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September 23, 2021 12:00 am
During the early years of the church until Christianity took root of things changed in the fourth century they would be left out on the porches, where at night. They can be carried away by wild animals or brothel owners to be raised as slaves. As of the first century church began going around in my collecting and raising these children. Why because there's value in life. Life is the creation of God and God. By the way, And staff of fathers are apple trees when they don't.
There's some sort of a problem will is a spiritual analogy to that as well. Spirit filled people bear spiritual fruits.
But if that's the case then why do so many Christians seem to bear so little fruit in this message. Stephen shows us where the problem lies. Welcome to wisdom for the heart. Today Stephen Davey begins the final message in this series. This is part one of a message entitled, both sound and sight. There's something wrong with my cable box in my house.
It's it's unpredictable wanted to watch Monday night football the other week assumed that have the time to be able to do it.
I did didn't matter so I think it was sound nothing on the picture, television screens, they dark. I did everything I need to do it hit the menu button and in the menu actually showed up at the bottom of and but no screen but sound. I didn't want to listen to a football game. I have a radio for that I wanted to want to watch it so I didn't know what to do. I tried everything I pushed a few more buttons he got to the point where it was pushing my do know I mean by that ever been talking to your television thinking you could respond to something like come on let's go the kickoff as well.
I finally had to give up turned it off as God judges did something now then I'm studying the book of James and one commentator that I really enjoy begins his chapter on this paragraph, or about the study with these words. These are his opening words to get the maximum enjoyment from your television, you need sound and picture Mr. football game to bother writing commentaries on he went on site without sound or sound without site just doesn't work.
It's it's not enough to see the picture with no sound or to hear something that I know picture, television was designed to deliver both sound and picture of me. This is great theology this man understands my life like where is going then he makes this application the Christian life is a lot like television is not enough for people just to hear what we say they need to see a picture to our Christianity must deliver both sound and picture as we put our faith into action.
How true it is and gentlemen the book of James understands that the cable box of our heart, which has received the data of God's truth has daily problems transmitting that data to the screen of our lives were people cannot only hear, but see a picture of godly Christianity. Maybe you wondered if there is anything you can possibly do to show your Christianity is distinctive or different somehow the world will be able to notice a difference. James is going to answer that question in this paragraph and remember he's writing this letter to believers and he's going to deliver three ways for us to show distinctive Christianity challenges along the way in three areas with respect to our conversation with respect to our compassion and with respect to our character James chapter 1 and verse 26 James writes, if anyone thinks himself to be religious and yet does not bridle his tongue but does he deceives his heart this man's religion is worthless. Thank you my notice that there are two times in this verse alone that he's going to talk about and use the word religion. It's also going to show up as a word in the next verse, the original word is a rare word actually found rarely in the New Testament. It's a word denoting an secular culture someone who was trembling or their God. Someone who was fearful in the presence of their gods, and over time it came to refer to careful trembling observance of religious exercises. In other words, our real carefulness to do it right because God or the God whom ever they followed was watching the James is speaking to the first century Jewish Christians who would immediately understand that they have been very careful and were even at this time in their praying in their fasting as they attended the synagogue for worship services, as they gave of their resources there in the early church.
So you need another James is not referring to spiritual slouches. He's referring to people who chair the committee.
He's referring to key volunteers. He's referring to the people at shop early to set up of the people to leave the light so they cleaned up turned the lights out as they leave the kind of person that is the audience of James letter but everybody knows is he writes here that this individual has a problem there tongue is unbridled, literally. It is as it were, a runaway horse class condition.
He uses here even though he doesn't name the person he knows who the person is or he assumes that the assembly knows the person is talking about their Christianity is being overshadowed by their conversation for the second time in this chapter James warns the believer about being the sea.
You may remember, if you were with us back up in verse 22. He wrote of the believer looks into the word but doesn't do nothing about it.
James calls him an auditor who is deceived, that is, he doesn't do anything about it. He listens, but he doesn't put into practice. He doesn't want the homework he wants.
The advantage of hearing the lecture now just a few verses later. Here in verse 26. James refers again believer who is deceived the word he uses in this verse is different. He's not talking about someone who is being seduced into believing some kind of error. In other words, here's the Christian is doing all the right things.
Attending all the services he's fasting, he's praying, he's giving the same time is being deceived. He's being seduced in the bully and those external acts are all that matters. Nevermind runaway Tom and isn't that the case in the church. We typically don't deal with the internals.
We would rather deal with the externals and so they show up and pay up and dress up there fine James mind he's going after the heart of which issues things from the mouth verb tense for bridle in the tongue by the way, deceiving your own heart or in the present tense indicate indicating this is an on going daily struggle for every Christian and everyone would know it just like earlier. He talked about temptation and on going battle just like you talked about being tutored by divine truth and ongoing willingness just like he talked about even before that, the daily struggle with trials and and asking God for the wisdom to respond with trust. Now here in relation to the tongue. This is a daily daily battle. I remember being in a home years ago when some friends might have horses we can ride there out to pasture the pastor will be 50 acres or more. The problem was the horses saw us coming toward them with bridle in our hands swinging by her sides and the horses evidently didn't feel disposed to be written upon that afternoon because they ran from us and understand that all they ran and we tried everything to possibly try to get near them and we could only get so close before they would gallop away.
