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Are You A Real Life Christian?

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At the market place, a seller advertises "1 salad for $3, 3 salads for $10".
A customer passing by stops and speaks with the seller:
He says, “that's not right!”
What do you mean?” the vendor asks
Well, that's not an offer: 3 salads cost $9.
No, sir, it says here that 3 salads cost $10.
I know, but if I buy 1 salad, how much do I pay?
$3 he replies
And if I buy 2?
$6.
Yes, because 3+3=6, now what about 3+3+3?
Well, that makes 9 says the vendor
so three salads cost $9.
No sir, they cost $10, it's written just over there, on that board.
The client can't fathom such stubbornness in another human being and proceeds to prove his point to the seller:
“Here” he says, “let me buy a salad.”
That will be $3, sir.
Now, I'd like one more salad.
That will be $3 again, sir.
Finally, let me buy one last salad.
That will also be $3, sir.
How much did I pay you for those 3 salads?
$3+$3+$3, your paid $9.
See? 3 salads are worth $9, not $10, you won't sell many salads if you do it this way.
Yes sir, I almost sold all my stock to people like you wanting to prove they're smarter than me by buying 3 salads they don't need, just to make sure they are superior. My technique works! Besides, I can overprice those salads to $3 and no one bats an eye!
Humanity has a problem, that problem persists even to those who call themselves Christians. The previous story illustrates this.

Historical/Cultural Context -

The book of James was written by the half-brother of Jesus. The Son of Joseph and Mary. Written in the early 40s. He wrote to primarily Jews who were Christians, as at this time it was so early in the spread of Christianity that it had not been widely adopted by non-jews, also known as Gentiles. James encouraged his readers to live consistent Christian lives in the midst of persecution for their faith in Christ.
He says he writes to the “12 tribes in dispersion” which is likely due to the fact that Christians in and around Jerusalem were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus and were being driven out of the area and were settling in farther and farther regions.

Biblical Text -

James 1:19–27 NKJV
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

-[Prayer]-

Life Principle - The True Christian Is Ruled By God’s Purity, Not Selfishness Or Wrath

Life Point- Don’t Be Ruled By Wrath

Exegetical -

James 1:19–21 NLT
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

Homiletical -

Before this James was writing about trials and temptations.
He calls them dear brothers and sisters
who are the beloved? How are they loved? How are they related? They are related by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Making them all apart of the body of Christ. No matter how far or how close their geological, societal, or linguistic separation. They are all brother and sisters in Christ.
John 15:12–17 NLT
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.
Jesus says to His disciples that they are not just mere servants, but are friends.
Not only that, He says the disciples didn’t choose Him, He chose The disciples.
Because he calls them brothers and sisters we know James is talking about the saved, the Christians. Those that have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
Now James gives us the best piece of advice for dealing with trials, temptations and people that he could have possibly given.
Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
Things don’t always go our way. Did you notice that? A lot of times it is because we want it our way, like Burger King.
You want to know a secret? The Kingdom of God is not Burger King, you can’t get it your way. So in the midst of dealing with others we should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.
They say don’t discipline in anger when dealing with children. The same is true when dealing with adults.
But Pastor, that’s hard. Like I tell my students, if it were easy everyone would do it. Train yourself to do it anyway. Make it a matter of prayer. If you are weak in this then lean on God for the power to make it happen.
2 Corinthians 12:8–9 NLT
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
There have been many times, I wished I had followed this command. Then, not only would things not blow up, I wouldn’t have had to repent before God and apologize to others.
James 1:20 NKJV
for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Do you really think your angry outburst is going to bring God’s righteousness? You aren’t God. Don’t try take care of anything right at the time you are angry. I’m not talking about children here. I am talking between adults. Whether that is biological family or your family in Christ. Cool down first.
Ephesians 4:26 NKJV
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
Romans 12:19 NLT
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
It is not up to you. Leave it to God.
Now if we look in James 1:21 it says:
James 1:21 NKJV
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Because we need to act right before each other, as Christians, we should lay aside all filthiness in our character. This includes losing your temper, saying dirty jokes, wrong language, etc. and receive with meekness.
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
What is meekness?
Too many times people associate meekness with weakness. That’s not true. It strength under control, in humility before God.
James 4:6 NKJV
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Look back at James 1:21 it states that only through meekness which includes humility can we receive and have the implanted word of God.
What is this implanted Word? Notice the word implanted. Meaning it has been given and has taken root in our lives. This goes beyond knowing the Bible, but putting the principles and commands found therein into daily use.
Jeremiah 31:33 NLT
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
How awesome it is that this scripture was fulfilled in Christ! Now we have the Holy Spirit in us, quickening our lives to make these laws come alive and active in us.
The person who says they are a Christian but there is not fruit of salvation. They have a problem.
Galatians 5:22–23 NLT
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
The person who has none of this, yet claims to be born-again aren’t really born-again. They have an attitude that Holiness is not something to be attained. They want their fire insurance so they say a prayer and tell people they’re good and move on. These people aren’t Christians because there is no sign of the working of The Holy Spirit in their lives. The worst part is that they deceive themselves into believing they are going to be saved from God’s righteous judgement.
These kinds of people can hide in a church, but not from God. These people need Jesus to save their souls. Only the implanted word of God can do this. To save our souls and straighten out or rotten minds.
Speaking of rotten minds. Please remember Romans 12:2
Romans 12:2 NKJV
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Life Point - Don’t Be Ruled By Self

