04-01-07 - Puling Weeds - James 1.19-21- NSB
Ironside’s commentary on James – Manford George Gutzke, vv. 19-21 - NTSK – TBKC –Wiersbe’s BE Series – KJV Bible Commentary – The New Bible Commentary – The Bible Reader’s Companion (Nothing) –JFB, vv. 19-21 – Johnny Hunt Outline on James 1:19-21, “How to hear from God” – Kay Arthur lecture #7 on James (Partial) -
Welcome back –
Well, I started last week to introduce you to some of the young people who are working in our church. I just want you to know who they are and I want you to be encouraged for the future by getting to know them.
Last Sunday morning you met Chris Roddy, one of our Sunday School teachers among the other things he does around here and then Sunday night you were introduced to his brother, Jason who is also involved in a lot of the churches activities including being one of the teachers in the Willing Workers Class. Tonight’s reader is a choir member and an orchestra member among the other work she does around here.
So, Ashleigh, would you please read James 1:19-21 for me.
Let us pray…
Verses 19-27 of James chapter one make up a min-series for preaching all on their own.
So, inside of the book of James we have these nine verses which exhort us to
Receive the Word – Remember the Word and the Relay the Word.
Tonight however, we are going to focus on verses nineteen through twenty-one where we are told to, “Receive the Word.”
Part of this passage has a phrase that almost everyone has heard although you may not have realized that it was from the Bible.
Maybe your mom or your pa-paw or somebody told you to be quick to hear and slow to speak” or something like that . Well, that is from the Bible.
And Ashleigh just read it to you from verse nineteen.
James 1:18 (KJV) 18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James 1:19 (KJV) 19Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
James 1:20 (KJV) 20For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1:21 (KJV) 21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
And those words are inspired words in a passage that is full of action –
There are a couple of wherefores and all kinds of action phrases such as, begat, be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, worketh not, lay apart all filthiness, receive with meekness, able to save your souls.
It is a short passage but there is a lot going on
The first thing it tells us is that we are to be swift to hear something.
What are we to be swift to hear?
The Word of God
In verse 18 we see that he begat us with the word of truth and in verse 21 we see that we are to receive with meekness the engrafted Word of God.
So, the first thing I want you to see is that we are to –
Receive the Word (v.19)
Remember the context of the passage –
James is writing to Christian Jews who are undergoing trials
If there was ever a time when we do not want to shun the Word of God – when we want to be receiving the Word of God - it is when we are facing trials and temptations.
And there are three reasons in this text why we are to receive the Word
The Word has been prepared, the Word powers, and the Word prevents
The Word has been prepared (vv. 18,21)
It has been given (v. 18)
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
It should be received (v. 21)
Being exposed to it is not enough – we are to receive the Word
The true definition means that we should have a reaction to the action from the other side.
That is, God has given it – we should receive it.
Many people hear the word of God but they do not receive the Word of God.
Have you ever noticed that …
When the rain falls, the ground and the rock both get wet, but only the ground receives the rain
So, what this word translated in your Bible as, “receive” means to you is that God’s Word is to be appropriated into our heart.
It should be received as the Word of God
1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV) 13For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
If we do not receive into our hearts or if we do not receive it as the Word of God then we dilute its power.
Here is what I mean –
Thos group does not receive it
This group does not receive it as the Word of God
This group receives it as God’s Word
You didn’t receive it – but there are still good life principles in there for you
You didn’t receive it as the Word of God – there are truths in there that you can use.
You did receive it as the Word of God – It can transform your life – It can save you.
We are to receive it as the Word of God
It may still do good things –
- but not what it was intended to do.
And that is to transform your life.
If a person attends every service but never allows anything God says to make a change in their life then they might as well have played golf or gone fishing.
So, the Word should be received and the Bible says with meekness
And then practically speaking before we receive the Word in we need to get some stuff out.
James teaches us that in verse 21 – let’s read that verse
We need to Get the weeds out (v. 21)
How may of you have already turned your garden?
I bet you can look down that patch of dirt and not see one weed.
