Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Book of James – Part 4: Christian Living

The Book of James – Part 4:
Christian Living
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

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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?

Part 1 - Faith and Wisdom
Part 2 - Poverty and Riches
Part 3 - Endurance

Part 4 - Christian Living

James 1:19-27
 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

a.      Swift to what? (James is speaking of the Word of God)

                                                             i.      Verses 2-8 tells us we have  “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!

d.     But remember, James is speaking of, The Word of God!

                                                                                                                                      i.      Do not be in a hurry to tell someone about things you do not understand.

                                                                                                                                   ii.      Slow to give advice, instruction, teaching on the Word of God.

                                                                                                                                 iii.      If we lack understanding, and are quick to give “godly” advice, we may do more harm than good.

                                                                                                                                 iv.      Be slow to speak, allowing understanding before instruction.

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 or wrath under the guise of righteousness.

a.      This is what Paul did as a Zealot using his wrath against followers of Christ thinking he was serving God in righteous behavior.

2.      Wrath, anger or any response 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, an 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.     and evil that is so prevalent
c.      receive the engrafted Word (put into us)
d.     with meekness (humility)
e.      This is what is able to save your souls!

a.      Be not just sit there listening to it!

                                                             i.      To many think that surrounding themselves with the Word of God 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!


You take your family out for a long needed dinner and movie night in town.  You arrive at the restaurant and are seated at the last table available.

While awaiting the waiter you notice a poster on the wall near the kitchen with the instructions on how to help a choking victim.   Out of boredom and too much time on your hands awaiting the waiter you read it, and read it again.

Moments later the man at the table next to you begins choking.

But you’re not read the chart, you know what to do, and you know exactly how to do it. In fact, you read it many times over. 

You sit there, fearless, watching as the life slips from the man at the next table, knowing that you know everything you need to know about saving someone who is choking.

Confident of your knowledge, you look about the room for the waiter to make your order as the man passes away at the next table.

James 1:22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Those who hear the Word and do not “do it” are deceived into thinking they have received something which they have not.

And like the choking man, all the hearing in the world cannot save him without action.

Do not just

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

b.     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” of God’s Holy Word.

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

a.      Over spiritualized, religious people abound

                                                             i.      Some are so “religious” or “Spiritual” they forget the Word of God and deceive themselves as well, not being doers of the Word, rather, doers of their own vain imaginations

                                                          ii.      Romans 1:21-23For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (they heard the Word, but do not do it as God commands) 19 because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen (Spiritual matters, i.e. Holy Spirit, Spiritual Fruit, Whole Armor of God, Spiritual Gifts), being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

 21 because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, (they made up their own way of worship, their own way of serving, their own definition of obedience) and their foolish heart was darkened.

 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools

                                                       iii.      Those who consider themselves “religious”... “spiritual”

1.      Those who consider themselves religious (or spiritual), are either the type who “over-spiritualize” everything forgetting the Word and its limitations God has placed on the Spirit, 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.      The Pharisees fell into this trap...and so do many today!

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

                                                             i.      Look after (care for)  orphans and widows in their affliction (suffering, difficulties, burdens, hardships, pain, trouble, misery...or rather, in their time of need!)

1.      Pure and acceptable behavior of a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ is someone who helps the orphans and widows when he sees them in need!

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 yourself  from being polluted by the world.

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


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 plum line for us to take, and measure ourselves here today.

A True Spiritual (religious) Follower of Jesus Christ;

         Is swift to listen to the Word of God

         Slow to speak, controlling his tongue

         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 as part of the will also die with not make yourself an enemy of God by living in the world.

Next week we will look at what the Book of James says about Brotherly Love.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?   

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