Sermon Reflections from The Bible is For Life | Alex Hardt | May 28, 2023
Pastor Alex chose as the text for the message James 1:19-27. This is a practical and direct portion of scripture that links the Word of God, Faith and actual living of life. They interact with each other as we allow the truth of God’s Word to lead our faith in Jesus and provide us guidelines for day to day living. James does not pull any punches but lays it out for us clearly so we can see the connection and seek to live by God’s Word.
God’s Word is for deep diving. One can choose to live on the surface but learning to dive deeply into God’s Word leads to us being able to listen, meditate, memorize and study it with intentionality. Why be intentional? God want to affect change in our lives. He wants us to be able to cope and rise above the sin of this world. He wants us to belong to Him and know what is right and wrong by His standards. To have the Word affect us, we need to sit down and listen to God. That means spending time in the Word and with the Word and as Pastor Alex brought up we need to be in community as a person of God. As the Word impacts us, we are transformed and can better cope with those around us.
James tells us that God’s Word will change how we see ourselves and the world around us. If we listen and become a doer of the Word, we will see ourselves more clearly- as God sees us. We won’t go away and forget who we are. We will not be Sunday Christians but everyday Christians seeking to serve, live and honor God as His Word describes. That authentic life will give us freedom and cause us to remember how to act with others by God’s standards using godly priorities in our lives. We will be able to cull out the world’s pollution and influence from our lives and seek and know His truth.
Lastly, James focuses on the truth of religion- what it is and how we are to be doers of the Word? When we hear the Word of God, we are to take it in and then apply it to our lives. Just letting the sermon go in one ear and out the other, does little to add value to our lives. We need to meditate upon God’s truths we hear and read and say to ourselves, how would God have me use this? What difference will this make in the way I talk, act and relate to others? If you find your Bible study is not affecting change in your life, you can be assured that it is not the Word. It is the doer- the one who hears is not processing and using the Word. The doer is not applying the lessons and truths to their life. For example, James 1:26 ”Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” If you consider yourself a Christian and engage in gossip or telling tales, James would say that your faith is useless. If you walk does not line up with the truth of God’s Word you are deceiving yourself and lying about your faith. That makes for a worthless witness for Jesus. James 1:27 “ Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Here James is telling us bluntly that as a believer you are to be a doer of good for others, seeing to the less fortunate and you are to keep yourself above the sin of the world as much as you can. You are to seek to do good and not go along to get along and indulge in the world’s practices. Both of these verses, help us see practically how James is telling us to use God’s Word and principles of living contained within them to live for Him. What kind of a witness will we have if we ignore others, fail to show compassion, seek our own gain and talk openly about others in negative terms?
Pastor Alex summed this up as God’s Words lead us to action and connects what we know and learn from His Word into our lives. Faith grows as we apply God’s lessons and truths each and every day. Not easy stuff or for the fainthearted for sure. However, we know God’s Word equips us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We can claim this truth in our lives and rely upon God and His Word through the power of the Holy Spirit to ready us for the world and its challenges. Praise God!
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