Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book of James - Part 4: Christian Living


The Book of James
Part 4 - Christian Living
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


SCRIPTURE READING

James 1:19-27
 19Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:  20For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

 26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

INTRODUCTION

The Apostle James, brother of Jesus, and leader of the Jerusalem council, writes to us, and the Twelve Tribes in the Book of James, a description of what it looks like to be a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ.

We have already spoke about victory over temptations, receiving blessings from God for our endurance, faith and being humble as well as God’s goodness, all within the first 18 verses of James!

Now James has a question for you in today’s verses...

Are you living like a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ?

       I.            SWIFT TO HEAR, SLOW TO SPEAK AND SLOW TO WRATH
a.      Swift to hear...what? (James is speaking of the Word of God)

                                                             i.      Verses 2-8 “Victory over temptation through knowledge of the Word of God”

                                                          ii.      Verses 17-18 “Every good and perfect gift is from above” speaking of Jesus, the Word that came down.

                                                       iii.      Previous verses are speaking of the Word of God, and following verses are also speaking of being “doers” of the Word of God, so we can know that James is speaking about the Word of God.


b.     Slow to speak (control of the tongue)
                                                             i.      James tells us that a follower of Jesus Christ minds his tongue and what he says.

1.      This includes filthy or immoral speech, gossip, slander, lying, bragging or prideful boasting, empty words about yourself, etc...

a.      Scripture tells us to “build up” and “edify” others...not ourselves!

b.     When you brag and boast, you are sinning.

c.      When you “tear down” and “slander” you are doing the exact opposite of what the Word tells us to do!


c.      Slow to wrath (be led by the Spirit instead)
                                                             i.      James tells us not to fall prey to wrath, because man’s wrath does not produce righteousness!

1.       Furthermore, we are to be “led” by the Spirit of God, not our feelings and emotions.

2.      Wrath, anger or irritation from your natural heart will not produce ANYTHING God accepts as righteous!

3.      Do not be led around like a dog on a leash by your emotions and feelings!


a.      If you do, you will appear as a double-minded, wishy-washy, indecisive, unstable mess...because that is what our feelings and emotions usually are.


d.     What saves your soul? (the Word)
                                                             i.      James goes on to tell us what saves our souls...

1.      21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”

a.      rid your life of moral filth
b.     receive the engrafted Word
c.      with meekness (humility)
d.     This is what is able to save your souls!



   II.            BEING DOERS OF THE WORD
a.      Be doers...do not just sit there listening to it!

                                                             i.      To many think that surrounding themselves with the Word is as good as having it “grafted into our hearts”

                                                          ii.      Reading, memorizing, listening to the Word, are all good things if followed by ACTION!

                                                       iii.      You can listen to instruction all day long, but if you do not follow it...it has been rendered useless, and you are deceiving yourself into thinking it has done you good.

b.     If you do...you are deceiving yourselves!

                                                             i.      When complaining that others have lied,
It’s important to look deep inside
And ask if you knew
All along it was you
Who had taken yourself for a ride.


c.      One, who hears, sees only himself...


d.     However, those who see the perfect law of liberty and continues in that direction, NOT forgetting what he heard, but doing it...his deeds will be blessed!

                                                             i.      If you are missing blessings in your life, the Word says it is because you are not being a “doer”.

1.      Far too many listeners “expect” to receive from God...


III.            SO YOU SAY YOU ARE SPIRITUAL.
a.      Over spiritualized, religious people

                                                             i.      Those who consider themselves “religious”...

1.      This falls under the category James just spoke of, being slow to speak...do NOT boast about yourself!

2.      Scripture makes it plain, unless we consider ourselves “nothing” without Christ, we will be nothing!

3.      Those who consider themselves religious (or spiritual), are either the type who “over-spiritualize” everything, or as James is speaking of, simply hear the Truth, but never apply it or live it in their lives.


b.     They are deceiving themselves; and are not spiritual at all.

c.      This type of behavior is defiled and unacceptable before God.

                                                             i.      How do we know this?  Scripture says so in the next verse!

                                                          ii.      The Pharisees fell into this trap...and so so many today!



d.     Pure spirituality which is not defiled before God is this:

                                                             i.      Visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (suffering, difficulties, burdens, hardships, pain, trouble, misery)

1.      Pure and acceptable behavior of a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ is someone who aids the fatherless and widows when he sees them in any affliction!

2.      Jesus had love and compassion on those imprisoned in sin, as well as those who faced afflictions in life...and so must we!

                                                          ii.       and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

1.      Are you truly separate from the world?
a.      or do you look like the world?

b.     act like the world?

c.      talk like the world?

d.     live in sin like the world?

e.      live life like someone who has never heard the Word?

                                                       iii.      James 4:3-4
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

                                                         iv.      Are you an enemy of God?



CONCLUSION

The Apostle James, brother of Jesus, and leader of the Jerusalem council, writes to us, and the Twelve Tribes in the Book of James, a description of what it looks like to be a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ.

This Word is a measuring stick, a plumb line for us to take, and measure ourselves here today.

A True Spiritual Follower of Jesus Christ;

         Is swift to hear the Word of God

         Slow to speak, controlling his tongue about himself as well as others

         Slow to wrath, allowing the Holy Spirit, NOT his emotions and feelings to guide and lead him

         He not only is swift to hear the Word, but is a DOER of that Word!

         He is not prideful in consideration of his own spirituality, but receives the Word of God humbly.

          Finally, are you a light in this world...or has the world and what it offers become your friend?

         If you live in the world...you will also die with it...do not make yourself an enemy of God by living in the world.