That dirt is ready to receive the seed.
It is prepared
Just the same way…
We need to get the things out of our life that Satan is using to dull your hearing of what God is saying.
Verse 21 Prepare yourself to hear from God.
The NLT reads –
Get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives –
And what it means literally is:
To lay apart as a filthy garment – or today we might say, Take off your dirty clothes.
I am so glad that during my 4-Wheeler days, Darlene and I lived in a house where the back porch could not be seen from the street. Because a bunch of us would go out riding and we would ride through stagnant muddy water that smelled as bad dry as it did wet – and it would cake us. Then the sun would undercoat that mud with sweat and odor that would make a deodorant turn and run. And that sun would bake us. And so we would be caked and baked. And then we would ride down a dusty trail back to the truck and that dust would coat us over good on the outside and then we would come home with open arms to our loving wives and we stunk, stank, reeked and smelled bad.
And she would say in her own way that I was going to have to put aside all my filthiness before I was coming in the house. And I would have to pretty well undress on the porch before I could go in and get to the soap.
I had to get rid of some filth as part of my preparation for applying the soap.
And just so…
We want to get some things out of our lives to prepare to receive the Word
Now this is James’ letter we are reading but I want you to listen to what Peter and Paul said:
Ephesians 4:31 (KJV) 31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Colossians 3:8 (KJV) 8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
1 Peter 2:1 (KJV) 1Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
Did you notice that malice was mentioned in all three of those verses?
“…desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another…”
Did you hear brother Ted this morning say and I quote, “God is not going to answer your prayer if you have hate in your heart.”
If you are trying to worship and grow in God’s Word while you harbor hate for someone then you are worshipping under false pretenses.
And you will never be happy.
And before you leave tonight I want you to ask God to remove that hate from your life.
So what we see is…
The Word of God has the power to make us grow if we will get these weeds out.
Did I say grow? YES
1 Peter 2:2 (KJV) 2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
So…We grow by the word, but…
There are some things that we are to get rid of.
But listen, tonight when you ask God to remove that filthiness out of your life, I want you to accept His forgiveness.
I believe that a rattlesnake is smarter that a lot of Christians.
When the snake sheds its skin, it does not carry it around. It leaves it behind.
When God forgives you, you are forgiven.
Young lady this morning rededicated her life to her Lord.
I told her that God has promised to forgive her, if she would ask.
She did – He has.
Let me show you how crazy it is for you to continue to dwell on what God has forgiven you for.
Those of you here who make a garden, help me out here.
How many of you pull the weeds out?
And then how many of you throw them back in?
So, we want to get the weeds out so that God can sow the seed.
Sow the seed (In your heart) (receive with meekness - v. 21)
Now, we are not to just receive the Word but we are to receive the engrafted or implanted Word.
The engrafted Word of God….
That is, it is not just words that have come into your head through reading or hearing but the engrafted word of God has been made alive in you by the quickening of the Holy Spirit.
Without the Spirit to guide you, you will never understand it.
2 Cor 3:15
If you have only an intellectual head knowledge of God’s Word then you are going to struggle to understand how it works in the lives of those who have God’s Holy Spirit living in them.
See, for those of us who have been born again, it is the engrafted Word of God.
It is the living Word of God…
It can teach things to the lost man but
It does more than that for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord.
He has sent another helper to come alongside us,
John 14:16, 26
So, there is a difference between the word of God in a lost person’s mind and the engrafted Word of God in a believer’s heart
So, when the engrafted Word of God comes into OUR lives, it can not only teach us things but it does all the things that the world cannot understand.
It increases our joy
It is healing for our brokenhearts
It frees us from being captives
It cleanses us – John 15:3
It is where we get our understanding of spiritual things
Let me give you a biblical illustration from the OT of how it can help you.
Turn to Psalms 73.
The Psalmist had a problem – He was going through a trial.
Psalms 73:2-3, 13-14, 16-17, 28
Okay then… the Word not only prepares but the Word powers.
