Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture points and the main idea of the message.

  2. How did this message strengthen and/or correct your previous ideas about this passage of Scripture? Was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged, or confused you? Did you learn anything new about God or yourself this week?

  3. Read James 1:19-20. What words or phrases stand out to you? What is James teaching in these verses?

  4. Would you describe yourself as someone who is quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger? Where do you tend to fall short in these areas?

  5. Where do you tend to struggle with sinful anger? What desires might be motivating these struggles? (Ex: desire for control, desire for things you aren’t getting, inappropriate expectations)

  6. Read James 1:21-22. What words or phrases stand out to you? What is James' solution to sinful anger? According to the sermon, what is the “word” that James speaks of here?

  7. What passages in God’s word speak to anger? Share these passages and read them together. How can you apply them to your life?

  8. Read James 1:23-27. What is the kind of life that James calls his readers to in these verses? Make these observations together and discuss some ways you can obey these verses.

  9. What action step do you need to take in response to this week’s message? How can your group hold you accountable to this step?

 

Action Step

Accountability exercise: Break up your group into pairs of 2-3 people. Take some time to share with each other one area of your life where you need to apply the truth of God’s word. Pray together and exchange contact info. During the week, message or call one another to check in and see how the other person is doing with what they shared in the group.


 


Abide


Sermon Transcript

Would it be fair to say from observing the world that we live in, that we live in an age of anger? That's fair. I'm not, you know, I wanna make sure everybody's on the same page. I'm not talking about little frustrations. Little frustrations happen to us all the time, right? Every time my wife goes grocery shopping, she comes home and she says to me, "Do you know how much ground beef costs?" And I'll always answer, "I don't." 'Cause I don't go, I don't know. "Well, I want you to guess." "I don't want to guess." She wants me to share her frustration. "I want you to guess how much ground beef is now "by the pound." And I'm like, "I don't know". "But I want you to guess." So I'll just go, "$1 million". And she'll just look at me, you know? And then I'll look at her and I'll say, "Is it a million dollars?" And she'll just look at me and I'll say, "You know why I know it's not a million dollars? "We don't have a million dollars. "And if we did have a million dollars "and you were spending it on ground beef, "we'd have an entirely new set of problems in our family." I'm not talking about little frustrations, I'm talking about real genuine anger. There's no shortage of books that you can find on the market that talk about anger. And that could be, maybe its historical commentary about why the United States is such an angry people now. Or maybe it's even old Greek philosophy like Seneca, who has a book called "On Anger". Or maybe it's those that are trying to get us to lean into our anger. There are book titles called "Burn It Down" and other things like that. Or maybe there's political anger that we've experienced. There's books out there with titles like "American Rage", and it's talking about politics in the age of outrage. But why are we so angry as a people? Well, there's probably a million different variants as to why that's the case. And you can read a bazillion different endless articles if you want to go look that up, particularly over the last 10 years. In fact, there was an IBM Watson Health Poll pretty recently within the last couple of years. And basically, here's what Americans said. 84% of Americans think that citizens of the United States are angrier now than they were a generation ago. And in fact, of those who responded to this particular survey, 42% of them even even came clean and said, I'm personally angrier than I was some time ago. So we see it every single place. What are the reasons for that? Well, I mean, we've got 24/7 news cycles with talking heads on them, that traffic in outrage. It's a way to get your eyeballs on them. Everything has to be angry and everything has to be an outrage. That's one of the reasons. Social media is another one of those reasons. Whether it's you looking on there and thinking, why are these stupid people doing stupid things and now I'm angry at them? Or maybe it's the economy, or maybe it's the job situation, or maybe it's relationships, or maybe it's some personal hardship that you may be experiencing. Maybe it's just getting caught in actual traffic and you're just angry all the time, right? Why can't these people not have jobs and not have lives 'cause I'm the only one that should be on the road, right? So I don't really know all of the reasons, but here's the question that I started thinking to myself, James, do you have anything for us in this age of outrage that we live in? Do you have something for us? The answer is an unequivocal absolutely. And I want us to look in a moment in the Book of James, and you remember that James is the half brother of Jesus, and he's writing now as kind of the primary leader among other elders that are at the church of Jerusalem. James came to faith after the resurrection and now he's writing to the scattered