by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 32 April 15, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:We must be committed to the process of living out the truth of the inner Word.
Introduction:Last week we saw that James called for the production of the genuine righteousness of God by three particular actions that spring from one particular belief. The belief is that the "soul" can be put into a condition of great peace and rest by the Word of God. The consequent actions that are required for the Word to put soul at rest are these:
1) the believer MUST respond to the conviction of the Spirit regarding true guilt by honest repentant confession;
2) the believer MUST decide that it is a great sin to pursue the glory of men and come clean on the issue of glory-seeking;
3) the believer MUST adopt an attitude of meekness before the Word that includes embracing it/Him without reservations.
This evening we are going to look into James' next exhortation: to be doers of the Word and not merely hearers.
I. The Foundations of the Exhortation.
A. Man's instinctive fear of God-as-Adversary.
1. Men automatically fear that God will put them into disastrous circumstances if they let Him.
2. Men have a built-in God-as-Adversary mentality with which they must deal.
B. God's overwhelming effort to persuade men that He is not out to get them.
1. At the logical level: if He was, He already would have (isn't He omnipotent?).
2. At the proclamation level: the Gospel says His love is self-sacrificing and other-focused.
3. At the demonstration level: Calvary and one's personal circumstances.
C. James' promise that the Word WILL put the soul at rest IF we will let Him.
D. James' recognition that people will move in the direction of some recognized religious zeal if it will allow them to appear godly while still maintaining their freedom to call their own shots.
II. The Significance of the Exhortation.
A. It identifies the area of religious zeal that many will adopt in order to continue to live their own lives.
1. The area is "hearing" God's Word.
2. This is, after all, not too demanding.
B. It identifies the issues of soul-rest.
1. Process: there is a definite process involved in "becoming" a doer of the Word.
a. There is a lag time.
b. We are under a mandate to "test" what we are hearing.
c. We are often unable to "hear" because of the complexity of our confusion. [SEE NOTES ON JAMES 1:22.]
2. Danger: that the process will actually become the tool of self-deception.
a. As long as we are still "considering" the matter, we do not have to act on it.