Summary: Let’s not just learn what God says. Let’s Just Do it! You haven't really learned the Word until you live the Word. We often are hearers of the Word and not doers. We learn and teach God’s Word more than obeying it ourselves.
Opening illustration: A church had a new pastor who preached the same sermon every Sunday. When people started complaining, he told the congregation, “I’ll preach a new sermon when you act on this one.”
That pastor’s statement reminds me of the words of the apostle James: “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only” (1:22). As followers of Christ, we are to live what we learn.
Michael Baughen, a speaker at a Bible conference in England, stated, “James wants you to have a holy faith - worked out in the world.” Baughen pointed out that some people, though involved in the church and regular in giving, never care for anybody. “The world calls that hypocrisy,” he said. Indeed, our empty lip service never fools the world. James said we fool only ourselves. Our faith is “pure and undefiled” when it overflows in service to others (v.27).
Baughen lamented, “Too many times at a funeral I hear, ‘He never did any harm,’ and I want to scream, ‘Did he ever do any good?’”
Some Christians are little more than “harmless” citizens in the world, for they are hearers only. Others are compelling witnesses, for they are both hearers and doers. (Our Daily Bread, Joanie Yoder)
Let us turn to James 1 in God’s Word and catch with what Nike lifted from James for their ad “Just Do It!” When they can do it so faithfully while being so secular, what is holding us down to ‘JUST DO IT!’
Introduction: James wanted all believers to be alert to comprehend the Word of God. This is very important since "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). The Word of God gives us faith to believe, and when we believe, God creates new life within us.
Many people hear the Word of God, but to some of them it is only words; they do not accept it as the Word of God. What a paradox it is that all creation obeys His Word except we who are made in the image of God and have the ability to choose. We think in our head ‘look how smart I am’ but in fact we are just deceiving ourselves when we don’t act upon God’s Word.
Many people have an extensive knowledge of the Word of God, but they do not really believe what it says, so they do not respond to it as His Word.
If you as an individual, married, family or church desires to be blessed, the only answer is to be obedient to God’s commands in His Word. Do not sit on them or even try to turn, twist and dwell upon them, but just do it (act upon the instructions of the Word). You will surely be blessed!
(A) What are the obstacles to ‘JUST DO IT?’
1. Hearing without DOING (vs. 22-23a) – Don’t take action by doing what has been told to them
James speaks about a man who goes to the church meeting, listens to the reading and exposition of God’s Word and thinks that listening to the Word has made him a Christian. He deceives himself by thinking that his attendance at public worship, and his hearing of what is read and said there, is enough. He has shut his eyes to the fact that what is read and heard in church must then be lived and done in life. There are those who assume that listening and reading God’s word beside regular attendance makes us a good Christian. Those who act and behave like this are less than half the way there but have missed the point that listening here demands action on our part. Listening without action is useless!
It is important to listen to what God’s Word says, but it is more important to obey it, to do what it says. We can measure the effectiveness of our Bible study time by the effect it has on our behavior and attitudes. Do you put into action what you have studied? Hearers-only end up deceiving themselves.
Illustration: A man in New York City who died at the age of 63 without ever having had a job. He spent his entire adult life in college. During those years he acquired so many academic degrees that they “looked like the alphabet” behind his name. Why did this man spend his entire life in college? When he was a child, a wealthy relative died who had named him as a beneficiary in his will. It stated that he was to be given enough money to support him every year as long as he stayed in school. And it was to be discontinued when he had completed his education. The man met the terms of the will, but by remaining in school indefinitely he turned a technicality into a steady income for life - something his benefactor never intended. Unfortunately, he spent thousands of hours listening to professors and reading books but never “doing.” He acquired more and more knowledge but didn’t put it into practice. This reminds me of what James said: “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). If we read the Bible or listen as it is taught but fail to put to work what we have learned, we are as bad as that man with his string of degrees. His education was of no practical benefit to anyone. Hearing must be matched by doing. (Our Daily Bread, Richard De Haan)