Communication - Introduction

Faith Church May 22, 2010 James 3:1-12

Introduction: [Teachers – this could take 2 weeks – depending on the time you take/have]
1. We are continuing our series: “Taking the NEXT Step With Joy: In Our Marriages & Families”
2. So far we’ve studied some very important issues:
•    Basics of Marriage (5 weeks)
•    Husband’s Role: (4 weeks)
•    Wife’s Role (4 weeks – should have been 8 - ☺
3.  Now, we’re moving into a subject this morning that impacts ALL of what we’ve already studied – in fact, you could make the argument that we should have STARTED with the subject!
4.  I’d like to begin our time this morning with a question:  
Q: Is there was one skill that would like/need to develop, what would it be?
•    Would it be the skill of organization?
•    Would it be the skill of discerning character?
•    Would it be the skill of art or craftsmanship?
Answer: The skill of communication . . . – or the discipline of your tongue!
5.  If you stop and think about it, the area of communication is where most of our problems originate (i.e. begin to become evident)
Note: All problems begin in the heart of the person or persons involved in the problem),
6.  Many times problems occur because one person doesn’t understand the other
> that may be due to a failure to listen to the one speaking
> or a failure to get all the facts by asking questions and clarifying issues.
7.  Many time problems occur because one person doesn’t clearly articulate his/her position very well
> as a result, the other person gets confused or it leads to that person misunderstanding the other because the “waters are muddy.”
>  Either way, you have a communication problem:  
⇨    one has to do with listening, the other with speaking,
> But the outcome is basically the same.
8.  This morning: Let’s focus on the responsibility we all have in the proper use of our tongue.
- Title for our study:  “Communication: A Key Ingredient to a Godly Marriage & Family”
> and relationships in the church!
-  This has to do with understanding . . .:
•    The nature of the tongue
•    The proper use of the tongues
•    The warnings/dangers of abuse
•    The goal of good communication
9. I thought it would be wise to take 1 week and do and INTRODUCTION (basic truths regarding the tongues) before we study the 4 Rules of Communication – which we will start next week
10.  Our text for this study is based in James 3:1-12
-  James is a very practical book – while it contains theological truth, it is primarily about the application of that truth – demonstrating one’s faith, or proving the genuineness of one’s faith.
-  In short, the book of James is “Christianity in Action” – it’s not a/b KNOWING (though you have to know truth to obey it), it’s a/b DOING (you really don’t know truth unless you apply it!)
-  You get that in the beginning of chapter 1:
•    James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
•    James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
[READ 3:1-12]
11. James has already given us several characteristics of a mature Christian:  One who is . . .:
•    patient in trouble
•    handles temptation properly
•    uses anger properly (which has implication to godly communication)
•    concerned about obedience and being a DOER of the Word
•    compassionate toward widows and orphans
•    concerned about personal purity
•    doesn’t show partiality
•    lives out the faith in good works
•    and . . .  communicates properly by controlling his tongue!
12. The issue of communication is so important and of such practical value that James mentions it eight times in his letter (every chp. – though the chp. divisions are not inspired!).
•    James 1:19 But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.
•    James 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
•    James 2:12 So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
•    [3 times in our text – chp. 3:5, 6, 8]
•    James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it.
•    James 5:12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgment.
13.  From this chapter, let’s remember *Three powers the tongue has concerning relationships:
1:  The Power to Direct Relationships
2:  The Power to Destroy Relationships
3:  The Power to Delight Relationships
- Let’s start with the major impact that the tongues has on relationships (i.e. marriage/family/church)
I.  The Power to Bring Direction to Marriages/Families/Churches (3:1-4)
- whenever we start talking about the tongue, we should get a little nervous – for good reasons!
A.  Our lives will one day be tested by our words.
- James makes reference here at the beginning to those who teach the Word being held to higher standard of accountability, and that is true!
>  There are multiple warnings and admonitions in the Scriptures to those who teach doctrine
Examples for reference:  Ezek. 3:17-19; 33:7-9; Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 1:3-7; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; Jude 8,10,16)
- But just as “teachers of the Word” are to fulfill their responsibility in communicating properly (accurately/truthfully), each of us has that responsibility and admonition on our plate as well!
- Jesus taught this principle of accountability for our words in Matthew 12:36-37:
•    Matthew 12:36 “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.”
