Summary: Our faith has got to be faith in action, or it’s not faith at all!


Text: James 1:19-27


1. Read James 1:19-17

2. The 19th-century Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard identified two kinds of religion -- Religion A and Religion B. The first is "faith" in name only (2 Tim. 3:5). It’s the practice of attending church without genuine faith in the living Lord.

Religion B, on the other hand, is a life-transforming, destiny-changing experience. It’s a definite commitment to the crucified and risen Savior, which establishes an ongoing personal relationship between a forgiven sinner and a gracious God.

3. Do you have Religion A or Religion B?

a. Religion A means nothing.

b. Religion B changes not only our lives, but the lives of those around us.

Proposition: Our faith has got to be faith in action, or it’s not faith at all.

Transition: What are some practical ways we can live out our faith?

I. Think First, Speak Second (19-21)

A. Be Swift to Hear

1. Notice first of all that the instructions that James is giving in this sections is given to the church - "Wherefore, my beloved brethren..."

2. In this first section James gives us four imperatives for living out our faith. The first one is "be swift to hear."

a. God has given us one mouth and two ears.

b. This should indicate to us that we should spend twice as much time listening as we do talking.

3. When we talk too much and listen too little, we communicate to others that we think our ideas are much more important than theirs.—Life Application Bible Notes

4. Not only should we be listening to what others tell us, but we should also listen to what God is telling us.

5. A continual talker cannot hear what anyone else says and by the same token will not hear when God speaks to him. Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM

6. Prov. 8:32 "Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it."

B. Be Slow to Speak

1. The next instruction that James gives goes right along with the first one - "be slow to speak."

2. Illustration: I think one of the greatest inventions known to man is cruise control. However, on a curvy highway like Rt. 12, cruise control is a bad thing.

3. We all love to speak, but sometimes we just need to keep our thoughts to ourselves.

4. Some people refer to the KISS method as "keep it simple stupid," but sometimes it needs to be "keep it shut stupid."

C. Be Slow to Wrath

1. The next thing he tells us is to "be slow to wrath."

2. Anger will close the mind to God’s truth.

3. And a fiercely argumentative attitude is not conducive to the humble reception of truth. Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM

4. Prov. 14:29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

5. In the next verse James tells us why we should get in control of our anger - "worketh not the righteousness of God."

a. You are never going to be the king of person that God desires from you as long as your temper is out of control.

b. You are going to have difficulty winning souls to Christ if you have a hot temper.

D. Lay Apart All Filthiness

1. Then James ties it all together by telling us "lay apart all filthiness."

a. The Greek word translated "lay apart" (apothemenoi) was primarily used of taking off garments.

b. Hebrews 12:1 speaks of throwing off any excessive weight, such as unnecessary clothing, to make ready for the race of faith.

2. We need to get rid of those things in our life that are contrary to the nature of God because they will keep us from receiving the blessings that God has for us.

3. Rom. 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

4. Those things will keep us from the transformation that God desires for us.

Transition: Another way we can practically live out our faith is...

II. Don’t Just Read It, Do It (22-25)

A. Doers of the Word

1. James tells us to not just be hearers but doers of the word.

2. It is not enough merely to "listen to the word" or, by the same token, merely to read it.

3. Those who congratulate themselves on being hearers of the truth are deceiving themselves. If they assume that this is all that is needed, they are sadly mistaken. Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM

4. “Deceiving” is from a verb used in the New Testament only here and in Colossians 2:4.

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