Not one of us got near enough to any one of them to slip a bridle over their heads and into their James is saying Christianity radically impacts your conversation are you running from the bridle or daily surrendering to the spirit control and confessing. You don't and surrendering again and again and again that he says here at the end of this text is that man's religion the one who runs from the bridle that man's religion is worthless. He doesn't say that man's religion doesn't exist or that he is a Christian.
He's not only a Christian in this text. He is a devoted active busy Christian, but his religion is worthless. James writes the word for worthless or vein is the Greek word Mattias which means not productive.
It isn't leading him toward the goal that God wants as relates to spiritual maturity which fits again the context of James is calling for saying in a word or sentence. This external religious activity does not automatically produce spiritual internal authority.
You can come to every service you can never miss a prayer meeting this morning's devotion. You can never miss putting the five dollars and the plate.
Every time it shows up and never growing in which, according to the mind of James can be measured by the quality and control of our conversation. Nobody getting a little more specific as to what James is talking about a moment. But let me share this with you. I was reading once John Wesley was preaching.
John Wesley was the founder of Methodism in the 1700s. At one time Methodism was evangelical and basically the church planting denomination in both England and America. He was preaching an audience that he knew well. In fact, a lady that had a critical attitude and an unkind spirit was sitting in the front row and for the entire sermon. She sat there on the front row, stammering at his brand-new bowtie and when the service was over she came right up to him and said Mr. Wesley, the strings on your bowtie are much too long. They are offensive to me. Yes, if any of the ladies present have have a pair scissors. One of them did. He handed the scissors to her and asked her to trim the streamers to her liking. After she put them off near the collar. He said, are they right now. She said yes.
That's much better. Wesley said then we have the scissors for a moment that I must say your tongue is offensive to me. He said let me think some of it off ever since I heard it.
I want to use that which you cannot make fun of my neck tie or do something about a pair scissors already for if you want to measure the depth of spiritual maturity effectively measure as it were, the length of your tongue now say this I couldn't. I could go from here and do all sorts of uses of the tongue all the different ways in tongue can destroy this even discouraging a lot more D words and we can all crawl out of here and go crying or soup. James never tells us what the unbridled tongue is doing Lisa blank. He never tells what it says later on. By the way, in chapter 3 James get a dealer trying to detail so don't worry it's coming. Okay because always have the same problem. The bridle keeps slipping off. James has something more specific in mind with the tongue in this context, which I think must be understood before I tell you, let me set it up by telling telling you something else that may be missed here if you're not careful. It's possible to come to the conclusion at the end of the reading was 26. That religious activity doesn't matter to God, James says, in fact, if you know this text. Well, you know that James is about to introduce to us, religious activity that he says is pure. He's not against religious activity. I believe the way to understand verse 26 is the contrasted with verse 27. In other words, religious activity verse 26 that serves yourself that promote yourself and your tongue that brags about yourself and your mouth constantly turns people attention to you and what you're doing for God and why you're so important and on and on and on. James is saying that kind of unbridled speech is fruitless. Yes you have activity but the sound doesn't match on the other hand, was 27 religious activity that uses the mouth to defend the defenseless religious activity that speaks for the needy religious activity that cares about those who need help. That is pure so should we promote should we promote their their welfare of whom should we defend their rights of whom should we speak. This is fruitless religious activity. This is pure James will answer that appears, of whom you should be speaking is verse 27 pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and father make note of that. By the way, not necessarily in the sight of man.
Mankind may not care, but you're not doing it for them.
You're doing it for God.
Pure religion and undefiled religion that is in the sight of God and our God and Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their pressure in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world to keep in mind James is not telling people that if they want to get into heaven, they need to start a visitation program, orphans and widows and keep themselves pure and unspotted from the world.
He's not talking to people who need to be saved. He's talking to people who are, but there's a disconnect, as it were in the cable box. There is nothing to see. James is saying we need to measure our maturity in light of these things. In other words, if you're growing in Christ Christianity will impact not only your conversation with others. You will be the subject of conversation.
It will also impact your compassion toward others before we look specifically at that. Would you notice this unique description of God in verse 27 where James says pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and father is to visit orphans God and father hard to understand as an English reader. These are two singular nouns separated by the word tie or and and that grammatical construction means that the second noun is describing the first now. In other words, James refers to God in Lisa's let me describe for you. He is God who happens to be a father, our father, which is precious in this context because James is about to start talking about the defenseless, and the fatherless, so he's saying God happens to have a fathers heart. David the Psalmist wrote a father of the fatherless, and the defender or a judge of the widows is God in his holy habitation. So James is basically saying that if you want to pursue Christian activity that really impresses God and reveals. You are growing into the likeness of Christ. You will demonstrate parental care and compassion, and specifically in these two areas, orphans, and with the first century there was a life insurance. There were no welfare programs.
