Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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19. Test 3: The Bible Test – Part 5

James 1:18-27

18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 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. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But 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. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 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.”

How do you know if you are responding to the Word? It will show in your:

A. WORDS Vs 26 carful LIPS

Are your words controlled by Christ’s Word? What comes out of your mouth reveals what’s going on in your mind and what’s going on in your mind reveals what’s happening in your heart. Are you filtering your thoughts through truth before they hit your tongue? Most of us pride ourselves in speaking our mind, but we are not called to communicate our mind, we are called to communicate the mind of Christ. Instead of giving people a piece of your mind what if instead you shared the mind of Christ? Words can win people or wound people. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” So, based on your words what kind of a witness are you being? Are you drawing people to Jesus or pushing them away? Do your words reflect the world or Christs Word? James reminds us here that, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” Is the Lord in control of your lips? When we are responding rightly to the Word not only will it show in your words but also your:

B. WORKS VS 27 caring LOVE

Receiving the word will result in not just a change of words but also your walk. The Word of God doesn’t just impact your lips but also your love. James say Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father is caring for orphans and widows in their distress. It’s serving the suffering. Protecting the helpless. Jesus modeled this kind of ministry everywhere he went. Jesus led with love and so should we. If we are not careful, we will be in danger of knowing the Word but not sowing the Word. In John 8:37 Jesus confronted the religious leaders who hated him and wished to see Him dead by revealing why instead of leading in love they had hate in their hearts, “You seek to kill me because there is no room in your hearts for my Word.” Like them we can have a bounty of information but a bankruptcy of implementation.  These leaders knew their Bibles better than anyone. But the word of God “found no place in them.” Why? Because they were so full of themselves there was no room for God. Self will always keep me from service. The three greatest enemies to ministry are, me, myself and I. The seeds of service cannot find life in soil that does not welcome it. The greatest danger in the church is the deadly dynamic of becoming educated beyond our level of obedience. Most of us have more knowledge than obedience, more information than implementation. What good is revelation without application? Today we have a surplus of knowledge and a deficit of obedience. In terms of health we are spiritual obesity. We eat more than we exercise. Don’t just observe the word obey the word. Thirdly responding rightly to the Word will show in our:

C. WALK VS 27 corrupt LIFE

God’s Word doesn’t just affect our words and our works but also our walk. The Lord desires to be in charge of more than just our lips and our love but our whole life. James says that our walk will be like one who is going to war, ready to resist evil. The only way to be prepared to do battle is to be in the bible, but it’s not enough to be in the Word the Word has to be in you. So where are you at, are you receiving His Word? Are you responding to His Word?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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18. Test 3: The Bible Test – Part 4

James 1:18-27

18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 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. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But 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. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 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.”

After answering the question, are you receiving God’s Word? We need to turn to the second question:

  1. Are you responding to God’s Word?

I want you to picture a pastor preaching a powerful sermon but you are distracted because all you can focus on is his messy hair. You keep wondering didn’t he look in the mirror before he left the house? Well one of two things is true, either he didn’t bother to look in the mirror, or he looked but never made any adjustments. There are those who may receive the Word but they don’t respond to it. They listen but they don’t let it direct their life because they keep scripture on the surface instead of letting it sink deep into their hearts. These are the ones that James says catch a glimpse of themselves but walk away and soon forget. They recognize but they don’t respond, because instead of gazing in the mirror they glance. Notice James tells us to look carefully not casually. Many of us are skimming scripture instead of soaking in scripture. Imagine I wrote out the James 1:25 on a piece of cardboard “But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” And I held it up for just a second, only enough time for you to glance at it and then ask you what it said verses hold it up and giving you plenty of time to take it. That’s the difference between glancing and gazing. Many of us are God glance’s not God gazers. Why do we need to gaze, because we need to be confronted by the reflection in the mirror. If we don’t, we open ourselves up to the deadly disease of self-deception. We often think that if others think we are responsive to God then that’s good enough. We might think that at worst the danger is that of deceiving others. But look what James says, “You are fooling YOURSELF.” This brings us to an important point what mirror are you looking into? Only one mirror will give you a real reflection of who you are and where you are. The only perfect mirror is the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures. Often, we are tempted to look into the mirror of the World not the Word. Picture yourself looking into a broken mirror. When you look into a broken mirror you get a distorted view of yourself. Many of us are measuring ourselves based on a worldly mirror, as a result you start trying to live up to the worlds standards, possessions, position, power and you end up wasting your life on worthless things. The only perfect mirror is the Word of God and the perfect image …….. is Jesus. We need to look into a perfect mirror to see ……. the real image ……the real person. The only way to see who you really are is to look into that perfect law of liberty, found in the Scriptures, because it’s there that we see who we really are in Jesus. The only way to see who you are is to see whose you are. But you can’t see that in a broken mirror you need the Bible. The truth is you will never understand who you are until you understand whose you are. When we realize who we are in Christ it will affect how we respond. I don’t have to perform for people to be accepted, because I have already been accepted by the Almighty. The Mirror you look in matters, because a worldly mirror will give you a warped view. Either you will think you are better than you are, pride or worse than you are self-deprivation. Are you looking into the right mirror or do you have a broken and distorted picture of who you are?