[Sermons on the Word of God from the Word of God]
During the series “Sermons on the Word of God from the Word of God” we have already covered three text teaching us that the Word must find a place in our lives, we are born again by the Word of God, and that the Spirit of God works in us by the authority of the Word of God. Today, we turn to James C1 and we will look at VV21-25. James is straight up when he writes instruction to believers. Here he forcefully writes, “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only.”
This is a lively phrase that we should reiterate time and again, but it links back to what our main focus is for the sermon. In V21 James will write, “Receive with meekness the implanted Word.”
This focus will allow us to answer the question “How do you receive something that’s already implanted?” Second, we can have an understanding of being doers of the Word and not hearers only and lastly we will learn that there is a blessing that accompanies this command.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
How do you receive something that’s already implanted?
This Word is the proclaimed Word of God that is received from the mouth a Gospel preacher. It is not something already buried deep inside of us that we need to rediscover, but first came to us by the message of the Gospel That is how it is implanted. We must continue to receive the Word much like oxygen. You breathe in initially yet you instantly have the need to breathe yet again. It keeps you alive! Breathing gives you the strength to breathe again. Receiving the Word from a Gospel preacher replenishes the energy of the implanted Word and the implanted word creates the hunger to continue to receive God’s Word. So the Word is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to “Receive with Meekness?”
Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” We should be living in meekness already and we are told to receive the Word in meekness. Meekness is humility. Therefore receiving with meekness the Implanted Word simply means that we are to continuously receive it knowing that we are not worthy. We are not worthy of this life-sustaining Word and it comes by nothing that we have done. All the riches of God are given freely by Grace through Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. So humbly accept the Word of God as necessary, and binding.
Be Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only
What will receiving the word look like? People doing the Word and not merely listening. Hearing is important. It is the First Step because even James tells us in v18 that we are born again by the Word of Truth (the Gospel message). And the Apostle Paul tells us, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Yet it is foolish to hear only and not do something with the message.
If we think that we are not accountable for a proper response to the Gospel then we are only deceiving ourselves. There is a certain obedience that is the proper response to the Grace of God found in Jesus Christ. In the Gospel there is saving power AND a call to obedience. We can not submit to only one. Salvation comes by Grace, through faith that evidences itself in Works. We do not produce those works, the Spirit does according to the Word, but don’t make a mistake, there will be God-glorifying works! The Bible is a book of grace but not of a lawless grace.
Who is blessed? The one who is a Doer of the Perfect Law of Liberty
Hearer Only: looks in a mirror and quickly forgets what he saw
Doer: looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and continues in it
A person can intently look in a mirror all day at his/her face and possibly memorize every wrinkle and hair, but that is not lasting. The memory will soon fade and your appearance will soon change. A person who looks into the Word sees something that is perfect, liberating, and worth devoting a lifetime. It is lasting and unchanging. “The Word of God lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23). “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
Galatians 5:13 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
A blessing: we will be happy and satisfied but this is what saves our souls (v21). The implanted word which we receive saves our souls. There is nothing more serious. What is the soul? It is who we are; all that is within you faces destruction outside Christ. In Luke 11:28 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!” Remember what Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.”
So we must “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness” v15 teaches that desire gives birth to death. James talks about an “overflow of wickedness.” There are all sorts of evils (and plenty of them) that Christians must fight against. “Lay aside” is a clothes imagery of “taking off filthy clothes." Thus we are instructed, “Let us lay aside every weight and sin that so easily ensnares us.”
Here and in 1 peter 1:23-2:2 New Birth by the Word of God is followed by the command to put away evil and then a call to embrace a Word-led life. The argument becomes the same as the Spirit argument in Galatians 3. The Spirit/Word has birthed this saving work in you, now allow the Spirit/Word to finish it.
Your soul depends on receiving the implanted Word. If you think that you do not need the Word of God then you are like someone that decides that they do not need to breathe in oxygen.
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.”
The seed of the Word has been planted in you and it must continue to be received in order to grow to its potential which is to bear the fruit of salvation. You can not bear the fruit of salvation, only the Word can by the Spirit. Your soul depends on the Word!