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PROVE THE WORD BY DOING THE WORD James 1:22-27 (Kent Smith 6/25/23)

A STUDY OF THE LETTER OF JAMES

James 1:22-27

Religion that Reforms a Life

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WHERE TO FROM HERE?


Prove that you believe the Word by doing the word.

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  • Having addressed trials and temptations…

    • Trials are a natural condition in a fallen world

    • Temptations are a reflection of our own misplaced desires

  • Having given advice on behaviors…

    • Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, and put aside corruption

  • James describes the genuine evidence of a truly religious and reformed heart.

  • THOSE WHO DO NOT APPLY THE WORD TO THEIR LIVES DO NOT TRULY BELIEVE THE WORD IN THEIR HEARTS


SCRIPTURE: James 1:22-24 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.

  • If you just say you believe the word and do not do it—YOU ARE LIVING A DELUSION!

    • Richard Dawkins the famous atheist manifesto, The God Delusion makes his case that many "believers" are living under a delusion that there is a God.

    • Today I expect that most of us would agree that there is a God, that He is Real, that He sent His Son Jesus to earth as God in the flesh to create for Himself a people that would bring Him glory, and make His name known throughout the world.

    • But James writes that if you are not aligning your life to the Word, then you truly ARE living in a delusion!

    • If the message of the Word / The Gospel is truly our only hope for meaning in this life, and our guarantee of eternal life, then not living according to its teachings is the epitome of foolishness.

      • Either you believe the word, or you do not!

      • Belief is not simply the exercise of the mind in wishful thinking or hoping, it is the wager of one's life as to what is ultimately TRUE.

      • It is not some game we play saying I'll believe enough in Jesus to hopefully get to heaven, but I'm not going to let it rule my life and determine my path here.

        • Too many "believers" are saying by their lips that they believe and want to go to heaven, but by their lives they shout I will not be ruled by God!

        • God's desire is not to make you a reluctant subject of His rule. He wants to make you a child of His love, but as any child knows, if you want peace in the home you better do what Dad says.

    • James illustrates his point thusly:

      • IF you hear but do not do, it's like looking in a mirror, but as soon as you turn away you cannot say for certain what you look like now

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THE BYPRODUCT OF BLESSING

“This man will be blessed in what he does.”

IF we intentionally and intensively read the Word.

If we apply the instruction of the Word.

Cautionary Encouragement:

Do not become a forgetful hearer

Do become an effectual doer.

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SCRIPTURE James 1:25

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Let's unpack this verse:

The core of the sentence:

"This man will be blessed"

With two relative clauses in this verse regarding the "man"

First clause: (the one who) looks intently at the perfect law

Second clause: (the one who) abides by it

Modified by "not becoming a forgetful hearer, but an effectual doer.”

So step one for us: is to get in the word of God.

Where to begin: If you are not already in the word daily, I want to challenge you with this:

For the rest of this series on James, read one chapter of his letter each weekday Monday through Friday, each week till we conclude this series on August 13.

Read it carefully and intentionally.

As we unpack this letter we will also share about how you can begin to remember truths and apply them in your life.

We want to begin to create new and better habits. We want to live out our relationship with Christ in such a way that our lives are genuinely changed.

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THE TONGUE: AN AREA OF NEEDED CHANGE!

  • When it comes to your own religious understanding -

WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF IS NOT WHAT MATTERS!

  • James says that if we have NOT bridled our tongue then our religion is worthless.

  • WHAT MATTERS is whether or not JESUS knows YOU!

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Step Two for many is to rein in our tongue!

Many of you shared about an area of struggle (disobedience) was regarding your speech

  • It may relate to outbursts of anger

  • It may be an issue of coarse or foul language, or innuendo and jokes that are unseemly.

  • It may be critical or judgmental words

  • It may be gossip

  • It may be taking the Lord's name in vain.

  • It may be lying, or excessive exaggeration.

SCRIPTURE: James 1:26 IF ANYONE THINKS HIMSELF TO BE RELIGIOUS, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

  • Again James brings up our self-deception:

  • Our actions have not lived up to our profession of faith.

  • Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

  • How to manage our tongue: THINK before you speak.

    • T- Truthful

    • H-Helpful

    • I-Inspiring

    • N- Necessary

    • K-Kind

We dare not take James' admonition lightly about worthless religion, but the exercise of religion is NOT what saves us. Jesus does.


WHAT MATTERS:

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ (Did we not practice good religion?) 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

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RELIGION FROM GOD’S POINT OF VIEW

The religion that God wants is a RELATIONSHIP based on the TRUTH of JESUS CHRIST that makes His followers compassionate servants of others, and who are set apart from the world. (holy)

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James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Step Three is to model the compassion and holiness of Jesus

NOT a bunch of rules

NOT a bunch of theological creeds

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3 STEPS TO A RELIGION THAT REFORMS YOUR LIFE

1. Be a person of the Word.

2. Be a person who manages their speech.

3. Be a person that exercises the compassion and holiness of Christ

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  1. Be a person of the Word

    1. Read it regularly, intentionally, and intensively.

    2. Apply it to your life.

  2. Be a person who manages their speech.

    1. When to speak and when not to speak

    2. What to say and what not to say

    3. How and why to speak what needs to be spoken

  3. Be a person that exercises the compassion and holiness of Christ.

    1. Minister to the needs of others as more important than yourself.

    2. Reject the values and accolades of the world. Be unstained by it.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP?

"This is what I am going to try to do this week. " (Tell someone, and check in with them on how they are doing this week.)

True discipleship is not measured by arrival at a destination, it is a journey of your life moving each day in the right direction!

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