Then, the final hymn was sung, we left the church and we quickly forgot all the conviction and potential change we promised to make. How much spiritual good did that exposure to the Word of God do for us? Did we not leave in one sense deceived into thinking that we had done some spiritual good when we really left in worse shape than before?
II. Hearing and doing God’s Word leads to blessedness.
James now contrasts the doer with the hearer. He describes the doer of the word in four important phrases.
A. The doer looks intently into the Word.
1. The word James uses pictures a person who stoops
down to look at something. It is the image of a
serious observation intent on understanding the
2. This is the person who undertakes serious study of
the Word of God to develop deep understanding.
APP: Someone once compared two classes of Bible students. Some are like tourists. They hit the well-known places and stick to the well-worn paths. Others are like explorers. These people go beyond the safe and easy places. They venture into more difficult terrain and press on to find mountain peaks and remote meadows which others will not see because they are unwilling to do the work.
3. Note James’ description of the Word of God. It is the
perfect law that gives freedom. The Word of God is
perfect and liberating. When we hear it and do it, the
Scriptures set us free. Jesus told us the truth would
Set us free.
B. The doer continues to look intently into the Word.
1. The doer of the Word is not content with a hit-and-
miss approach to Scripture. The doer continues to
2. This speaks of the person who persists in exposing
his or her heart to the Word of God.
APP: When Dr. Don Whitney spoke to our men a few weeks ago, he spoke a great deal about meditating on Scripture. The passage here in James has a lot in common with other passages which mention the importance of meditation (Psalm 1; Josh. 1). Meditation has to do with reflecting and “chewing” on the text of Scripture to glean the most from it. I think this is what the doer does. He/She looks intently by meditating on the Scriptures.
C. The doer does not forget what he hears.
1. Unlike the person who looks into the mirror and
promptly forgets what he saw, the doer will not
2. The doer remembers what the Word reveals. I think
in keeping our metaphor consistent, James is not just
speaking about the information gained in Scripture.
He is also speaking about how that information
impacts the one who hears it.
D. The doer does what the Word says.
1. This is the final but critical step. A doer does.
2. This is the person who puts into practice what he/she learns in the Word of God.
Where did James get such an idea? Why is he so insistent on putting the Word of God into practice? I believe that James’ words here are a reflection of the teaching of Jesus.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus concluded his sermon on the mount with a story. Look at it with me. (READ) Wow! Sounds a lot like James doesn’t it. Jesus also told us that it isn’t enough just to hear his words, we have to do them. The foundation of a godly and blessed life is not just hearing God’s word. It is doing God’s Word.