Summary: Become those who put the word into practice.
James 1:21-27; 2:14-26
“Extreme Makeover: What Looks Good to Jesus? Dirty Hands”
“Become those who put the word into practice.”
Sunday Morning Sermon
Intro: (Start with Sermon Text)
There was once a pastor who had a little five-year-old daughter. Now the little girl noticed that every time her dad stood behind the pulpit, and was getting ready to preach, he would bow his head for moment before he began to preach. The little girl noticed that he did this every time.
So one day after the service the little girl went to her dad and asked him, “Why do you bow your head right before you preach your sermon?”
“Well Honey” the dad answered, “I’m asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.” The little girl looked up at her father and asked, “Then how come he doesn’t do it?”
The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin. A.W. Tozer.
What looks good to Jesus? A nice new suit – freshly pressed. A silk tie to match, tied with a double Windsor – not the regular knot. What looks good to Jesus? Praying, but instead of speaking honestly (people aren’t impressed with honesty) you use many words and start chanting – it shows everybody how religious you are. What looks good to Jesus? Sunday School pins – they look real nice on felt – you can hang them from the very top of your suit coat – make sure everyone can see them. What looks good to Jesus? A big building – we can build something that is more modern, more comfortable, something to host all our programs in. What looks good to Jesus? Church attendance – You come every Sunday, warm the pew, give God your one hour every Sunday. That sounds good. Last week – same sermon title – the answer was Big Ears. Jesus is pleased when his people listen to each other and take the time to listen to him. I’ve already preached that sermon, and hopefully you were listening. This morning our focus changes from our hearing to doing. What looks good to Jesus – “Dirty Hands”.
If God wants you to have dirty hands, hands that are busy doing his work. Not Just hands but hearts as well. How do you do this? The easy answer is you just jump right in, with both feet and get busy, and there is a place for that. But long term allow me to give you three ways to have dirty hands for Jesus.
I. Take off your filth!
Let me re-read -(Advance) James 1:21 – Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
a. “Get rid of” – Lit. means – “Strip off as a garment”
I am the first person to say – allow scripture to be what it is. We don’t need to change the word of God to mean something it doesn’t or say something it doesn’t. However, I am open to growing in my understanding of God’s word – I don’t know everything – I know that’s shocking, but I don’t. James is speaking about
When we baptize someone we make them go to the back (usually that side – point to the right) and I will go to the other side. We put on these white robes and get into the water,– While the church finishes singing: I make a joke to the person in the water with me, I tell them that if I kill them by holding them under too long, they instantly go to heaven. The church usually is done singing by that point, I dunk them under, they rise up, the church sings again – and they get dressed – into the same clothes.
What would happen in the time of James is they would be presented with new clothes to put on. They would be offered new clothes to wear as a symbol of a new life.
James is clearly speaking to the baptized when he says get rid of all moral filth – it’s a reminder of their baptism. The author of Hebrews says: (Advance)
Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
c. Way to holiness
i. Get rid of the moral filth
1. You must first identify your personal sin