Fairmont First Baptist Church
Bad Religion: Doers Not Just Hearers
  • Are you washed in the blood
  • Let Us Break Bread Together
      • James 1:19–27CSB

  • Intro

    Last week in our 4 part series on “Bad Religion”
    Week one Amos
    God doesn’t want our performance
    Rather he wants our hearts, all of us
    Week Two - Jeremiah
    THe hypocrisy of the Court Prophets who just told the people what they wanted to hear
    Week Three - Jesus in Luke
    The Pharisees and the Scribes who wanted it to be about how awesome they were instead of how awesome (truly) God is.
    We don’t dilute the message of the Gospel by trying to appear perfect to those around us. Rather, we more clearly glorify God by recognizing our continual need for his work in our lives.
    We’ve seen all these examples of bad religion, and we know they exist because we see them in the world around us.
    But today we are going to see Jame offer a practical approach to good religion.
    James 1:19–27 CSB
    My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself. Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

    Intro to James

    Who is James?
    There are four James mentioned in the New Testament
    Only two with the juice to have a letter included in the canon
    James the son of Zebedee
    Early martyrdom
    James the brother of Jesus
    Early leader in the church in Jerusalem
    Younger brother?
    Not a believer during Jesus’ ministry on earth
    Converted with a post- Resurrection appearance of Jesus
    Think about it, it means that James had been a hearer of the word, but not a doer.
    A hearer of the Word, but not a follower of the Word.
    When?
    The first verse of the epistle might give us some ideas.
    James 1:1
    James 1:1 CSB
    James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. Greetings.
    Remember that James is a leader in the church in Jerusalem
    In addressing the letter to the scattered people of God, James may be making reference to the fact that the church in Jersusalem were forced to flee in the early 40s.
    There are other indications that the 40s are a likely date
    Seeming conflict with Paul’s teaching of faith alone,
    a misunderstanding based on a “perverted Paulinism”
    Hashed out after James and Paul meet in AD 48.
    Also, no seeming knowledge of the conflict about the status of the law that emerged in AD 47-48 as a result of the missions to the gentiles.
    This all means that James may be one of the earliest books written in the NT.
    James is writting to a group of beleivers that are still struggling to figure out what, exactly, good religion looks like.
    This is why so much of his advice can feel so practical.
    hear the Word, do the Word, care for those who need help.

    What does Good religion look like?

    Never one to mince words, James reminds us of practical ways to live out our faith.
    First, be a listener, thinking before you speak, and not easily angered (v. 19).
    Quick-tempered anger doesn’t lead to righteousness (v. 20).
    People of God cast aside their longing for the dirtiness of sin and let the Word of God settle deeply into their hearts and lives (v. 21).
    More than just hearing and understanding, the person of God is also a doer (v. 22).
    They don’t forget their purpose but persevere in being obedient to the Word of God with their actions (vv. 23–24).
    It is a blessing for the believer to live in loving faith both in word and deed (v. 25).
    People of God control their tongues; not to do so is evidence that the person does not take their relationship with God seriously (v. 26).
    “Pure and undefiled” religion means caring for those who need help (v. 27).

    If we have a faith that doesn’t result in action, we are self-delusional.

    If we have a faith that doesn’t result in action, we are self-delusional.
    Slipping, stumbling, backsliding, or messing up occasionally don’t mean we have a bad or ineffective religion.
    Means we are humans
    We will all have missteps as we grow in Christian maturity.
    Bad religion is more often found in those who do all the churchy things: Sunday morning services, Bible reading, K-LOVE on the radio—
    and yet their religiousness is not accompanied by internal change and outward action.
    We can know all the things about the Bible and still miss its transformative power and call to love others through faithful obedience.
    “James is not attempting here to summarize all that true worship of God should involve.
    As Calvin says, ‘he does not define generally what religion is, but reminds us that religion without the things he mentions is nothing.’
    Religious ritual, if done from a reverent heart and in a worshipful spirit, is not wrong—and God’s word cannot be ‘done’ unless it is first ‘heard.’ … Areas of life that are to reveal evidence of our reverent ‘listening’ to the word are introduced in the verse: social concern and moral purity. … The orphan and widow become types of those who find themselves helpless in the world. Christians whose religion is pure and faultless will imitate their Father by intervening to help the helpless. Those who suffer from want in the Two-thirds World, in the inner city; those who are unemployed and penniless; those who are inadequately represented in government or in law—these are the people who should see abundant evidence of Christians’ ‘pure religion’” (Douglas J. Moo, James, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries 16 [Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015], James 1:27).
    James finishes the chapter with a call to moral purity.
    We should keep ourselves “unstained from the world.”
    This means “to avoid thinking and acting in accordance with the value system of the society around us. This society reflects, by and large, beliefs and practices that are unchristian, if not actively anti-Christian. Believers who live ‘in the world’ are in constant danger of having the taint of that system ‘rub off’ on them. It is important and instructive that James includes this last area, for it penetrates beyond action to the attitudes and beliefs from which action springs.”
    The good religion of Scripture “combines purity of heart with purity of action” (Moo, James, James 1:27).
    While we often think moral purity is merely acting right, it is deeply rooted in how we shape our core convictions.
    Are those conviction based on the moral law of God’s Word, or are they more aligned with a political party or social hierarchy?
    If how we view our own morality is based on how the other guy acts, we become self-righteous.
    Dan White - Did a straw poll on my book tour (13 cities) with 829 folks in 2019: 76% of those who identified as Progressive see "loving enemies" as complicity w/ injustice 78% of those who identified as Conservative see "loving enemies" as compromise w/ immorality
    If we value others based on how our political party views them or how inconvenient or costly it is to help them, we forget that our allegiance is not to our country or party but to God’s kingdom.
    It isn’t about what the World and it’s ideologies say.
    Rather it is about what the Word of God Says!
    In God’s Kingdom, all people are valued and worthy—so much so that he gave his life for them.
    Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of Bin Laden’s death.
    While I understand that perhaps his death was a geo-poliitcal necsessity, it is not something that I can take joy in, no matter how much my flesh wants me to.
    Jesus died for bin Laden too.
    Loving our enemies isn’t easy, but like we’ve talked about, the Christian life isn’t supposed to be easy, it is supposed to be faithful.
    Hearing helps us love God; doing helps us love and value others, regardless of how the culture around us might disagree
    Coming to salvation does not complete our spiritual journey.
    It is only the beginning.
    As we grow closer to God and (by his Spirit) grow in maturity, we recognize that while our relationship with God is personal, it also spurs us on to corporate action inside and outside the church’s walls.

    Application

    Many parents have remarked, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
    It rings hollow to even the youngest son or daughter.
    Why can Dad eat ice cream for a snack, but kids have to eat carrot sticks and apple slices?
    How come Mom can watch TV after 8, but the kids have to read a book and go to bed?
    Like it or not, people are evaluating our faith—and ultimately, God—by how we act.
    If we preach a gospel of love, care, and kindness but never get out from behind the safety of our computer screens, church walls, or Christian bubbles, then our faith will seem more like a social club of convenience than something that is actually transformative and powerful.
    No, we don’t need to be perfect, but our lives should be marked by more than just talk.
    We should be driven to action in response to God’s overwhelming love for us and others
    APPLICATION POINT: The man or woman of God strives to live a life based on the foundation of God’s Word and spent in service to others in God’s Kingdom.
      • James 1:1CSB

  • Blest Be the Tie, that Binds

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