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Sermon14-7Jan07-HowToBeBlessedByTheBible(RWSeries-DevelopingaFaithThatWorks5of15)

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        HOW TO BE BLESSED BY THE BIBLE   Part 5of 15                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 RW Series: Developing a Faith That Works  (14Sep –21Dec 1986) Orig. -3825 words                                                                                                                       

                                                                                       James 1:19-27

                                                                                 7 January 2007                                                                           

                   James 1:19-27

                             "The man who looks intently into the Perfect Law that gives freedom and continues to do this,

                             not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it -- he will be blessed in what he does." (vs. 25)

                             I.     I MUST ______________________________ GOD'S WORD. (vs. 19-21)

                             "... accept the Word planted in you ..." (vs. 21)

                                                                                 Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23, 1 Peter 1:23

                             ATTITUDES FOR "GOOD RECEPTION"

                                           *  ______________________________ (vs. 19a)

                                           "Be quick to listen, slow to speak..."

                                           *  ______________________________ (vs.19b)

                                           " ... and slow to become angry ... "

                                           *  ______________________________ (vs. 21a)

                                           "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent ..."

                                           *  ______________________________ (vs. 21b)

                                           "humbly accept the Word planted in you ..."

                             II.  I MUST ___________________________ ON GOD'S WORD (vs. 22-25)

                                           Illustration:  God's Word is like a mirror

                                                                                                                       2 Cor. 3:18, 2 Tim. 2:7

                                    1. _____________________________________________

                                           "... the man who looks intently into the perfect law..."


                                                                                    S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S. Questions

                                    2. _____________________________________________

                                    "... and continues to do so ..."

                                                                               John 8:31-3, Ps. 119:97, Joshua 1:8

                                    3. _____________________________________________

                                    "... not forgetting what he has heard ..."

                                                                                   John 15:7, Heb. 2:1, Ps. 119:11

                             III.         I MUST __________________________ TO GOD'S WORD (vs. 22-27)

                                    "Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves.  DO WHAT IT SAYS!"  (vs. 22)

                                    "The man who put the Law into practice wins true happiness." (vs. 25 PH)

                                                                                       Matt. 7:24-27, John 13:17

                                                                                         3 Examples (vs.26-27)

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          HOW TO BE BLESSED BY THE BIBLE

                                                                             

Edited from Part 5of15:RW Series: Developing a Faith That Works (14Sep –21Dec 1986) Orig. -3825 words

                                                                                                James 1:19-27

                                                                                              7 January 2007                                                        1848 words               

              In this country, Bibles are everywhere.  You can find them in bookstores, hospitals, hotel rooms,

              everywhere.  They're available in all sizes, shapes, translations, versions, leather bound, hardback,

                paperback. Every year the Bible out sells every other major bestseller.  Only 20 years ago (1985) there were

                500 million Bibles published in the world in 18,000 different languages. Yet millions of people still miss the

               blessing of the Bible.

                 Why?  Because it's not automatic.  The Bible is a book of blessing.  It promises comfort, strength, hope,

              wisdom, joy, power, and purpose.  But just because you have a Bible doesn't mean you're going to get

              the benefit from it.  James, being his practical self, gives us three steps on how to be blessed by the

              Bible.

                   v. 25 is the key verse, "The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and

              continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it, he will be blessed in what he

              does." The Bible is called the perfect law because it's exactly what I need.  It promises freedom and it

              promises blessing.  James gives us three steps:

              1.  I MUST RECEIVE GOD'S WORD IF I'M GOING TO BE BLESSED BY IT

              vs. 21, "Accept the word planted in you.”  I have to accept it.  This word in Greek is a

              hospitality term which literally means "to welcome".  If we're going to be blessed by the

              word of God, first we must welcome the word into our lives.  We must be receptive.

James gives an illustration.  He says it's planted in you.  He gives the illustration of a garden and seed.

