James 1:19-27 Preparation and Application
Read verses 19-21
Looking at v19 we see these 3 commands that are easy to recognize
A) Swift to hear / Slow to speak / Slow to wrath
B) I think we could take those commands and apply them to the relationships in our lives –
1) This is good advice
C) You want to communicate more effectively w/ someone close to you – spouse
1) Boy../ / girlfriend / close friend – pp work with
D) Good advice here: Listen more/ talk less / don’t get mad!
Better relationship with your wife: LM / TL/ DGM
Do you want your kids to confide in you: LM/TL/D
Coworkers to like you more than they do …..
Customers to like you
More friends here at Church.
Good advice, good common sense.
But we need to see these commands in their context!
A) Therefore Looking back v.18 Phrase the word of truth
B) Recap – don’t give into temptation – reasons
1) Look ahead, see consequences to sin
2) Look around and see the goodness of God
3) Look within – See born again by the word of truth
C) Then in V.21 Implanted word and V.22 Doers of the word
Theme in this section is THE WORD – GOD’S WORD – What it means to have a receptive heart
A) So we need to understand that these three commands have something to do with the Word
B) In Luke 8 Jesus gives a parable about God’s word
1) Describes it has seed – sower –going out to spread
The Primary def – Seed is the gospel
C) 4 Soils = 4 hearts – Hard soil = hard heart – not receptive – no penetration – birds come snatch seed
1) Stony soil - the shallow heart, which was very emotional but had no depth, and bore no fruit;
D) Thorny soil = the crowded heart, the distracted heart
Cares of this world, longing for riches - crowd out the Word;
E) Soft soil = fruitful heart, which received the Word, allowed it to take root, and produced a harvest of fruit.
He ended the parable in Luke’s gospel – with this exhortation – Take heed HOW YOU HEAR!
Primary application – Gospel and 4 different hearts
A) But a secondary application: The seed is the word in General – Soil is 4 places in our hearts
B) See, we can have areas of our heart – hard to certain things in the word
1) Some women – topic of submission: Talbot
….. I would drink it.
C) Some titheing: Tune out – only want my money
D) Forgiveness: Holding a grudge
Area of hearts: No depth-
A) Hear a message on something – moves us emotionally – far as it goes –
B) Distracted areas of our hearts- Hear the word
1) Stirred – Prayer life / Service
C) We intend to pray more / get more involved in service –
1) Distracted by life: several months go by, those things never become a reality
D) Soft heart: God’s love / forgiveness / the cross
E) James is sharing here – some practical insight on how to have the right soil – thru & thru
1) AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY! – Starts with how you hear- But also involves what you do!
How to hear!
A) To be SWIFT to hear God’s word implies an attitude of eagerness to take in the word
B) David described this eagerness as Psalm 42:1-2
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Psalm 119:131 “I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments.”
David said regarding God’s commandments, “They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
C) Peter used similar picture: “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word.”
1) Nursing baby – more than anything else – Looking to be fed.
D) Each picture describes an eagerness – read and hear the word.
1) That describe your attitude- Devos – or how about coming to Church
CHS Analogy – reading of a will – wealthy relative
What would be your attentiveness knowing he was going to leave you something – My name – quiet
That is the kind of heart the Lord wants us to have toward His word- But we don’t always have that heart –
A) Instead of being swift to hear – OPPOSITE – slow to hear – Why is that ?
A)Today one of the major reasons is that we are so busy.
B) The devotional prayer of the modern man is, “Lord, speak to me! You have sixty seconds.”
C) There is no place in the busy schedules to hear God say, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Often times our problem is, we are distracted
A) We come into the Sanctuary and we are in our own little world – Distracted –problems / concerns
B) There is a battle: Satan our enemy
1) Satan loves to see families fighting – He wants to fuel the fire on Sundays - so we are not ready to receive the word
C) Family conflict – fighting on the way to Church– get into the parking lot – PTL –
D) Result: You get here not fully engaged even now not tracking with me – mind is somewhere else – Slow to hear
E) Wonder why our experience with the Lord is lacking
First thing James wants us to grab a hold of is attitude of our hearts – swift eagerness
A) Heart preparation is important – awake – alert
B) Church: On time! - Recent vacation – visited a Church – I thought I knew where it was
1) Map quest – lost, not enough time –
C) Missed ˝ worship/ Denise hates to be late – frustrated – I was bummed –
D) I thought – there is a lot of pp in our Church this is their normal experience
1st Swift to hear – 2nd Slow to speak
A) James, following the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs, says, “Slow down! Hold your tongue!”
B) Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.”
Someone long ago pointed out that “We have two ears and one mouth, therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak.”
The rabbis put it even better: “Men have two ears but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak. The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded with a double row of teeth to hedge it in, and keep it within proper bounds.”
TV interviewer, Larry King, observed, “I never learned anything while I was talking”
Our natural tendency in respect to God’s Word is to be slow to hear and quick to speak.
A) James day: Home churches – less formal – more of a discussion – like home groups
B) Problem: Instead of listening – we are thinking about what we want to say.
C) A receptive heart controls the tongue
1) You won’t hear from God if you’re doing all the talking!.
D) Also Not allowing our opinions to take precedence over the word
I think, I feel, instead of : The Bible says
E) But in the words that Eli taught young Samuel, we all must learn to say, “Speak, Lord for Your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:9).
3. The receptive heart controls the emotions: “Be slow to anger.”
A) How do you respond when the Bible steps on your toes?