believers, most of whom were Jewish, that had left the Jerusalem Church and were now spread out all over the Roman Empire. And as James is writing to them, he understands some of the things that they are walking through and the trials that they are facing. They're facing all sorts of difficulties, all sorts of trials. Remember I told you last week, for those of you that were here, there was a famine that was in the Roman Empire. And so there were some people that were dealing with scarcity of food. They were also, as Christians, looked at as people who were responsible for the diminishing of the Roman Empire. And as a result, they were either sometimes worked their way out of jobs or they were overlooked for jobs, or maybe they were socially ostracized. There's a whole lot of reasons. If you're having trouble feeding your family, if you're being overlooked for jobs, if you're being socially ostracized, if you're being persecuted in other ways, lots of reasons for you to be angry. And James knows that. And so he's writing instruction to all of these scattered believers. What's the instruction that he gives? What is it that he's writing to them? Well, if I were summarizing what we're talking about today, it would simply be this, that the people of Jesus should be slow to anger, but quick to obey. The people of Jesus should be slow to anger, but quick to obey. Now, I wanna show you what we're talking about here in beginning in verse number 19 in James chapter one, it says this, "My dear brothers and sisters, "take note of this. "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, "slow to become angry "because human anger does not produce "the righteousness that God desires. "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth "and the evil that is so prevalent "and humbly accept the word planted in you, "which can save you." You see, the Book of James is really, really practical. It's talking to us about how our faith actually results in action. But if you listen kind of to the subtext of James, what see is you see that James has a significant concern. They're going through a severe number of trials, right? And James, in the beginning part of that chapter talks about there's really two pathways that you can choose from when you go through trial. It can be trial that you view as a test which you persevere from, persevere in, and you mature in, or trial that becomes temptation, which leads to evil desires, which leads to sin, which leads to death. There's two pathways when we talk about this idea of trials. And if you understand the subtext of what James is writing, here's what he's trying to say to us. Listen carefully to this, that the trial may not be the most dangerous thing that you are encountering. The person you become in the trial could be the most dangerous thing that you're encountering. Did you hear that? James is concerned not that the trials they're going through are the most dangerous thing they're facing, but that who they become as a result of the trial could be the most dangerous thing that they're facing. That's why he's saying, there's two different ways you can view trials. And now he's saying very unequivocally that you've gotta be slow to anger because it doesn't produce what God wants to produce in and through it. Now, if I were looking at this and I was saying I wanna surface a few truths out of this passage of scripture, kind of for the remainder of the chapter of chapter one, I wanna surface some truths about why the people of Jesus should be slow to anger and quick to obey. So here's the first one that I would surface for us. It's this, because we can deceive ourselves. It's why we should be slow to anger and quick to obey Jesus. Why? Because we can deceive ourselves. Listen to the words that James gives to us in verse 19. He says, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this. "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak "and slow to become angry." And then look, in verses 26 and 27, "Those who consider themselves religious "and yet do not keep a tight reign on their tongues "deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. "Religion that God our Father accepts "as pure and faultless is this, "to look after orphans and widows in their distress "and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." See, James is giving us some things that are very practical, but he's also reminding us that how we speak gives a glimpse into who we are. Some of you're going, okay, this is getting a little close. This is getting a little in my business. How we speak gives a glimpse as to who we are. Why do you think James is talking about the fact that we better reign in our tongues because it's an indication of what's going on inside of us and the person that we're becoming. And it may be coming from a place of anger. Why does James concentrate on this idea? Because Jesus did. Remember that James is influenced by the teaching of Jesus, his half brother, and that's what he has available to him to work from. And so he's constantly referencing Jesus' great Sermon on the Mount. And really in the first chapter of James, it's just over and over and over again, he's referencing the Sermon on the Mount. Luke, when he records the Sermon on the Mount tells us this, Jesus said, "A good man brings good things out of the good "stored up in his heart. "And an evil man brings evil things out "of the evil stored up in his heart. Watch this. "For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." Or some of your translations may