Edward Paz

Swear Words

The Book of James
Jul 11, 2021
JAMES 5:12

In this message, Pastor Edward continues our study of the New Testament book of James and teaches from chapter 5 about what the Bible has to say about swearing to God and making oaths. Very clarifying! Let us know in the comments what stood out to you!

Sermon Notes

The Book of James


“SWEAR WORDS”


 


JAMES 5:12


But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.


 


MATTHEW 5:33-37


“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.


 


MY BURDEN


Breaking promises to God can make you feel like your relationship with God is broken. 


 


MY BURDEN


 


Continually “swearing to God” exposes a lack of faith that is way more dangerous to us than breaking promises to God.


 


THE TENSION


Why is there a problem with “swearing to God?”


 


MESSAGE OUTLINE



  • What is an oath?

  • Why are oaths “bad?”

  • What is the alternative?

  • The Great Oath-Maker/Keeper!


 


And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” - Genesis 24:2-4


 


The Jewish system of swearing oaths had its roots in the Old Testament. In a time when written contracts did not exist, oaths served to bind agreements between people. To take an oath was to attest that what one said was true, to call God to witness to that, and to invoke His punishment if one’s word was violated. - John MacArthur


 


BIBLICAL OATH


A promise to others/God that involved God.


 


MESSAGE OUTLINE



  • What is an oath?

  • Why are oaths “bad?”

  • What is the alternative?

  • The Great Oath-Maker/Keeper!


 


But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. - James 5:12


 


“BAD” OATHS?!



  • Historical Problem

  • Motivational Problem


 


The problem was, by New Testament times traditional, Biblical teaching had come under amazing abuse. For example, some rabbis had begun to teach that an oath was not binding if it omitted God’s name or did not imply it…The results were disgraceful. There was an underlying epidemic of frivolous swearing. For instance, one rabbi taught if one swore by Jerusalem one was not bound, but if one swore toward Jerusalem it was binding—evidently because that in some way implied the Divine Name…All of this produced a moral schizophrenia: “I’m really not lying, but I’m also not telling the truth.” The use of oaths was like children’s “I had my finger’s crossed.” R. Kent Hughes


 


HISTORICAL PROBLEM


 


Oaths provided loopholes for lying. The emphasis became the “outs” not the oath.


 


Now it is the lack of faith that must appall James in the act of swearing. It is unbelief that would move his readers to try to save themselves by a manipulative use of oaths. It is through lack of faith that we disbelieve God's "compassion and mercy" and so want to strike a bargain. Striking a bargain with God cuts at the very heart of the gospel; it is an attempt to rely on the worth of one's own offering instead of relying on God's grace in the offering of Christ on the cross. Bargaining is a reliance on works; James is insisting that we rely on grace. 


 


MOTIVATIONAL PROBLEM


Oaths are, ultimately, overcompensations for unbelief.


 


When we are more deeply convinced that we are made right with God through Christ’s finished work for us and not through our fulfilled promises to God, we’ll find no need to “swear to God!”


 


MESSAGE OUTLINE



  • What is an oath?

  • Why are oaths “bad?”

  • What is the alternative?

  • The Great Oath-Maker/Keeper!


 


But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. - James 5:12


 


ALTERNATE APPROACH


 


Say what you’ll do. Do what you say. Repent when you don’t!


 


APPLICATION


What oath do you need to repent/receive grace for breaking?


What “yes” or “no” do you need to recommit yourself to?


 


MESSAGE OUTLINE



  • What is an oath?

  • Why are oaths “bad?”

  • What is the alternative?

  • The Great Oath-Maker/Keeper!


 


As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. - 2 Corinthians 1:18-20


 


“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” - Isaiah 43:25


 


After he has suffered, he will see the light of the life and be satisfied; by his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. - Isaiah 53:11


 


And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues and be careful to obey my rules. - Ezekiel 36:26-27


 


IN CHRIST…


You are forgiven. 


You are righteous.


You are empowered!

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