Summary: You know the slogan, 'Do the Dew'? Well, James has a new slogan for us; it's, 'Do the Word'. Let's find out why it's important to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer.
DO THE WORD
1) What are the dangers of being a listener only?
• We are deceived (Vs. 22). We are deceived if we think that following God’s demands are optional. We are deceived if we think it’s no big deal if we remain a hearer and not a doer. Talk is cheap. We can talk about doing what’s in the bible but until it actually gets done what profit is there? Vs. 22 correlates with 2:14-19 in that those who claim to have faith without deeds are those that are deceived into thinking they could be a hearer of the word only and be okay. James says that a faith without deeds is a dead faith. But I can be deceived into thinking it’s all the faith I need to be saved. Matt. 7:24-27. “Hears my words and does not put them into practice”. This “homeowner” thought that what he did was good enough. He was deceived into thinking that what he built his house on would stand the storm but he was wrong. This is the danger of thinking I can build my house on the shaky foundation of just hearing the word without putting it into practice. I will not stand the test if I’m not putting the word into practice. I am on dangerous ground if I am a listener only. I’m deceived if I think just knowing is enough.
• We are forgetful (vs. 23-24). I’ve asked people shortly after the Sunday service what the message was on and they can’t remember! Why? Could be because they weren’t really listening in the first place. Their minds were on something else while the word was being preached. The message to them sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Either way, they walk away with the word going in one ear and out the other quickly forgetting what they heard. If I don’t intently listen to the word I will have the tendency to forget it. It will not register; it will not become lodged in my heart and mind. When we just glance at the word we don’t allow it to go deep. We don’t meditate on it. We don’t allow the word to do its work in us that is necessary for our spiritual growth and development. So, when a situation happens and we need that specific verse to draw help and strength from we draw a blank. We are also forgetful regarding our condition when we are one who doesn’t look intently into the mirror. Adam Clarke’s commentary: A man wishes to see his own face, and how, in its natural state, it appears with all its blemishes and imperfections. He is affected with his own appearance; he sees deformities that might be remedied; and impurities that might be removed. On going away he soon forgets what manner of person he was, because the mirror is now removed, and his face is no longer reflected to himself; and he no longer recollects how disagreeable he appeared, and his own resolutions of improving his countenance. The doctrines of God, faithfully preached, are such a mirror; he who hears cannot help discovering his own character, and being affected with his own deformity; he sorrows, and purposes amendment; but when the preaching is over, the mirror is removed, and not being careful to examine the records of his salvation, the perfect law of liberty, or not continuing to look therein, he soon forgets what manner of man he was; or, reposing some unscriptural trust in God's mercy, he reasons himself out of the necessity of repentance and amendment of life, and thus deceives his soul.” Without the continued looking into the perfect law of God that highlights what is perfect and showcases myself, who is not perfect, I will “forget” what imperfections need to be worked on and deceive myself into thinking it’s all good. When we glance in the mirror and go away we don’t see that our hair is messed up. We don’t see that we have dirt on our face. We don’t realize that there are stains on our shirt. We go out the door thinking we look okay but we’re not. Everyone sees us and easily spots all these things. When we don’t look intently into the perfect word of God but just skim through it we forget the word and we forget what manner of person we are because our intent is not to look intently. Our intent is to glance and be just a listener; not a doer.
2) What are the benefits of being a doer of the word?
• Freedom (vs. 25a). “the perfect law that gives freedom”/”the perfect law of liberty (kjv)” John 8:31-32. The law truth; the Gospel. It is a law that gives freedom from the guilt and power of sin; and it is perfect, providing a fullness of salvation for the soul. Rom. 8:1-4. The law couldn’t save us but that doesn’t make it imperfect. The law is spiritual it is us who are not (7:12, 14). If we were to follow the law perfectly then we would be perfect. But that didn’t happen. However, our failure to keep the law does not render the law imperfect. Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Psalm 19:7-11. The Psalmist understood the freedoms in submitting to the perfect law. Through obedience we are free to experience joy, wisdom, trust. We are free to see their value, free to reap the rewards. Looking intently into the perfect commands of God gives freedom.