Summary: As we continue to study the book of James, we come to the end of chapter one and James emphasis on making the Word of God apart of daily living.
How to Benefit from the Word of God
At least once each day, we stand before a mirror and review the way we look. If an adjustment is necessary, and it usually is, then we straighten our clothes brush or hair all because the mirror has helped us by revealing things about how we really look.
Tonight, I want to point you to something that can forever change your image of yourself and even has the potential to change the way others see you. The Word of God is a moral mirror which the Holy Spirit uses to enable us to see ourselves as we really are. The view we get is not what we think based on experience or what others thing based on their observations, it is how God sees us.
But the problem is that many people today don’t ready or understand the Bible. This is not because they don’t have a Bible. The Bible is present in almost every home in America. The problem is that it is not read and applied.
According to a recent Gallop poll “82% of Americans believe that the Bible is either literal or the “inspired” Word of God…more than half stated they read their Bible at least monthly. Yet half couldn’t name even one of the four gospels and fewer than half knew who delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
You can benefit from the Bible! The problem is our world today is not that the Bible is irrelevant, it is just not read, understood, and applied to daily living.
The Bible is a very practical book. Wouldn’t you like to benefit from the Bible? Wouldn’t you like to integrate the Bible into your daily life? Wouldn’t you like to know the practical steps that guarantee that you can benefit from the Bible? Well let’s take some time to do just that. Let’s examine the steps that lead to receiving the benefits the Bible has to offer.
I. You Must be Receptive to God’s Word (vv. 19-21)
• The first step we must take is to be receptive to God’s word.
• In verse 21 James tells us to “receive with meekness” or “humbly accept the word planted in you.”
o The word translated “receive” literally means “to welcome.”
o The idea of “receiving or accepting” the Word has a connotation in the original language of showing hospitality.
o This word is used for how we receive others into our homes.
o Here it is used for how we receive the Word.
o In other words, we must cultivate a heart and life that welcomes the word.
• And what kind of life is that?
o It is a life characterized by an attitude of humility, or openness, or receptivity.
o And such a life must be prepared to receive the word just as soil is prepared to receive the seed.
o After all, James tells us that the word is “implanted in you.”
o To adequately prepare our hearts, James gives us four guidelines we need to model.
o These behaviors will enable us to accept the Word and receive the full benefit we should.
A. A Capacity to Listen – “We must be quick to hear the Word of truth.”
• ”Swift or quick to hear” refers to an alert ear.
• But James is not talking about just physically hearing the words as they impact our ears, but listening for what God has to say.
• “Quick to hear” describes an attentive hear, listening for what God has to say.
• That is often true when it comes to what God is trying to communicate to us.
• You can physically hear His Word and yet not really hear it.
• We not only have to concentrate on the facts, we have to concentrate on the attitude of our heart in hearing the facts.
• What are the things that keep us from hearing?
B. A Controlled Tongue – “Slow to speak”
• One of the things that keeps us from hearing is that we need to be slow to speak.
o You can’t be an effective listener if you are doing all the talking.
o When God was giving our body parts, he gave us two ears and one mouth – that ought to say something to us, if we can hear it.
• Often, we don’t heart what someone is saying because we are not listening.
o We may ask them how they are doing, and we expect to heart and answer like “fine.”
o That is what we are programmed to hear.
o If they start talking about how rough the week has been, we may be talking to someone else already?
o We are not quick to heart when it comes to receiving what others are trying to tell us.