B) Maybe you’re reading it, or hearing it preached. It says something that you don’t like, because it confronts the way you think or live.
C) Do you get angry and defensive, thinking, “What right does that preacher have to say that?
1) How dare he tell me how to live!”
“An angry spirit is never a listening, teachable spirit”
James (1:20) gives the reason that we should be slow to anger, “for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
D) If you want to grow in righteousness, stop fighting God’s word and submit to it.
V.21 The receptive heart clears the crud of sin: “Putting aside all filthiness.”
A) Picture what James says in v.21 as spiritual weed and feed
B) Laying aside is the weeding part – dealing with those things in our lives that distance us from God
C) We need to recognize our sin – Confess it and turn away from it That is the weeding part
But then he says and receive with meekness the …..
A) That is the feeding part –
B) Meekness = Humility – God I need to hear from you.
C) What if you do one without the other?
1) Some pp want to weed w/out feeding – Trying to deal with the sin in their lives but not feeding on the word
D) That is a formula for failure – the weeds are just going to come back if something else is not planted
Feeding is essential for transformation –
Romans 12:2 Mind renewed -= transformation
A) Not feeding – no transformation
B) Weeds are popping up as fast as we can pull them – We get frustrated and tired exhausted and there is no fruit
C) But when we are trying to feed without weeding – 1) Like the parable of the seed among the thorns – Seed gets Choked out
D) Both are necessary for proper growth
E )Right soil in your heart: Swift to hear……
Receive with meekness the implanted word
Now the next thing that James tells us is that Authentic Christianity isn’t just about Heart preparation and Attitude
But it is also about LIFE APPLICATION:
Read Verses 22-25
1988 add campaign for Nike – challenged consumers to take Charge of their Physical fitness
James is emploring – Take Charge of your Spiritual fitness
James says: It is not enough to hear the Word; we must do it
A) To merely study the word just to fill your head with knowledge, without applying the word, short-circuits God’s purpose in giving it.
B) Many people have the mistaken idea that hearing a good sermon or Bible study is what makes them grow and get God's blessing.
1) Idea that learning = Growing.
“Too many Christians mark their Bibles, but their Bibles never mark them!”
C) James says: The word is meant to be lived out –
1) He gives an interesting illustration of what it looks like when that is not happening
James uses the illustration of a man who looks at his natural face in the mirror, rushes out the door, and forgets what he saw.
A) Mirror today: Help – Shave – Extreme makeover
B) James describes a guy or gal –who gets up looks in the mirror – need to shave / wash face – crustys
1) Trim nose and ear hair – make up –
C) Change my clothes get out of my PJ’s –
1) Leaves the house without doing any of that
D) Looks like a wreck – ventures out
E) The mirror showed him what needed to be taken care of – but He didn’t do it
1) Goes out, oblivious to what he looks like
The word of God is like a mirror that reveals to us the very thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Heb. 4:12).
A) Shows what we look like in comparison to Jesus
B) Exposes our selfishness / pride/. It confronts our contempt for others and our lack of compassion.
C) Reveals greed / bitterness / lust –
1) Not a pretty Picture:
Indian Chief’s wife – mirror – broke it, made me look so ugly
But, if we just take a quick glance at the word once in a rare while and rush out the door, without doing anything to address the problems that it reveals, it won’t do us any good.
Now when James says that the man forgets what he looks like -
A) I think that James is not describing a man with a poor memory, but rather a man with poor priorities.
B) He doesn’t remember what he saw in the mirror because he doesn’t regard it as very important.
C) The things of God – the heart of God are not His first priority.
1) Work – money to make / Hobbies – things to play
People – to see
D) He forgets what God’s word says about his sins because, really, it just isn’t all that important compared to these other priorities in his life.
Most parents have experienced this with their children. You ask them to clean their room.
A) You come back in an hour, and they’re playing, but their room hasn’t been touched.
B) You say, “I told you to clean your room,” and they reply, “I forgot!”- Right!
1) Didn’t really forget – just wasn’t a priority – until you threaten with a punishment
It starts with Priority – He looks
A) Rather than a quick glance, the doer of the word looks intently at it.
B) The Greek word means to stoop and look carefully at some-thing.
1) It was used of John and Mary stooping to look carefully into the empty tomb after the resurrection (John 20:5, 11).
C) This was not a casual, quick look! They peered in there carefully, trying to see if he body of Jesus was inside.
Learn to pray it in – Response times - here – Sunday nights
D) Go away with one thing – Action item -
Oswald Chambers "One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it."
The perfect law of liberty: This is a wonderful way to describe the word of God. In the New Covenant, God reveals to us a law, but it is a law of liberty, written on our transformed hearts by the Spirit of God.
God’s word doesn’t constrict – it liberates
James concludes Ch.1 With 2 summary statements
V.19 Swift to hear /slow to speak / slow to wrath
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless.
Right heart = good fruit –
Bridle = self control
Your walk with God is useless if it does not translate into the way you live and the way you treat others. Many are deceived in their own heart regarding the reality of their walk with God.
A real walk with God shows itself in simple, practical ways. It helps the needy, and keeps itself unstained by the world’s corruption.
James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
James gives two practical examples of a person who applies God’s word.
He is not being comprehensive, but is zeroing in on
two areas of pastoral concern.
Two problem areas during the time of the early Church – Widows and orphans!
Important today as well – better systems – Life insurance – adoption – orphanages
Idea is – Serving – giving – helping the needy