Blessing or Cursing

Use your words to speak blessings not curses to those in your life.

George Wright
Mar 8, 2020    38m
In this sermon Pastor George Wright reminds us of the importance of using our words to speak blessings not curses to those in our life. He explains our words reveal our heart, and we want our words to bring glory to God and help lead others to know Him. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

George Wright: 00:00 Well before I comment on Impact Weekend, I just want to thank the choir and orchestra again for leading us this morning. Can y'all just join me in thanking our team? You know, I'll just be honest with you, right up front there are weeks that I come running in here full of energy, and excitement, and joy, and all the great things that have happened over the previous week. And there are weeks that I come in here walking a little bit with the limp and dragging after just having a long week, or a tiresome week, or a week where there's just a lot of concerns and just challenges in the world around us. And this is one of those weeks that maybe it's time change Sunday, or maybe it's just one of those weeks where I feel like I kind of came dragging in this morning. I don't know if any of you feel like that? Kind of came dragging in, and to have the worship time that we've already shared, and to have the choir lift their voices and lift our spirits, and remind us that there is something about the name of Jesus that changes everything. Is that not incredible? What a great gift to be reminded of right up front, and the choir was wearing garnet and black, did you notice that? I mean, I'm just inspired, I'm just amazed at how beautiful the choir looked in the garnet and black, I'm so grateful for that.

George Wright: 01:25 Let me tell you too just what a weekend it's been, it's been an incredible weekend here in the life of our church as over 300 students have been gathered at Impact Weekend. And I was told late last night, there were already been some students that have made professions of faith, trusting their life to Christ. And we're praying that even more would do so right now during this hour as they're gathering in the student area for their final session, and the gospel is being presented one more time to them. Would you just pray during this service, that more students would answer the call and trust their life to Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior? But we are so grateful for weekends like this knowing not only our students' lives being impacted with the gospel, and students' lives are changing, but we also recognize that when student lives are changing, that means families are going to change as well. Perhaps not today, perhaps not this week, but maybe it's years down the road when these students have families of their own, and their families are built upon the decisions of faith that were made this weekend. And forever families are changed as a result of the power of the gospel, that's what we have been praying for and seeing God do in our student ministry here at Shandon this weekend. And we're so grateful for your prayers and your support, and for those who have opened their homes, for the leaders who gave up a weekend to serve these students. It's just a beautiful picture of the body of Christ at work, and we are so grateful for all that God has done. Please continue to pray this morning that he would do even more.

George Wright: 03:16 Let me encourage you now to grab your Bible, and we're going to be back in the book of James chapter 3 where we started this series just last week. We are looking at the power of our words, and we are reminded here in this great passage of scripture of how much power our words truly have. And so we turn our attention back to the Word of God and begin in verse 7 of James chapter 3 right where we left off last week. And I'd like to encourage you, if you're willing and able to stand with me as I read from the Word of God, these verses that get us started and are our foundation and our guide this morning in this message, we stand around the room being reminded that God's word is our authority, being reminded that God has given us a word that is right and good and true, a word that we need today as we listen to the Lord.

George Wright: 04:19 So turn your attention to the scripture, James 3 verse 7 it says, "For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and saltwater? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water." As we consider the Word of God, it is my hope and my prayer that the Word of God would lead us to consider the words of our mouth as we turn to him today.

George Wright: 05:36 So would you pray with me to that end? And Father, as we pray now, as we come before you now we recognize that our need is great. We recognize that the need around us in the world is great. Father, we are living in a time right now where there is much to be frightened of, where there is worry and doubt and concern about the things happening around us, the health of people around us, that the leadership of people around us, the process of what we're walking through right now. Lord, it elicits fear in the hearts of many. And I pray, Lord God, that you would guide us back to your word, back to the truth, back to the gift of the scripture that shows us that there is something about the name of Jesus, that there is power in the name of Jesus, that Jesus does change lives, and Jesus does work for the people of God even when times are tough and even when fear is overwhelming, Jesus is at work. And so we ask that you return us to a place of faith in your word, encourage our hearts and our souls. And Lord, use us to speak life, you've given us such power in the power of words. So I pray, Lord, that you would use this time for your glory, that we would see you, that we would know you, that we would trust you. It's in Christ's name we pray. Amen. Amen. You may be seated. Thank you for standing.

