This is the message for Sunday morning, January 18th, 2009.
FACEBOOK PART 2
James 1:19-27 ISV – 19 You must understand this, my dear brothers. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 For human anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, rid yourselves of everything impure and every expression of wickedness, and with a gentle spirit welcome the word planted in you that can save your souls.
22 Keep on being doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror. 24 For he studies himself carefully and then goes off and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the one who looks at the perfect law of freedom and remains committed to it—thus proving that he is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of what it requires—will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone thinks that he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but instead deceives his own heart, his religion is worthless. 27 A religion that is pure and stainless in the sight of God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Last week we started this 2 part sermon entitled, “FACEBOOK.”
FACEBOOK is an online tool that brings friends, family and others together for friendship and ways of introducing yourself and getting to know one another. The other day of friend of mine started chatting with me while I was on FACEBOOK. He is a believer, and truly loves the Lord with all his heart. To be honest, of all the people I know, he has a great faith that I would love to emulate. Well, he is going through some difficulties and struggles right now, and with this difficulty is coming depressed feelings and emotions. He was telling me about it a little bit, and I mentioned last weeks sermon. I shot him a link to my blog where I posts the written version of each sermon. He read it and told me that it blessed him and spoke to him and his situation. You see, I used an internet tool, FACEBOOK, to point my good friend to God’s FACEBOOK – the bible.
You see, God’s FACEBOOK (the way He has used to reveal Himself and ourselves to us) is His Holy Word. He longs for us to open it and come to know Him, know our own selves, learn how to treat one another, and apply to our everyday lives by correcting what needs to be corrected.
We are primarily looking at the Word of God being preached, because that is what the context suggests.
Last week we looked at vv. 19-21.
Here is what we learned:
• We must listen closely and intently to what is being said when God’s Word is preached.
• Don’t be too quick to judge and become angry.
• Turn from wickedness and all foolishness of the flesh.
• Humbly accept God’s Word that is changing you more and more into who Jesus Christ wants you to be.
Let’s continue and look at the rest of the passage – vv. 22-27 and see what God would say to us in these verses.
Being just a hearer of God’s Word is not enough in His eyes.
James 19:22-24 ISV – 22 Keep on being doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror. 24 For he studies himself carefully and then goes off and immediately forgets what he looks like.
Notice the first phrase is, “Keep on being.” This in Greek literally means, “Keep on becoming.” You see, we will never fully arrive at completely doing all of God’s Word requires, we will always be growing and learning and applying, you will be a life-time student. That is what is so wonderful about God’s grace, as we continue to give our hearts to Him, His grace is sufficient to cover the areas that we are weak and lacking in.
We live in a culture that perhaps has the Word of God more prevalent in our society than any other time in history, and at the same time we live in the most spiritually anemic time in history as well.
How can this be? Well, we have plenty of hearers, but not enough doers.
Notice in v. 22 it states that those who hear and not do, deceive themselves. They think that everything is okay, but it’s not. They think that they are doing fine in Christ, in the church, in their jobs, and in their homes because maybe they belong to a church, or they listen to sermons through the media, or maybe they read Scripture. But it is more than that doing those things, it is applying what you are listening too and reading.
Like I said last week, the preaching of the word should challenge you, it should also unsettle you at time as well, so that you can look deep inside yourself and see areas that need change and then turn those over to Christ asking for His grace and His Spirit to change you.
Notice in the passage that a person who hears and doesn’t do is like a person who looks in a mirror and forgets what he looks like.
You see, the word is like a mirror in a sense that it exposes you for who you really are in the flesh.
When I go shopping with Laura, sometimes I forget how big I am until I pass one of those full size mirrors… and what I see I don’t like. Why? It exposes the truth – I’m fat. It also should motivate me to do something about it – lose weight.
That is the same with the preaching of the Word. Sometimes it can be comforting and it should be. But at other times it can be downright unsettling. Why? Because it is exposing some area that you need the Lord’s help to change. When it does this, you should be motivated to turn from what is being exposed and turn to Christ Jesus and His grace for help and deliverance.
Let’s continue in our text.
Doers of the Word commit their lives to being obedient, and thereby God blesses them.
James 1:25 ISV – But the one who looks at the perfect law of freedom and remains committed to it—thus proving that he is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of what it requires—will be blessed in what he does.
There is a law that we must look at. In Greek, “look” means, “To gaze intently upon.” This law is not the law given to Moses by stone – it is the Law of freedom – of liberty. This law is none other than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let’s see what Paul says about this.
Romans 8:2-4 ISV – 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to deal with sin. He condemned sin in the flesh 4 so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
How is the righteous requirement of the law fulfilled in us? Not by our walking in perfection, because that will never happen. But according to this passage, it was done by Jesus condemning sin in His flesh, it other words – the cross.
Because of the cross, I have the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus not only living inside of me, but helping me and strengthening me to be a doer of His word, and in the areas that I’ve yet arrived, I have His marvelous grace that is sufficient for my weakness and inability.
The blessing that I have received from God is not some earthly material blessing, but it is life in the Spirit and union with Christ, which blessing everything that I do in Christ.
What are the three evidences that we are being doers of the word?
James 1:26-27 ISV – 26 If anyone thinks that he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but instead deceives his own heart, his religion is worthless. 27 A religion that is pure and stainless in the sight of God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
• Controlling our tongue. Remember in verse 19 we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. And then in verse 20 it states, “For human anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” I believe this controlling of the tongue here based on the context is talking about how we respond in anger. If we still are flying off the handle, getting offended and thereby offend and hurt and speak behind the back of our fellow believer, then our religion, system of beliefs, or devotion to Him is worthless. I did not state that, Scripture states this truth. So one evidence that you are truly becoming a doer of the word is you are continuing to improve on watching what you say.
• Taking care of orphans and widows. In our culture, we don’t have this problem really. But what about those within our body that are hurting? Are we visiting them, taken care of their needs where we can, and praying for them and trusting God with them were we can’t? An example of this is when we went and visited Doug and Betty on a Sunday night as a body. It really lifted their spirits, just fellowshipping with them, and being in their presence. That there is purity in devotion to Christ.
• You are keeping yourself unstained by the world. This is more than just staying away from those outward sins. This I believe has to do with those inward hidden sins as well – like how we treat other believers, our we treat those in authority over us, are we gossiping about everyone. Are we serving God for what we can get out of it? In fact, John warns us about avoiding the stains of the world. Let’s read this verse before we close.
1 John 2:15-17 ISV – 15 Stop loving the world and the things that are in the world. If anyone persists in loving the world, the Father’s love is not in him. 16 For everything that is in the world—the desire for fleshly gratification, the desire for possessions, and worldly arrogance—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world and its desires are fading away, but the person who does God’s will remains forever.
What should be our response this morning?
• God wants us to more than just hear His Word, but He also wants us to put it into practice.
• God’s blessing is found in being obedient to His Word. And as we are becoming obedient, where we are lacking He has provided His grace.
• Evidences that we are becoming doers of the Word will be revealed this way: Are we controlling what we say to one another? Are we helping out those in our fellowship who are in desperate situations? Are we keeping our self unstained by the world and its standards?
Let’s become doers of the Word. Intently think about what is preached, and what you read in your personal time. Remember, God’s Word is His way of revealing Himself and our own selves to us. Look deeply into the Word and ask the help of the Holy Spirit to be obedient this morning.