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Author:Dr. Wes Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Tasmania
 Tasmania, Australia
Preached At:Mission Smithers -- Fort Babine
 Fort Babine, British Columbia
Title:To help us stay humble, God warns us against wanting to become teachers.
Type:Mission Sermon
Text:James 3:1-2 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Beloved congregation,

What is the biggest problem that people have? The Bible says that everybody's biggest problem is sin. But there are lots of different sins. So, we could also ask the question: what is the biggest sin that people have? Think about Adam and Eve at the beginning of the Bible. The snake came to them and told them that they could be like God. He said that they just had to go against what God had said. They thought they could be higher than God. Adam and Eve had pride. All of us are the children of Adam and Eve. So, we also have a problem with this sin of pride. Whether you go to Fort Babine or Smithers, or anywhere else, people always want to think a lot of themselves. In fact, a lot of people who aren't Christians say that you should think a lot about yourself. They say that you should think you are a really good person.

But what does the Bible say? That's the question we always have to ask. We all have our own ideas about everything. We are only people. We don't know everything the way we should. But God knows! So, what does God say in the Bible? What does He say about how we should think about ourselves?

God wants us to stay humble. He wants us to call ourselves down. Just listen to these Bible passages: James 4:6, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5-6, "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." Finally, Philippians 2:3, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

The Bible is clear. God wants us to be humble. He sent Jesus Christ in this world as our Saviour. But he was also our example of humility. If you want to know what being humble is like, look to the Lord Jesus. And we have to do that! To say "Thank you" to God for giving Jesus Christ, we have to be a humble people.

This passage from James that we're looking at tonight was given to us to help us stay humble. Through James, God warns His people that not many of them should want to become teachers. When the Bible talks about teachers, it's not talking about people like the Forbes. When God says, "not many of you should presume to be teachers," He is saying that not many should want to be leaders in the church. We could even say, "Not many of you should become preachers." These "teachers" were leaders in the Church. They taught what the Bible said. They preached from the Bible. A few times, the apostle Paul calls himself a teacher in the same way. So, to help us stay humble, God warns us about wanting to become teachers.

There are two main reasons why we should be very careful about wanting to become teachers in the church. The first reason is given in verse 1, ".because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." A lot of people today don't like the word "judge." But the Bible tells us very clearly that the Lord Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. Jesus Christ is going to be a judge on the last day of the earth. And He will also judge what we have done and what we have said. Teachers in the church do and say a lot of things. They are given a big job. God will ask them what they did with that big job. That means that in some ways, it is a scary thing to be a teacher in the Church. Nobody should do it without thinking lots about it first. I stand here before you teaching and preaching. God will look over all that I have said to you. He will hold me accountable. If I teach wrong things, God will know about it! If God makes you a teacher or preacher in a church, then there is a heavy load that goes with it. It is not easy. You can't just say whatever you want. You have to say what is in the Bible.

Listen to the teaching in Luke 12:48, "For everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Teachers and preachers are given a big job. They have to teach and preach the Word of God. God will be asking a lot more from the teachers and preachers. That's why a famous preacher once told his people, "If you can stay away from being a preacher, then do it. Only become a leader in the church if you absolutely have to." So, if we feel like we should be a teacher or preacher in the church, we should be very careful. Can we really carry the load? We have to be humble when we think about that. Not everybody can or should be a leader in the church.

The second reason why God warns people against being teachers in the church is in verse 2 of James 3. Here God reminds us that we all stumble in many ways. Another way of saying this is that we sin in lots of different ways. All of us are sinners. That's why all of us need Jesus Christ. And if we are sinners, we also sin with our mouths. That goes for teacher and preachers, too. In fact, teachers and preachers are more likely to sin with their mouths. Think about it: a preacher is always talking. He is always using his mouth. And he is still a sinner. You know as well as I do that I am a sinner just like you are. And there are many things that come out of my mouth that shouldn't.

That will happen when you are a teacher in the church. If anyone could get away from doing that, he would be a perfect man. He would be able to not only control his tongue, but also his whole body. But we know that there are no perfect men on this earth. The only perfect man was Jesus Christ. He never sinned with his mouth or with the rest of His body. He always walked in God's ways. With His perfect walk of life, He pays for all the times that we sin with our mouths. We can thank God for that!

But at the same time, we should be careful about putting ourselves in a place where we have to use our mouths a lot. We should be careful about wanting to become teachers. People sometimes want to become teachers so that other people will look up to them. But when you are a teacher or preacher, you also have the great danger that you will sin with your mouth. So, God is telling us here to think twice about becoming a teacher. If you become a teacher, you may be sinning more than you are right now! It is not easy to be a teacher or preacher in the church. It's not easy, because you have to do so much talking. And when we are sinners, some of those words are going to be wrong. Some of those words are going to be wicked. That's a good reason to think again before wanting to be a leader in the church.

So, there are at least two good reasons why God warns us against wanting to become teachers or leaders in the church: First, teachers will be judged more harshly. Second, teachers are more likely to sin with their tongues. This warning from God is meant to keep us humble. We should never push ourselves forward as teachers. If God wants us to be a teacher in the church, then he will use other people to encourage us. He will use the church to tell us that we should be a teacher. If people are always telling you, "You should become a pastor. You should become a preacher," then MAYBE God wants you as a teacher. But you should never do it just because you want to be great and you want other people to listen to you. That would go against what the Bible says when it tells us to stay humble before God. God tells us in Philippians 2:5, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.." We all have to work on doing that, whether we are teachers or whether we are ordinary Christians in the church. All of us have to be humble and follow Christ - doing everything not for our glory, but for God's glory. AMEN.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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