George Wright: 07:48 Our family, when I was growing up, would attend the circus every year. We love the circus. Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus, the greatest show on earth. Now my kids are growing up in a world where the circus no longer exists, unless you include just what happens in our household every single week. We watched The Greatest Showman, the movie that was out just a year or two ago, that's a family favorite. We love that movie about the circus, and it's one of those movies that my girls get to watch Zac Efron sing, and my wife gets to watch Hugh Jackman sing, and so everybody's happy when we watch The Greatest Showman, a movie about the circus. But when I think about the circus, I think about a guy by the name of Gunther Gebel Williams. Has anybody ever heard that name? The man, the myth, the legend. We got a picture of Gunther Gebel. I think we can show, this is the greatest wild animal tamer of all time. At least that's what I would say. Gunther Gebel was incredible, he was the guy that was in the ring with the lions and the tigers. He would come into the circus standing on top of an elephant with a leopard on his shoulders, that's an incredible man. Absolutely phenomenal what he could do, and his career was pretty amazing in the circus as he trained all kinds of animals to obey his commands. He had a special language that he developed to communicate with the animals. I mean, this was a guy that had a gift, training wild beast of the jungle.

George Wright: 09:47 Every animal, the scripture says, can be tamed by man, but no one can tame the tongue. That's a pretty amazing statement to consider from the Word of God, no one can tame the tongue. The scripture says, it is a deadly poison. Last week we saw in verse 6 the scripture say, that that the tongue is set on fire by hell. The words that we speak have such tremendous power, they can literally destroy a life. You could say something this week that could end the relationship. You could say something this week that could cost you your job. You could make threats this week, that could end you up in prison. The power of words, words can cause such great danger and destruction. That James says it is a restless evil, a deadly poison. What do we do with this? Because this is not a pretty picture at all, right? I mean when you read James chapter 3 and the language that the scripture is using, it is strong language, it is assertive language. No one can tame the tongue, the Bible says.

George Wright: 11:33 We continue verses 9 and 10, "With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing, my brothers, these things ought not to be so." Isn't this scripture just calling us out here? Can we hear real for just a moment? Have you ever had a good old fashion family argument on Sunday morning on your way to church? And then you walk in to church, and you sing a beautiful song lifting your voice to the Lord, so that when you walk back to the parking lot after the service, you can continue the argument that began before church started? "With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with our tongue, we curse men made in the likeness of God." This is a reality for every single one of us, this is a reality that we all face, that we wrestle with every single day and every single week. We want our words to be edifying, we want our words to be encouraging. And yet, in just the rhythm of life, and the challenges we face, and the feelings we feel, there are things that come out of our mouth, they're certainly not a blessing, but are more in line with a curse.

George Wright: 13:24 What is the nature of your word? Are your words pointing more to the praise of the name of Jesus, or are your words pointing more to a curse of men made in the image of God. James is saying, there is no place for cursing others in the life of one who is a follower of Jesus. Even the people who are different from us are made in the image of God. Even those who disagree with us, and belittle us for our faith, are made in the image of God. Even those who live different, even those who live defiant, even those who live rebellious are made in the image of God. And it's hard, it's hard to not speak curses over those who are so defiantly against what we say we believe. It's hard to not speak curses over those who wrong us, or ridicule us, or hurt us. But James is saying to the church, do not live in this hypocrisy of using your words in one breath to praise God, and in another breath to curse man made in the image of God. You claim to love God, and yet you are cursing those who are made in his image.

George Wright: 15:15 Don't we need to be reminded that the great commandment of Jesus in Matthew 22 does not say, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself, if you agree with him. If you don't agree with your neighbor, just go ahead and curse him. No, that's not the great commandment. The great commandment is, love your neighbor as yourself. The great commission of Jesus, Matthew 28 does not say, go therefore into all nations and curse them because they're different from you and they don't agree with what you believe. No, the great commission says, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. That's the great commission, to teach and to point to the Word of God that has been laid before us in the power of the gospel.

George Wright: 16:18 Well, what are we doing with our words? Are they a blessing or are they curse? One of mentors in ministry is a pastor by the name of Steve Stroope, he says this, "The gift of communication was given to us to praise our God and to introduce people to our God." Why did God give you words? He gave you words to praise his name, and to introduce people to the praise of his name. That's what communication has been given to us to be about. What is the nature of your words? Do they demonstrate a trust in God? Do our words communicate a gratitude to God, a faith in the faithfulness of God? Do our words introduce people to the praise of God? Or are our words turning people away from God altogether?