The Word powers (v. 21)
The Gospel has the unique power to produce an effect that can not be achieved any other way.
If the best scientist had the fastest computer (BlueGene/L, 360 trillion operations/sec) and was backed by the richest man (Bill Gates) he still could not demonstrate the power that God’s Word can.
Look at verse 21 -
Able to save your soul (v. 21)
It is the power of God unto salvation – Romans 1:16
It is the Good News of our salvation – Ephesians 1:13
2 Timothy 3:15-17
And then…Not only is it able to save your soul but it is also able to strengthen your faith.
Able to strengthen your faith
Faith cometh from hearing – Romans 10:17
We are not spectators in Christianity but we are participants.
We are not to be the rock that repels the water
We are to be the prepared ground that receives it.
So it prepares and it powers but then James says it also is able to prevent some things.
The Word prevents (v. 19)
Now, what could it prevent?
Loud Mouth (v. 19)
He said be quick to hear but then he said…
Be slow to speak –
You can probably right now think of a time when you wish you had heeded this advice.
But a great time to remember to be slow to speak is when we are in trials or temptations.
Nerves are frazzled
Tempers run higher
Be slow to speak…
For instance, before we say we are being tempted by God we might want to remember to be slow to speak.
Then we would recall that in the book of James it says that God does not tempt and neither can He be tempted.
Be slow to speak…
Proverbs 17:28 (KJV) 28Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Or another way to say this would be that it is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
So, we are to be, “Slow to speak” –
This is something that the Pharisees and the Scribes and the religious leaders never seemed to learn.
They were too often too quick to argue with God’s Word (Jesus).
Sometimes we argue with God’s Word.
Maybe out of ignorance…
And we must be careful that we absorb God’s Word before we speak against it.
Maybe out of rebellion…
Many of the problems that churches have are because people should be slower to speak.
A lot of my problems would have never turned into problems if I had been slower to speak.
When we were studying synagogues in seminary it was very interesting. There were times when there would be heated arguments and each synagogue had an uncovered porch area where the heated discussions could be taken whenever someone should have been a little slower to hear.
The building committee may want to look into one of those, I don’t know.
Listen to what Paul told the Ephesians in Ephesians 4:29 (KJV) 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Do you know what that says?
Let’s read it again…
That means if you ain’t got something good to say….
And then the Word can prevent a
Hot head (v. 19)
Be slow to wrath…
Or slow in becoming heated by a debate.
Man, we live in a nation full of angry people – They are killing each other as fast as they can.
They are mad at everybody. And since there is nobody left to be mad at they are getting mad at things other than people.
I mean I was in a place this week where a dog 6” high made a woman who is 5’ high so mad that the woman was threatening to beat the dog up.
Not to whip the dog or punish the dog but beat the dog up!
Well, the dog just sat there and I guess because there were no more people in the world to be mad at she cursed at God.
She didn’t curse the dog – she cursed God.
And I still don’t know why she was mad at my God for something her dog had done.
This is an angry world.
You say, “Whew, I am glad it isn’t like that in the church.”
Well, I don’t know where you go to church but some of the best fights I have ever seen have been at church softball games.”
Some of the most hateful things said are between church members.
You and I are not be controlled by anger.
We are to be controlled by the Spirit.
Now, what’s the big deal?
It is hard to hear what God is saying to you from His Word when so much of your life is occupied with anger toward someone else.
Listen – lean in close…
You would not believe it but a lot of people come to church – and try to worship God while they are mad at someone else.
And they are only pleasing themselves because they are not pleasing God.
Look at verse 20 – Anger fails to yield the righteous life that God desires.
Now the Bible does not say that you cannot be angry –
As a matter of fact, I believe that God wants us to be angry.
In Ephesians 4:26, He told us to be angry…
Ephesians 4:26 (KJV) 26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
So, if we want to be angry and sin not it is very easy – All we have to do is to be angry at the things that God is angry at.
But we do not do that very well.
We come to church and hate those God loves
Then we go home and love those things that God hates.
