Thursday, July 27, 2017, 8:29 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 1:21-25 (NASB).
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Put Them Aside
Whether you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, or you are a Christian by profession only, or you have never believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of your life, this message is for you. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) died on a cross for your sins so that you could be delivered out of slavery (addiction, bondage) to sin and be set free to walk in his holiness and his righteousness. He who knew no sin became sin for us, when he died on that cross, so that we might become the righteousness of God. And, righteousness is what is approved in God’s eyes, i.e. what he deems right.
So, faith in Jesus Christ means that we die with Christ to sin that we might live with Christ to righteousness, for he was resurrected, too. It also means we walk (in lifestyle) no longer according to what our sinful flesh desires, but we now walk by faith – and in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit, now living within us – according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we are liars. And, if we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So, we need to repent of our sins by turning away from all moral filthiness and wickedness, forsaking them, casting them aside, and by turning to God/Jesus Christ to follow (obey) him in all his ways. If we continue to practice sinning against God after we have the knowledge of the truth, we don’t have the hope of heaven, but a fearful expectation of judgment.
In a Mirror
The Bible is filled with messages concerning what we are to put off, and what we are to put on. When we believe in Jesus, we put off our sinful lifestyles (our old self), and we put on our new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (See: Eph. 4:17-24). So, when we put off (or put aside) all moral filthiness and wickedness, then, in humility, we are to receive (accept, adopt) the Word of God ingrained into our lives, which is able to save our souls. Yet, it is only able to save our souls if we apply what we read to our lives.
God is not interested in how much head knowledge we have about the Bible, or if we can recite all the books of the Bible in order, or about how many scripture verses we have committed to mental memory. He is not impressed by Bible college or seminary degrees, or by how much Greek or Hebrew we know, or by ministry positions within the church as teachers of the Word. What God cares about is if we DO what we read, what we know, what we have studied, and what we teach others. We can be great expositors of the Word, but if we are not living what we teach, then it is fruitless.
Time spent with our Lord in His Word is to bring about change in our thinking, attitudes and behaviors. His Word should transform us and conform us into the likeness of Christ. If all we do is read it, and then we close the book, and we walk away, but we forget what we read, then our reading didn’t do us much good. We can say we had “devotions,” but if we go on living however we want, still gratifying the cravings of our sinful flesh, while we go through the motions of a relationship with Jesus Christ, it will not bear fruit in our lives in keeping with repentance, but it will be a meaningless and wasted effort, on our part.
An Effectual Doer
So, what pleases God is when we are DOERS of the Word and not hearers only who delude (deceive, fool) themselves. They fool themselves when they think God is pleased or that they have a relationship with him if they read the Bible every day, or if they are able to expound lots of scripture. It is not what we know that matters in this life, but it is what we do with what we know. And, yet, many people seem to think that knowledge or performance is enough to get a passing grade with God while they cheat on their relationship with God, or what could be a relationship with Him, if they would submit to his Lordship in their lives and would DO what He says.
So, we need to prove ourselves to be DOERS of the Word. In other words, there needs to be evidence from our lives (from our lifestyles) that we actually are putting into practice what we read in God’s Word. We can talk like we are doers, and we can put on an act in front of others, as though we truly are ones who are applying the truths we know, but if there is not enough evidence to corroborate our profession, then we are on pretty shaky ground. Words can be cheap if they are not followed up with action. Actions speak louder than words. If we say we love God, then we need to DO what he says consistently, persistently, and truthfully.
This is not a casual thing, though – this doing what the Word of God teaches. We need to look intently (earnestly and eagerly) into the gospel message of our salvation, and into the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles, while not neglecting the Old Testament, too. And, we need to abide by (follow, obey) the law of liberty, i.e. the message of salvation from sin. And, that message is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. So, we are to forsake our sins and follow our Lord in surrender to his will for our lives. For his grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.
Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”