George Wright: 17:36 James then provides a great gift to us and another very simple illustration we saw last week. James, talk about the power of a tongue as it relates to a horse, and as it to his ship, and as it relates to a fire. And then we see this new example here in verses 11 and 12, that is so helpful, and so clear in, what the scripture reveals, "Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and saltwater? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water." A couple of thoughts from this example. We are reminded here that words reveal our heart, and we know this to be true, but it is a sobering thoughts to consider. Our words are a window to our heart. Our words reveal what is going on in our heart, and as people hear what we say, they are given a glimpse of what's happening inside of us. So are our words pouring out of a heart that has been transformed by the power of God's love and grace? Or are our words pointing to a heart that has been callous, that only gives occasional lip service to God, but a heart that is cold, a heart that is angry, a heart that is bitter? What do our word reveal?

George Wright: 19:16 Jesus says in Luke chapter 6 verse 45, "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Flowing out of the heart, come the words of our mouth. But Jesus is also showing us here in Luke 6 this incredible gift of what he alone can do for our hearts are evil, our hearts are deceitful, our hearts are wicked, but God, through the power of Christ can change a heart. God can give us a heart transplant. A new heart can be granted to us in the power of Christ and what he has done to set us free. Man cannot tame the tongue, but God can change the heart. And when the heart changes, the tongue changes as well. This is the power of Christ.

George Wright: 20:45 Warren Wiersbe in his commentary on James 3 says, "If the heart is filled with hatred, Satan will light the fire. But if the heart is filled with love, God will light the fire. What is the fire burning in our hearts that leads to words coming out of our mouth? Is it a fire burning, brightly white, hot with the love of God and the good news of the gospel and the transformation of his grace? Or is it a fire that is burning, simmering, with anger and resentment and bitterness and the evil that leads to words that are absolutely destructive, leaving a path of tremendous damage behind? Our words reveal our heart.

George Wright: 21:47 But we're also reminded here in these clear examples of verses 11 and 12 in James 3, not only do our words reveal the hearts. But we need to think about this from the other side, our heart produces fruit. Our heart produces fruit. These examples here are showing the inner source that leads to fruit. As it talks about a spring, well, the only thing that comes out of that spring is what's underneath. And a tree only produces one kind of fruit, to reveal what's inside that tree, what's in the root of that tree? A salt pond does not produce fresh water, it produces what is down inside, it comes out. It gives the evidence of what's going on internally. The same way our words are the fruit that reveal the heart. There will be fruit that reveals the condition of our heart, and if someone looks close enough, and listens intently enough, they can see and hear the condition of our heart in the fruit that comes out of our mouth.

George Wright: 23:22 There's another passage of scripture I'd like to turn your attention to for the remainder of my message here for these next few moments. It's one of the familiar passages of scripture brought to us straight from a sermon of Jesus, this is called the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 7, a very familiar passage, if you're familiar with Bible study. If you're new to Bible study, the sermon on the Mount is Matthew 5, 6 and 7, it is the longest recorded sermon we have of Jesus in the scripture. It's an absolutely beautiful sermon that lays before us, the kingdom of God and what it means to be a follower of Christ and how a life changes as as one follows Christ, and what are the characteristics of a follower of Christ.

George Wright: 24:10 Near the end of this sermon in Matthew 7, beginning in verse 15, Jesus focuses intently on the power of our words and the power of our actions as it relates to the heart and the type of fruit that our lives reveal. It says this, Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?" Similar language, similar example to what we've seen from James, clearly learning from the teaching of Jesus. And then Jesus says, "So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them, Jesus says, by their fruits." How important are these words? Think about the power of what Jesus is unfolding. There are a lot of people that claim to have a relationship with God, there are a lot of people that say they are a Christian. But if you look at their life, and you look at their actions, and you listen to their words, and you read their posts, the fruit of their life tells a very different story than what they say they believe. Please don't miss this, fruit is honest, the fruit does not lie. The fruits reveals whether or not a heart has been changed by the power of the gospel, or whether a not a heart is cold and calloused. True faith in Christ, according to Jesus, changes a heart. And as a result, true faith in Christ changes the fruit that comes out of the heart.

