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When "Religious" is Right (James 1:26-27)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 16 March 2014 00:00

 

03-16-2014 When “Religious” is Right James 1:26-27

Quiet Compassion and Personal Purity

Review: 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face {lit., the face of his birth} in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Main Idea:

The secret of being blessed (1:25), the key to blessedness (1:12), is to find people you can help!

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation (trial); for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Religion and Relationship

People can be religious without having a personal relationship to God as their heavenly Father, but people cannot have pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father without first being born from above into God’s forever family. As God’s children, we may fail to practice pure religion before God our Father, but we will never lose the permanent relationship that became ours the moment we believed in His Son for everlasting life. Fellowship and blessing and eternal rewards are at stake, but never our relationship with Him as our heavenly Father.

1. I would be deceived to think of myself as being religious if I do not bridle my tongue.

26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.

This recalls the thematic verse, James 1:19 ~ 19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

This serves as a preview of what James will talk about in 3:1-12. “There is as much work to be done in bridling (holding in check) our tongue as there is in reining in real horses – perhaps more! The Christian who succeeds in doing this to a significant degree (no one does it perfectly) has performed a good work. Much evil would be prevented if we were more successful in doing this work, since our overall self-control is enhanced by controlling our tongue (3:2). James here totally dismisses the religion of any Christian person who places no restraint on the use of his tongue.” (Zane C. Hodges, The Epistle of James: Proven Character Through Testing, p. 46)

2. I would be deceived to think that my religious practice before God my Father is pure and undefiled if I am not helping those who cannot do anything for me in return.

27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble,  Whether or not we will help those who cannot help us in return shows us where our heart is at. “Visiting” doesn’t mean just ringing the doorbell, saying “Hi” and “Goodbye,” but visiting implies helping those with trouble as one is able to help.

3. I would be deceived to think that my religious practice before God my Father is pure and undefiled if I do not keep myself pure from the pollution of the world.

27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: … to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (Compare James 1:21)

 

 

 

 

 

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