Welcome Home everyone
My big idea for today is seeking God’s wisdom in all manner of speech will position us more and more in the likeness of Christ. And my prayer for us today is that by hearing this message we might all learn how to rest in the patience and steadfastness of God’s good and perfect will. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in James chapter 5, verse 12
Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.James 5:12
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points.
Do Not Use the Name of God to Reinforce the Truthfulness of Your Word
First off let’s clear up a translational misunderstanding. This word we use here that relates to “Above all” is usually misunderstood, as we would read it today. We should understand that although important, this is not the pinnacle teaching of James’ letter. We should understand it to mean “finally” or to “sum up.” James is indicating here his nearing to a conclusion. With this in mind, let’s move on. When we look at the idea of swearing oaths, we should see it as attached to impatience. Looking at it in the context of James we need to look back at the abuses of the rich over the poor as a sort of causation. This type of swearing oaths is a sign of impatience demonstrated by the poor who lived under the oppressive force of the ungodly and their wealth. Where the rubber really meets the road is the poor would take these oaths invoking God’s name in order to reinforce/strengthen the validity of one’s word or commitment.
“Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.”Leviticus 19:12
Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.”Jeremiah 5:2
We see in Genesis 22 where God swears an oath by Himself…
and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,Genesis 22:16
What’s the deal there? (I’m glad you asked) First, you and I, we’re not God. Only God is perfect in his intension and in the execution of His plan. With God it’s never going to be a false swearing situation and He is never at risk of not being able to make good on His oaths. He is God alone and because it’s His name, He alone make the rules.
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.Isaiah 55:11
Here’s the rub, you and I have an issue. We are not always aligned in our thinking with the will of God. In addition, we don’t always hear from God perfectly. Which means that even if we have the best intentions, we are unable to make good on all the we hope to accomplish. As believers/followers of Christ we must be patient and wait on the Lord for whatever it is that we think we might lack. It’s when we get ahead of God and start making deals/plans we start trying to leverage God’s good name for our benefit. We attempt to use his good reputation to bolster our own personal credit rating, so to speak.
I’ll move on to my next point.
Do Not Profane the Name of God by Including Him In Your Short Comings
I’ve mentioned before many parallels between the teaching in James and the teaching of our Lord Jesus found in the Gospels. It could be simply that James, the brother of Jesus either had access to the Gospels or maybe he remembers just hearing the significant words of Jesus after being in close proximity as His brother.
Let’s compare our passage with the words of Jesus (Sermon on the mount)
But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.Matthew 5:34-37
- Matthew 5:34-37
- Don’t swear at all.
- Either by heaven, For its God’s throne.
- Or by earth, for its God’s footstool.
- Or by Jerusalem, for it is the City/great king.
- And do not swear by your own head,
For you cannot make even one hair black or white.
- Simply let your yes be yes and your no be no.
- Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
- James 5:12
- Don’t swear.
- Not by Heaven.
- or by earth.
- or by anything else.
- Let your yes be yes and no be No
- Or you will be condemned.
Let’s think about why James would include this warning in his letter.
- To avoid unnecessary heartbreak or wrath. Judges 11:30-39 (Jephthah & the Ammonites).
- To ensure that Christians are not influenced by Pagan oath practices.
- To maintain a high level of integrity in our speech.
- Avoid dragging God’s name through our imperfect plans or falsehoods. Even if we mean well.
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace.
Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today?
Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today.
You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.
Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’