[Quote is on Study Guide only]
“But teachers are not the only ones who are tempted and sin; every Christian must admit that “we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2, NIV). And sins of the tongue seem to head the list. The person who is able to discipline his tongue gives evidence that he can control his whole body. He proves that he is a mature (perfect) man.   Wiersbe
- So we need to ask a few hard questions right now:
⇨    If Jesus stepped into the room right now and gave us an update on your words over the last week, what would that update look like?
⇨    What have you said this week that you need to go back and ask forgiveness from your spouse or child?
- Socrates:  “Speak, so I can see you!”
Point: Your accountability at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be determined, in part, by your words!
•    2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
•    Romans 14:12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
- A person who does not know the Lord, the future aspect of this passage refers to the Great White Throne Judgment spoken of by John in Revelation 20:11-15! (explain)
B.  It’s not a mistake to connect sins of the tongue with sins committed by ‘the whole body’
- Short version: Words usually lead to deeds!
>  Illustration:  WW II, “LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS!”
- But loose lips also ruins lives – unbiblical communication destroys relationships
- But godly speech can make a relationship strong and vibrant as the truth is spoken and words that are said are followed up on and carried out!
•    Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
Q:  Are your words really that influential?
•    Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
•    Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.
- James’ point:  As a bridle controls the horse, and the helm a ship, you can influence the whole body with the tongue!
[INSERT PICTUES OF THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER – CONTROLLED w/a SMALL HELM]
PIC #1 . . . then PIC #2 [on the PowerPoint]
>  Q:  How often do you think physical abuse is preceded by verbal abuse?
>  Q:  How often do you think sinful actions are preceded by sinful words?
- It usually starts with the tongue – but that’s not deep enough . . .
C.  The heart is the source of this powerful direction.
•    James 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
- Ken Collier, Director, The Wilds Camp,  “Your words are an x-ray of your heart!”
[Quote is on Study Guide only]
“It is a tattletale that tells on the heart and discloses the real person. Not only that, but misuse of the tongue is perhaps the easiest way to sin. There are some sins that an individual may not be able to commit simply because he does not have the opportunity. But there are no limits to what one can say, no built-in restraints or boundaries.  MacArthur
- Jesus put it this way in speaking to the Pharisees of His day:
•    Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
POINT:  How a person communicates or uses his/her tongue is test of a person’s faith – this is true because a person will eventually demonstrate the genuineness of his faith by his speech!
* Your speech reflects:
•    Your view of God and what He says about authority
•    Your view of God and His ability to help you solve problems
•    Your view of God and what He says about marriage
•    Your view of God and what He says about how to build a strong family
- That is a universal and an undeniable principle – it’s not a new principle either!
•    Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
- When we have problems with our words, we’re having problems with our heart – the answer is not just to clean up our words – it’s to repent in our heart and change the way we think in our hearts!
- The reason people don’t change/grow in this area is a failure to deal with the inner man!
Q:  How have your words been this week?
Q:  In what condition is your heart? – you can know, by your words!
- Not only does the tongue have power to direct, it has power to . . .
II.  Power to Bring Destruction to Marriages/Families/Churches (3:5-8)
[Quote is on Study Guide only]
“In Scripture, the tongue is variously described as wicked, deceitful, perverse, filthy, corrupt, flattering, slanderous, gossiping, blasphemous, foolish, boasting, complaining, cursing, contentious, sensual, and vile. And that list is not exhaustive. No wonder God put the tongue in a cage behind the teeth, walled in by the mouth!  MacArthur
A.  It doesn’t take much.
ILL:  A fire reportedly started in the O’Leary barn in Chicago at 8:30 P.M., October 8, 1871; and because that fire spread, over 100,000 people were left homeless, 17,500 buildings were destroyed, and 300 people died. It cost the city over $400 million.  The “Great Chicago Fire.”
- Proverbs states it this way:
•    Proverbs 26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. 21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
- A word spoken in anger – a statement made in revenge – a conservation that stirs passions that cannot be righteously fulfilled . . . and a person can be on their way to fornication or adultery!
- It doesn’t take much because words are powerful!
B.  A little can do a lot of damage!
- there are a lot of other passage in the bible that deal directly with this subject:
•    Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
•    Psalm 39:1 {A Psalm of David.} I said, "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle, while the wicked are in my presence. 3 My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.”