George Wright: 27:24 This illustration is so clear, so simple, and yet so powerful. Both in the words of Jesus, and in the words of James, we are reminded that everything in nature reproduces after its kind. Apple seeds grow into apple trees that produce apple as the fruit. This is how God has orchestrated the natural world. Jesus here is showing us the same principle is true in the spiritual realm. People can claim to be a Christian, but it is only a life that has been transformed by the gospel that produces fruit, that points to Christ and reveals that our heart has truly been changed. What is the fruit of your life?

George Wright: 28:37 I'm going to read to you a portion of a letter written by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, a pastor that is now gone to be with the Lord, but he writes this, "The man who really believes in the holiness of God, who knows his own sinfulness and the blackness of his own heart, the man who believes in judgment of God and the possibility of hell and torments, the man who really believes that he himself is so vile and helpless that nothing but the coming of the son of God from heaven to earth and is going to the bitter shame and agony and cruelty of the cross could ever save him and reconcile him to God. This man is going to show all that in his living, there's going to be fruit." And Jesus says, you will know them by their fruits. You will know those who are giving a false testimony by their fruits, and you will know those who have been transformed by the power of the gospel by their fruits. Don't miss this, Jesus is saying you might be able to fool some people with the things that you say, but you will never fool God, for he knows the heart. He knows what true fruits really looks like, and where the fruit of the gospel comes from in one's life. And where there is no fruit that grows out of the gift of salvation, the scripture says, there is a fire. Where there is no fruit, there is a fire. Where there is no fruits, there is what our sin deserves/\.

George Wright: 30:59 But the gospel is good news, and the gospel says that God shows his love for us, and that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. While the diseased tree was producing diseased fruit, Christ died for us. While the wicked hearts was producing wicked fruits, Christ died for us. And this good news has been made available to all that will listen, that Christ has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. But the gospel is about rescue, rescuing us from what our sin deserves, so that we can experience the fruits of God's grace. And when you know that your life has been rescued, your life will change. The fruit of the gospel is revealed in the lives of those who know that they have been saved from the hell that their sin deserves. What is your fruit? What is coming out of your mouth? What is being revealed about your heart? Does the fruit of your life points to Jesus? Does the fruit of your life point to a life that has been transformed by the power of God's grace? Or does the fruit of your life tell a different story altogether?

George Wright: 33:29 God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That's the power of words. The Word of God, inviting us into life. The Word of God, inviting us into a story of fruitfulness in light of what God has done for us. Think about your speech. Think about the things that you say. Is it a blessing? Is it a curse? Is there a heart change that is needed? Are your words or reflection of a heart made new?

George Wright: 34:26 If you're here today having never experienced the good news of the gospel, and what Jesus Christ has done for you, to offer you a new heart, a heart of flesh, to replace a heart of stone. If you're here today recognizing your need for the forgiveness of sin, recognizing your need for what God alone can provide, we want to invite you into this beautiful gift called the gospel. To trust your life to Jesus Christ, to say, Jesus, I know I need you. The most powerful words you can ever say are, Jesus, I know I am a sinner in need of the savior. And in those words, the scripture says, there is the gift of salvation for all who confess their need and turn to Christ. We invite you to that end, as I pray here this morning. And we want you to know that at the conclusion of our service, if you recognize your need for the savior, if you recognize your need to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, we would love to talk with you about that. We'd love to pray with you in that decision. And we have a next step center in our lobby that is available just for you, have that conversation, that spiritual conversation, that is of the utmost importance, and do it today.

George Wright: 36:06 Let me pray for us as we prepare to close our time this morning. Father, we are grateful for your love and your grace, grateful for this incredible gift of good news called the gospel. That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, died that we might live, died that our hearts might be transformed, died that the fruit of our life might be fruit that points to eternal life. So Lord, as we reflect in a very practical way on the power of our words, I pray more deeply that we will consider our heart. For those who are here today in need of a heart change, I pray, Lord, that they would turn to you even now, turn to Jesus and say, Jesus, I am ready for a new heart. I am ready for my sin to be forgiven. I am ready to turn to salvation. And I pray, Lord God, that you would save me, give me a new heart, a new life in Christ. And use my life to produce fruits that is a gift, a blessing to others. Oh, how we praise you for the fruit of the gospel alive and well in your church. And we pray, Lord God, that you would use our lives more and more to produce fruit that is a blessing to others today and into eternity, in the good news of what Christ has done. It's in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Recorded in Columbia, South Carolina.
Read More
Shandon Baptist Church
5250 Forest Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206