Summary: "For Dummies" books are a raging success! Why? Full of practical wisdom and simple "How To's" Wouldn't a "Christianity for Dummies," a book full of practical wisdom & simple How Tos on how to live out our faith, be great? James & this series is JUST THAT
Christianity For Dummies: The Man in the Mirror
A. Well, we're continuing in our series "Christianity for Dummies" based on the Book of James. We've talked about the fact that this series title is not meant to insult but is rather a term of endearment that we all can relate to and identify with. The reason for this is that the Book of James, like the "For Dummies" series, is a book full of practical wisdom and simple "How To"s. As such, it wonderfully instructs us on how to live out our faith, how to be a doer and not just a hearer of the Word. We are in the process of breaking this gem down, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. So far, we have examined How to Respond to Trials and How to Understand & Defeat Temptation.
B. Last time, we ended with verse 18 where, as an outstanding example of God's good gifts, James cites the fact that God has brought us forth by the word of truth. In other words, the new birth that God gives to believers when we respond to the gospel.
C. Starting in verse 19 and through the end of Chapter 1, James moves to a discussion of what does the life of one who professes to have been born again by the gospel look like?
II. The Man in the Mirror
A. Discuss Pete Council and Dr. Rodney - "Take some pride in yourself, you're a doctor for God's sake!" What Dr. Rodney had presumed was that Pete had looked in the mirror, seen the massive ear hair waving at him and then done something about it!
B. Likewise, James in what is the central message of his entire book says that anyone who professes to be a believer and yet is a hearer of the Word and not a doer of the Word is like Pete. Having looked into the mirror of God's Word and seen how a believer should live out his faith, he simply walks out the door with weavable ear hair, boogers hanging out his nose, a whole Happy Meal stuck between his teeth and his hair looking a hot mess!
C. James, like Dr. Rodney, is screaming "Man/woman/teen/kid take some pride in yourself! You're a Christian!!!" This is NOT how you are supposed to look! So the million dollar question is "As a believer, when you, when I, look at the man/woman in the mirror, what should we see?"
D. James tells us - A Teachable Spirit, A Cool T-Zone, A Implanted Heart, A Great Body, and A Beautiful Feet.
III. Scripture Reading & Prayer
A. Read James 1:19-27.
B. Pray - Father, help us this AM to take an honest look at the man/woman in the mirror and then by your grace and power help us to transform what needs to change to be more like your precious Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
IV. The Man in the Mirror: A Teachable Spirit
A. Read and explain James 1:19a and 21a.
- The first thing James points out about the man in the mirror is he/she is to have a teachable Spirit.
"Understand this, my dear brothers" (NLT) We see James pastoral concern - "Before this man was a writer, he was a pastor" James is not beating us over the head with God's Word, putting us in a Scriptural arm bar, to try to get us to change. He lovingly says "Take note" maybe, as Michael Jackson would later say, if you wanna make the world a better place and be a wise Christian you should take a look at the man in the mirror and make a change.
"Meekness" Greek word means "humble" MSG = "In simple humility" We must be willing to be humble and be humbled about our need for God's Word to teach and then transform us. If we come to the Word with this false pretense that we've got it all together, in other words, unteachable, we'll walk away with boogers hanging out our nose!
Illustration: Discuss coaching kids in baseball & basketball and being teachable and unteachable. Look at the disciples - as much flack as we often give them, they were TEACHABLE - Read Mark 9:11, 28; 10:10; 13:3-4. Perhaps the most famous of these exchanges was in Matthew 18:1-3. Read Matthew 18:1-3. "The humility of a child consists of childlike trust, vulnerability, and the inability to advance his or her own cause apart from the help, direction, and resources of a parent." (ESV Study) Does that describe you?
Application: Look at yourself in the mirror - do you come to the Word (SS, preaching, personal Bible study) with childlike faith and a humble, teachable Spirit so God can mold you into the shape of His Son? Do you come as often as you should, do you even come at all?