Summary: Our Faith in Jesus is marked by our actions of obedience
James 1:19-27 January 19, 2003
Doers of the Word
Introduction – The evangelical world of books and conferences, even long sermons
We can spend so much time reading, learning and celebrating the word that we have no time to actually apply it!
I hope that things are changing, but the debate about the inspiration and authority of the Bible was so prevalent in the last century that while I was growing us it seemed that the task of the evangelical Christian was to demand Biblical teaching, and then to listen to it.
But, we stand here today, and statistics tell us that divorce rates are just as high amongst Born-again Christians as they are among the rest of the population. Other studies show that our moral standards are not much higher than the rest of the world.
In many ways we have become hearers of the word and not doers. We are like the man who knows all the teams, all the players, all the plays and strategies, but hasn’t picked up a football in decades.
We are in danger of becoming faith spectators rather than faith filled people.
Nicky Gumbal clip from Why and How to Read the Bible Alpha video – car manual (Nicky jokes about reading, memorising, having study groups about the Nissan manual, but never driving the car.)
Be Doers of the Word
Knowing the Word is not enough
The mirror – we can look into a mirror and recognize that we have a dirty face, or that we need a hair cut, a shave, or the makeup is running, but the mirror is not much good to us if we don’t actually do something about it. People might come up to us and say, “you know that you’ve got a blotch of mud on your cheek?” And we can say, “yeah, I saw it in the mirror.” The knowledge is pretty useless unless we act on it!
The house Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)
46"So why do you call me `Lord,’ when you won’t obey me? 47I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. 48It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49But anyone who listens and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins."
We often talk about developing a good theological base in our Christian lives – a foundation of belief. Don’t get me wrong, belief is very important – right belief leads to right action and wrong belief leads to wrong action. Jesus is talking about a foundation of actions – to hear and obey.
I can read every book on hockey basics, hockey rules, hockey strategy, hockey heroes and history. I can build a good base of Hockey knowledge, but if I don’t put that knowledge into practice, if I don’t actually strap on a pair of skates, when the big game comes, I’m going to get knocked on my keester!
The great commission
18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Christianity was never meant to be theoretical, or a spectator sport, Jesus is constantly reminding us that it is not just right belief that saves us but right action.
Saying the sinners prayer does nothing if it doesn’t change your life.
Doing vs Being
There has been an important teaching around that reminds us that God doesn’t love us for what we do, but for who we are. It also reminds us that we need to find our self-worth/salvation in who we are, not in what you do. Through the renewal, there has been a wonderful outpouring of the Father’s love for us.
The truth is we can never do enough good to please God – his standards are very high and we could never come close to reaching them under our own steam. That is why we need Jesus – by his death on the cross, he makes up more than enough for our disobedience and inability to measure up.
The way we please God is by putting our faith and trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross. We are saved by our relationship with Jesus.