Teachers exercise great power every day and every week because of THE GREAT POWER OF LITLE WORDS. James, in chapter 3:1-12, writes to his challenged and scattered flock to impress on them this principle: Your church fellowship will go the way of your teachers! – because he who has the words has the power.”
So, in God’s church, teachers are more strictly judged
- Because “with many words, sin is unavoidable.” Prov. 10:19 – (:2-5a) Our words tell who we are. As Matthew 12:34 says “…the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”Our words also tell us who we are becoming. Just as the bit guides the horse, the rudder the ship, the tongue guides the course of the life.
- Teachers are more strictly judged because words or speech enflames sin (:5b-6). Words are combustive. They have the power to ignite our sinful nature. The devil and others tempt with words. Words that come up out of our sinful nature also are consumptive. They spread destruction and harm. The Chicago fire of 1871 – started when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked the latern, destroyed 17,000 buildings and 250 lives. James says the tongue has that kind of combustive and consumptive power.
“See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!”
3. Teachers are more strictly judged because words are too wild for us (:7-12). Our words are so dangerous they have to be bridled or corralled. When corralled they can look tame (“blessing God the Father in a worship service”), but just let them jump the fence and out of the same mouth comes curses toward the peope around us! No human power can tame the tongue once it “gets out”
So a normal person faced with possession of such a wild and deadly weapon cries out, “Who will deliver me from this tongue of death?” Job just put his hand over his mouth (Job 40:4). Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me!” But something beautiful happened to Isaiah. One of the Lord’s seraphim went to the altar in the temple and took out a coal and touched it to Isaiah’s lips saying, “Your iniquity is taken away. Your sin is forgiven.”
Where can we find such a blood-stained coal from the altar of sacrifice?
There was a man whose words were spirit and life (Jn 6:63). A man of whom it was said: “No one has ever spoken like this man speaks!” (Jn 7:46); a man, upon whose gracious words the people hung (Luke 4:22); a man who “had no sin, or was any deceit found in His mouth”. This is the one who, while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds [we ] are healed” — even our words! (see 1 Peter 2:22-24)
God’s word heals us of our words.
He is now the One who speaks and heals with His word. That’s why James wrote in 1:18: “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.”
And at the feast of first fruits, Pentecost, the Holy Spirit lights our redeemed tongues with another fire — not from hell — but from heaven. Christ both tames our tongues and frees them for praise and witness.