Practical Wisdom from the Book of James
“True Religion" James 1:26-27
October 15, 2017
Pastor John Lloyd
Passage: James 1:26-27
Questions to contemplate: What is true religion? Is it the type of worship songs or hymns we sing? Is it high church with liturgy, and prayers? Is it a casual atmosphere where everybody is accepted? Is it church attendance? Is it that my family is religious?
Today, we will look at James 1 and see what the Word of God defines as “True Religion.” The definition may surprise you.
Big Idea: True religion impacts our words, actions and the direction of our lives.
I. True religion displays surrendered words.
James 1:26a If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart
James 1:26 “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” (New living translation)
Psalm 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. (Proverbs 18:2)
Key thought: One area not surrendered can neutralize the impact of our lives.
Areas to surrender:
1. Vulgarity- Colossians 3:8, Prov.4:24
2. Angry outbursts- Proverbs 29:11)
3. Lying- Ephesians 4:25
4. Gossip- Proverbs 11:13, 16:28, 26:20
5. Slander- Titus 3:2
6. Complainers- I Corinthians 10:10, Philippians 2:14
“If the heart is right, the speech will be right.” Wiersbe
Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
What we say is a barometer of where our hearts are at with God.
Remember God is looking for progress not perfection.
II. True religion leads to surrendered service.
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
In their affliction- in their burden, trouble, tribulation
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (Psalm 23:4, James 1:27a)
Definition: Helping those in distress.
Visit- to go to see, relieve, look out. (Matthew 25:36)
Isaiah 58:10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
Is 58:11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (58:12)
"Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of." C.S. Lewis
Psalm 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. (John 21:18)
Hebrews 13:3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
Reflective Question: Who has God put in my life that He wants me to help? How are you serving them?
Surrendered service glorifies God and bears much fruit!
III. True religion leads to surrendering our standards to God’s Word.
James 1:27b and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
The world’s standards are always trying to creep into our lives.
The World’s standards are often based on:
1. Society 2. Friends/Peers 3. Self Interest
The key to godly standards is not isolation but reprogramming.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
John 17:15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. (Matthew 6:10)
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
“Live like Jesus is in the room with you!”
Reprogramming our standards glorifies God and bears much fruit.
Surrender it all to Jesus!
Commitment Prayer: Dear Jesus, I recognize that I must have you in total control of my life. I surrender my words, my service and my standards to you. I want to want what you want for me to be and do in my life. I give you permission to work in these areas. Help me grow to be more like you in each area. Please receive my life as an act of worship to you!