Tell me the weirdest way someone (maybe a parent) has woke you up in the morning?
(Give candy to the best)
I need two volunteers.
One boy and one girl.
Toothpaste activity (give volunteers candy).
So what’s the point of that activity?
Some things can never be undone.
So there I was with two of my Iowa-parkians on our way from Lubbock to homecoming! Woohoo!
If you’ve never made that drive then you don’t really quite get how boring and deserted it feels.
Like you drive for 2 hours on a one-way.
So as a passenger it is the type of road you sleep on.
Get an hour power nap before the game.
So I was voluntold to drive us to the game and we get about 45 minutes into the trip and they doze off.
Now, you would never expect this from me - your youth pastor - but back in my day I was a bit of a prankster.
So I let them get good and into their sleep - I was jamming to some Panic at the Disco - they hit the scene my freshman year of college.
But I slowly lowered the volume - not to off - but to pleasant.
And then took a deep breath in and screamed “aahhh”!
They woke and if they had been in their 60’s or 70’s they may have went to be with the Lord from a heart attack.
Some things can be undone.
Like shaving your eyebrows - Yeah, you may look like a 15 year old who just came out of mamma's womb, but it will grow back.
And there are perps, like if your brother pranked you and shaved it off then he will have to live in fear for a long time.
And you will be like “when you least expect it you will pay”.
And then years have passed and he is up getting ready to marry his wife and you are his best man and the pastor say’s “speak now or forever hold your peace” you will be like - “you’ve been punked bro! She’s my girlfriend!
Shouldn’t have shaved my eyebrow in 10th grade!
Transition: sometimes when you are just cruising along you need to be refocused, you need to be reminded, you need a call or shout to pay attention.
And that’s exactly what we get here.
Some things can’t like toothpaste.
Once it’s out; it’s out.
So we normally handle toothpaste differently.
Normally, we use like a pea to cashew size on our toothbrush before bed.
We don’t normally put it onto an ice cream scoop and just (chomp) go to town.
Read with me again :
“Know this, my beloved brothers” it could be said this way - “take note of this” which is how the NIV renders the verb.
So James is writing this inspired and true and God-breathed letter to the persecuted church and as he is writing he’s like “oh and don’t forget...” take note of this, know this brothers.”
We should be paying attention - it’s like we’re in the car cruising to IP, homecoming, and James is like “aahhh”!
1. Be Quick to Hear
This general call to pay attention signals a pause in James’s argument as he switches from one topic to another.
“Let every person be quick to hear...” We are terrible at this.
If I was sitting with you 1-on-1 and we were having a discussion and I was talking - almost without a doubt everyone in this room would be thinking of a response as they halfway listened, rather than soaking in the conversation and then responding.
Listening, really listening, is not a go to for me.
As someone who talks a lot for a living - as my job - I know how to form a solid argument in my mind very quickly, even as the person is not two-thirds through their argument.
And this has got me in trouble on more than one occasion.
This admonition runs through the wisdom literature of the OT.
Listen to what Kurt Richardson says about hearing:
The admonition to display wisdom by listening much and talking little is found quite often.
Do we desire or are we eager to listen to God and eager to obey?
Wherever wisdom is the goal, hearing will be a first virtue.
Do you want to be wise?
Do you want to have understanding?
Do you want to have insight and discernment?
A great place to start would be listening.
Hear what Solomon has to say about fools who listen:
Listen to God First
Primarily, chiefly students we need to be quick to listen to God - in His Word.
Like we need to be eager to hear from Him.
I shared this with the JH SS class a couple of weeks ago, but I had a student call me to speak about where they should be reading in the bible.
Then a few days later contact me to keep them accountable to be reading the Word.
There’s a hunger in this student’s heart to hear.
They are eager to receive what God has for them.
Athletes - you know that feeling you have when you are lacing up your shoes and you walk out of the locker room and you can hear the crowd.
You are eager to crack a helmet or get the ball down the court or you are ready for that first serve.
We need to be hearers of God - eager to hear with that type of holy anticipation and we need to obey.
Transition: Then, following on the heels of hearing from God first we must listen to others.
Listen to Others - Be Teachable
This one is not always so obvious.
Sometimes we confuse listening and having questions with weakness - so rather, we act like we know it all and we don’t hear from anyone - like Lone Ranger’s.
No. Be teachable.
Hear from others.
Listen to your parents.
I would add listen to others, especially, when you are being corrected and rebuked.
Don’t justify yourself.
Be quick to hear.
Transition: so we want to be quick to hear God and obey and to hear from others - we want to be teachable.
But look what else James calls us to do:
2. Slow to Speak and Slow to Anger
There is great wisdom in holding our tongue, especially when our temper is on the rise.
See some of us just need to keep our mouths closed because opening them would prove us to be the fool that everyone knows that we are.
That’s what is all about.
But in relationships like with your mom or dad, maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend you know from experience just how true these verses are.
Uncontrollable anger leads to uncontrollable speech.
Okay, let’s have a little transparency here tonight: have you ever said something “in the heat of the moment” that immediately you regretted?
Look pop-psychologists will tell you that you cannot control your anger because it is an emotion - in fact, even some biblical scholars (if you can call them that) will tell you this.
But hear what Douglas Moo says in response:
Emotions are the product of the entire person; and, by God’s grace and the work of the Spirit, the person can be transformed so as to bring emotions in line with God’s word and will.
All across the bible we are commanded to control or exercise emotions.
Do not covet.
Delight in the Lord.
Be slow to anger.
So what we see in this passage again is God commanding our entire life, including our emotions.
For you in here that have quick tempers - I am including myself in this one - holding your tongue is of tremendous value.
When your blood boils and you want to verbally assault someone.
You want to rip them to shreds with your words - we must look to the wisdom of Christ and heed this command to be slow to speak and slow to anger.
Application: here is where gossip seems to dominate girl culture.
Girls you refuse to be listeners of God’s word and rather you speak hastily, not thinking of the horror of your sin or the damage that it will cause in the lives of the people you speak of.