Now, you can drop an extra five in the plate for that
Well, James wanted us to know before we left tonight that…
There is preparation – power – and prevention in the Word.
What we are to do is ensure that we are vessels prepared to receive it.
I invite you tonight as brother Marty comes to lead us in a song -
To lay aside the things which hold us back – Heb 12:1
This is the right time of year to get the weeds out
And then just ask God to fill you with His Word.
Remember the Word (v. 22)
Listen to it (v. 21)
Receive with meekness…implanted Word
Not a forgetter (v. 25)
Reaps little (v. 24)
If you hear it and it does not transform you then we should not expect you to become a doer and therefore what profit has the Word had for you or anyone else that you come into contact with?
Rotten for transformation (v. 24)
Ripe for self-deception (v. 22)
Isaiah, Obadiah, and Paul all agree that…
You can deceive yourself.
And a deceived heart can turn you aside.
2 Timothy 3:13 (KJV) 13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
John said if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.
Satan is called the deceiver of the whole world.
Sometimes things are not what they seem to be –
Proverbs 14:12 (KJV) 12There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Sometimes when you think you stand, you need to take heed lest you fall.
Paul told that Galatians that there were some who thought they were something when they were nothing and that they were deceiving themselves.
No blessing here (v. 25)
So, we are to receive the Word but that is not enough.
We must respond to it in active obedience – verse 22
Act on it (v. 22)
Now, did you know that knowledge of the Word is not enough?
We must also obey
Obey what? The perfect law of Liberty.
We are to be careful to observe the statutes of God – Dt. 26:16
Luke 6:46 - 48 (KJV) 46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: 48He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
The deception comes when you hear the Word and believe that is the end when in fact it is the beginning.
Hearing the sermon (lesson, reading the Bible, etc.) is not where you end but it is where you begin.
Let it bless you (v. 25)
A lot of folks think they are blessed when they hear the message they preacher delivered.
They will even meet him at the door and say, “That was a real blessing.”
And while most of them are sincere, the preacher would be peaking the truth if he said, “You think that was a blessing? Go and do what we talked about today. That is where the real blessing is at.”
Don’t just be a hearer – be a doer.
Let it counsel you (v. 26)
The Word is to be our counselor.
What do I do in this situation – Follow the teachings of God’s Word
What do I do now? - Follow the teachings of God’s Word
What about this? Follow the teachings of God’s Word
Look at it (v. 25)
The Bible is not just so we can take a glance.
And it is not so we can look and then forget.
And it certainly is not there for us to look at and then not do what it says.
25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
James has chosen two words here that really are contradictions
Law – Liberty
The secret to understanding them lies in the fact that God does not compromise the standard but that He pardons the guilty as they come under the blood of Jesus Christ.
Looking into God’s Word brings with it an obligation –
We don’t just look into it and then go away and forget it.
We gaze into it – We search it
Looking into the perfect law of liberty is part of our self-examination.
It is the standard.
It will reveal things to us
Who we are serving, etc.
It is what we are going to be judged from
It is where the soul can be made secure
It is where the eyes are enlightened.
It is the only place we can go to seek the precepts of God.
If you want to know the truth that can set you free – it is here.
It calls us to freedom – not to serve the flesh but to serve one another in love.
The reason that we even own mirrors is for self-examination.
Relay the Word (v. 27)
Do you remember what I told you when we started looking into the book of James?
I told you that there was a passage written by the apostle Paul that was illustrative of the book of James.
Look there again at Ephesians 2:10
Paul reminded Titus that we are to devote ourselves to good works
John said the way that we know we have come to the Lord is if we keep Hs commandments.
See God (v. 27)
See others (v. 27)
Widows (v. 27)
Orphans (v. 27)
See yourself (vv. 26,27)
You in the world (v. 27)
What they do not understand is that if “…you truly know God then you rejoice in His service…” - Ironside
They do not see that we do not do what we do because we have to but we do what we do because we WANT to.
The World not in you (v. 27)
This verse is a very clear mandate for us to go into the world while we are becoming separate from it.
