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Author:Dr. Wes Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Tasmania
 Tasmania, Australia
 
Preached At:Mission Smithers -- Fort Babine
 Fort Babine, British Columbia
 www.babine.org
 
Title:Be a whole person by hearing the Bible and doing it
Type:Mission Sermon
Text:James 1:22-25 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Life in Christ
 
Added:2004-01-20
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation,

It is not easy to be a Christian. If we follow what the Bible says, then a Christian is not a person who just goes to church and sits and listens. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ saves our whole life. When God works in us and we believe in the Lord Jesus, then God says that our whole life belongs to Him. That means that we have to be people who do not break up into parts. God wants people who are all together - that means that He wants His people who give themselves totally to Him. God wants our hearts - He also wants the things we do. He wants the things we think. He wants everything we say. Jesus Christ saves our whole life so that we will be totally giving everything to God. That's why James in this letter tells Christians to be whole or perfect. Because of what Jesus Christ has done, we have to be perfect, all together. And one of the ways we do that is by hearing what the Bible says, and then also doing what the Bible says.

I preach to you God's Word:

Be a whole person by hearing the Bible and doing it.

We will look at:

1. The reason for this command.

2. The hard thing about this command.

3. The good things that come from listening to this command.

1. The reason for this command.

I'm sure you know that there are many people who think that the good things they do will get them into heaven. We heard in last week's sermon that those people are wrong. No matter how many good things we do, we will still be sinners. If we are going to be saved from our sins, we need God to work in us. James talks about God doing that. Look at verse 18, "God chose to give us birth through the Word of truth." James is talking about becoming a Christian. When we become a Christian, that is because God chose to make us a Christian. He decided to work in our hearts. He decided to use the Bible and the Holy Spirit to make us believe in Christ.

We see the same thing in verse 21. James tells us there to accept the word planted in us. That is what can save us because it is the good news of our Lord Jesus. Let me ask you: who planted that Word? It was God, of course. God planted the Word in us. He gave us the Bible. He helped us with the Holy Spirit to see that the Bible is true. He made our blind eyes see the Lord Jesus and believe in Him.

This is part of the reason why James tells us in verse 22 that we shouldn't just listen to the Bible. We also have to do what it says. That means we do have to read the Bible. That means we do have to listen to the preaching from the Bible. But that is not enough. Because of all that God has done for us, we also have to do what it says. If we do not, we are tricking ourselves. We show that we really don't believe.

We need this command because we are sinners. If we are by ourselves, then the Bible goes in one ear and out the other. We read it at home and then we don't do it. We hear it at church or at home, but we do not do it. Even when we are Christians, sometimes it goes this way. In church sometimes we are thinking about other things. We might look like we are listening, but we are not. The words are coming into our ears, but they don't go into our hearts. We show that when we don't do what the Bible says.

That's why we can give God thanks that Jesus Christ was a perfect Saviour. He saved our whole life by both hearing and doing what the Bible says. He never sinned. By doing that, He paid for our sins. He took them all away. When we see how weak we are, we need to turn to Him and trust Him. We need to believe that He makes us perfect and whole, even when we are not. But that should also make us want to try harder. When we think about what the Lord Jesus has done, we should really want to hear the Bible and also do it. But this is hard for us. Let's look at why it's hard.

2. The hard thing about this command.

The last time I preached on James, we found out that we have temptations in our life. Temptations are things that come and might lead us away from God. There are also temptations when it comes to following our Bible passage for tonight. God tells us here to be a person who hears the Bible and does it. Why is it hard for us?

First, we are tempted to be hypocrites. A hypocrite is somebody who wears a mask. A hypocrite is somebody who pretends to be a Christian, but isn't really. We like to look spiritual and religious, we like to pray and talk about God. But then our heart is not really with God. We're like the man with the mirror in the Bible text for tonight. We take a look at the Bible and then we go away and forget about what it says. We don't do what the Bible says. Just to give some examples: The Bible tells us not to get drunk. We go away and we drink too much. The Bible tells us to put away our pride. We forget and we think that we're better than others. The Bible tells us not to lie. We go away, we forget, and we lie and twist the truth. But we still pretend to be a Christian. People will say that we are hypocrites. Being a hypocrite is very dangerous! God will judge hypocrites very harshly. Listen to what the Lord Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23,

Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!"

