Sermon Study Guide – St. Thomas’ Church, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador


(Date: 19 Sept 2012) “Bridled lives”                                 James 3:1-12 & Mark 8:27-38


Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”…”But who do you say that I am?” (Mk 8:27,29).


  1. If your closest friends were asked what one word best describes you, what might they say? Why is the question “Who do you say that I am” so important? Who did the people of Jesus’ time say he was? Who do people say he is now? How has you answer to this question changed over time? What four things does Jesus prophesy about himself in vv. 31 & 32? According to vv. 34-38 what is involved in being a follower of Christ? How do we take it up or take him in?



Leader’s Guide:

The choir sang an ancient anthem of the Church on Sunday “God be in my head”

Discuss what each of the following areas looks like when Christ is being given control.


How does that work for God to bridle me in my understanding…so that I can have faith to trust how things can work together for good; in my looking;…so that I can see things from God’s perspective; in my speaking;…so that my tongue does not become a destructive power in my or others life;  in my thinking;…so that I can have the mind of Christ; and at my departing…so that I can come home to heaven, since I have been living as a citizen of heaven during my time here on earth!



With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. (James 3:9)


  1. Why is it such a big responsibility to be a teacher, especially of the Scripture? In your everyday conversation, how seriously do you take verse 9? Jesus and the apostles Peter and Paul were not always “tame” when it came to the use of the tongue. When is harsh language acceptable? How can language be bridled and yet still harsh? How do we speak the truth in love in the heat of the moment? How do vv. 2 & 10 make you feel about your tongue? How will they prompt you to pray?



Leader’s Guide:

What did James say about the tongue?

…the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.

After confessing Jesus as the Messiah, Peter uses his tongue for the work of hell- to deny the means by which the Messiah would work our salvation, and bring wholeness and eternal life back to His people.

Jesus calls a spade a spade: Get behind me Satan For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.Then he called the crowd together and gave them the means to defeat the power of the devil and the fires of hell itself: Take up your cross and follow me!Take up the cross! What does that mean? How do we put Christ in the centre of our lives, as Christ put us in the centre of His life? He came to pour out God’s life into us. If we want to follow Him we can put Him in the centre of our lives, so that His life will be poured out through us. That is the work of the Holy Spirit that we can cooperate with. How do we cooperate with the HS in this work?


Take up your cross means let Christ bridle your life so that it bears God’s fruit. Take up your cross means being consistent in the whole of our life…in our head and understanding, what we look at, what we say and how we say it…in everything! In short, take up your cross and follow Christ means: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your strength, all your mind and all your soul…and love your neighbour as yourself, because it is in the loving of our neighbour for Christ’s sake, that we show Him we are not ashamed to confess Him….not just in church…but pay the price that is necessary to live as His true followers here on earth, so that His kingdom comes in us on earth, as it will in heaven.

God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing…