Summary: If you say you’ve encountered Jesus and there hasn’t been some kind of major redirection in your life – something that makes you stand in contrast to the world and culture in which we live – you haven’t really met him yet.
"Extreme Makeover -- Faith Edition"
- start message wearing two different kinds of shoes.
OPEN: How many people are familiar with the show Extreme Makeover? The most popular version of this show was actually a spin-off of the original version. The version most familiar is the one which would find a family who had fallen upon hard times and provide them with a newly remolded home. (there was actually a family living in Voluntown that received one of these) The original version of this show however was a little more personal. The producers would find a person who wasn't satisfied with they way the looked and they would provide them with a personal extreme makeover. It involved a new haircut, a new hair color, help with makeup and a new wardrobe and such. But it didn't stop there. It went beyond hair and makeup and clothes to include things like plastic surgery, nose jobs and tummy tucks and adjustments to whatever other area the participant thought might need surgical improvement. When it comes to having makeovers our culture is obsessed about the wrong things. We are more worried about the size of our thighs, than the size of our lies. In a world of mixed up makeovers I though it might be interesting to spend some time thinking about what kind of makeover Jesus would give us.
Context: We been studying our way through the book of James. And what James has been saying throughout this book is that you ought to have a faith that changes your life. James was the half-brother of Jesus Christ. Once he came to an understanding of who Jesus is and His relationship to him -- everything changed. He went through a personal extreme makeover. And that's the norm for everyone by the way. Everything that Jesus interacted with went through an extreme makeover. His first miracle - the wedding at Cana -- he changed water into wine. As he interacted with people he demonstrated his amazing ability to change situations: the blind would see, the deaf would heal, the leprous would be cleansed - the demon possessed were set free -- even the dead were resurrected. When people saw the disciples after the resurrection they took note although they were just ordinary run-of-the-mill folk they were now dramatically different. But now they were radically different because they had spent time with Jesus. I had a couple of conversations with people after the memorial service for John yesterday and they remarked how they had seen this extreme change in John. I told them that what they saw was the norm not an aberration. You can really encounter Jesus and not go through an Extreme Makeover. In fact I would go as far to say that if you say you've encountered Jesus and there hasn't been some kind of major redirection in your life -- something that makes you stand in contrast to the world and culture we live in -- you haven't really met him yet.
And that's really what James has been helping us understand up to this point in this book.
I respond different to my trials James 1:1-11
I respond differently to my temptations James 1:12-18
I respond differently to the Word of God James 1:19-27
The issue here is a response to the Word. Verse 18, the Word of truth is mentioned. Verse 21, the implanted Word is mentioned. Verse 22, be doers of the Word is mentioned. It is called in verse 23 a glass or a mirror. It is called in verse 25 the perfect law of liberty into which you look. The Word of God is the theme. And when he says here "be quick to listen," he means to listen to what? To the Word of God. It's how you respond to the Word of God that is his concern. - the word of God is used by God to come into our life and make us different. If you make the Bible a part of your life --you will never be the same person again. It will cause radical changes to happen in your life.
Learn How to Listen:
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19-20)
OK, so why does he write this? Well he is addressing an attitude here that has to be in place if in fact you are going to respond to the Bible the way God is looking for you to respond. It's an attitude we don't do very well with here in the good ole USA. In our culture we are (for the most part) do just the exact opposite. We are quick to speak and very slow to listen. How do I know that -- because I'm one of you. I hate this about myself, but many times as I am listening to a person, externally what I am doing is going "uh-huh, yes, I see, uh-huh) but internally what is happening is I am formulating what I am going to say back to you to negate or counteract what you are saying to me. In my arrogance and pride I somehow think that what I think I need to say to you is far more important than what you think you have to say to me. Have you ever met a person who is totally absolutely completely unrelenting in their particular point of view. And they will not stop until you agree with them? Well to be honest I guess that's been me too many times. But I also think is one of the defining characteristics of most people in our culture. Turn on your television to any kind of a talk show and just watch what happens-- everyone thinks that unless they are talking, they are wasting their time. Listening to someone else and processing what is being said and considering their ideas and concepts I think has become a lost art in our culture. Think of how many arguments you could have avoided if you didn't talk so much. And why is it that we want the floor and we want to keep talking and talking and talking and talking? Because we think that what we have to say is more informed and more important than what the other person has to say, right? Or maybe it is something more basic -- perhaps we simply lack self-control.