Good morning friends and family from beautiful Ellsworth Maine, Leanna and I are visiting Ellsworth for a week, and because some have shown such an interest in hearing messages that we deliver each week, we are doing just that. I would have liked to go to another church to be fed this week, but felt it necessary to continue doing exactly what we have been doing each week.
So praise God. Is everyone excited to hear from the word of God? Today’s message is “what kinds of seeds are you sowing”? Now I know, when some hear the word sowing, they get antsy, because they think the message is going to be on tithing. Brother Jim is going to teach on tithing, why did I come this morning? He hardly ever brings up money issues. Even though I think it is very important that we tithe and that that our tithes and offerings also need to be sown into good ground, and I will do a message on that when I feel led to, but this isn’t a message on God’s money.
No my friends, this message has to do with a different type of sowing, and through this message, we will look at how we spend our time…what we say and what we do, what is our reaction to people when they wrong us. Here is one that some don’t like me to discuss, but it is important. Sharing our faith with others. This topic about sharing the good news of Jesus with non-believers seems to be the least on many people’s agenda, yet Jesus our Savior told us to share the Gospel with the world. Amen? I love to talk about my faith. I love sharing the love of Christ with others. I get all teary eyed hearing testimony of how God worked in peoples lives. To hear how people were delivered from things that you know that you know, only God could have done that. These are a few of the things we will look at today.
Is everyone excited? I said, is everyone excited to hear from the Word of God this morning? Praise the Lord. God is so good. His word never fails. His perfect will is always perfect for you and I. Amen?
While we have been here at our timeshare, we have started to listen to a series that we haven’t heard for a bit and we both wanted to refresh our minds. Some of you may have heard it, maybe even read some of this man’s books. The series is called The Power of Blessing by Kerry Kirkwood. I want to share some verses and a brief testimony from Kerry. If you could turn in your Bibles to 1st Peter 3: 8-10. Praise God. There is power in these words when we truly grasp the meaning and act on it. I mentioned last week, I think…it might have been the week before, but when Leanna and I are asked from anyone how we are, we say we are blessed. A Sister in Christ that has her own Christian site has been teaching members to say I am blessed and highly favored. Praise the Lord. There is power in those words. I did a message a while back on the Importance of what we say or don’t say. We discussed the power in our words. Friends, we need to get this.
1 Peter 3:8-10 KJV Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: (9) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (10) For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
James 3:8-10 KJV But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (9) Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. (10) Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Church, when we speak blessings out, we are declaring a prophetic message. Kerry, in this message, says when we speak blessings over someone we are saying, “May the Lord Grant you all of His intentions that He has purposed for you.” Is this awesome or not? This little word has all this inside when we speak it out. I bless you means I declare over you that God’s full intention that He has for your life would come into fullness. Amen?
I would really urge everyone to get this CD set or the book. If you would like to read the first chapter, here is a link. Enjoy. http://files.destinyimage.com/PowerofBlessing_freechap.pdf
We started by reading these verses on the power of our tongue. We see that we can sow good seed or rotten seed. I wonder how many listening to this or who may read this later have had good or bad seed sown into their lives? Brother Jim, you act like words are a vegetable. I hope by the time we are done with this message, those who doubt will have a new perspective on the words they use towards others and the words we use about ourselves.
How many times have we been to a store and we see a parent speaking ill words towards a child? Here in Maine, it is a common occurrence. Why? I think a lot has to do with Maine’s economy. I think maybe because to survive here, many have to work multiple jobs. Winters can be harsh and expensive to heat our houses during the winter. Many of the old-timers didn’t have a great education. Whatever the case, I see verbal abuse often. I am not saying that we shouldn’t correct our children and grandchildren, but we need to be careful of the words we use.
If everyone can turn to the book of James. I want to focus on verses in chapter 3 and starting with verse 1. Many of you know that I use this verse often.
James 3:1 KJV My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. James 3:1 ASV Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.
Who wants to lead this service today now? Teaching was a highly valued and respected profession in Jewish culture, and many Jews who embraced Christianity wanted to become teachers. I have shared in many messages that when Leanna and I knew that it was time for us to leave a church that we helped start and where we should go, and after 2 months of hearing, “Right here and let Me guide you,” we finally did. This is one of the verses that kept going through my mind. James warned that although it is good to aspire to teach, the teacher’s responsibility is great because their words and example affect others spiritual lives. If you are in a teaching or leadership role, how are you affecting those you lead? I hope I am doing okay in this area. My greatest passion in life is to sow seeds into the lives of those who are lost, not knowing Christ as their Savior and to teach those who have heard a watered down message for so long, that might keep them from being a King’s kid. Amen?
