Summary: Our belief in Jesus and His calling on our lives dictates how we act therefore we should stop compromising with worldly values and behaviour and give ourselves wholly to the Lord. To do this we should Accept the Word Apply the Word Activate the Word
You Can Listen to the Full Sermon Here:-
Speak No Evil. Do No Evil.
A sermon on James 1:19-27.
Before we get into our text let me quickly remind you about the overall purpose of James.
No matter where we find ourselves in society there should never be a difference between our beliefs and our actions.
Our circumstances do not dictate how we act.
The people who we are with do not dictate how we act.
The challenges of life do not dictate how we act.
The pressure to conform does not dictate how we act.
Our belief in Jesus and His calling on our lives dictates how we act therefore we should stop compromising with worldly values and behaviour and give ourselves wholly to the Lord.
James wants us to be practitioners – and there is a very good reason why.
One of the woman who lives in our street has quite a loud voice. A few weeks ago her children deliberately locked her out of the house. It was kind of funny watching and listening to her go around to each door and window yelling at the kids and swearing like anything. I had to go out so I don’t know how it ended.
Then a week ago I heard her two oldest children who I guess are 11 and 9 yelling at her and swearing like anything. I kid you not the next thing she said, at the top of her voice was, “I’ve told you ‘little s … weet-hearts’ not to ‘flaming’ swear and yell at me. Who the ‘flowers’ do you think you are? After all I have done for you”.
She’s not a practitioner is she. And her lack of willingness to be a practitioner was having a negative effect on those around her.
James knows that this is an outcome – so he gives us some very specific directions. Directions which will help us to
Speak No Evil. Do No Evil.
Let’s read about it in James 1:19-27.
How do we become practitioners who speak no evil and do no evil? James challenges us with three commands.
The first command flows out of verses 19-21 … but especially verse 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.
The first command is clear. James is calling us to
(command 1) Accept the Word.
Now remember that James is directing his words to those who already believe. So it isn’t about looking at our neighbours and pointing out their lack of consistency. It is about looking at ourselves and realising that our lives at times can be a contradiction.
What are we like when fellow believers are looking? What are we like when they are not looking?
Is our response to our circumstances different to those who do not call themselves believers? Or is it the same?
Would we be happy for Jesus to sit with us … when we are at home … or on a holiday … or out on the town … or at our job? Or would we rather He turned a blind eye?
Sometimes … in certain circumstances … when we are not as focussed as we should be. The contradiction can happen. To such people James says:-
Accept the Word.
The word “accept” in our text can also be translated as “welcome”.
Welcome God’s Word.
Invite God’s Word into your life.
Let God’s Word make a contribution.
That is the point James wants to get across.
And there are
Three behaviours you can use to make this welcoming process a lot easier.
One of those behaviours is found in verse 19 where James tells us to
Be quick to listen, slow to speak.
What is the most common response you get when you ask someone how they are going?
Most common answer … “I’m fine”.
Next most common answer … “I’m busy”.
And let’s be honest. Every time you ask the “How are you” question are we really expecting a deep and meaningful answer? We expect people to say “I’m fine” or “I’m busy”. But if they start talking about how rough the week has been, or how the kids have been playing up, or that they went to the doctors … well we don’t really listen to those answers as easily do we. We are too busy and we need to move on.
Life just travels along at a hectic pace. We are so used to doing everything in a rush. And the thought of stopping and taking time in our busy schedule just doesn’t always cross our minds. And the same can happen in our relationship with God. We allow our busyness to stop us from effectively applying God’s Word … because we are not even taking the time to listen. We need a new behaviour … the behaviour of slowing down.