say, "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. "There is an intricate relationship between our tongues "and our hearts. "They are tied together." And that's why James says we need to keep a tight reign on our tongue because it's a reminder that we better guard our hearts, because he knows the teaching of Jesus along this line. Do you know people? Do you know people that talk way too much? And I don't mean they just like to gab. I'm not talking about that. That's fine sometimes, but like it can get tiring, you just need to know that. But I'm talking about people who talk about things that they shouldn't be talking about, talk in ways that they shouldn't be talking, talk about people in ways they shouldn't be. Do you know what I'm talking about? Do you know anybody like that? Is it you? I don't, man, when I was thinking about this passage, do you know what came to mind? This is so weird and random. Me growing up in the '80s and hearing Run-D.M.C., anybody remember the OGs of rap, Run-D.M.C.? And they had a song called "You Talk Too Much". I loved it. I used to sing it in my head all the time. Hey, you over there, I know about your kind. You're like the independent network news on Channel Nine. Everywhere that you go, no matter where you are at, you talk about this and you talk about that. When the cat took your tongue, I say, you took it right back. Your mouth is so big, one bite could kill a Big Mac. And then the chorus is, you talk too much, you never shut up. I said, you talk too much homeboy, you never shut up. Appreciate that. You can tip in the back, I'll be here all day. So we're going, did he just reference a Run-D.M.C. song in a message on the Book of James? Yep. Because you know what, they were on to something. Rev Run and the group there, they were on to something. Listen to what the writer of Proverbs says in chapter 10. "Sin is not ended by multiplying words, "but the prudent hold their tongues." Sin is not ended by multiplying words. Some translations say, where words are many, sin is not absent. You talk too much. Homeboy, you never shut up, right? James says that we need to reign in our tongues and be slow to speak, especially if we are motivated by anger. Because what happens when we are angry is what comes out of our hearts and then out of our mouths is indicative of what's going on and the pollution that is inside of us. And know this, God sees it. God sees not only what we say, but he sees the place that it comes from deep inside of us. And James says, instead of being quick to speak, he says, be slow to speak, be quick to listen and be slow to anger because it doesn't produce what it's supposed to produce. And instead, you should make sure that your heart is in the right place. He actually says that the actions of your life are demonstrated by caring for those in need. He talks about widows and orphans in this context, those people that are in need and that you keep yourself from the pollution of the world. This is a remarkable statement that he gives to us, but it's reminding us that what happens is, is that we can deceive ourselves by thinking, listen to this. We can deceive ourselves by thinking, because we listen to sermons or show up at church or whatever, but really we're doing this and it's covering the heart issues that we have. And we're smart enough maybe not to say all of our stuff in front of other people, but we know what's coming out of our mouths in other places and we deceive ourselves because we think we've come and we've listened to a message and we're a part of a church and all that stuff. But man, when we talk to other people, when we talk about other people, when we get on our phones and we chat about other people, when we're on comment sections and places that we're talking, when we're on chat rooms, when we're doing whatever we're doing between our mouths, our tongues, and or our thumbs, we're demonstrating who we really are. And James says, you can deceive yourselves. And he says you need to keep a tight reign on your tongue because you need to be concentrating on the the lack of pollution in your own heart. And we can get self-deceived. So why does James tell us to be slow to anger and quick to obey? Because we can deceive ourselves. But secondly, it's because human anger doesn't produce the righteousness of God. This is what James tells us. Human anger doesn't produce the righteousness of God. Look what he says in verse 20 and 21, "because human anger does not produce "the righteousness that God desires." You're like, man, you just ripped off James for your point. That's the job I have. My job is plagiarizing the Bible. Literally my job. He says, "human anger does not produce the righteousness "that God desires. "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth "and the evil that is so prevalent." What is that moral filth? What is that evil? In large part, what James is talking about in context is human anger. That's in large part. It certainly can apply to other arenas, but that's in large part what he's talking about. You can imagine that the recipients of his letter who are going through trials, who are facing real things, things that can make them mad, right? You're being persecuted, you're being treated unfairly, you're being socially ostracized. You don't have enough money to be able to do what you need to do to care for your families. There's a lot of things that they can be angry about. And you can imagine that some of them might think that my anger will be an acceptable way to go about getting the outcome I want. I don't like how the government