James 3:2-3 KJV For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (3) Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
I shared last week where I almost let the flesh get the best of me. I was put in a position where I really needed to bite my tongue and do that counting to 10 thing. Walking away, knowing that Satan was defeated, I did much praising to Jesus. Friends, what we say and what we don’t say are both important. Proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right time, but it is also controlling your desire to say what you shouldn’t.
When we look at these two verses it speaks volumes, or should. A few examples of an untamed tongue, (ready for this?) include gossiping (many don’t realize this), putting others down (oops, did that talk to someone?), bragging (that is something that I have had to really work on), manipulating, false teachings, exaggerating (again, me), complaining (at times), flattering and lying. Before you speak, ask , “Is what I want to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” How many did these two verses speak to?
James 3:4 KJV Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
In Gill’s Commentary, he says this. "a small helm", as the apostle here does, and accounts for it how large ships should be moved and steered by it. And so, though the tongue is to the rest of the body as a small helm to a large ship, yet, like that, it has great influence over the whole body, to check it when it is carrying away with the force of its appetites and passions; and so churches, societies, and bodies of Christians, which are large and numerous, and are like ships upon the ocean, tossed to and fro with tempests, driven by Satan's temptations and the world's persecution, and ready to be carried away with the wind of false doctrine, yet are influenced and directed aright by those that are at the helm, the faithful ministers of the word, who say to them, this is the way, walk in it.
Friends, this is speaking about us right now. We are in that age. James wrote this verse about 45 AD. And John Gill, who was a great Theologian and pastor was born November 23, 1697 and died October 14, 1771.
We see these things still being a problem in 2013.
James 3:6 KJV And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
James compares the damage the tongue can do to a raging fire. The tongue’s wickedness has its source in hell itself. The uncontrolled tongue can do terrible damage. Satan uses the tongue to divide people and pit them against one another. Idle and hateful words are damaging because they spread destruction quickly, and no one can stop the results once they are spoken. We dare not be careless with what we say, thinking we can apologize later, because even if we do, the scars remain. A few words spoken in anger can destroy a relationship that took years to build. Before you speak, remember that words are like fire, you can neither control nor reverse the damage they can do.
Couples, do we hear this? Moms and dads, grandparents? Business men and women, did we hear this? Friends at school, did you hear this? Words can scar. Oh…church groups, praise and worship leaders, you were being spoken to also. No one is being exempt here. It happens, but it shouldn’t.
James 3:8 KJV But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
What kinds of seeds does the tongue sow? No cunning, persuasion, or influence has ever been able to silence it. Nothing but the grace of God, excision (cutting it out), or death, can bring it under subjection. If no human being can control the tongue, why bother trying? Even if we may not achieve perfect control of our tongues, we can still learn enough control to reduce the damage our words can do. It is better to fight a fire than go around setting new ones. Remember that we are not fighting the tongue’s fire in our own strength. The Holy Spirit will give us increasing power to monitor and control what we say, so that when we are offended, the Spirit will remind us of God’s love, and we won’t react in a hateful manner. When we are criticized, the Spirit will heal the hurt, and we won't lash out. Am I speaking to someone? My hand is raised.
A few more verses I want to close with.
James 3:9-12 KJV Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. (10) Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (11) Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (12) Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
At times our words are right and pleasing to God. Some of us have memorized verses that please God, but then at other times they are violent and destructive to others. Which of these two speech patterns reflects our true identity? The tongue gives us a picture of our basic human sin. God works to change us from the inside out. When the Holy Spirit purifies a heart, he gives us self-control so that the person will speak words that please God. We also should be speaking words that are kind to others. In the series I mentioned, The Power of Blessing, you will find some of these keys.
Friends, again, this will have to be a series. We only started in seeds we sow, and that was only in our speech. For parents hearing or reading this, children pick up on what we say and do. Oh, do I know this from our grandson Ashton. I have mentioned this before, but it is so worth saying again, as a parent or grandparent may pick up on this. Leanna and I took care of Ashton most of his infant life because of his parent’s jobs, then separation, to divorce. Ashton had many health issues, his mom was dealing with cancer and they lived about 3 hours away, so it was easier for Leanna and I to have him. We made a commitment to God saying that we would bring him up as Godly as we could. He has heard God’s Word. He praises and worships God with us. He has memorized parts of the Bible. He asks questions about Jesus often. He has even witnessed as best as an 8 year old can to his friends. Is it important that we sow good seed into our youngster’s lives? Absolutely! If this had been going on in the majority of the families here in the US for the last couple of decades, we wouldn’t be hearing about all the violence, sexual crimes and all the things that are an abomination to God at the alarming rate that we hear of now. One thing I want to say today, and I hope everyone hearing this or reading this will think about all week long… sow the seed of love to everyone you meet.