This is the final offering in a series of sermons with the goal of clearing the clutter that we tend to pile around the Bible. Join with us as we explore these stories together. This week we are invited to match up what God puts in our heart and what we say with our tongues.
On a Sunday afternoon in Freestone County Texas drought had plagued the land, humidity was about 15% and the wind was blowing about 30 miles per hour and there was not a chance of rain. In the mid afternoon in an area called “Cotton Gin” a pasture caught fire and started a wild fire that burned for almost two weeks, destroying homes, outbuildings, woods and pasture. the question would be asked many times, How did it start. The story was that it began when a squirrel got tangled up in a transformer and our corner of the world changed forever. It is a good story whether true or not. The conditions were perfect and only by the efforts of scores of firefighters from a dozen fire departments was the fire contained and eventually put out.
Looking around at our church we are experiencing the perfect conditions for a fire of another sort, that of God’s revival fire. People are looking for answers in a culture that has none. The church of Jesus Christ is still alive and relevant though not in fashion for the moment. The fire of the Gospel is poised to catch and brings the fruit of joy and peace and takes away anxiety and death. Only by the efforts of God’s faithful will THIS FIRE, one so desperately needed be contained and extinguished. God is going to win. Will God do so because of us or in spite of us.
The key to stoking this positive fire of revival, one that takes away devastation, is what my mom told me too many times, “Watch your mouth!” This is central to James’ message to us in our scripture text today.
Remember! There first person the preacher has to preach to is the Preacher. I am not on any pedestal here. We all stumble, we all shouldn’t teach but we must all LEARN! Disciples are students and can learn to control our tongues. The call of God is spiritual maturity. Maturity is best understood as growing in the Christ centered single mindedness of “Loving nothing but God and hating nothing but sin”. Maturity is best seen when what we speak reflects how we are in Christ, maturity in this sense is being and saying exactly what God has called us to be. This involves focusing the tongue more than “taming”.
James tells us that no one can tame the tongue but we can grow and focus our words on the things of God. We keep our words from burning a life down and use them to inspire spiritual greatness. These words are the seed of Revival fire, one that we don’t want to quenche. Only God can start it, and only We can prevent it.
We can tame the tongue but we must. HOW?? Hit The Pause Button. This is not merely biting your tongue or biding your time, or just cooling off. But, Inviting the Grace of Jesus Christ to be more important than your words. Your saying should be a reflection of your saving.
Prayer is your pause button “pray always using spiritual Efforts”
Prayer prevents foot in mouth disease! Our witness is more fragile, more today than ever before. We simply must find our relationship with Christ and be a blessing and not a cursing. Our words show others what Christ looks like. Thus, you and I need to know our mission and know what that mission looks like in both our personal lives and in the lives of our congregations.
If I know my mission, I can speak clearly of what I do. This is the mission of the United Methodist Church. While written to congregations, it is a solid and scriptural description of who I personally am in Christ too. Even in my congregation, my walk with Christ is person and I cannot be a transforming presence if I have not experienced it myself. All of this is to God’s glory and not mine!
We cannot tame the tongue but we can focus it. We cannot remove all of our deadly poison but we can grow in grace. Remember when we try our hardest- One squirrel can get tangled in our lives and turn our best efforts into a deadly wildfire! Talk is cheap as “faith without works is dead”. Be alive in Christ.
How will you and I we inspire the fires of revival. It starts with our personal discipleship-accepting Christ as our savior. We are formed as true disciples by Following Christ, Serving our mission field and unifying as the body of Christ. These are the seeds of spiritual grown, thes are the seeds of revival.
This post is a follow-up to our sermon from Sunday and I pray it touches your heart and that you have a church that makes you feel “Welcome Home”. If you don’t, please click on the link below and check out our Family. We would love to welcome you whenever you find yourself in our corner of East Texas. Come and see us!