Doers of the Word

Studying the Bible Obediently

James 1:22

Audio mp3

May 15th 2011 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

I. Introduction

A. The Bible is a living book

B. But it is also a Book for living

1. Many people come to the pages of this Book and discover things to believe

2. But the words on this page are more for us to DO than JUST believe

C. It is a Book, full of instructions, commands, directions

D. And the Author expects us to obey them!

1. Jesus did not say, “You SHOULD be born again…” He said, “ye MUST be born again!”

2. God did not say, “Live any way you want and everything will turn out alright.” He said, “keep my commandments, and live.” (Pr 4:4)

E. You will never learn the Bible until you start to put its instructions into action

1. Like tithing – you will never know how true the Bible’s promises are until you put them to the test

2. Like humbling yourself (James 4:7) – you will never know the power of God until you have gotten rid of all your own pride and authority

3. Like forgiving – you will never learn the freedom that comes by forgiving those that have hurt you deeply

4. The Bible is a Book that cannot be understood until it is obeyed! It cannot do you any good until it is obeyed – i.e., like having medicine in your cabinet, and never taking it

F. We need to be “People of the Book” – that means people who don’t just know what the Bible says, but that obey what it says! People who love this Book, and live this Book, because it is God’s Book, written to give us LIFE!

II. Message

A. God tells us to do three things with His word

1. Hear It (James 1:19)

a. Listen to it as you read it

b. Faith cometh by hearing this Book

c. Hear every word (Mt 4:4)

2. Ponder It (Psalm 1:2) – think about what we read

a. Memorize portions of it

b. So you can meditate on it

1) People fret and worry because their minds are occupied by concerns and problems

2) You had better occupy your mind with good things to think

3. Obey It – enough to obey it (Acts 17:11)

a. As you read this Book, and hear it preached, are you READY to obey whatever God says to do?

b. Obedience requires trust in the Person giving commands

c. My job is to get you to trust this Book enough to obey it as the words of Almighty God

B. We are supposed to do more than just BELIEVE the Bible… we are supposed to DO/LIVE the Bible

1. John 14:14,15 - we all want God to answer our requests, but He conditions that upon whether we answer HIS!

2. The Christian is Supposed to:

a. Keep God’s words (Dt 17:18,19) – hold on to them, not letting any of them slip

b. Observe to do God’s words (Matt 28:20) – obey with great care

c. Follow – as if they are step by step instructions through a minefield

d. Do them from the heart (Ephh 6:6) Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

3. By the way, THE most important thing to teach your children is to OBEY you!

C. Instructions on Obeying God’s Words

1. James 1:19-26 “Be swift to hear…”

a. Swift and Slow at the same time

1) Swift, Quick to Hear…

a) Hear What? The Word of God (1:21)

b) How hear it – readily (Acts 17), eagerly, quick to the mark, ready to act on the sound given to GO!

c) We race in our minds to conclusions. We don’t take time to understand what someone is saying – it takes way too much effort – so we just make up our minds without all the evidence

2) Slow to do TWO natural things – it is very natural to do these following two things:

a) Speak – we speak, talk WAY too much!

b) Wrath – we are angry people! Quick tempered instead of quick listeners!

c) Christians should be quiet people, who have NO residing anger!

d) Why not? Because when we are talking constantly, and getting upset constantly, we are only getting into God’s way

e) So, govern your tongue (Pr 13:3; 10:19)

f) Settle your anger

g) And do a whole lot more listening to people, and ESPECIALLY God (John 10:27)!!!

b. So, to help you get swift to listen, and slow to say something, and slower to get angry, DO something!

1) Make room for the word of God

a) Meekness is an attitude of hunger, desire to let someone else be in charge

b) It is not just words on a page, but it is active – like engrafting a live, fruit-bearing branch into a dead, lifeless tree!

c) It will save your soul! And probably, your family, your job, your mind, and your health!

d) By Laying apart… put some distance between you and your filthiness

1. Your TV

2. Your bad friends

3. Your bad habits

e) AND put distance between you and superfluity of naughtiness

1. Naughtiness is wickedness

2. The Bible word was a very bad word to use

3. Superfluity means abundance of it

4. We will never be perfect, but we ought to be working on controlling the big problems in our lives

2) Make priority for it - Do the word you hear

a) Don’t worry about all the chapters and verses you don’t know yet

b) Just get busy doing what God’s word tells YOU to do

1. Wife – does it tell you to REVERENCE your husband?

2. Husband – does that Book tell us to love our wives better than we think we are?

3. Christian – does that Book tell you to open your mouth on the job and tell people about the wrath to come and the only way to be saved from it?

c) Do what the Bible says – whatever it may be!

1. DON’T forsake Sundays! Morning OR evenings – JOIN up

2. Thank God – constantly

3. Read your Bible cover to cover

d) Every week, we gather and hear something more for us to do as Christians

e) And most every time, we passively ignore it!

f) James says, “To truly hear God's Words results in obedience, not just information.”

c. Illustration of a Mirror

1) A hearer only…

a) Focuses on everyone else

b) No time thinking about HIS or HER own sinfulness and stubbornness

c) Looks into the Bible, and for a brief moment may see some problems, but then just moves on and quickly forgets about it

2) But a doer…

a) Looks, and looks, and looks some more into the perfect LAW of LIBERTY (Cf Ps 119:45)

b) He starts doing what God says to do

c) And he continues doing whatever God says to do

d) He makes sure he doesn’t forget what he has heard and learned

e) Is blessed – it is a spiritual law!

d. Then James points his big long bony finger right at everyone’s tongue in this room and says, If we are not restraining our TONGUES, then our entire religion is a joke!

