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ASSEMBLIES OF GOD ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR May 12, 2024.

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ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA

ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS|JANUARY-JUNE, 2022.

UNIT 4: Practical Christian Living (James)

LESSON 19: May 12, 2024.

TOPIC: HOW CHRISTIANS LIVE IN PEACE

Memory Verse: James 3:17 – The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy, (KJV).
Lesson Bible Text:
James 3
Lesson Central Truth:
Christlike words and attitudes promote peace.
INTRODUCING THE LESSON
James devotes an entire chapter to controlling the tongue. When we consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:34, we see why the tongue is given such extensive treatment. Our hearts determine what comes out from our tongue. The tongue can be used as a weapon to harm and destroy or as a tool to build and heal. What kind of impact do your words have?
How we handle the tongue is a great indicator of our hearts before God.
Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts. It’s no wonder, then, that our words sometimes get us into trouble. Controlling them is no small task. Yet God’s Word gives us a number of principles we can use to help ensure that our speech brings peace–not destruction–to our relationships with others. Our tongues are windows into our spiritual lives, whether we are aware of it or not. Therefore, James gives us even more reason to seek to control our tongues. A controlled tongue is not only proof of true saving faith, but it is also proof of spiritual maturity. Peace is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and for us to live in peace as believers, we must tame our tongue.
LESSON OUTLINE
1. BY RECOGNISING THE TONGUE’S POWER
A. Power For Good – James 3:1-4
B. Potential For Destruction – James 2:5-6.
2. BY TAMING OUR SPEECH
A. Rely On God – James 3:7-8
B. Be Cleansed Within – James 3:9-12.
3. BY USING WISDOM FROM GOD
A. Wisdom Of The World – James 3:13-16
B. Wisdom From Heaven – James 3:17-18.
LESSON NUGGETS
1. BY RECOGNISING THE TONGUE’S POWER
James 3:1-6
✅️ Most times, people want to be heard. What better way to be heard as a believer than to be a teacher of the gospel? Yet, James urges us to consider the power of the tongue. We must not be hasty in propelling ourselves into a position where the tongue is constantly used. A lot of responsibility comes with being a teacher.
Your words can have a significant influence on others and can alter the course of their lives. It is powerful and, as such, will incur a “stricter judgment.” Our real self is controlled when we put the tongue on guard. James urges us that if one can control their tongue, then they will be able to control the rest of the body as well. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. We must be mindful of our tongue and use it for good at all times. Without speaking, we can not share the gospel. Without speaking, we can not encourage others. Let us learn to use our words to pursue peace and build others up.
✅️ James gave another illustration of the fire and the forest. A fire starts off very small but can spread quickly and devour millions of acres before it burns out. And once that fire starts spreading, even the coordinated effort of thousands of firefighters often can’t stop it. The time to stop a wildfire is before it starts! The tongue is the same as wildfire.
Words can build or destroy. Better than anything else, the tongue displays the state of our hearts. Words can rip apart relationships, cause depression, and start wars. The root of the problem is our sinful heart. We are sinful people. The key is to let our hearts be regenerated, renewed, and clean, like David prayed to God to create in him a clean heart. If we don’t have the desire to lie, we won’t. If we don’t want to harm people through slander, we won’t. Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Consider how to use your words to encourage others. This week, intentionally speak edifying words to build others up each day.
2. BY TAMING OUR SPEECH
James 3:7-12
✅️ Proverbs 21:23 – “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” James also says the tongue is “full of deadly poison”; therefore, it must always be handled gently and with care, as it could potentially hurt or kill somebody. James goes to great extremes to show how evil and uncontrollable the tongue is.
No one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. We can’t tame our tongue by our own strength, but by relying on God through the power of the Holy Spirit. In what ways has God given believers power to control the tongue? In order for believers to conquer sin, including sins of the tongue, God broke the power of our sin nature on the cross. Our old nature of untamed tongue has been crucified on the cross, and we are free in Him. Note that God gave each believer a new nature, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” God made what was uncontrollable, controllable by breaking sin’s power over us and giving us His Spirit. We must believe and actualize these truths to control our tongue. Allow God to get hold of your tongue and use it for His purpose.
✅️ By comparing our tongues to a spring, a tree, and a vine, James aims to reveal the inconsistency of our tongues and how they should not be this way. In regular life, a fresh spring does not produce bitter water; a fig tree does not produce olives, and a vine does not produce figs. If we are saved, then we should produce fruit in accordance with our new nature; however, that does not always happen. Therefore, James challenges all believers to be consistent with our words. The tongue can not be tamed by the flesh; we need a new nature and God’s Spirit to control it.
It is an error to praise God and then slander someone with the tongue. Our words should be like water that refreshes someone and fruit that strengthens them. We should constantly seek to shower people with encouraging words that edify them. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.” We should be people that constantly bring joy to others. To control our tongues, we must aim for consistency. An apple tree doesn’t produce figs. Likewise, our lips should not produce unwholesome fruit.
3. BY USING WISDOM FROM GOD
James 3:13-18
✅️ Being children of God changes our values and our motivations. The things we once thought wise have become foolish and vice versa. James asked his readers who they thought qualified as wise and understanding. His immediate answer was that wise people live wisely, participating in good deeds with great humility.
Now, he warns his readers not to lie to themselves. A person should not assume they are “wise” if they carry bitter envy and selfish ambition in their hearts. The wisdom of the world is built on an entirely different worldview. Instead of humility, worldly wisdom leads every person to make their lives about themselves. This mindset tells us to look at what other people have, decide what we want (bitter envy), and then make a plan to get it for yourself (selfish ambition). Success according to the world, then, is getting what you want in life. James says this is a false perspective. Believing in such a philosophy leads to all the disorder, chaos, and evil we see in the world.
✅️ The wisdom of heaven offers a very different strategy for living and leads to very different results. Because we trust God to provide what we need, we can let go of envy and selfish ambition. We can lead lives of peace, gentleness, reasonableness, kindness, and more. We can help plant peace and help bring in the harvest of righteousness.
Relationships based on earthly wisdom are often in turmoil because they lack one basic quality–peace. James places heavenly wisdom in stark contrast with earthly wisdom. It’s impossible to be at peace with others when they are selfish and self-centered. When we seek godly peace, it will lead to the “fruit of righteousness.” This will be reflected in words that build others up and glorify God. The application of heavenly wisdom preserves relationships and glorifies God. Unbelievers will take notice when selfishness and anger are replaced by peace and sincere love.
Lesson Action Word
Living in peace is hard, but it can be accomplished in Christ. As we go about our lives, let us strive for peace by desiring it in everything we do.
Lesson Prayer Point
Father, we ask You to give us all around peace in our mind, body, soul, and spirit in Jesus’ Name. Amen!
Remain blessed as you join us in our Sunday school both online and at any Assemblies Of God Church close to you as we study together under the Feet of the Master.
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