The Bible, all through Scripture, compares itself to seed.  Jesus told the parable of the sower and said,

“The word of God is a seed and it's planted in our hearts.”  How is it you can take two seeds that are

exactly the same and plant them in two different locations and get two different crops in fruitfulness?

One soil is prepared and the other is not.  How is it that you can take two people and put them in the

same service, with the same message, and one person gets blessed by it and the other person says he

didn't get anything out of it.  One heart was prepared and one wasn't. James says we must receive the

word of God with the right attitude.

              But before you can plant the seed you need to do a little weeding.  There are things says James that blocks your   

              hearing; that prevents God's word from getting into your heart.  He says get rid of the evil, anything that we know

                that isn't right in our lives.  God says, “Lay aside all of the emotional garbage, the old habits, the junk in

                your life so that God's word can get through to you.”

               

            He says "humbly accept the word of God planted in you..." Don't act like you know it all.  If you know it all,

            God's word can't get through to you.  Pray, "God, do what You need to do in my life."

            God says if you want to be blessed, first you have to receive it, be receptive with these four hearing

            aids.  Reception is not enough.  James says we not only need to receive the word of God, but...

            2.  REFLECT ON THE WORD OF GOD

            v. 23 "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his

            face in a mirror and after looking at himself immediately goes away and immediately forgets

            what he looks like." James uses an illustration here.  God's word is like a mirror.  The purpose of a

           

             mirror is to evaluate us.  We use them to evaluate ourselves.  We look in a mirror to assess the damage

            from the night before.  Then we do something about it.  What good is a mirror if we don't do anything

                about what we see?  God says a mirror reflects what we're like on the outside. God's word reflects

            what we're like on the inside.

                            

              A lot of people don't read the Bible because they're afraid. They're unwilling to face themselves and see

            themselves as they really are.  They don't want to look in the mirror of God's word.

            James gives us three practical ways to reflect on the word of God,

            1.  Read it.   v. 25 "the man who looks intently into the perfect law".  He's actually talking more

            about research that he is reading.  Investigating.  The word "look" in Greek means "to stoop down and

            gaze in".  Focus your attention on the word of God.

             That's how you look intently at the word of God.  Look at the details.  James says we need to receive

            the word of God and then reflect on it, first by reading it and second by reviewing it.

                               

             2.  Review it.  v. 25 "...and continues to do so..." That means over and over and over.  The Bible

             calls this meditation.  When you think about something over and over, it’s meditation. Meditation is not,

                 put your mind in neutral and contemplate your navel.  Meditation means to think seriously about

                 something over and over. 

                            

              We need to fill our minds with the word of God.  James says, “You want to be blessed?  Reflect on the

              word.  Think about it by reading it and reviewing it.”

                   3.  Remembering it.  v. 25 "... not forgetting what he has heard." Nothing will do more for your

              spiritual life than developing the habit of memorizing Scripture.  Nothing will benefit your personal

                   spiritual life more than developing the habit of memorizing Scripture.  "Your word I have hidden in my

              heart that I might not sin against You."

 

              Memorize God's word if you want to be blessed by it.  We remember what's important to us. Take notes,

               write things down.  If you value God's word you're going to take notes on it.  There was a study done                                                                                                                                      

              which found  that  we forget 95% of what we hear within 72 hours.  This statistic depresses a minister.

              I spend all week preparing a message to give on Sunday.  By Wednesday you've forgotten 95% of

              what I've said unless you've written it down. James says, “Receive God's word with the right attitude,

              reflect on God's word by reading it, reviewing it, remembering it.”  But even that's not enough.             

                      3.  I MUST RESPOND TO THE WORD OF GOD

                 I must do something about it, act on it, live it, practice it. vs. 22 "Do not merely listen to what the

              word says and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says." Practice.  The word "listen" in Greek is the word for

              "auditor".  We have a lot of auditors in the church.  They come to church, walk in, hear the word of God,

              walk out with no intention of ever being changed.  We must respond to God's word, let it change us if we're going to be blessed by it.

