Summary: The first test of faith we must pass is the Bible test. In order for our faith to be real, we must receive God’s holy, inspired, infallible Word the right way and respond to it the right way.
1. How should you receive the Word of God? With meekness (19-21)
a. Receive with meekness by listening
b. Receive with meekness by humbling ourselves
c. Receive with meekness by implanting
2. How should you respond to the Word of God? With action (22-27)
a. Respond with action by continuing
b. Respond with action by walking
c. Respond with action by talking
d. Respond with action by loving
e. Respond with action by living
We just spent four weeks looking at how James introduced his letter. That’s a pretty long introduction, isn’t it? That’s because he said a lot in those verses. And for us to understand why God had him write the rest of the book, we have to understand that introduction. Otherwise, we’ll just end up with a collection of sayings. Good advice with no real connection to reality. But every part of this book is connected by a purpose. It’s connected by the purpose of self-examination. You know, there are lots of people in this world that call themselves Christians. Many call themselves Christians who shouldn’t. Those are the people whose lifestyle is contrary to the lifestyle Jesus calls us to. Unfortunately, those people never seem to doubt their Christianity. But on the other hand, there are some people who call themselves Christians and live in constant doubt. Like all Christians, they wrestle with sin in their lives. But their wrestling leads to doubt and insecurity. They question the reality of the work Christ did in their lives. It is a sad thing that many people who never question their salvation, need to. And many others who question their salvation, shouldn’t. In the first week we started looking into James, I said that this book can be looked at as an exposition of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It seems that James, who was Jesus’ half-brother and the pastor of the church in Jerusalem took Jesus’ words there in Matthew 5-7 and preached on them. He preached on them and put portions of his sermons down on paper for the Jewish Christians who had been scattered because of persecution. I can imagine that as James stood to preach the sermon that his letter was based on… I can imagine that he reminded his congregation of the words of Jesus that we have recorded in Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” That’s why James preached his sermons. That’s why God gave him the words to record in this letter. He wrote this letter to show us a series of tests we can take to show us whether our faith is real or not. Over the next several weeks, we will see a series of nine tests before us. Tests designed to try your faith to make sure it’s real. If it is—praise God. If it’s not—God is showing you for a reason. He’s showing you to give you an opportunity to make your faith real before the final test of eternity comes and it is everlasting too late. In our passage this morning, James lays out the first and foundational test of faith—the test of God’s Word. The first test of faith we must pass is the Bible test. Not a test of Bible trivia or Bible drill, but the test of what to do with God’s Word. When our faith is real, we receive God’s holy, inspired, infallible Word the right way and respond to it the right way. This morning, I want each of us here to pass the first test of faith. I want us to pass the Bible test by receiving God’s Word with meekness and responding to God’s Word with action. This test only has two questions. In order to pass it, we need to look at what those two questions are. The first question is: How should you receive the Word of God? Look with me at verses 19-21.
So, how should you receive the Word of God? Verse 21 says “with meekness”. Well, that’s the short answer—which might work if James was giving our faith a multiple choice test. But he’s not. He’s giving us an essay test. Actually, he’s giving us a lifestyle test which is even more detailed than an essay test. When I used to write college curriculum for the Air Force, I had another name for multiple choice tests. I called them multiple guess tests. That’s because you don’t always have to know what you’re doing to get a decent grade on multiple choice tests. If you’re what we used to call a tricky test taker, you can make some pretty effective guesses and pull out a good grade. Oh, but the Christian life isn’t for tricky test takers. It isn’t about guessing on what looks best in man’s eyes. It’s about salvation by the grace of God. Bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. Applied to your life in faith—saving faith. The kind of faith that works. The kind of faith that shows evidence. The kind of faith that bears fruit. The kind of faith that passes tests. Lifestyle tests like this test of receiving the Word of God with meekness. So what does it mean to receive the Word with meekness? What will your lifestyle look like if you are receiving the Word of God with meekness? Our passage shows that you will display three characteristics.