The Word This Week

James 3:1...

What is the source of the water you drink?

In following the same reasoning Jesus had presented that good fruit cannot come from a bad tree and that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, James turns to a needful discussion of sources.

For teachers, this has everything to do with what you teach and the judgment you will receive based upon what you teach.

If any teacher is taking from an impure source, what they teach will be impure. Since the teacher of God’s Word, (which is the inference of this context,) presents themself before innocents as being a source of what is pure, if what they teach is impure, and unholy, they deserve a greater judgment because they have not only impaired their own relationship with Christ, they have also impaired others’ relationships with Christ.

Jesus said it would be better for the teacher who is a bad influence in the name of God to have a millstone tied around their neck and to be thrown into the sea rather than to be a wrongful influence upon innocents.

Now those listening to the teacher who is teaching what is not pure do not escape responsibility for themselves – that is not the implication. We are each called to be ‘Bereans’ and examine the text for ourselves to see if what is being taught is actually Biblical or not. But as hearers we bear that responsibility for ourselves alone and not for others.

What we learn according to God’s Word should have a profound effect upon the words which proceed from our mouths. Can there be two different streams flowing from a single source? Poisoned water cannot flow from a pure well.

How then can it be we see this happen so often – words of praise for God and edification of man come out of the same mouth that curses man? This cannot be. It isn’t possible – and if it is occurring something is terribly wrong.

The power of the tongue and its ability to burn down relationships and destroy people is likened to a ship’s rudder. A rudder is a very small physical device compared the size of the ship it steers and therefore has control over. It is the rudder – even more than the strong winds which blow - that has primary determination over the direction of the ship’s heading.

The question therefore is: who controls the rudder? Is it the captain of the ship, or The Captain of the soul of the captain of the ship? The direction the ship is headed reveals the answer, just as the purity of the Word being taught reveals the heart of the teacher.

Pastor Bill