is treating us. I don't like how the empire is treating us. So my anger is motivating me to go get justice. And James says, human anger will not produce the justice of God. Human anger will not produce the righteousness of God. That word righteousness can also be translated justice. It's a very similar word. James says, no. And you know what James is doing? He's echoing Jesus, because Jesus knows where anger actually leads. He knows that it doesn't bring about righteousness in our lives. Human anger does not bring about righteousness in our lives. Some of you right now, you're wrestling with this, you're trying to justify some things. You're thinking about the what abouts. I'm coming to you in just a second. But listen, listen to what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. Remember, this is part of why James is drawing this conclusion about anger because of what Jesus taught. He says this, Jesus says, "You've heard that "it was said to the people long ago, "You shall not murder, "anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. "But I tell you that anyone who is angry "with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. "Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, "Raca", it was kind of a curse to them, right? "Is answerable to the court. "And anyone who says, "You fool", "will be in danger of the fire of hell." Do you hear what Jesus is saying? He's saying, human anger doesn't lead anywhere good. Human anger is the seed bed for destruction and it gets us nowhere. And do you know what human anger is rooted in? It's rooted in a desire for control. Human anger is rooted in a desire for control. We don't get our way. Things aren't going as we think they should go. And it's rooted in a desire for control, which is really just a signal that we want to be sovereign over everybody and everything, which is really a signal of pride. And what does anger and pride lead to? Strife and destruction. Listen to what Proverbs 29 says. "An angry person stirs up conflict, "and a hot-tempered person commits many sins." Friends, when you look through the scripture and you start reading about human anger, you just don't see it viewed positively. It is a seed bed for destruction and that's why James is talking about it so frequently. And James says, in fact, get rid of it. Get rid of all moral filth. Cut it out of your life. It is leading you nowhere good. Now I'm curious what your reaction is when you hear this. You're hearing about anger and how it needs to be cut out of your life. And you may have a reaction to saying, yeah, but what about? All right? I know where you're going. What about Jesus? He was flipping tables in the temple courts. That was a righteous anger. Let me just pause you for a quick second. It absolutely was a righteous anger. Is what you wanna do compare yourself to divine anger? Is that really what you wanna do? Listen carefully. Divine anger is God's. He owns that. And divine anger is sinless. It's holy, it's righteous. Human anger is ours. And what we want to do is sometimes pretend that it is divine anger, but it's not. Divine anger is talked about in the word of God over and over and over again because it is from a sinless and holy God. But human anger, listen, human anger is ours and it is subject to all sorts of sin. Don't get me wrong, there is such a thing as righteous anger, that does exist and it exists in our human understanding, yes. In fact, you're probably going to your mind, what about Paul saying, in your anger, do not sin. So Paul's told us you can be angry and still not sin. He absolutely did tell us that. But do you know what he said right after that? Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do you know why? Because here's what Paul knew about human anger. It is going to quickly run to sin. It is predisposed to sinfulness. Divine anger is not, human anger is. That's why Jesus and James after him are pressing on us to get rid of that human anger that leads to all the wrong places. Some of you're still working through this and trying to justify right now because you're like, hey, but when I see something that's wrong, you know what? Anger's good. And the reason anger's good is because it gets me up out of the bed in the morning and it gets me activated toward things that aren't right. So anger's your motivation. Why isn't it love? Why isn't it love? Love doesn't motivate you? Just anger? Sure, there are injustices in the world, and yes, they make us angry. But love should be leading, not anger. I'll tell you why. Because where love leads, anger can be and be sanctified. Where human anger leads, love doesn't come. You know why I know that? Because Jesus who faced the greatest injustice in the history of the cosmos being crucified, was not motivated by anger at the cross. He was motivated by sacrificial love. This is why James is telling us, human anger doesn't produce the righteousness of God. This must have been challenging for the recipients of this letter, by the way, because many of the recipients of this letter were kind of in two different categories. One category is what in the Hebrew language they would call the Anawim, and what this meant was the little ones, the poor ones, the ones that are kind of despised, the ones that are on the margins, right? When in chapter one when he talked about those that are in humble circumstances, he's referring to those who are kind of on the outside looking in. In the Hebrew text, it talks about the Anawim. It's referenced all through the Old Testament, the poor ones, the little