In fact there were great needs surrounding the early church. As soon as it was created, and these are the only two classes of society need compassion fact, it's interesting as you trace the history of Christianity.
Christianity was the primary influence as it gained acceptance in a hearing in the Western world, establishing hospitals, founding orphanages, starting rescue missions building almost houses for the poor opening kitchens for the for the for the hungry.
It was the Christian charter societies for the poor Christians who chartered societies of the homeless who built infirmary for the mentally handicapped.
The physically disabled and the elderly was the Christian who is passionate about changing laws free the slaves protect the child from cruel labor at the hands of cruel adults and on and on and on this. You understand of the Western world is what it is because of Christianity. The Western world did not produce Christianity. Christianity produced the Western world.
Sure, go ahead and you will hear that in sociology or his readers. Here, perhaps the first time three and 50 years before the birth of Christ.
Plato said, a poor man was no longer able to work because of sickness should be left to die. He was the great philosopher hundred and 50 years later another philosopher by the name of Paula's office argued the defeat of Becker was doing a disservice to yourself because you gave something away he should've Entered to serve as a disservice to the beggar's life. You merely prolong misery when the city of Alexandria was hit by place the Romans abandon their children and their parents, their citizens and fled the contagious disease. It was the Christian stay. In fact, Julian the apostate, the Roman Emperor called Christians Galileans as a way to scorn the McCall price. The Galilean he said these Galileans are the one who do service in relieving both their poor and powerless as we can't quite figure out what it is about these Christians so that they actually risk their lives for the sake of people who do not. When I'm people leave those who belong to them for the sake of their own health but is simply the nation that embraces Christianity as Christianity grows you discover something else. Growing and that is the value of human life in the nation that refuses Christianity.
You see the same time devaluing of human life and the results are tragic. Christianity introduces the stunning concept that life matters and every single person does to and no matter what condition, no matter how sick, no matter how healthy, no matter how poor matter how wealthy, no matter how disconnected or well-connected mentally capable or mentally unable no matter what it is, no matter how old or young, they matter. Christianity provides this rather radical impact in the culture that accepts it and that culture change medical historians whether Christians are not admitted already from one of them said quote before the birth of Christ, the spirit toward sickness and misfortune was not one of compassion. The credit of ministering to human suffering on an extended scale belongs to Christianity. This is the first time you've ever heard that you pick up a book like the way Christianity changed the world just traces historically, everything from hospitals worth this issue and this problem of the devaluing of human life belongs to the God of this world who hates life. He's a destroyer he's a killer he's deceiver, the believer loves life seeks to enhance life protect life. This wasn't unique in Rome, travel around the world during the time of Christ and bump into a Japanese priest who, for instance, maintain, they did as a collective group because of their theology that the sick and needy were actually odious to their gods and prevented the wealthy from helping in India fact. To this day. There are millions and millions of people who are designated to be on health because of their class. They are viewed by their false doctrines has simply reincarnated people who lived their previous life in such a sinful state that they cannot come back in this lower-class they're getting what they deserve, so you don't try to alleviate their suffering. They're getting what they deserve from the God so struck me as I traveled through India on a couple occasions.
You will see well fed cattle walking around the street and starving children.
The value system with Christianity stands on its feet, because we believe in a creator God. The church was birthed in a culture with the value of human life is an all-time low travel back to Greece. Travel back to Rome to travel back to the first century and abortion and infanticide were universally accepted effects. Seneca, the Roman historian died in the same time. James wrote this letter said and I quote, we drown children who had birth are weak and physically paired so common, the killing of children after birth.
One historian blame the population decline of Greece upon that practice infant girls were especially vulnerable simply because they would not be able to care for their parents or carry on the family property through inheritance the girls during the early years of the church until Christianity took root and things changed in the fourth century they would be left out on the porches, where at night. They can be carried away by wild animals or drive all honors to be raised as prostitutes or as slaves. So the first century church began going around in my collecting and raising these children. Why because there is value in human life because life is the creation of God and God. By the way, And staff of fathers heart does the gospel, God is saying to his servant James is asking are you helping those who cannot pay you back genuine compassion and that is the gospel because God say to us what I've done for you, and you can never pay were not done with this message, but were almost out of time on her next broadcast, Stephen will bring you the conclusion to this message.
You're listening to wisdom for the heart Stephen Davies current series comes from James and is called bringing faith down to earth we have a companion resource I want to make you aware of. Stephen has written a commentary on the entire book of James. It's his practical and pastoral exposition of this great book. During this series we been making it available at a very special rate this book is a great resource to help you dive deep into this important epistle. We've also had several people use it as a guide for a group Bible study again. It's available today at a special rate and you can order as many copies as you are. Website is found that wisdom online.org that's wisdom online.org you can also call us at 866-4858 664824253 and I hope we hear from you today. As I mentioned, we will conclude this lesson on our next broadcast. So join us then for more wisdom