2. Matthew 12:46-49 “Who are my brethren… they that do”

a. Jesus is teaching in a house up in Galilee

b. And His mother, and his four brothers try to get His attention, wanting to talk with Him about something – it doesn’t say what

c. They can’t get His attention, so they tell someone to tell someone, to tell someone close enough to Him to get Him to stop for a minute and come out to them

d. Without looking at his own flesh and blood, He asks a powerful question… Who is my mother, and who are my family?

e. And then He pointed at the people sitting there, eagerly listening, and hanging on every word

f. And he said, “Take a good look at MY Family!”

g. “For whosoever shall…” what?

h. “Whosoever shall DO the will of God the Father (written in the Bible), that same person is in the Family of God!”

i. It is more important to DO what God said than just believe what God said – and believe me, it is very important to believe what God said!

3. Matthew 7:21-23 - Only people who obey God are the children of God

a. Only people who obey God are the children of God

1) And by the way, not perfect obedience

2) But a desire to obey, a love to obey

b. Saying religious words mean nothing to God – may impress people, but not God

c. Doing religious acts and even miracles means nothing to God – yes, it can impress people, but NOT God

d. To God, anything we DO that is other than what God said to do, is SIN (7:23)

1) When God almighty has told you to repent and get born again, and you instead go to Lourdes, or Knock, or to church every day, twice a day to say prayers – every step you took was sinful and wicked and wrong!

2) When God tells you to forgive someone, and instead you are nice and kind to everyone else, every kindness you showed was wicked and evil in the sight of God

3) Because you didn’t do what God TOLD you to do!

D. How to Obey God’s Word

1. Fearfully – fear NOT obeying it

2. Fully – don’t just do parts and bits and pieces

3. Prayerfully – depending upon God to help you obey Him

4. Immediately - Obey God immediately when God gives you an instruction

E. Obstacles to Obedience

1. A Stiff-Neck (Ex 32:7-10; Jer 17:21-23; Act 7:51). I believe much of our stress is from our own STIFFNECKS against God’s commands!

2. A Hard Heart

3. Dull Ears

4. Blind Eyes

5. Ignorant Mind

6. All of these are naturally present to some degree in every one of us, and must be mortified, rejected, and replaced by the determined choice to obey God’s word anyway

F. The Price of Disobedience

1. Example of King Saul (1Sam 15:1-23)

a. Loss of Mind - Ruined Conscience – comfortable lying (15:13)

b. Resorting to Blaming Others (15:14,20,21). Defending Yourself (15:20) – blind to your disobedience

c. Lost Control - Enjoying Sin (15:19)

d. Lost the presence of God in his life! Under Demonic Control (15:23) –

e. Loss of Place in God’s will (15:22,23)

2. Look at the price of Adam’s disobedience in Genesis 3

3. Look at the price of Moses’ disobedience when he struck the rock when he was only supposed to speak to it

4. Take note of the price of the disobedience of David when he was SUPPOSED to be out fighting the war against the Philistines, and instead did his OWN THING up on a rooftop late one evening with Bathsheba!!!

5. Take a look around at children today, and husbands and wives, and society in general… it didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen by accident – it is the result of turning our backs on God’s ways of doing things, and look at the price our nation is paying!

G. The Results of OBEYING God’s word – What Can We Learn by Doing the Words of this Book?

1. Salvation (John 6:27-29) – your DO is to BELIEVE on Jesus Christ’s work!

2. Sanity (2Tim 1:7; Philp 4:6-9) – your DO is to read, and learn and obey, and God will restore your mind and heart and life!

3. Success (Joshua 1:8) – do things GOD’S way, and HE will bless you! Prov 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

4. Stability (Mt 24:6) – your do is to forgive, and God will remove the tormentors from your life!

5. Stretched-out Life - Long life (Deut 4:40) – you obey your parents, and your pastor, and your authorities over you, and God will lengthen your life!

6. National Dominance (Deut 28:1,2; 11-14) – wouldn’t that be cool for Ireland to be the HEAD instead of the tail?

7. More Truth (Psalm 119:100; 111:10)

a. Additional knowledge is given as a result of obedience to present biblical truth.

b. God is not going to show you things in the Bible until you are obeying what he has already said!

c. Mark 4:24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

d. Some of you stopped right after you got saved. Stopped reading and hearing and doing, and so God went quiet on you!

III. Conclusion – “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only”

A. A Poem

Dear Lord for this coming year Just one request I bring:

I do not pray for happiness Or any earthly thing --

I do not ask to understand The way Thou leadest me,

But this I ask: Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth Thee.

I want to know Thy guiding voice, To walk with thee each day.

Dear Lord make me swift to hear And ready to obey.

And thus the year I now begin A happy year t’will be --

If I am seeking just to do the thing that pleaseth Thee.

B. What has God told YOU to do?

1. Repent?

2. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?

3. Apologize?

4. Forgive?

5. Get Baptized?

6. Join this church?

7. Get started reading your Bible every day?

8. Go to that friend of yours and sit them down and tell them how you got saved, and that you want THEM saved?

C. I’ll do what you want me to do, go where you want me to go…