Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Monday, January 31, 2005

The Practical Implanted Word, by John

THE PRACTICAL IMPLANTED WORD (Jamesbs2.ser)
James 1:18-27

1. We believe the Book of James was written around 45 to 50 AD. That makes it one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of the NT Books.
2. We know the Gospel of John was written at a rather late date. It begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
3. We know John considered Jesus the Living Word of God! But did John arrive at that conclusion later in his Christian experience, or did he and all of the disciples consider and call Jesus the Logos of God from the first?
4. I can’t answer that, but I can tell you I see that same Jesus in the verses we just read!
5. James was talking to people who knew how things grow. These weren’t people who thought milk came from a carton, or bread from a grocery store! These people had the concept of planted seed growing into something!
6. That’s the practical side of the implanted Word! If it is planted in good soil, it will grow well, but if only given a half a chance it still will grow! And produce fruit!
7. Our job is to give the Word of God a good seedbed to grow in! V. 18 is true! “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”
8. V 19, Since this is true, James says something that could be loosely ts, “Listen to this!”

I. GOD’S WORD MUST BE RECEIVED FOR YOUR GOOD.

1. James gives three responses to God’s Word.
(1) We should be quick to hear. (“tachus” from which we get “tachometer.”)
(2) We should be slow to speak. (“Bradus”)
(3) We should be slow to anger. (“Bradus”)
(4) These are all three talking about our response to God’s Word!
2. We must receive the Word implanted, or planted, in our lives!
(1) In v. 21, James says the Word implanted is able to save our souls!
(2) The tenor of this letter indicates all the way through that James is writing to Christians. He doesn’t have to explain salvation so much as to state the truth of it.
(3) Is he talking about our souls being saved from hell here? Or something else?
(4) Salvation is so much more! Romans 5 gives three tenses of salvation; past, present and future.
3. I think James is not talking as much about salvation from hell as salvation from wasted existence! ill. I may have enough seed to plant five acres of garden, but they won’t grow! They have to be planted before they grow! Now suppose I planted a whole acre of garden, filled every nook and cranny and still didn’t have enough to eat. And suppose I had four acres unplanted. Do you think it would be wiser to complain because I was hungry, or to plant those other acres?
5. So it is with God’s Word. All that power does you no good until you provide a seedbed for it, and the bigger bed you give it, the greater your reward! And the fuller your salvation! (ill. Two men in Texas and five acres. MEN, Jan 05, organic fruits and vegetables.)

II. GOD’S WORD DIVIDES PEOPLE INTO TWO CLASSES.

1. I’ve always been glad God does all the judging.
(1) I wouldn’t know how to begin: There are too many shades of gray!
(2) God doesn’t have that problem. He sees far better than we do, and any gray at all is too much! But He has a better way.
(3) James says He divides the world into doers and hearers.
2. Hearers are self-deluded. Dr. Gregory and every commentator I’ve read, says these are not hypocrites, just deluded.
(1) A hypocrite knows what he is doing. He puts on a show to fool people!
(2) James is talking about people who have themselves been fooled into thinking they are doing exactly what God wants them to do!
(3) I think these are more to be pitied than hypocrites! If they realized they were wrong, I believe they would get things straight.
(4) James told us this because all of us need to check up on ourselves. Are we Christians, or just religious?
3. Vv 23, 24 tell us what happens with a hearer! Ill. Tom Olson ? the editor of the Le Touneau paper some years ago told about his three year old daughter. When she came to him, her face was covered with all kinds of dirt. He told her to go to the bathroom, get up on her little stool so she could see herself in the mirror and wash her face. She didn’t return, and he could hear the water running, so he moved to where he could see her. She was washing the mirror with a soapy rag! That’s a lot like what James is talking about here. Looking at a spiritual mirror will not get your life turned around!
(1) The hearer studies himself intently in a mirror. (The mirrors of that day were not silvered glass, but some kind of polished metal. They were at best imperfect.)
(2) After careful, intent study of the face he was born with, he leaves and forgets what he saw! Is that what happens when you look at yourself in God’s Word?
4. V 25 tells about the doer.
(1) He gives the perfect Law of freedom penetrating attention! (This refers to all revealed truth of God, not just the ten commandments.)
(2) He finds it good, and he continually lives in it!
(3) He never forgets it!
(4) He is a doer of the Word, and he is a doer of the work!
5. The doer’s whole life is blessed! (Compare this with Psalm 1).

III. GOD’S WORD HAS PRACTICAL RESULTS.

1. The Gk wd for religion here is “Threskeia.” It doesn’t refer to a lifestyle. It refers to outward observance, such as is practiced in worship. It comes from a word meaning clamor, or noise. (Does this suggest to you that people are showing off? It does me!)
2. When God’s Word rules in you, your vocabulary changes if it is not already godly.
3. Beyond that, your thought life changes, too.
4. What people think about you may hurt, but it becomes, and truly is, unimportant!
5. God’s Word converts our compassion into an acceptance of responsibility for the poor and helpless.
6. God’s Word causes us to struggle against temptation and to keep ourselves unstained from the world.
7. Other Biblical authors add to what James has said here, but this is enough! If God’s Word does not produce these practical results in you, or if it has not yet started making these changes in you, then His word is not in you, and Christ isn’t in you, and you’re lost!
8. God’s Word always bears fruit to life everlasting! It never returns to Him void!

CONCLUSION:

1. When you hear God’s Word, and it doesn’t suit you, what is your reaction?
(1) It should be a quick “That’s for me! I need that!”
(2) Or do you speak out against it? Do you have to have a lot of people tell you it is true before you are convinced? You should always be slow to speak against God’s revealed, implanted, living Word! And quick to accept it!
(3) Does God’s Word make you angry when it doesn’t fit into your scheme of things? (Remember the older son when the prodigal came home? Lk 15:11ff) You should be sure your anger doesn’t lead you right into sin, and that when you are angry, you don’t stay angry long!
2. You see there are just two classes of people: The doers and the hearers. Which are you?
3. Do you think your church attendance, whatever else you may do in the Lord’s name, will get you by? Be careful! There are a lot of people who have convinced themselves they are right with God, and they aren’t!
4. God’s Word is like a seed. Planted in good soil, it brings forth a lot of good fruit, and it just keeps on bearing fruit and growing! If that’s not the way it is with you, you’d better talk to the Lord about it. You may need Jesus!


ECC 1/30/2005

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