ones, the ones that are going through trial, right? So you've got that group of people, but then you've got another group of people that James is writing to and they're called zealots. And the zealots are, they're kind of motivated by anger, they're carrying. And if it takes rebellion against the Roman Empire, which is unjust and I agree, but they're willing to rebel and that lead to physical violence and all of those kinds of things, we're willing to do that 'cause we wanna overthrow them. Could you imagine how this letter from James is actually working in their lives? Because James is saying, the way that you want to go about this by anger, that may lead to violence is not the way to go about it, not for the people of Jesus. You need to learn to trust me and trust what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. So as opposed to looking at all the what abouts, let's listen to actually what's being said by Jesus. What's being said by James. He's saying, get rid of human anger, it doesn't produce the righteousness or justice of God. But a third reason that we should be slow to anger and quick to obey is because the received and obeyed word can save us. The received and obeyed word can save us. Look in verse 21. "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth "and the evil that is so prevalent "and humbly accept the word planted in you, "which can save you. "Do not merely listen to the word, "and so deceive yourselves. "Do what it says." You see, the received and obeyed word can save us. What's James referring to when he refers to the word, when he's talking about that? Well, he can only be talking about the moral teaching of the Old Testament and the teaching of Jesus because James is the first letter that we have in the New Testament. So we don't even have the compilation of what we call the New Testament. What James is referring to when he refers to the word, he's referring to the Old Testament moral teaching, but he's referring to Jesus teaching and how Jesus is the fulfillment of everything the Old Testament was moving toward. And then he gives us some contrast. In fact, look at the contrast here. Watch this. He says, "get rid of all moral filth". And over here he says, "humbly accept the word". He talks about "the evil that is so prevalent", and then talks about what is "planted in us". And then kind of implicit is what destroys us, and here he talks about what can save us. You see, James is giving us kind of corollaries here, contrasts here to help us see what is no good for us and what is good for us. And ultimately, what James is getting at is not a works-based salvation. That's not what he talks about. He's not talking about a works-based salvation. He's talking about a salvation that comes by grace through faith, but that now that we are saved, results in works for the glory of God. This is what James is talking about in this letter. And he says, you can't just merely listen to the word because you'll deceive yourselves. It's possible that James was actually reflecting back on some of the writing of the rabbis or some of the practice of the rabbis. The writing came a little bit later, but we know now, looking back at the missionaic texts of some of the rabbinic literature, specifically in Avot chapter five, verse number 14, some of the rabbis would talk about those who come to synagogue and listen but don't do what they've been taught. And then they would talk about those who don't come to the synagogue, but they sort of practice some of what's being taught. Then they would talk about those who do come to the synagogue and listen and who do what they've been taught. And they said, those are the truly pious ones. And then they talk about those who never come to the synagogue and listen and who never even think about doing what they've been taught, right? So they almost give us these four pictures. James says, there's two, those who listen to the word only and deceive themselves, and those who listen to the word and do what it says, that's what he says. That's what James is trying to help us understand. And then he gives us this illustration in verse 23 and 24, he says this, "Anyone who listens to the word "but does not do what it says "is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and. "after looking at himself goes away "and immediately forgets what he looks like." It's a simple illustration. There's no need to try and parse it out too much. It's a simple illustration. Here's what the reminder is. Someone looks in a mirror, they see what they see, they go away forgetting what they saw. And do you know what it renders the mirror? Useless. The mirror was actually useless to them. They looked in the mirror, the mirror could reflect what was there, but they just walked away and forgot about it, didn't pay attention to it. And so it renders the mirror kind of useless. James says that when we come to the word and we just listen only, but we walk away and don't put it into practice, what we are effectively doing is rendering the word useless in our lives. And he is telling us, don't do that. There's another reason that I'll give to you that the people of God should be slow to anger and quick to obey. And here's why. Because we'll be blessed. Because we'll be blessed. Look at what he says in verse number 25. "But whoever looks intently into the perfect law "that gives freedom." The perfect law that gives freedom is this beautiful kind of depiction of the fulfillment of Jesus and what Jesus has taught us. "Whoever looks intently into the perfect law "that gives