We live in a world where we have so much information that is pummeling us. But James tells us information and hearing God’s word is not enough. We have to hear AND act.
This week at Imprint Church in Woodinville, we continued our series on “A Disruptive Faith” that describes how a faith in Christ is supposed to affect ALL of our lives. In this particular sermon we look at James 1:19-27 and the work of faith and how to take responsibility for our anger and actions.
Here are two ways James call us to understand the role of the Word in our lives as believers:
1. Stop using the Bible as a telescope and start using it as a mirror.
We must realize our need for God’s word and receive it humbly.
James doesn’t want us to think that we receive the Word just by hearing it preached or lightly reading it. Rather, we receive God’s Word by remembering what it says and obeying it.
From Hebrews we are reminded that “the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
We don’t want to be convicted. It’s not pleasant to be confronted with the fact that we are not living up to what God has given to us, so we avoid the subject all together and find ways to miss worship, to bypass Bible reading and to be busy when Bible study is going on. It is by an act of the will that we choose not to accept the Word of God into our life.
But on the other hand, it is by an act of the will that we position ourselves to accept God’s Word into our lives.
2. To evaluate whether you are obeying God’s Word: Is it affecting your speech, your actions, and your life?
Are you obeying God’s Word? You’ve got to read the Bible, each and every day. But then you’ve got to let it affect your speech, actions, and life.
Are there specific activities that continually steal time you could devote to God’s Word? (Examples include sleep, television or movies, reading other books or publications, hobbies, time on the phone or the Internet.) Are these activities wrong? Probably not. But can you really listen and obey if you’re never making the time for His Word?
So, what is the work of faith? The work of faith is to diligently listen to God’s word and obey Christ as a response to His great love for us. James is not telling us to become someone we are not. He is urging us to remember who we are and to live accordingly.
When God’s word is planted in our hearts, our new life is sprouted and begins growing through the presence and power of his Spirit. Then that word begins to transform us from the inside out.
Watch the video of our sermon on the Work of Faith described by James or download the audio podcast now.
Imprint Church has small community groups that meet in and around Woodinville every week. Here are the discussion questions on the sermon for our small groups or for your own personal study.
(Questions coming on Tuesday)