Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Bible Book: James  1 : 26-27
Subject: Service; Obedience; Christian Living
Introduction

In this passage, James’ teaching is an expansion of that which he just presented. Three times already James has mentioned the danger of being deceived: 16, 22, and 26. It is possible, according to James, to think you are living the Christian life when in actuality, you are just fooling yourself. James has referred to the Bible as a mirror, here one goes to the mirror to see a reflection of pure religion, and there he finds it. James, as we have already seen, is an intensely practical-minded Christian; he reduces everything to the terms of practical daily life. Remember, he is a creative doer, he did not come to audit the course but to take the test, and his thoughts are on the day of graduation.

The word “religion” is used three times in two forms. Paul used the word in Acts 26:5 when speaking of his former life before he was converted. Josephus, an early church historian, used the word to describe worship in the temple at Jerusalem.

By contrast, the word most commonly used in the New Testament for genuine, God-honoring, and God –pleasing worship is (eusebeia), whose basic meaning is that of godliness and holiness.

This passage has been referred to as the “test” of true religion: test of conversation, compassion, and conduct; talking, acting, and doing. James is saying that a true believer will control the tongue, care for the afflicted, and live an unspoiled life. This passage calls for the kind of life that God accepts.

I. THE TONGUE AND RELIGION 26

Jesus is reminding us that the tongue is quite an indicator of a person’s life.

Matthew 12:34b: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

In this passage we are not dealing with Salvation but with Service; not in what we believe but in how we behave.

Authentic religion is much more than outward expressions of worship.

Matthew 15:8: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.”

James 1:26 describes a person who has been convincing himself that he is really religious but in so doing “he deceived himself.”

To be false, to fail to fulfill, to come to accept as true.

Those who merely hear God but avoid doing what God says are deluded. They are not dealing with reality.

A. Lifeless

Religion vs Relationship

B. Useless

Empty in that there is nothing to draw from.

C. Fruitless

Matthew 12:33-37: "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

D. Worthless

An empty, useless, vain religion cannot bring a person to the good God intended (Romans 8:29).

The tongue is not the only indicator of true spirituality but is one of the most reliable. Up to one-fifth of the average person’s life is spent talking.

If the tongue is not controlled by God’s Spirit, it is a sure indicator that the heart is not.

II. THE TELLTALE OF PURE RELIGION  27

We are blessed to be a blessing. James is not referring to what’s best to us, best to the world, best for the church, but “before God”; in the “sight of God.”

“Pure” – cleanliness

“Undefiled” – denotes free from contamination

God’s standard vs. our own man made traditions. This passage speaks of Divine Obligation

“to visit the orphans and widows in trouble” – visit is from the word bishop (overseer), exercising oversight on their behalf. Word is used of God’s visiting His people in order to help, strengthen, and encourage them.

Luke 1:68: "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,

For He has visited and redeemed His people”

Luke 1:78:“Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us”

Luke 7:16: “Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen up among us’; and, ‘God has visited His people.’"

Hebrews 2:6: “But one testified in a certain place, saying: ‘What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him?’”

“visit” means to look out for someone, to select someone, carries the idea of inspection or to visit with help.

This speaks of a pure religion that is marked by a personal ministry.

“orphans and widows in their trouble” – because such people without parents and husbands are unable to reciprocate in any way, caring for them reveals true sacrificial love.

Psalms 68:5: “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.”

EXAMPLE:

Foster Care/Adoption/Deacons care of widows

True Christianity is manifested from a pure and loving heart by the way believers talk and by the way they act. It is manifested by how they love and care for those who are in need, not for how they love and care for those they prefer, those who are close to them, etc.

My devotion to the word leads to my duty of the work (James 1:22, 25).

James minimizes what one says and maximizes what one does. The old cliché, “Don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk.”

James is making his final thrust toward demonstrating real faith by loving others.

“Visit” – means more than to show up on someone’s doorstep. It means to show mercy to His people by doing something merciful for them.

We might read our Bibles every day, but if we do not obey what we read, we are no better off than the person who holds a doctor’s prescription in hand but refuses to take the medicine.

On the other hand, a person who gazes into the law of liberty and becomes “an effectual doer” will be “blessed in what he does.” V25

Major Biblical Truth:

Matthew 25:45: “Then He will answer them, saying, “'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'”

We use the word HEAR in our “D” groups:

Highlight (Hear)

Explain

Apply

Respond

Email from Stacie Kersey’s 83 year old mother:

Dear Bro. Johnny,
Let me tell you how grateful I am to God and First Baptist Woodstock and We Foster for all the programs you offer that will help my single daughter with her two adopted daughters. Family are not close enough to her to be of much help. Please let me thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Joan McCrary  - Stacie Kersey's Mother -  Maria and Ana's Grandmother.

In 6 years, We Foster has provided a family for 200 children and we have seen 31 of those children adopted.

CHALLENGE: In those 6 years thousands of children within a 10 mile radius of FBCW have needed homes.

EXCUSES ELIMINATED:

1. Marti Groce

Single, never married-“What Can I Do?
Started with volunteer work
Listen to her story

2. Bill and Kellie Parson

Respite Care
Serve like an Aunt and Uncle

3. Gene and Katie Petrov

Great Testimony of a Great Experience

4. Kyle and Michelle Yeager

Loving too much to let them go?

5. Scott and Hillary Massey

What if you are young without children?