3- Obeying the word of Truth
In part 1 of this message we discussed how to remove obstacles that prevent us from hearing and recieving the word of Truth. We said that we must be quick to hear the word, by being slow to speak or slow to preach the word, and also being slow to anger because of the word. We said we must also get rid of all immorality, abundance of evil and we must humble ourself before God. We said having done all this, we wll be able not only to hear the word but receive the word. For more on this, read Part 1.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Once we have heard and recieved the word properly then, we must not only hear and recieve it, but we just be doers of the word. In other words, we must obey or be obedient to the word. James says if we hear and receive the word only and not obey it, then we are deceiving ourselves. There are a lot of verses in the bible that indicate to us that we must obey the word. Jesus himself told us in Mat 7:21, Mar 7:6, Luke 6:46, Luke 8:31, John 15, to name just a few. Paul also mentioned this in Rom 2:13, Eph 2:10; 4:1 and others, just to mention a few and in 1 John 3:1-10, John also gives us a clear indication that we need to be obedient. So, obeying the word of God is very important. If we don’t obey or if we don’t become doers or if we don’t do what the word of Truth is saying, we are deceiving ourself if we think we are True Christians.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
Here James gives an example of what a hearer and not a doer of the word is like, and he uses a man that looks at himself through a mirror, walks away and then forget what he saw. When we look into a mirror, the mirror shows us what needs to be fixed. We then fix it and then go away but, when we look into the mirror and we see what is wrong, and we do nothing about it, we are like a man who hears the word of God, receives the word of God, the word shows him what he needs to change in his life but, instead of changing it, he walks away and forgets about what the word showed him. This is someone who hears the word of God, recieves it and then completely ignores it and continues in his unrighteous sinful ways. Example?
25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Now, a man who looks into the mirror, see what is wrong and fixes it, he is like a man who looks into God’s mirror, which is the perfect law, the law of liberty, sees what is wrong in his life, fixes it and then lives a righteous life. This man is not only a hearer and a receiver of the word but, he is also a doer of the word. He obeys the word. This is what the Law of God is suppose to do in our lives. We are supposed to use the Law of God as a mirror in our lives. The Law is supposed to show us what we need to amend in our lives so that we may live a righteous and sinless life.
If we only hear and recieve the word and not obey it, we decieve ourselves if we think we are saved and are Christians.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Our tongues or what we say, reflects the state or condition of our hearts. Psa 34:13 sys we must keep our toungue from evil and our lips from speaking deceit. So, the tongue here represents an unrepented heart which is full of evil. So, James says here that if we say that we are religious or God fearing worshippers and we cannot control our Tounges or what we say, then we are deceiving ourselves and our religion is worthless. What James is saying here is that, if we say we are Christians but are still living a life full of immorality, abundance of evil and arrogance, we are deceiving ourselves if we think we are Christians.
But, if our lives shows that we have a repented heart and we show love in what we do, for example visiting and taking care of the widows and orphans and keeping ourselves from being absorbed by the evilness of this world, then our religion is pure, then we are true Christians. As Jesus said in Mat 15:19, out of the heart, comes evil thoughts. So, our actions, reflects the condition of our heart. James is only using the toungue and visiting widows and orphans just as examples. Ther are other things obviously that will also indicate the condition of our hearts either way.
So you and I need to look back at our lives and evaluate it. If our lives reflect that we have not really heard or received the word, then we need to remove all the obstacles that prevent us from hearing and recieving the word of God. Those are that we must be quick to hear the word, by being slow to speak or slow to preach the word, and also being slow to anger because of the word. We must also get rid of all immorality, abundance of evil and we must humble ourself before God.
If when evaluating, we see that we have indeed heard and recieved the word of God but are not obeying it, this is the right time to ask God to help us to not only hear and recieve the word but also to obey and live it. If we don’t do this, Mat 7:21-27, might be applicable to us.
Matthew 7:21-27 (NIV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”