A man walking into church late asked one of the ushers, “Is the sermon done yet?” The usher replied, “The sermon has been preached, but it has yet to be done.” What an answer! The word of God is not just meant to be preached. It’s meant to be practiced. It’s not just meant to be delivered, it’s meant to be done! The book of James gives us a step-by-step procedure?
1. Preparation to Receive God’s Word
Read James 1:19-20. The phrase ‘Take note of this’ (NIV) is a call for the reader’s/listener’s preparation. There are three things I must be careful to do whenever I hear or read God’s word.
A. Quick to listen: Listening is a discipline I must cultivate. I need to maintain an attitude of listening and have a teachable spirit. Do you know there are certain sermons that people don’t want to hear: Tithing, moral issues, etc.
B. Slow to speak: Criticizing the preacher, seeking to spot theological and doctrinal errors, problems with the presentation style, comparing preachers, and interrupting the preacher are a few things that prevent us from listening.
C. slow to become angry: refers to the attitude of anger other than isolated instances of it. You can’t listen to a preacher whom you dislike. “an angry spirit is never a listening, teachable spirit” says Kent Hughes.
2. Proper Reception of God’s Word
Read James 1:21. Some people wonder why their local church is remaining in an un-revived condition. A church that is non-receptive blocks the move of the Spirit of God. James identifies all moral filth and evil as the causes of non-receptive attitude.
A. Get rid of all moral filth (offensive attitudes and behaviors) and evil (translated ‘malice’ in 1 Peter 2:1)
B. The Bible says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
C. I have two choices. Arrogantly resist the transforming power of the word or humbly accept it and let it change me.
3. Acting in accord with God’s Word
Read James 1:22-25. The man who doesn’t practice what he heard is like a man who looks (Greek: katanoeo – to observe fully) at the mirror and forgets what his appearance is like after walking away.
A. I am more accountable than people that did not hear because I heard and know what God is expecting me to do.
B. The word of God has the power to seek me and transform my entire being, (Hebrews 4:12)
C. To be a doer of this word means to consciously permit its transforming force to change my thoughts, attitudes, deeds, speech, my reactions to situations and individuals.
Scripture clearly outlines the difference between doers and non-doers of the word. Check to see if you need to adjust.
A. Doers are people of wisdom. They find strength in God’s word in stormy times. In the Bible, non-doers are called fools and when hardships come they will fall immediately, (Matthew 7:24-27).
B. Doers will inherit eternal life. Others will be condemned, (Matthew 13:24-30)
E. Doers are people of integrity. Nondoers are hypocrites, (Matthew 23:13)
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