Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness - resultant speech, part 3.

Class Outline:

Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness - resultant speech, part 3.  


Bitterness is associated with the spoken words from a man whose heart is rotten.


JAM 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.


This principle does not only refer to someone wanting to be a teacher, but to anyone who has selfish ambition in any endeavor. Greek literally says in the middle voice, "Do not press yourself into the role of teaching." Selfish ambition will never get a person what he lusts for and eventually he will become bitter.


James is developing the point he made in chapter 1.


JAM 1:19 But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;


We are to desire learning much more than we are to desire teaching. When we do, we will be good teachers.


James is not only teaching those early Jewish Christians in the land of Judah, but his letter will go out to the Jewish dispersion, and throughout the Gentile nations, unqualified Christians are pressing themselves into teaching roles.


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1TI 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.


1TI 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,


1TI 3:3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money.


1TI 3:4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity


1TI 3:5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?);


1TI 3:6 and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.


Conceit means an easy catch for the devil. The too young overseer will then fail to see the fruit in his flock that he desired and bitterness will soon follow.


It is a serious thing to fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil, which is conceit mixed with great ambition.


1TI 3:7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.


What will such a one do when he is deservedly reproached by the outside world? Whether he defends himself, lies, blames others, self-justifies, or feels guilt, he will fall into the snare of the devil. He must be above reproach and that takes a certain amount of maturity.


The issue is not that they couldn't be teachers. The issue was the gap between what their own lives were as immature believers and what they should be as mature believers. Only Christ can bridge that gap, and He has given us His word and the Holy Spirit to make it happen. All of us fall short and all of us are bankrupt, but all of us have been given the grace of God to be and conduct ourselves like the Lord. The new convert or the selfishly ambitious old convert have not spent a lot of time learning and maturing under the grace of God. They need to eat some humble pie and eat a full diet of the word of God in humility and grace. God has a wonderful and rewarding plan for every single believer.


JAM 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.


JAM 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect [mature or complete] man, able to bridle the whole body as well.


Since we stumble in many ways, we should be careful and alert, and not imagine that we can succeed in things we’re not prepared for.


The stumbling that we all have are failures in duty, mistakes, and sins, but that are not lifestyles or what we may call fatal flaws. It is a stumble, striking an obstacle with the foot and falling. The Christian in pursuit of the plan of God picks himself back up just a man in pursuit of going to a certain point would naturally pick himself up after a stumble.


Certainly the offense of wrong words or false words are in view, and this liability is great in an office based on public speaking.


It is an amazing thing to think of, that if one can control his tongue then he can control his entire body. This reveals how much we like to talk and how often we like to express ourselves. It also reveals how in the progression of power in the body, that the tongue is closest to the brain.


If we detect bitterness or any other mental sin infecting our heart, it is wise to keep silent until we have enlightened it.


PRO 17:27 He who restrains his words has knowledge,

And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.


PRO 17:28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;

When he closes his lips, he is counted prudent.


JAM 3:3 Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well.


JAM 3:4 Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.


JAM 3:5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!


The analogies are easy and clear in instruction.


As a small thing can control a great thing, so the control of the tongue is control over the entire body.


We know about forest fires on the west coast - all it takes is a small fire. It is also true that a little gossip or slander can create great damage.


There was a movie in which a priest was relating to his congregation about how he had instructed a woman who wanted to know how she could fix the damage she had done to another woman by gossiping terrible things about her to others. He told her to take a feather pillow to the roof of the church and then to cut the pillow and release all of its feathers to the wind to be taken all over the neighborhood, and when they had settled, to go out, find, and gather up every feather. It is truly amazing to know the damage that a few words can do.