freedom, and continues in it, "not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, "they will be blessed in what they do." Let me ask you a question, friends, brothers, sisters, do you want to live a life of blessing? I'm not just talking about on Instagram, #blessed. I'm talking about do you wanna live a life of blessing? If you do, what's imperative in your life and in my life is that we inventory our lives and try to figure out this. Are we just listeners to the word or do we do what it says? Are we quick to obey? Are we quick to put into practice? Let, James is always referencing the Sermon on the Mount, right? Always referencing the Sermon on the Mount. And as he's referencing the Sermon on the Mount, do you realize that if you just read the Sermon on the Mount, that you would have a lifetime worth of obedience to take up just in that sermon from Jesus? And I wonder if we would just put that into practice in our lives, what it would look like. Here's what it'll look like. Blessing. You're saying, what does that blessing mean? I don't know, but God said it. God said, you'll be blessed in living this way. The blessing is in the living this way because it's not only a blessing for you, it's a blessing for other people. James actually says, the kind of people who've been transformed in this way of living will be the kind of people that care for other people, the kind of people that watch their mouths, the kind of people whose actions demonstrate the goodness of the gospel in what Jesus has done in their lives. Those are the kind of people that have been transformed by grace. And when we are transformed by grace, it's not only a blessing to others, it's a blessing to us. And I don't fully comprehend ever what the totality of blessing in our lives actually looks like. I just know this, if we are listeners only, we are deceiving ourselves. But we must be people who listen and determine that we will be quick to obey. So in fact, let me ask you a couple of questions from the Sermon on the Mount where James is getting this material. Let me ask you a couple of questions about whether or not you are a listener only, or whether you're choosing to obey. Here's one, how about loving your enemies? Listen to the words of Jesus. "You've heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." "But I tell you, love your enemies "and pray for those who persecute you, "that you may be children of your Father in heaven. "He causes his son to rise on the evil and the good "and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? "Are not even the tax collectors doing that? "And if you greet only your own people, "what are you doing more than others? "Do not even pagans do that? "Be perfect, therefore". Complete, mature. "As your heavenly Father is perfect." Ask yourself this question. Is that just something you listen to and think, man, that's really sweet, Jesus, or do you do that? Because if you just listen to it, you're deceiving yourself. But when you pray for those who persecute you, when those who've chosen to make you an enemy are treating you as such, how do you respond? This comes back to whether we're just listeners or whether we obey. How about something else? How about secret faithfulness? In the age of putting all of our lives on display online all the time, how about secret faithfulness? Listen to what Jesus said. "Be careful not to practice your righteousness "in front of others to be seen by them." It doesn't mean that if you do something righteous and others see it, that that's wrong. He's saying the motivation is to be seen by them. "If you do, you'll have no reward "from your Father in heaven. "So when you give to the needy, "do not announce it with trumpets, "as the hypocrites do in the synagogues "and on the streets, to be honored by others. "Truly I tell you, they've received their reward in full." So there is a reward in it. Everybody around you going, wow, man, you're awesome. That was incredible. That was so great. Jesus said, if that's the reward you want, that's the reward you're gonna get. But if you want a reward from the Father, "When you give to the needy, "don't let your left hand know "what your right hand is doing "so that your giving may be in secret. "Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, "will reward you." So every time you do something great and you post it, I just wanna humbly say that I'm awesome. I just wanna humbly let all of you know that this was some video that when I went in and I helped some people, and here's just me and them and I just look, I just want God to get all the credit. And do you? For real? So you want God to get all the credit, which is why you posted it, fishing for everyone to comment how awesome you are. You're just a listener, 'cause Jesus said something different. If that's your motivation, you're just a listener and you've got your reward in full, all the comments that blow up your comment section, hey, how awesome are you? That's what you get. So enjoy it 'cause that's all you got. That doesn't exist into eternity. But if you want blessing, secret faithfulness, faithfulness that's not seeking out attention, just faithfulness because you know God sees, and you know you love God, and you know that you're motivated to do this for God's glory. Man, there's lots of these in the Sermon on the Mount. How about generosity toward God? Generosity toward God. Let's ask ourselves, are we just a listener or are we obedient? Here's what Jesus says in Matthew 6. "Don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth. "where moths and vermin destroy, "and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven "where moths and vermin do not destroy, "and where thieves do not break in and steal. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Then later on it says, "No one can serve two masters. "Either you'll hate one and you'll love the other, "or you'll be devoted to the one and despise the other. "You cannot serve both God and money." Are you a listener deceiving yourself? Are you obedient to this truth? Is really, if somebody reviewed your life, what they would see is that you're storing up for yourself treasures on earth. I'm not saying all good things are not given to us by God to enjoy. Paul tells that to Timothy. I'm not saying that everybody has to be in poverty. I'm not saying any of those things. I'm just saying, does the posture of your life reflect generosity toward God and his kingdom? Or does it look all consumptive on you? It's the difference between being a listener and doing what he says. But doing what he says is what leads to the life of blessing. There's a million more. I'll have to stop. I'll give you one more. Judging others. Judging others. Let's see what Jesus said. "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. "For in the same way you judge others, you'll be judged, "and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust "in your brother's eye "and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? "How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye", "when all the time there's a plank in your own eye? "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, "and then you'll see clearly "to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Jesus is trying to help us understand that he is the the judge, and we can entrust him with the great judgments that will occur. So many times in the lives of other people, we just look down through our nose at the position that they're in, or the sin that they're entangled with, or the things that they've done, or the hardship they're facing. And we just think to ourselves, we are here and they are there. And Jesus says, with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Are you a listener or do you do what he says? You see, here's what's happening. Jesus, I'm sorry, James is summarizing the teaching of Jesus in chapter one. He's just restating and helping press forward the teaching of Jesus. And what he's saying to us is this, listen to what he says and do it. In fact, when the Sermon on the Mount concludes, this is exactly what Jesus says. This is where James is getting all of this from. This is exactly what he says at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Watch this, Matthew 7, verses 24 through 27. "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine "and puts them into practice "is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. "The rain came down, the streams rose, "and the winds blew and beat against that house, "yet it did not fall, "because it had its foundation on the rock. "But everyone who hears these words of mine "and does not put them into practice "is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew "and beat against that house, "and it fell with a great crash." Jesus is concluding all of this wonderful teaching in the Sermon on the Mount by saying this, if you hear me and you do it, you will build your life on the rock, which is him. If you do not, you will be building it on sand. So this the question that we have to answer. What foundation is your life built upon? Because if you say that it's Jesus, that will be characterized by obedience to what he has said. He himself is our foundation. ♪ Christ is my firm foundation ♪ ♪ The rock on which I stand ♪ ♪ When everything around me is shaken ♪ ♪ I've never been more glad ♪ ♪ That I put my faith in Jesus ♪ ♪ 'Cause He's never let me down ♪ ♪ He's faithful through generations ♪ ♪ So why would He fail now? ♪ ♪ He won't, He won't ♪ ♪ I've still got joy in chaos ♪ ♪ I've got peace that makes no sense ♪ ♪ So I won't be going under ♪ ♪ I'm not held by my own strength ♪ ♪ 'Cause I've built my life on Jesus ♪ ♪ He's never let me down ♪ ♪ He's faithful in every season ♪ ♪ So why would He fail now? ♪ ♪ He won't, He won't ♪ ♪ He won't fail, He won't fail ♪ ♪ He won't, He won't ♪ ♪ He won't fail, He won't fail ♪ ♪ Christ is my firm foundation ♪ ♪ The rock on which I stand ♪ ♪ When everything around me is shaken ♪ ♪ I've never been more glad ♪ ♪ That I put my faith in Jesus ♪ ♪ 'Cause He's never let me down ♪ ♪ He's faithful through generations ♪ ♪ So why would He fail now? ♪ ♪ He won't, He won't ♪ ♪ He won't fail, He won't fail ♪ ♪ Oh, rain came and wind blew ♪ ♪ But my house was built on You ♪ ♪ And I'm safe with You ♪ ♪ I'm gonna make it through ♪ ♪ Oh, rain came and wind blew ♪ ♪ But my house was built on You ♪ ♪ And I'm safe with You ♪ ♪ I'm gonna make it through ♪ ♪ Oh, rain came and wind blew ♪ ♪ But my house was built on You ♪ ♪ And I'm safe with You ♪ ♪ I'm gonna make it through ♪ ♪ Yeah, I'm gonna make it through ♪ ♪ 'Cause I'm standing strong on you ♪ ♪ Oh I'm gonna make it through ♪ ♪ 'Cause my house is built on you ♪ ♪ Christ is my firm foundation ♪ ♪ The rock on which I stand ♪ ♪ When everything around me is shaken ♪ ♪ I've never been more glad ♪ ♪ That I put my faith in Jesus ♪ ♪ 'Cause He's never let me down ♪ ♪ He's faithful through generations ♪ ♪ So why would He fail now? ♪ ♪ He won't, He won't ♪ ♪ He won't fail, He won't fail ♪ ♪ He won't ♪ ♪ No, no, no ♪ ♪ He won't ♪ ♪ He won't fail, He won't fail ♪ ♪ No he won't ♪

