Summary: Part 3 of this series - this message focusing on our need to be "doers" of the Word, and not just intakers.
The Foundation of Following Jesus
Part 3 – Applying God’s Word
January 23, 2011
Audio of this sermon can be heard at www.aberdeenwesleyan.org.
This is the third part of a four-part series on the foundation of following Jesus, which is the Bible – the Word of God.
Two weeks ago we started by talking about different ways to get God’s Word into our lives – listening, reading, studying, and memorizing it, and how getting into God’s Word helps us to:
- Learn about Jesus accurately.
- Live for Jesus completely.
- Serve Jesus effectively.
Then last week we talked about different ways to get below the surface of God’s Word by studying it in different ways.
Today we’re going to look at a passage of Scripture that will help us become people in whom the Word of God really comes alive so the Holy Spirit can transform us to be more like Jesus.
Because when we’re more like Jesus, we honor Him, and we’re better able to do the work He’s given us.
And as you will see as we work through this passage, you open yourself up to blessing from God.
God: The passage we’re focusing on today is James 1:22-25 (read aloud together) –
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
Some facts brought out by this passage:
1. Surface intake of God’s Word is not good enough.
There are plenty of people around who think that because they read the Bible or get it in church that that’s enough, and God is pleased with their dedication to His Word.
But that’s not true.
Look again at verse 25 –
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this…
What’s another word for looking intently? Studying. Another word is meditating.
The idea is that you’re digging beneath the surface to see how God wants you to put His Word into your life in an active and intentional way.
You’re saying that you really want to understand this and how it relates to you living in the here and now.
But just understanding it isn’t enough. Understanding is supposed to lead somewhere.
And that’s the second fact I want to point out from this passage:
2. Our intake of God’s Word is supposed to lead to obedience.
Our “looking intently” into God’s Word is supposed to lead to the “doing it” part.
I mentioned last week and in previous messages that there are lots of people who can tell you what the Bible says on a lot of different subjects, but there’s nothing in their life to show that they are actually letting the Scriptures get into their lives through their obedience.
They can discuss the end times, prayer, God’s sovereignty, or whatever, but they still treat their wives and kids like garbage, cheat on their taxes, rob God in their tithes, talk about people behind their backs, and all sorts of stuff.
Their knowledge has puffed them up to the point where they can’t see where they’re falling short in obedience.
They feel that they are all spiritually mature because they can quote Bible verses and walk you through different doctrines of the Bible.
But the fact of the matter is that they are not mature – they are immature because they haven’t moved onto the most elementary result that their study is supposed to bring them: obedience.
Here’s the third fact we can pull out from this passage:
3. Obedience to God’s Word brings freedom.
I’ve mentioned before that for so many people, obedience to Christ is seen as putting on a pair of handcuffs from God because He just wants to make us slaves to a life of religious drudgery.
And yet nothing could be further from the truth.
Obedience actually sets us free from the lies the world has been feeding us.
Obedience sets us free from our own self-centeredness because our focus moves from ourselves to Jesus and others.
Obedience sets us free to live for Jesus without the baggage and weights carried when we buy the lie that our greatest happiness comes from putting ourselves first.
Obedience sets us free to experience everything that God has for us – the joy, the meaning and purpose to life.