RADIANT WORD: James 1 – 1John 5:21
Week of January 27, 2014 – February 3, 2014
Group Focus: Taming the tongue
Comments to Leader:
Well, the fast is officially completed! This was one of the more difficult and challenging fasts for me personally for several reasons but primarily, because it’s hard to deny my flesh! Yet, I feel that it was significant and I did experience breakthroughs. One area of breakthrough came so “out of the blue” and unexpectedly. A family member of mine (who lives in another state) called me, sobbing, weeping, asking me for forgiveness and thanking me for showing him “true Christian love”. This is a family member whom we have been praying for, for decades. He has distanced himself from us b/c his lifestyle is so blatantly contrary to Christ’s. Yet, we have continued to pray for him, speak the Truth in love and reach out to him with God’s love. God is working deeply in his heart right now and I was able to hear that clearly through his sobs and heartfelt words. Another breakthrough for us as a church family is that our attendance has grown to average 1900 over the past three weekends (during the time of the fast). These numbers are significant because they represent more people who are being reached with The Message of God’s love and transformed by His grace. Now we need to continue to pray for the new additions to our worship services to connect to God and others in Biblical community.
Please take some time to talk about the breakthroughs that are being experienced in the church and specifically in the lives of those in your group. Praise God together for the great things He has done and is doing.
Encourage each person to keep praying and believing God for great things and answered prayer even beyond the fast. My personal experience has always been that evidence of God’s work tends to continue to be revealed long after an extended fast.
Before moving into the Radiant Word study you may want to consider allowing people to share any meaningful part of the weekend message on the
Scandal of Grace Part 3: Rescued
What is one of the most meaningful things that a person has even spoken to you?
Why were/are these words so significant to you?
How have they impacted your life?
Leader: If you have a large group you have some different options
1) Have them break into groups of 2-3 people to share their experiences within
their smaller groups
2) Keep the large group but have only a few (1-3) people share their experience
(in order to manage time effectively)
Don’t take too much time on this.
TEACHING & INTERACTION
New King James Version (NKJV)
1. Read James 3:1-2 What stands out to you in these verses? why?
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
a. Don’t aspire to be a teacher unless you know God has called you and you are willing to live according to a higher standard
i. Do you think that teachers/pastors/leaders should be held to a higher standard? Why or why not?
b. v. 2 “For we all stumble in many things.” We ALL stumble in many things! No one is perfect! How does this revelation impact the way we look at ourselves and each other?
2. Read James 3:3-5
“3 Indeed,[a] we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.”
a. How do we turn a horse’s whole body? How is a ship directed or redirected even when fierce winds are blowing against it?
b. How does this apply to us and our tongue or our mouths?
c. These verses are implying that we have the power to change the course or direction of our lives by controlling our tongue (our words).
How can our words direct the course of our lives? Please explain.
d. Take a moment to think about the words you have spoken recently to others and even to yourself. What direction are your words taking you? Are they leading you in a positive direction or a negative one?
e. Do you need to change the way you tend to speak?
3. Read James 3:5-9 James warns us of the dangers of our tongue.
“5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
a. This is intense! I recently watched a video about the dangers of 9V batteries. A man was warning people to carefully store them because if two 9V batteries touch together they can create an electrical spark and result in a fire or an explosion. This particular man had a bag of 9V batteries in his garage. They created a spark that resulted in a fire that destroyed his family’s home.
b. James is warning that this is the kind of major damage that can result from careless, negative, evil words.
c. Pastor Todd talked about words in his message last weekend. He mentioned the African proverb, “sticks and stones may break my bones buy words will never hurt me”. This is absolutely incorrect. Words can and do hurt deeply. All of us have been deeply wounded by the words of others. Sometimes people unintentionally speak words that wound. They didn’t mean for them to come across as they did; but they still hurt. Other times people intentionally try to wound us with their words. Even in these situations it’s important to remember that “hurt people, hurt people” or wounded people wound people. Nevertheless…words can and do hurt DEEPLY. And undoubtedly, there is someone here tonight who is still carrying the wounds of words spoken to you or about you. So, let’s take a few minutes to pray for healing for anyone who may need this tonight.
Leader, please feel free to use your own words; here is a sample prayer:
Father, if I am carrying wounds or hurts from damaging words, please reveal that to me now so that I can bring it to You and be healed. I acknowledge the pain, the heartbreak, the anguish and the rejection from the words inflicted upon me. And I also acknowledge that You know very well what this feels like because You have had evil words spoken to You and about You as well. You know very well the pain that words can bring. You have felt the pain of evil words and You died for the sin of evil words spoken. You shed Your very own blood to pay the price for every harsh, angry, condemning, sinful word spoken. I confess tonight that Your Blood was more than enough to cover over all sin; my sin and the sins of others against me. So, I ask tonight that You would cover over and wash away every evil word spoken by me, to me…about me. Forgive me and forgive those who have sinned against me. And Lord, right now, I choose to forgive those who spoke hurtful words to me and I also choose to forgive myself for evil words that I have spoken. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient and Your Blood is more than enough to wash away all sin and heal my wounded heart.
4. Read James 3:10-12
“10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth freshwater and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.”
a. All of us stumble at times with our words. If we are honest, most of us would have to confess that we struggle a LOT with speaking right words.
(Read v.10 one more time.) God is calling us to consecrate our tongues to Him in a new way this year. What are some thoughts on how to redirect our speaking so that we speak words of blessing rather than cursing? Understanding that “cursing” in this context is not limited to profanity but rather it is referring to words that bring about a negative, destructive flow versus a positive, uplifting force.
5. Finally, I want to leave you with this verse in Proverbs 18:21(NKJV)
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”
a. What do these words mean to you personally? How have they or will they change the way you speak; even in the midst of difficult circumstances?
b. I recommend memorizing this verse and meditating on it day and night in order to consecrate your tongue (your words) to God; and to speak words that bring blessing and life rather than death and destruction.
Closing Remarks: Encourage your group to come to the chili cook off on Saturday for another time of fellowship and community. Close in prayer and encourage them to keep drawing near to God. James 4:8
Co-Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO