Do what it (the word) says.

Pastor Ino

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Today’s message is from James 1:22,「Do what it (the word) says.」‭‬‬ From last week, we have started learning from the letter of James. Last time, I spoke from James 1:12, 「Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial…」I talked about enduring hardship, seeking God’s wisdom, and recognizing the difference between trials and temptations. I believe that our faith reflects on our lives naturally, and I sincerely hope to have faith that comes with action, not just by our words. This time, I would like to talk about paying attention to our words, practicing brotherhood, and not discriminating others. Now, please read James 1: 19-2: 13.

James 1:19 says,「My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,」This means knowing that 「Every good and perfect gift is from above,」as in James 1:17 says. Both salvation and good deeds are from above. The author says God chose us to be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (verse 18) Those who are saved will become the first fruits by their faith and deeds among those who are going to get saved. James mentions that we know this truth, and that is why our words and faith is important. (Reference: Ephesus 2: 8-10)
The expression of “quick to listen”, it is to hear God’s words along with the words of others. We can see the author’s thoughts about listening in verses 21-25. By listening the word of God, we can taste and experience how great the salvation of God is. Verse 21 says,「….and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.」(James‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭NIV)‬‬ If you accept the word humbly, you will receive the power of God through the word. Just like the seed fell on good soil, it produces a lot of good fruits in our lives. Doing what the word says requires listening and responding to it. We are in a process of purification by the word of God. (Reference; 1 John 1: 9). In verse 25, the word of God is expressed as the perfect law that gives freedom. Just as Jeremiah 31:31-34 says, the day has come when God put his law in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The word of God was given to our heart by the Holy Spirit, and it became possible for us to respond to it through the Holy Spirit. Psalm 1:1-2 describes beautifully about the person whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers. The word of God has a power to change the person.

Secondly, it says “slow to speak…(Verse 19)” Verse 26 also says「Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.」(James‬ ‭1:26‬ ‭NIV)‬‬ It says the faith of those who cannot control their tongues are worthless. If you read chapter 2, you will see that those who can’t control their tongues, they end up speaking violenctly toward rich and poor. They have discriminated among themselves and become judges with evil thoughts. (James 2: 4) The Bible clearly shows that both rich and poor are equal before God. Please read James 1: 9-11 again. In Matthew 5:3, Jesus says,「Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.」‭‭It is possible for all of us not to be able to control our tongue. That is why the author recommends us to slow to speak. Before speaking, let us ask ourselves if we love our neighbors with our words and if our words are encouraging to them. Loving our neighbors is one of the virtues of believers. It is essential for us, believers to love people around us. Don’t make your faith worthless. That’s why the scripture recommends us to slow to speak.

 Thirdly, it says “slow to become angry.” Verse 20 states the reason of this,「because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.」(‭‭James‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭NIV)‬‬
When we get angry, we lose peace of our heart. Not only that, our hearts will be dominated by hatred and anger. We should be aware of our limits as human. We can not be a good example when we become angry although we are called to be the firstfruits of his creation. Let us receive this word today that human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. We’d like to remind ourselves to slow to become angry as we confront our children, family member, and church member.

Let us receive this challenge today to do what the word says. With our words and action, let us love our neighbors and our brothers. I have become who I am now because I was surrounded by great people of faith, and these mature believers encouraged me. As first fruits of his creation, let us encourage next generation to grow and mature in Christ.

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