                 James says it's self-deception when we don't let it change us. We think that just gaining content is

                 making us spiritually mature.  The test of maturity is not knowledge.  The test of maturity is character.  A

                      lot of people have great Bible knowledge and they are spiritual midgets.  I need to practice it, apply it,

                 put it in my life.

                     

                 You can hear the word of God 24 hours a day.  A lot of us are lulled into the fact that because we're hearing a lot about God, we are maturing. Many believe but don't practice.  James would say, "They are hearers but not doers."

                

                  That is what James is attacking.  He's saying, “If you want to be blessed, you've got to live the word of

                 God, not just hear it. Not just know it.”

                   I work hard at making the Bible simple.  There is a lot in the Bible that is difficult to understand, that’s

                         complex, deep, that requires academic study.  But I try to present it in such a way that's very clear and very

                    easy to understand and easy to put into practice.  When you go out of here I want you to be able to do the word

                    not just hear the word of God.  I work at making it practical.  I try to make it simple so we can put it into practice.

                   There’s a story about a man who came to church late.  He walked in just as the service was coming to an end.  He

                   sat at the back and whispered to the lady in front of him , "Is the sermon done, yet?"  The lady turned round to    

                     him  and said, "The sermon has been preached, but it is yet to be done."  Be doers of the word, don't merely

                    listen. Put it into practice.

                   My prayer on Sunday afternoons is that you will remember what I said and put it into practice.  I

                   pray that MDC will develop the reputation that people say, "They're doers of the word.

                   They practice what everybody else talks about.  They live it."  People have a Living Bible.  You ought

                         to be a Living Bible.  The best translation of Scripture is when you translate it into your life and let it

                         change you.

                        

                   I think the simplest definition of maturity is to be a doer of the word.  That's what it means to be mature.

                         You do what the Bible says.  We must not only read the word, we must heed the word.  Every single

                   one of us knows more spiritual truth than we're putting into practice right now.  You don't need to know

                   more, you already know enough.  It's not the matter that we need to know more.  We just need to put

                   into practice what we already know.  I just need to practice what I already know to do, not learn

                   anything new.  Be a doer of the word.

                  

                   What is James saying to us?  He's saying "What are you going to do about what you already know?"

                   What are you going to do about it today?  Maybe some of you need to decide to start preparing better

                   for worship. Rather than leave it to a last minute rush, come early to tune in to God and get calm and collected

                      and quiet and ready, so that you can say: "Lord, here I am. Teach me, so I can be blessed by God's word." 

                       Maybe some of you need to say, "I'm going to read through the Bible this year." About five chapters a day and

                      you'll go through the Bible in a year.  "I'm going to start memorizing Scripture.  I'll pick a verse a week and hide

                         God's word in my heart."  It's a condition for answered prayer.  John 15:7 – the words of Jesus: "If you

                    remain in me and my words remain in you ask  whatever you wish and it will be given to you”  The

                   word of God in your heart is a condition for answered prayer.  Find a place of ministry where you can

                    get involved. 

                         James is saying that the blessing of the Bible comes when we start living it.

                                      Let’s Pray:  Father, we can't ignore what Your word says. You've told us to be doers of the word, to practice what we already know.  Lord, I know You have put some ideas in the minds of people and they know they've got to do something maybe even before today ends.  I pray that You would give them the courage to act on what they know.

Help them to do the right thing. Help them to act on what they already know is right.  Lord, Help us to do what we need to do, to not deceive ourselves, to not glance at the mirror of the Word and walk away unchanged.  Help us not to miss the point, but to receive Your word with the right attitude and reflect on it through reading and studying and memorizing.  But Lord, most of all, we  need to respond to it and allow it to live in our lives.

Lord, we've seen areas of our lives we need to work on today.  Give us the strength and courage to do what we know we need to do.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

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