Wow! It’s been a while since I posted a new blog! Please find below my teaching notes to Pt. 2 of GCC’s “Authentic Faith” series.
The theme to Pt. 1 was The devil wants to use problems to defeat you but God wants to use problems to develop you!
Show my BIBLE.. The theme to Pt. 2 is something my Mom wrote in the Bible she gave me as a graduation gift: “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible!” It’s a quote by D. L. Moody, great evangelist of the mid-1800’s.
No excuse for not reading the Bible– it’s everywhere: in print, on your smartphone, internet, apps, laptop, etc. Most printed book in history- 1800 different languages! In this book you’ll find all the key principles of blessing, comfort, power, wisdom, strength, guidance, peace, purpose, life, and FAITH!
After James opens with how we all deal with problems, he takes us right to the BOOK and tells us there’s a SIN problem but this BOOK will lead you down the right path and you’ll be blessed for doing what it tells you too!
James 1: 25 But if you LOOK CAREFULLY into the perfect law that sets you free, and if YOU DO WHAT IT SAYS and DON’T FORGET what you heard, then GOD WILL BLESS YOU for doing it.
“Look carefully!” “Do what it says!” “Don’t forget!” That’s how you “Fool-Proof” your Faith- YOU TAKE THE BIBLE SERIOUSLY! James’ tell us HOW…
ACCEPT GOD’S WORD! Ja. 1:19-21
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
The Greek word here for “planted” means “to welcome in, receive a stranger.” James says to “be very receptive, get to really KNOW the Word of God that God, by his Spirit wants to plant in you!” This means you need the right ATTITUDE! What’s this look like??
“Be quick to LISTEN and SLOW to speak…” You get to practice this one right now! It means if you’re talking you can’t be listening! Ever notice that with one of your kids? Many of our problems are caused because we are too quick to speak! James says, LEARN TO LISTEN!!
“Be SLOW to get ANGRY…” We don’t hear much when we’re mad! We get defensive. WE don’t LIKE what we’re HEARING! Sure, we can get “angry” about some right things, but James is telling us that getting angry about what God is telling you, what’s written in his Word, is not one of them- its foolish!!
Some people can’t hear God speak to them because they’re full of resentment or bitterness! You’ve got to get rid of that because it’s a very foolish way to try and live! That never “produces the righteousness that God desires…”
EX. Me grandparents killed, bitter, resentful, angry with God….
“So get rid of all the FILTH and evil in your lives…” Considering my “ear infection” ordeal I found it interesting that the Greek work here for “FILTH” can mean “EAR WAX!!” You don’t want to know the stuff that came out of my ear!!
Bottom line: Sin blocks your hearing God!! James says to get rid of anything that isn’t right, that’s keeping you from hearing God- because it’s foolish to block what can bless your life! You need to CONFESS it, CLEAN it all out! I kept forcing it out my ear!!
“Humbly ACCEPT the word God has PLANTED in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” Are you “teachable?” Willing to be “changed?” Be HUMBLE– accept you NEED God’s WORD!! Be COMPLIANT about what God tells you!! It’s the only way to “Fool-Proof” your Faith and be blessed!
ASSESS GOD’S WORD! Ja. 1:23-25
23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
James says that God’s Word is liKe a MIRROR- To ASSESS and EVALUATE yourself! It’s an opportunity to get things right, to know yourself, be aware…
We ALL looked in the mirror today!! We assessed the damage!! Then we did something about it- right?? Outside only, but
The Bible helps me to assess what I really look like on the INSIDE!
Heb. 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
People who avoid the Bible are afraid to see themselves as they really are!
“But if you LOOK CAREFULLY into the perfect law that sets you free…” This means you do more than READ it, you RESEARCH it! You’re not just glancing a look- most of us don’t do that in the mirror.
You INVESTIGATE! What’s that mark right there, a pimple?? Do some digging in when it comes to what God is telling you!
“And IF YOU DO what it says…” The most foolish thing you can do is NOT do what the Bible tells you to do! Nike- “Just Do It!” Why don’t we just do what it says?? Again, it‘ the SIN problem- “The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible!”
“And DON’T FORGET what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” In one study after only 1 day students forgot 46% of what they’d read in a textbook- after 63 days, forgot 83%!!
GOD’S WORD IS TOO VALUABLE TO FORGET!! Take notes, journal, put a verse on the dash of your car!! MEMORIZE IT!!
ACT ON GOD’S WORD! Ja. 1:22, 26-27
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves… 26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James says, “Don’t be foolish, don’t deceive yourself, what good is a mirror if you don’t use it to check things and improve yourself, to ACT??”
James says, “Just because you’re listening to a lot of content doesn’t mean your faith is going to grow or be more authentic!” You NEED TO DO WHAT IT SAYS!
In church you can become a sermon “auditor” (take the course but not for credit)! James claims that faith isn’t authentic at all without the actions to prove it! (Pt. 4)
To get “credit” you’re going to need to LISTEN, LEARN, and LIVE IT OUT!!!
Truth is, Everyone of us in this room knows a lot more spiritual truth than we are practicing!
EX. I can be guilty of reading more about how to hunt elk on public land and writing it all down, etc, that reading and responding to what this BIBLE has to say to me!!
i’m fooling myself… and you may be fooling yourself to! For example, James follows this up with a few practical things so we don’t get all confused- he makes it real simple…
v. 26 “CONTROL your mouth!
v. 27a “CARE for others!”
v. 27b “CLEANS your mind!”
James comes back to everyone of these in the rest of the book. WHY? Because James is the most practical manual on spiritual maturity and making sure your FAITH IS AUTHENTIC!!
James says, “Don’t fool yourself! Don’t forget or worse yet, pretend you don’t know what you look like, who you are IF you claim to be a follower of Christ!”
KEY. Every day I’ve looked in the mirror to see if there’s improvement to my face. Every day we need to look carefully into the Bible and make that spiritual assessment!!
Authentic faith is taking biblical principles and putting them into practice! He says, “Here’s the BOOK- Do what it says!”
Response: “Do you need to fool-proof your faith?”
- Take a more careful look at the Bible every day!
- Listen in service and take notes, apply, etc.
- Accept what God is telling you!
- Assess it for your life!
- Act on it!!