Exegetical -

James 1:22–25 NLT
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Homiletical -

Verse 22 says to actually do what the Word of God commands. Can you imagine if every person in every church all over the world did what the Bible said? This world would have a ton of Christians, and no church would be low in attendance. The world would be a much better place.
Jesus said:
Matthew 28:16–20 NLT
Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
People focus a lot on just converting others, but we forget about discipleship. Why? I believe it comes down to one thing. Selfishness.
First, We don’t want to do what the scriptures say in our lives, our character, and our actions because that causes us to give ourselves up and embrace Christ’s life, His Character, and His actions. We want to be independent instead of dependent on Christ.
Second, discipleship takes time. It requires a person to be with you. Think about the 12 disciples. They traveled with Jesus, ate with Jesus, did ministry with Jesus, and were taught by Jesus. They were with Jesus pretty much everyday, all day.
Today people don’t want to give up their time, so here we are. If you want to grow as a Christian and a church then it is past time to give of ourselves. We need to be the salt of the world and get our lives straight and do some discipleship as Christ commands us.
Matthew 5:13 NLT
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
Do you know the worst part about someone deceiving themselves is? They don’t know they’re deceived. Many times it is because of their own failing. Failing to examine self. Failing to examine character, speech and thoughts before God.
1 Corinthians 11:31 NLT
But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way.
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 NLT
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Now James gives us an example of what he is talking about.
James 1:23–25 NLT
For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
If you want to have God’s blessing, then you need to be a doer of the Word of God; both individually and corporately. Are you talking to people about Jesus? Are you discipling anybody? If not, then in actuality you have become a pew warmer. You have become lazy in the Kingdom of God. Get to work on yourself and commit time in prayer and study of God’s Word, as well as discipleship of others.

Illustration -

The following story illustrates well what Christianity, and I use the term “Christianity” loosely here, has become. It looks like they care, but really it is about what’s in it for them. Their all about their selfish desires. Let that never be said about anyone who has come out of our church.
One afternoon, a wealthy lawyer was riding in the back of his limousine when he saw two pathetic-looking men by the side of the road, eating grass. He ordered his driver to stop and got out to investigate. He asked the men, "Why are you eating grass?"
"We don't have no money for food," the first man replied.
"Then you must come with me to my house," insisted the lawyer.
"But, sir, I got a wife and three kids here," said the man.
"Bring them along!" replied the lawyer.
The second man exclaimed, "I got a wife and six kids!"
"Bring them as well!" the lawyer yelled as he headed back to his limo.
They all climbed into the car and one of the men said, "Sir, you are too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you."
The lawyer replied, "I'm most happy to do it. You'll love my place. The grass is almost a foot tall."

Life Point - Be Ruled By The Purity Of Christ

Exegetical -

James 1:26–27 NLT
If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Homiletical -

I have students every year who use the name of the Lord in vain. It has become so apart of their natural speech they don’t even realize they are doing it. The always exclaim “Oh My God” and then continue on until I stop them and say “Please don’t take the name of the Lord in vain.”
Do you know what I hear every time? “I can’t help it Mr. Kramer!” To which I respond, “You control your tongue, no one else. You can help it, you just have train yourself to stop it.”
Today people have become too used to using this phrase as well as other words as part of their communication and don’t think about it. The “F” word is common today. When you say to the Christian who talks this way that they can stop it, they look at you and ask themselves why they should.
1. Because God said let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth
2. It can ruin your testimony. The person inside says to themselves, “Why should I go to church with you? You are just like me. You do the same stuff I do and there is no difference between us. I don’t need that drama in my life.”
If we would just learn to control what we say, whether in trials or temptations, we would be a lot better off in our reflection of Jesus. You and I are the only examples of Christianity the unsaved will ever have. If we aren’t different than what is out in the world then our so-called religion is worthless. It makes no impact on other people.
James 1:27 NLT
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
orphans and widows had very few resources for income in the ancient world. They were the ones that needed help and didn’t have anything in which to give other people.
Our works before the world and those of our community should be for those who can’t do anything for you. There is no quid-pro-quo. Our works should be for those who truly need a hand up.
Too often churches and pastors only seem to do things for the more higher up folks in their midst, financially speaking. This should not be the case. We should be reaching everyone, not just those that have some kind of social status in order to make ourselves look more important.
That honor you were going to give the rich man, how about giving it to the poor man first.
James also says that we are to keep ourselves unspotted by the world. To be Holy.
1 Peter 1:16 NLT
For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
Holiness is not mentioned in our churches anymore today, yet it is one of the most important concepts for the Christian life. It is not an option that someone can just take or leave, it is a command. As we are being sanctified, which simple means being cleaned up little by little throughout our lives, God’s Glory and love becomes manifested through the church.
So sum this up, a person’s religion before God should consists of true selfless actions and purity from the world’s moral impurity.

Life Principle The True Christian Is Ruled By God’s Purity, Not Selfishness Or Wrath

Call to Action – altar call….

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