Those are hard words from the Lord Jesus. But we need to listen to them. We need to do them! We need to hear what the Bible says and we need to do it!

Another temptation is that we always want to make people happy. We make people more important than God. We want to please people, so when they ask us, we come to church and listen to the Bible. But we know that doing what the Bible says will make other people mad at us. So, then we don't do it. This shows that people are like a false god to us. We have made people higher than God. We have made people into idols. The first commandment tells us that God doesn't want us to have idols. We have to worship God only. We cannot make people more important than God. If God tells us to do something in the Bible, then we have to do it. We have to do it even if it makes people mad at us.

These are strong temptations. All of us (including myself) are weak. How can there be any hope for us? There is hope, as long as we look to the One who is strong. We have to look to God. We have to find our strength with Him. James 1:5 tells us that we should ask God to give us wisdom so that we can face these temptations. We have to pray to God and ask Him to help us. Ask God so that we will not only hear the Bible, but also do it.

When you do the wrong thing, then you have to repent. That means you have to tell God your sins. You have to think differently about your sins. You have to hate them. Then you have to lay them at the cross so that the Lord Jesus will take them away. Tell God that you want Him to forgive you because of what Christ has done! And beg Him to work with the Holy Spirit to make you stronger for the next time you are tempted. As long as you live, you will be a sinner. But by God's Holy Spirit, you can begin to hear the Bible and do it. It is not hopeless. And when we begin on the right way, we have God's promise that He will give us good things. That's our last point tonight:

3. The good things that come from listening to this command.

Whenever we don't listen to God, we know that our lives are going to be hard. It says in Proverbs 13:15, ".the way of the unfaithful is hard." On the other hand, we know that things go better when we listen to God. The same thing is true with the command of our text to listen to the Bible and do what it says. Blessings, good things, will come when we listen to what God says here.

Verse 25 tells us that we should be like the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom. When we do that, we will be blessed. The Bible is a perfect book. That means that God gave it so that people would hear it and do what it says. You cannot pick and choose with the Bible. You can't say that I'll believe in Jesus Christ, but I'm not going to stop lying. We have to follow the whole Bible, even the hard things. And when we do that, then there is freedom for us. Just think of all the problems we bring for ourselves when we don't tell the truth or we stretch it, when we exaggerate. But when we believe in the Lord Jesus and then use our mouths to speak the truth, then we have freedom. Listen to what the Saviour says in John 8:31-32,

To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

There is freedom when we know the truth. There is freedom when we follow God's Word. We are free when we hear the Word and do it. We are free from the trouble that our sins give us. This is the one good thing that comes to us when we listen to God's command.

The other good thing comes from what we read from Luke 6. The Lord Jesus tells a story there about two men. The one listened and did what Christ said. He was like a man who built his house on the rock. The storms came and could do nothing to his house. The other man only listened to what the Lord said. He didn't do it. He was like a man who built his house on the sand. The storms came and destroyed his house. So, we have to be like the first man and build on the rock. When we do, we have the good thing that when temptations and other storms come, God will keep us strong. God will keep us close to Himself.

That's why our text ends by telling us the man will be blessed who does what the Bible says. Being blessed means that God will do good for us. Because of what Jesus Christ has done, God will have mercy on us and help us to grow closer to Him. Isn't that what you want? Jesus Christ is a total Saviour. Now, God wants your whole life for Him. He wants you to be a whole person. He doesn't want just a part of you, He wants your whole life. He wants you to hear the Bible and to do what it says. Let's all say in our hearts that we really want to do what He tells us. Let's do that so God will be lifted up through us. AMEN.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

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