James 3:10-18
James 3:10
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Here James is giving the reality that out of the same mouth comes both types of speech. The Christian is to have a tongue that is keeping with the transformed life. (Psa 39:1 KJV) I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. Unbelievers can definitely rile us to the point that we may become verbally abusive. We need to heed the counsel given in this verse. We must always engage our minds before we engage tongue and ask ourselves if what we say will be a testimony to our salvation.
James 3:11
Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
This is an excellent question. For the same fountain to send forth sweet and bitter waters, there would have to be two sources of water coming into that fountain. A Christian should have only one source for their speech and that is out of the regenerated soul. If we curse and swear then it is an indication of an inward breach in our walk. We must never go back to living in the flesh, even if it is for that brief time when we seem to become angry and we allow it to control us. A Christian is most miserable if they try to walk in both the flesh and Spirit.
James 3:12
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Here is a definite statement that the same fountain cannot yield both fresh and salt water. It has to yield only one type since it is connected to one water source. Now there may come a time when the water is rusty or discolored for a short time. Sometimes our speech becomes tainted also but it should never be as a permanent way of speaking, just as the fountain clears it self up after a few minutes, so our speech must also be cleaned up. He also states that a fig tree cannot bear olive berries. Everything must bear fruit after its kind. If we want an apple we don’t go to the pear tree. Therefore, if a Christian claims to be a Christian, then their speech must never betray their testimony and bring shame on the name of God. A cow brings forth a cow, so the Christian should bring forth speech fit for a Christian.
So what type of speech are we to have?:
1. Speech which is in concert with God’s will - 1 Kings 3:10
2. Speech which is plain - 2 Cor. 3:12
3. Speech which is confident - 2 Cor. 7:4
4. Speech with grace and judgment - Col. 4:6
5. Speech which is sound - Titus 2:8 (Sober or Healthy)
James 3:13 (KJV)
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
James now returns to the subject of the teachers among them. Those who were teachers were to show not only knowledge but they were to use and teach that knowledge with wisdom. (Prov 1:5 KJV) A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: They were literally to be examples to others to show that teaching was not to be taken lightly. Those who were the wise teachers were to live a life of integrity among the people and were not to use their skill of words for the negative but for the edifying of the Saints. (1 Pet 5:2-3 KJV) Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; {3} Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. Not only are Pastors supposed to be examples to the flock by word and deed, but so are those who are teachers in the congregation. The wise man lives the Christian walk in meekness and others see that lifestyle in contrast to the boisterous Christian who has to tell everyone he is a Christian. If you have knowledge, subdue it and God will set up a situation for you to use it for the benefit of others. If you have knowledge and try to force it upon others, you will not be used to edify others, since others will run from you.
James 3:14 (KJV)
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
Bitter envying - Acrid or harsh Jealousy or Rivalry
Strife - Selfish Ambition
Here James is warning them that if there is harsh rivalry between them and he may be warning those who were teachers who had followers. These groups may have polarized the church resulting in warring factions. James is telling them that if this is their attitude, then they are lying against the truth. The true Christian walk does not include hatred toward any other, even if they hold a different view on a teaching than you do. Never allow any selfish ambition to be named among any of the teachers. It is better that these men do not take these positions because it could be detrimental to the well-being of the church. Envy has caused many churches to split and caused many good friendships to disintegrate. (Prov 14:30 KJV) A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. (Prov 27:4 KJV) Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? The Proverbs 27:4 is excellent insight in that it says that envy will devour anyone who tries to live in it. Envy is a cruel task master.
James 3:15 (KJV)
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
Earthly = On Earth
Sensual = Natural
Devilish = Demonic
The attitude of self-ambition is from Satan. This type of wisdom is propagated by the world as it has its source in worldly philosophy. (1 Cor 3:19 KJV) For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. Any type of wisdom or teachings which contradict the scriptures and Scriptural living has its source in Satan. The carnal wisdom is not a fruit of the Christian walk. It causes strife and builds divisions in the church as Paul faced in the Corinthian church. (1 Cor 3:3 KJV) For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?   These attitudes normally emanate from those who want to have rule over other people. They have the attitude of the false teachers in Jude who wanted to have authority over others and gain a following.
James 3:16 (KJV)
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Envying and Strife - jealousy and self-ambition
Confusion - Disturbance, unrest or disorder
Evil - Worthless or vile
Whenever there is a heavy atmosphere of jealousy, there will never be rest nor peace in that congregation. Even individuals who allow these attitudes to rule in their life will never experience the peace that God gives. One of the worst things which could ever happen to a congregation is confusion. If people are learning under a confused mindset, they will not know what the truth is and eventually it will be a death knell for that church. Envy and strife is normally at the root of every church problem. If a church suffers disorder, then the work of the Lord will suffer as there will be no stability in planning or execution of any programs. There will be nothing but evil works. In a church like this, the Pastor needs to halt the taking of communion until all the problems are truly ironed out. Individually speaking, if a person has an envious spirit, they too are going to filter everything in their life through envious eyes thus skewing a true view of life toward envy. It will eventually destroy that person since all their social contacts will be viewed through envy.
James 3:17 (KJV)
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Below is the description of the type of wisdom which should be prevalent in every true church setting and in every individual Christian. When these eight characteristics are present, then there will be a strong church. A strong church will have its problems but the disagreement will not descend into a satanic shootout on the streets of Dodge. Wisdom which either seeks the good or the hurt of a person will allow you to determine from which direction it came from.
First Pure - Before anything it is pure = Pure from every fault, holy
Peaceable - Peaceful, the result of spiritual discernment
Gentle - Fitting or Yielding
Entreated - Agreeability or compliant
Mercy - Compassion or Pity
Good Fruits - Works in keeping with the Christian testimony
Partiality - Unwavering or unambiguous
Without Hypocrisy - Not false
James 3:18 (KJV)
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
This verse contrasts verse 16 which shows the satanic wisdom that destroys. The Godly wisdom produces righteousness which produces complete biblical harmony. It brings peace from them who sow peace in others which is the true believer. Only the true Christian can experience true peace. This verse is also an evangelism verse in that it is showing that the true believer sows the seeds of the Gospel in peace. The true believer does not bring the Gospel by means of causing division in a city or country. The true believer is known by a gentle attitude. To them that sow in peace will yield the fruit of righteousness. A tree grows in silence yet can grow very big and a small seed of righteousness will yield a large crop of peaceful righteousness.