember, God is speaking to you through His Word by His Spirit, wanting to reveal much to you.
Remember, every time we read the Word, THINK and REASON, by asking the 5W’s and H.
1. What do we learn about teaching?
a. Teaching is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “We have different gifts… If your gift . . . is teaching, then teach” – not all are given the same gifts. (Rom 12:6-7)
b. God is the one who appointed the gifts within the church. In this CONTEXT, teaching is:
A speaking gift;
The God-given ability to explain God’s Word;
The supernatural ability to clearly instruct and communicate knowledge, specifically the doctrines of the faith and truths of the Bible;
Not all are teachers. (1Co 12:28)
Understand: the spiritual gift of teaching is not something that can be learned or acquired, as with a college degree.
Understand: A person with a Ph.D. BUT without the gift of teaching WILL NOT be able to expound the Bible like the one without a degree BUT who has the gift of teaching.
THINK: How do you know if someone has the gift of teaching?
c. Pastors, elders, overseers are required to have the gift of teaching. (1Ti 3:2)
If a pastor, elder, or teaching studies, Sunday School, small groups, etc, do I have the spiritual gift of teaching?
2. In Timothy, what are teachers required to do?
Teach sound doctrine (from God as opposed to man, divine teaching). (1Ti 4:6-11)
If teaching, what am I teaching?
Am I teaching sound doctrine, God’s words, or man’s words?
How do I know I am teaching soundly and accurately, and not falsely?
3. How does someone teach sound doctrine?
a. Be constantly nourished (to educate, train up) on the words of faith and the sound doctrine (teaching). (1Ti 4:6-11)
b. To be diligent [to labor, study] to present himself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling the Word of Truth accurately. (2Ti 2:15)
THINK: Are we reading everyone else’s books, instead of THE BOOK? The book that has 66 powerful books!
THINK: Are we listening to God, or man? Teaching God’s Word or man’s stuff?
Whether teaching or not:
Do I spend more time in God’s Word, or man’s words? Why?
What am I doing be a good steward, constantly nourished on God’s Words?
How diligent am I to study God’s Word so I one day will not stand before God ashamed?
How burdened am I to handle the Word of God accurately knowing I will incur a stricter judgment?
4. In 1 Corinthians, what else are teachers to do? Why?
a. Teachers are to be careful how they build on the foundation which is Jesus Christ. (1Co 3:10-11)
How am I building on the foundation which is Jesus Christ?
What am I doing to be careful how I build?
b. Teachers are to use God’s Word to build up the body of Christ.
Why? Because the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.
Only those purified by fire will have reward from the Lord. (1Co 3:12-15)
Am I building up the body of Christ? How?
Or, am I more interested in building a bigger, better church building in my community?
If teaching, what is the quality of my work?
Am I able to use God’s Word to build others up?
Respond to God …LIVE it out!
We see: Being a teacher is hard work!
nourish themselves on the Word;
teach sound doctrine;
build a firm foundation, which is Christ, for others to come and build upon.
Stop for a minute!
THINK: About the context of our ‘works’, being a ‘doer of the Word’.
THEN THINK: Any and all whose works involve ‘teaching the Word‘ are being held to a higher standard.
Let’s Call It a Day!
James wants us to grow in our relationship with the Lord.
Reflect and meditate on all God taught you today about ‘teachers‘ and our tongues.
Journal Your Discovery in Your Notes
Journal what you discovered about teachers in your Notes.
Let’s Bow Before the Father in Prayer
Perhaps. . .
OH FATHER GOD, thank you for Your Word of Truth that is so rich. Oh, as we see what You say to us today about teachers, I pray You would touch hearts today, and may they know if you are raising them up, calling them to teach others. If they are trembling with fear and feeling totally inadequate and weak, may they know that is normal. May they understand that it is a supernatural gift You give, and You are totally adequate to use us as Your instruments for Your kingdom purposes and Your glory. I am reminded that you care not about our abilities, but You do care about our availability. Oh Father, may we heed Your Word to us from James. If You have not called us to teach, may we stop, and step away. We ask this in Jesus name! Amen!
I want to applaud you for your commitment and time to be with the Lord today. You are doing great!
Next: we will continue LOOKING at what God says about teachers.
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