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Message Text

James 1:19-26 ESV

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

Message Notes

Listen

1. Listening is how we receive.

Deut 6:1-5 6 “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules —that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

2. Incessant talking blocks your ability to hear. You cannot listen and talk at the same time. “Slow to speak.” Make sure you hear enough to say something productive.

Take the filters off your ears. Wisdom sounds like something you don’t know yet. If you are too busy talking about what you do know, you will never find out what you don’t.

Some of us have gotten into bad places because we weren’t quiet enough to find out if what someone else was saying was true or not.

3. Anger blocks your ability to hear. The type of anger James is talking about here is not righteous indignation like Jesus had at the temple. It is a pointless, unproductive anger that leads to less faith.

If we connect this section of James’ letter to the part we talked about last week, it begins to click.

James 1:2-3 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Testing only produces when anger doesn’t block production.

Think about what you are thinking about.

V. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

This is not a weak, cowardly submission. Meekness is strong humility here. Humbly submit to the voice of God through his word by being disciplined enough to control yourself.

Do

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

1. Doing is the result of being changed internally. Be someone that “looks into…” (v. 25)

Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

2. Hearing and not doing indicates that there was no heart change. James is teaching us that lasting behavior change always comes from a change of heart. It is possible to hear and not change, and that is never productive. We must look into the word of God enough for it to change us. We must listen with understanding.

Prov 4:7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.

3. James will expound on this later in chapter 2 when he talks about faith without works.

Prove

24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

1. Blessing, Control, Care

Obedience = blessing. When we intently look into the word of God, it changes us. We then put it into practice and obey, thus resulting in living a blessed life.

This does not come because we are smart or advantaged or deserving or favored, but because God was so gracious to send Jesus to the cross on our behalf and raise him from the dead and then impart that power to us through the Holy Spirit, so as a result of that power we could live by faith in obedience. So before you puff your chest out, our obedience is a small part of why we are blessed. God changes us and then blesses us.

2. Obedience looks like discipline.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

Control yourself and be disciplined. You can gauge how much change has taken root by how much control is exhibited. “...and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

3. Obedience includes caring for others. There is no following Christ without putting the needs of others front and center.

James will touch on this in chapter 2. Our faith is always lived out in the concern for others. My faith causes me to make disciples. Making disciples causes me to care for their needs.