Focal Passage: James 1:19-27
His arrogance attracted some and put off others. His confidence bordered on being narcissistic. But there was a reason he was called “Mr. October.”
When it came to crunch time, Jackson’s words were matched by his production on the field. In other words, he did what he said he would do, especially when it counted.
Pastor James’ argument for obedience is not meant for us to develop a self-righteous, arrogant attitude like Reggie Jackson. It is to say, that if we say we are people of the Word, we need to demonstrate what we say by what we do. It’s called obedience.
While we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, it should be the kind of faith that is never alone, a faith accompanied and complemented by righteous works.
Obedient humility (James 1:19-21). Obedience begins with humility. We are to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness” (vv. 19-20). Rather than living a life of moral and spiritual filth, we are to “humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (v. 21). The confidence that comes from obedience does not find its taproot in self-righteous power. Instead, it comes from a dependence on God and His Word. God’s Word alive in us produces consistent obedience.
Obedience and the Word (James 1:22-25). Hearing God’s Word is essential. Every believer is called to place themselves under the consistent preaching and teaching of God’s Word. But listening is not enough. As we hear God’s Word, we must obey what we hear. To say we hear the Word of God without obeying the Word of God may suggest that we didn’t hear it in the first place.
We are to actively listen to and meditate on God’s Word. We’re to meditate on the Word of God as it truly reflects, like a mirror, who we are in the sight of God. The person who is blessed is the person “who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works” (v. 25). Looking into God’s Word ought to lead to living out God’s Word.
Obedience and our words, James 1:26-27. Pastor James hits the nail on the head when he argues that the religion of a person is “useless” (v. 26) when that person’s words do not match their actions. Saying and doing, believing and behaving, faith and works must all go together in a life of faithful obedience.
And what are some examples of a believer demonstrating faith in action? Three examples are listed: (1) orphan care as an example of helping the helpless; (2) widow care as an example of helping the hopeless; and (3) keeping “oneself unstained from the world” (v. 27) as an example of holiness. And this is only the beginning of what God’s Word says about how we might demonstrate faith in action.
It is difficult enough for a lost world to believe the gospel. Let us not place an additional roadblock in front of a lost and dying world by not having our lives match our words. B&R