Summary: The Bible is our instruction manual so we must read it and put it into practice.
Acting And Doing
Text: James 1:21-17
1. Illustration: Several years ago, when Melissa and Daniel were todlers, we bought a new bookcase for our living room. It was one of those one that come in a box and you have to take out all the parts and put it together. It comes with this handy document called instructions. Now being the red-blooded, American male that I am, I decided I could figure this out with out any stinking directions. You can probably see where this story is headed! As you can imagine, it didn’t go well. It ended with me putting it together wrong, and Tina told me I was never allowed to put stuff like that together anymore. There is a spiritual side to this story. We have been given instructions for life called the Bible. God gave them to us to tell us about His salvation and how to live in this life. Just like me and the instructions for the bookcase, we too often decided we don’t need God’s instructions. The results are also much like my ignoring the bookcase instructions, and we make a mess of our lives because we refuse to read the Bible. However, we can’t just read God’s instructions and not follow them. Once we read them we have to do what it says. Are you reading God’s instructions? Are you putting them to practice in your life?
2. Sadly, recent studies show that only about 22% of Americans believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God (Barna, The Bible In America: 6 Year Trends, barna.com).
3. However, James tells us we should be
A. Accepting The Word
B. Acting On The Word
C. Practicing The Word
4. Let's stand together as we read James 1:21-27.
Proposition: The Bible is our instruction manual so we must read it and put it into practice.
Transition: First, James tells us about...
I. Accepting The Word (21).
A. Accept The Word
1. Just as you can't put together a bookcase without reading the instructions, likewise we can't live the life God wants us to live without reading and studying His word.
2. Look at what James tells us in v. 21, "So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls."
A. Get rid of: "put away," "lay aside". The vb. is commonly used of removing clothing, but in the NT it is most often applied metaphorically to stripping off the pre-Christian lifestyle (Vlachos, Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament – James, 56).
B. According to the Greek, this is a once-for-all action.
C. Why should we do this? Progress in our spiritual lives cannot occur unless we see sin for what it is, quit justifying it, and decide to reject it.
D. James’s word picture here has us getting rid of our evil habits and actions like stripping off dirty clothes.
E. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)
22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.
23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
F. After we “get rid,” then we need to humbly accept the message of God, seeking to live by it because it has been planted in our hearts and becomes part of our being.
G. God teaches us from the depths of our souls, from the teaching of the Spirit, and by the teaching of Spirit-led people.
H. The soil in which the word is planted must be hospitable in order for it to grow.
I. To make our soil hospitable, we must give up any impurities in our lives.
J. God’s word becomes a permanent part of us, guiding us through each day.
K. The implanted word is strong enough to save our souls.
L. When we absorb the characteristics taught in the word, these are expressed in living.
M. Trials and temptations cannot defeat us if we are applying God’s truth to our lives (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary, 1075).
3. We live in a word that is hostile to God and his righteous standards. We are constantly bombarded with images and ideals that are contrary to the ways of God. The main way we combat this is our lives is by being daily in the Word of God
B. According To Your Word
1. Illustration: A story was told of a man who loved old books. He met an acquaintance who had just thrown away a Bible that had been stored in the attic of his ancestral home for generations.
"I couldn’t read it," the friend explained. "Somebody named Guten-something had printed it."