Summary: also Mark 7:14-23 Acceptance from God is not preformance based
The best mirrors of the day were Corinthian Bronze. Even when highly polished didn’t give a true clear reflection. Only the very wealthy could afford these mirrors. Most people would see their own reflection every once in a while, but even then they never saw a true reflection of who they were. Imagine – never knowing what you truly look like, something we today, take for granted.
In our Scripture this morning, James parallels looking into a mirror with looking into the Word of God. He says that those who receive the Word of God, but do not act on it are like a person who looks in a mirror and immediately forgets who they are upon walking away. It is absurd.
Remember when the annual yearbooks were published. Everyone turned to their own picture first didn’t they? You gotta see if you looked ok.
I went to a large High school and on picture day there were several photography stations. Me and my friends went through line several times.I had five different pictures, five different names.had several false identities.
Today we are starting a new series entitled: Why Do Good People Do Bad Things.
We have all known good people, honest people, people of integrity who do things we can’t believe. It doesn’t seem possible. It is so out of character. Many of those people are - us. The simple fact is that people may perceive us as better people than we really are. Do we perceive who we are? Facing the reality of who we are is difficult and like me with the many of yearbook identities, we all have, over the years created an image of who we are and we all have blind spots of our failings and weaknesses. In some ways that is how it is – If God revealed to us the plain reality of who we are - We probably would melt. It is just too much all at once.On the other hand we can deceive ourselves thinking we are the people we are not.
Story. Department store HR worker.
This woman dearly loved the Lord. She had a heart for telling others about Christ and did at every opportunity. But she was a very harsh person – never giving anyone a break. Many folks in the store would say, “if that’s what a Christian is – I want nothing to do with it”. She had no concept, no idea, and would be completely surprised at the statement.
She was maintaining a false self. Believing she was one way, when in fact she was the opposite. All her efforts, were for nothing. We too can fall into this. How? Denial. Psalms 36:2 For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. In other words: I see myself as a good person and so dismiss my sin.
A serial killer said to a reporter: Don’t judge me by al the people I’ve killed. Judge me by all the people I’ve helped, Loved and given joy to.
I worked with a pastor who would make sexually suggestive comments during conversations. He didn’t use sexual terms, but you knew what he was getting at. You could see people thinking, “did he say what I thought he said”, “He must not mean it – he’s a pastor after all”
Others may deny our sin, because of, position, reputation, good looks. But it is still there. By adhering to a code – we are deemed good people, a good person. If I adhere to certain requirements, then I am a good person. This brings us to the question: Are people basically good
or are people basically bad? Common knowledge says the first. Scripture teaches the second. But hear this reality, understand this:
God is not looking for good people, He is looking for devoted people.
Good people don’t go to heaven, people who know God do. Our society tells us the lie: Christianity = good people. And we have bought into it.
We struggle to be good, but that is not what we are called to.
Nazi Home Movies.
I had this clas in colege - history of film. We saw some great films. One was of Gering’s birthday – what fun they had. Playing with the children. Close family laughing, living it up. The top Nazi’s were good fathers - Giving, gentle, kind – with their children...and then ordered the deaths of thousands. Though they committed horrible crimes, they could still say – I’m a good person, and they would be right, in some part of their lives.
We want to say the environment corrupts us, and we can create a world of positive, kind, Godly things, and then we will follow suit.
Jesus says in verse 20 “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’