Go to the widows and orphans
Keep yourself unspotted from the world…
Unspotted (v. 27)
We do not want to be conformed to this world.
Colossians 3:1 - 3 (KJV) 1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
We are to be separate from the world.
We are here on a mission trip to reach those who do not know the Lord.
And for us to be effective in reaching others we must maintain our identity, not lose it.
James says in 4:4 that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God.
They cannot have your salvation but they would love to have your testimony.
And if you flirt with the world it will not be too long before the world takes your testimony.
Jesus was identifies as a friend to publicans and sinners and yet the Bible says that He was like a lamb without blemish or spot.
Friend of sinners (??)
Pure religion has nothing to do with ceremonies, temples, or special days. Pure religion means practicing God’s Word and sharing it with others, through speech, service, and separation from the world. 
We have not been left something to read
We have been left something to DO.
Words are no substitute for deeds
1 John 3:17 - 19 (KJV) 17But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
Proverbs 15:2 (KJV) 2The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
Psalms 37:8 (KJV) 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
And then slow to wrath –
We call this having a short fuse
A hot head
A quick temper
Some people are proud that they always speak their mind. For some reason they are proud as they say, “Well, I always say what is on my mind.
When generally everybody else just thinks they are a jerk.
And for your anger to be directed at God’s Word makes no sense and reveals more about you than it does the Bible.
20For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Psalms 37:8 (KJV) 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
2 Timothy 2:24 - 25 (KJV) 24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
He is talking here about receiving the Word of God but he also talks about some preparation that need to take place.
The preparation is to, “…lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness…”
If you are going to overcome the trials and temptations that come into your life then there are some things that you are going to have to lay aside.
We need to make sure the heart is ready to receive the Word (seed).
22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
If you are a hearer only then there is the possibility that for a while you conscience is soothed and that you have deceived your heart.
Matthew 5:19 (KJV) 19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 11:28 (KJV) 28But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Doing His Word means abiding in His Word – John 8:31
Philippians 4:8 - 9 (KJV)
The reason that so many people are going to be deceived is because they have only an intellectual acquaintance with the Scriptures.
And because of that then they can use their sin nature intellect to twist the Scripture to fit their actions.
Deceive – cheat or deceive by false reasoning
23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Matthew 7:26 - 27 (KJV) 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Whoso looketh –
Not a glance but bending over to take a good long look
This is a careful inspection
What does this mean?
When you look into a mirror and see what changes need to be made and then make them then the mirror has served a useful purpose.
When we honestly and under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit look into the Bible and see the changes we need to make and THEN MAKE THEM, then the Bible has served its purpose.
I believe that part of the problem that the world has with the Bible is that they see no way that it is a path to freedom.
They see it as restrictive and binding.
If we abide in His Word, Jesus said we would truly be His disciples.
It is through this book that we devote ourselves to the Apostle’s teaching.
We are to be doers –
John 13:17 (KJV) 17If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
We are to use our tongue but the tongue we are to use is a bridled or controlled tongue.
And remember if the heart is right then the tongue will be right.
That commotion in your mouth reveals the condition of your heart.
Now, we began this series in James with a message from chapter three on the tongue.
Proverbs says the man who restrains his lips is wise.
And whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from trouble.
27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
True religion is when conduct and character are in accordance with God’s Word.
As you mature in your relationship with Christ, you will see that there is a difference in being involved in the routines of religion and doing the things that please God.
I mean if you get saved and begin to go to a place where there are elaborate religious ceremonies and rituals and all of that, it does not show that you have changed. It just shows that where you go to on Sunday mornings has changed.
Micah 6:8 (KJV) 8He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Psalms 68:5 (KJV) 5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
1 John 2:15 - 17 (KJV) 15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
We do not compromise and try to be more like the world.
I believe the world is hungry for something truly different. They know there is no hope in what the world has to offer.
Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary., Includes Index., Eleventh ed. (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, "An Exposition of the New Testament Comprising the Entire 'BE' Series"--Jkt. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996, c1989), Jas 1:26.