His Word + (Your Words + Actions) = Love

UBCD Sept 16 2018     James 3:1-12      Licentiate Sharon White

This is week 3 of our September series on the book of James and looking at the 6 markers of being a Mission Edge church.

  • Week 1 was about helping one another share the gospel through Deeds. Pastor Jeff said “good communication and good behaviour grow out of the Gospel that’s deep in our hearts,
  • deeds we do individually and as a church, and
  • the communication is how we speak as we do those deeds,
  • our guide for this comes from verses 19-21 of chpt 1 – we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak or get angry, do what is upright, be humble and accept the message planted in you.
  • Then last week we heard about ‘Embracing hospitality’ along with verses 1-7 of chpt 2.
    • We were challenged to think about the ancient calling of the Christian virtue of hospitality – which really means – the love of stranger,
    • As he spoke I thought about the wall hanging in our dining room that says: “One who practices hospitality – entertains God himself.”
    • I thought a lot about embracing hospitality this past week, and I have a confession: I’ve had to learn how to open my heart, and my home to people in general and be genuinely hospitable.
    • Some of you come by this gift more naturally than me!
    • You see I had to learn hospitality – my childhood home environment was not hospitable, OR safe sometimes. Within the privacy of our walls we were NOT welcomed or treated with love and respect. But through my inner journey work in the early 2000’s, the Holy Spirit revealed God, revealed love, grace and forgiveness, and the scars of my heart and mind have been healed.
    • This enabled me to feel safe in the presence of others, my heart was changed, I have a heart full of God’s love that overflows for others! You are welcome in my heart and my home. I’m daily thankful for the power of Jesus’ love, grace and forgiveness, His love STILL CHANGES HEARTS & LIVES in our time, my life is testimony to that!
    • ‘Hospitality’ is central to the heart of being human, we were designed to be in relationship because we were created in the image and likeness of a God who is a mutuality of 3 persons.
    • God is more fully imaged in human structures by mutual (meaning equal) relationships, not by hierarchical ones that can lead to abuse of power and domination. Reread some of the recordings of Jesus’ life, to see if he’s living out a mutual or hierarchical relationship when he interacts with others.
    • Nonviolence is mutuality! Mutuality of relationship is community, and community comes from
      1. Having the basics needs of the heart met and
      2. Good communication
    • What are the basic needs of the heart?
      • Acceptance, love, worth, a sense of belonging, the ability to make a difference, a sense of security, and a feeling of “I need to matter”
    • So when we embrace the stranger in love, we must strive to meet the deep needs of the heart, this also helps us more and more to see Jesus in every person we meet!
      • Like the story of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25.
      • V 40 ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
    • So how do these themes tie into this week’s mission marker of ‘sharing the gospel in Word’, and of Taming the Tongue from what Jean read from James?
    • COMMUNICATION !!
      • Reading from verse 9 – “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who have been made in God’s likeness.10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.
      • The next line is ours to heed: My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
    • If hospitality calls us to represent Jesus wherever we go. Then Taming the tongue calls us to better speech when ever our tongues are used.
      • I know that Jesus said in Matthew 28: Go and make disciples!
      • He also said in Mk 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself!
      • Then he finished that statement with, “there IS NO greater commandment than these.”
      • So for me, loving our God and our neighbour as ourselves are greater commandments than making disciples! Discipleship comes after someone has chosen to follow Jesus, and wants to know how to grow into a deeper relationship and knowledge of what it means to be a Christian.
      • However, this is not what our modern-day churches have used as their ministry motivator. This may be part of the reason for the state of our churches today
      • Jesus is our model, as he spoke with each person he met their needs of the heart!
        • This is the crux of relationship building, and yet so simple,
        • by meeting the needs of the human heart, you build relationships,
        • by building relationships you create a space for the Holy spirit to move in their heart
        • and it’s this movement that creates a desire for the other person to know more of why you are loving and serving them.
      • That’s how we Preach the Gospel at all times. But only use words when necessary.
        • That statement was made by St. Francis of Assisi.
        • Remember what Jesus spoke when he was teaching about inner purity recorded in Matthew 15.11 “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”
        • Words can also defile the hearer!
        • As we do our acts of servicing another’s needs our speech must to be respectful, loving, and non-violent, modelling Jesus’ genuine love and concern for others.
        • Do our words build up or tear down?
        • Do they create relationships of mutuality that allow for the moving of the Holy spirit?
      • In verses 2-5 James uses analogies showing the benefits of taming the tongue and how destructive it is when we don’t. I can’t use fire this morning to demonstrate this, instead…
        • hammer a nail in wood, remove it, repeat a few times
        • Hammer = our tongue. Nail = violent words we speak. Board = Heart of another person. The hole demonstrates the scars left from our violent words.
        • Even when we say sorry the hole (scar) is still there
      • Words can hurt forever!
      • What and how you speak to each other and to strangers – tells them your heart, and it’s like a business card for God.
      • Words can break a person’s spirit, block the Holy Spirit, & turn others away from wanting to know your Jesus.
      • James is telling us to be wise with our words, to tame our tongues, but how do we do this?
      • It’s a process, it’s not an overnight change, its starts by being aware of what we say, by listening to the meaning of what others say and watching people’s reactions.
      • It requires not conforming to the common speech that our culture uses in everyday language. Start listening to it and you’ll discover that it’s violent and instills division.
      • Both James and Jesus call for peace making, for building one another up, and for communities to demonstrate genuine care for all others through loving relationships!
      • There are 3 kinds of relationships: with self; self with God; and self with others. Relationship comes from the conversations based on love, respect, and the fruits of the spirit.
      • Conversation builds relationship, and what is relationship? It is a mutual giving and receiving based on an openness of vulnerability, acceptance, respect and love! Without conversation, we lose our ability to connect and to relate to each other.
      • Without conversation we lose belonging, of being loved, of encouraging and lifting others up.
      • Without loving words, we lose the opportunity to share the Living Word!
      • Don’t miss this: Without loving words, we lose the opportunity to share the Living Words of Jesus
        • Preach the Gospel and use words when necessary!
        • Make bridges, not holes

AMEN

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