- Think of the implications to murmuring / gossip in a church …
> God knew the church would struggle with this so He established the office of Deacons – Acts 6 (explain part of their role is to ‘put down gossip/murmuring)
- Think of the implications to slandering your spouse:
- Think of the power of a simple phrase:
•    “I want a divorce” – Laurie and I promised to NEVER use that word in jest
•    “I don’t love you anymore”
•    “I hate you”
- Just like a fire, our words can hurt and DESTROY our relationship with our spouse:
[INSERT PICTURES OF THE FIRES: Pic #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6]
– it didn’t take much – one cigarette, one match]
ILL:  Our Lord endured the words of His enemies . . . and even His disciples
•    They called Him gluttonous and a drunkard (Matthew 11:19)
•    He was accused of being in league with Satan
•    Peter curse and swore and denied he even knew the Lord
•    When He died on the cross, they mocked Him with their words!
Point:  Sometimes God may allow us the chance to respond like His Son did – that can be part of ‘husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church’!
C.  You don’t have the ability to tame it – you need help!
•    James 3:8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
- You might ask: “Well, what then do I do? If I can’t do it, then why try?”
- I think James has already answered that question back in James 1:5 (Quote)
- Answer:  You can’t tame the tongue, but . . .
* You can exercise faith in the One who can help you control your tongue
> You need God’s help and His wisdom
> You need the Word of God to help guide you & instruct your speech (James 1:22-25).
- You and I need the Holy Spirit to help us develop the fruit of the Spirit:  SELF CONTROL!
•    Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control.
[Quote is on Study Guide only]
“If the Holy Spirit has control of this most volatile and intractable part of our being, how much more susceptible to His control will the rest of our lives be?
* If you want to control your body, learn to walk in the Spirit in the use of your tongue!
⇨    Sometime you will need to STOP and simply be SILENT – don’t speak!
⇨    Sometimes you will need to STOP and THINK . . . chose your words carefully, then speak
⇨    Sometime you will need to STOP and GET COUNSEL/ADVICE before you answer a matter
IMPORTANT: This is where being a godly spouse, parent comes into the picture, or a godly friend – God puts others around us to help us learn the lessons we need to learn!
•    Husbands – are you letting your wife be your fitting helper? Are you treating her as a fellow heir of the grace of life?
•    Wives – are you reverencing your husband?  Do you allow him to point out when you are being sinful with your tongue?
•    Parents – are you modeling to your children HOW to communicate?
- The Tongue Has the Power to Direct Relationships . . . and to Destroy Relationships . . . and …
III.  The Power to Bring Delight to Marriages/Families/Churches (3:9-12)
- Big question is:
Q: What can be the potential result of careful words?
•    Proverbs 15:23 . . . how delightful is a timely word!
- As is the case in other areas, the tongue has great potential to BUILD a marriage/family/church or to DESTROY a marriage/family/church
- Therein lies the challenge – James says that . . .
A.  This duplicity ‘ought not to be this way’
- He mentioned the same idea back in chp. 1 ‘a double minded man is unstable in all his ways’
> That’s certainly true in the use of our tongues
Q:  How often do you tell your spouse you love him/her, and then 1 hour later (or less) you’re having to ask forgiveness for ungodly speech that came out of your mouth?
Q:  How often are you having fun 1 minute with your child and then sinfully angry the next?
•     “These things ought not to be this way”
- If it shouldn’t be this way, then what should we do?  -- Get busy changing it!!
B.  Three illustrations to clarify the purpose of the tongue:
- Our tongues should be like . . .
1.  A fountain – v. 11 – the same fountain produce fresh and bitter water? – NO
2.  A tree – v. 12 – a fig tree produce olives or a olive tree produce figs? – NO
3.  Water – v. 12 – salt water produce fresh water? – NO
Point:  It’s NOT within them – it’s IMPOSSIBLE
>  a heart that is bitter/angry can’t produce loving words – it can’t happen any more than the above illustrations could be changed!
> Jesus taught on this subject in Matthew:
•    Matthew 7:18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
•    Matthew 7:20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
C. The joy comes in doing what God intended for you to do with your tongue!
- that’s the point of the illustrations James is giving us
* Fulfill your purpose & be consistent
- Do what the creator designed you to do!
Conclusion:
-  Let’s be honest with ourselves and ask the questions
1.  How am I doing in the use of my tongue?
- it would be a good idea to ask your spouse that questions
- don’t you dare get mad if they tell you the truth (if you do, you just proved their point!)
2.  If everybody spoke to their spouse like I speak to mine, would God be pleased? How strong would their marriage be?
3.  Do I need to ask forgiveness for any misuse of the tongue God gave me?

Prayer Time:
⇨    Husband – pray for the guys
⇨    Wife – pray for the girls
⇨    One person – pray for the marriages/families
 

Faith Church