- Just stay standing for a moment. That truth, we can proclaim when we are listeners and doers of the word. 'Cause that's what Jesus said. You hear what I say, you do what I say, you put it into practice. House is built on the rock, and it will withstand every storm. You will live a life of blessing. It doesn't mean everything's gonna be easy because storms will still come. In this world, you will have trouble, Jesus said, but take heart, I have overcome the world. But you may be here and have never put your faith and trust in Jesus. I want you to know something, and I say this in love, you've built your entire world on sand. And it will not stand, it will not stand. To trust in ourselves, to make our own way, to do all of those things is to say that we can be our own saviors, that we can be our own sovereigns. And we can't, there's a king. There's a king who loves us, who died for us so that our sin would not give us the penalty it deserves, but instead would be forgiven by his perfect sinless sacrifice to satisfy the justice of a holy God. So that by faith in him and putting our trust in him and by embracing what he has to tell us, we now are reconciled to the Father. It's not by works, it's by grace through faith. Paul said it this way, we've been saved by grace through faith. And it's not of ourselves, it's the gift of God. It's not of work so that none of us can boast for we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works. The works that we do flow from the change that he's made. Father, thank you for the truth of your word. Thank you for the reminder even through song, how you're the faithful one that has given us a sure foundation, rock solid. To build our lives on you, Lord Jesus, and everything that you've taught us. I pray that we would receive what James tells us, to receive the implanted word, to not merely be listeners, but to be doers. Help me in that regard, Lord. And help us as the people of God, because it's a blessing to the world that we live in when we walk in obedience to you. And it's a blessing to us. So Father, by your spirit in the lives of your people. We pray now in Jesus' name. Amen.


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