As the book of James draws to a close, we see the author further and finally reinforce his main idea that a gospel-driven life is one that will ultimately be manifested practically, on the ground, in every day situations. In somewhat surprising fashion, James draws his argument to a climax in 5:12 concluding that above all: straight-forward, oath-less, honest speech is a distinguishing mark of a gospel-centered life.
Upon further reflection though, this makes sense for we know that Jesus tells us out of the heart the mouth speaks and therefore the content of our speech indicates the content of our souls - is gospel-content found down deep? So the question is: Is liberating trust in Christ found down deep? Or, does dishonesty, boasting, and self-righteousness pour forth from your lips?
If so, it can be an indication that we are still held captive to self in some way, shape or form and are concerned more with what people think of us instead of being captivated by what God thinks of us in Christ Jesus.
I cross-referenced the sermon text with Luke 4:16-21, highlighting it’s theme of Christ-proclaimed liberty. The reality is that Jesus came to set captives (like you and me) free and when we lie (in that moment) it’s an indicator that we are enslaved to something or someone other than Jesus. Paul said in Galatians 5:1 that it was, “For freedom that Christ set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” I hope and pray that we can live as free people as God intends for us to live in Christ Jesus and never again go back to being a slave to anything ever again!
Please plan on joining us Sunday as I will putting a bow on the Book of James and share the three lessons I've learned from our study that are essential for us moving forward as a church.