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Sermon No: 1074-What are you doing



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SERMON TOPIC: What are you doing

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 4 November 2012

Topic Groups: DESTINY, HOLINESS

Sermon synopsis: James 1:22-25. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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.
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What are you doing?

James 1:22-25. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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.

What are you doing?

Challenge: Be a Doer and Not Just a Hearer >

It’s pretty common for me to hear something convicting.

Whether it’s a sermon, a chapter from a book, a blog post, a word from a friend, or scripture itself – I’m surrounded by helpful words about things I need to remember.

Truths I need to claim. Attitudes I need to have.

But is my conviction leading me to real fruitful action?

What are you doing?

Need for Specifics.

In The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges discusses our behaviour at the point of conviction:

“We are prone to vagueness at this point because commitment to specific actions makes us uncomfortable.” “We somehow feel that consent to the teaching of Scripture is equivalent to obedience.”

We don’t get points for just nodding our heads or grunting an approving “Amen” during a sermon. We can’t just agree with truth, we have to be changed because of it.

And if we don’t get specific about that change, there’s a good chance it will never happen.

Rather than generally desiring not to be angry, make it a specific point to control the way you react to your spouse this week. Instead of merely agreeing with a sermon about greed, take a look at your budget and maybe make some cuts.

What are you doing?

Am I Just a Hearer?

So I think about this in terms of my time.

It’s really easy for me to read some list of 10 ways to defeat procrastination or 7 tips to sticking with an exercise program. But am I stopping at the reading?

If I truly desired to bring God as much glory as I could, wouldn’t that mean constantly changing my life? Not just growing in holiness, but growing in my kingdom-focused productivity?

Am I merely agreeing with the wisdom of a sermon or book? Do I just nod my head at God’s word?

Or do I want to change so much that I actually make arrangements for real, palpable, specific actions?

What are you doing?

Action Point

I sat down and came up with a few specific changes that I believe would help me manage my time better for God’s glory. And by God’s grace, I’m going to work intently on making those changes and turning them into good habits.

I want to challenge you to do the same.

Make a brief list and then commit to working on those items.

Don’t think “that’s a good idea!” and put it off until tomorrow. Make it a point to make this list today .

What are you doing?

A USA TODAY poll conducted last May showed that over 92% of Americans say that they believe in the existence of God. A December 2009 Gallup Poll revealed that 78% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. In a recent study done by the Pew Research Centre 79% of Evangelicals, 56% of Catholics, and 60% of “other” Christians surveyed said that their faith played a “very important” role in their lives, exceeding or equalling the national average of 56%. Upon seeing this sampling of data American Christians of all denominations surely jumped for joy. The United States, it would seem, is truly a “Christian nation” in terms of lifestyle and attitude.

What are you doing?

While these numbers would normally foster encouragement and optimism for those who profess Christ here in America, a closer examination will sadly prove otherwise. While 78% of Americans identify themselves as Christians a study done in 2008 by the Barna Group revealed that non-evangelical Christians had a divorce rate of 33%, matching the national average (more theologically conservative evangelicals were just barely below the average at 32%). In another study conducted by the Pew Research Centre 1/ 3 of evangelical Christians believe that abortion should remain legal “sometimes or always”.

What are you doing?

One can also look beyond stat sheets and survey results to see that many of America’s professing Christians are no better (or sometimes worse) than unbelieving Americans when it comes to living lives of honesty and integrity. Indeed it is often times the outwardly pious and reverent Christian who engages in petty gossip and slander, who will cheat on his or her spouse, and will engage in immoral business dealings to obtain dishonest financial gain.

In the political realm it is these same Christians who will time and again elect the same crooked and wicked politicians from both parties who dismantle our system of just constitutional and natural law because they pay lip service to Christian values.

What it means to be a doer?

Often we see folks who say they believe but do nothing to show that faith. We know that we have to have faith to please God (Hebrews 11:6.)

But is having faith enough, or must we do something?

I. What it means to be a doer? One that does (Keeps the law)

Romans 2:12-16. All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares

What it means to be a doer?

James 2:16-26. (One who works)

But someone will say, You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

What it means to be a doer?

Recap:

Luke 11:28. One who keeps the law (Word)

James 2:24-26. One who works

James 1:25. A doer of the work of the perfect law of liberty

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.

What is a hearer only?

One that only hears and does nothing. Acts 26:25-28. What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do. Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?

An example of 2 hearers and 1 doer.

Matthew 13:16-23.

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

This is what the parable means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

An example of two doers and one hearer.

Matthew 25:14-30.

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

An example of two doers and one hearer.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. Master, he said, you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.

His master replied, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

The man with two bags of gold also came. Master, he said, you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.

His master replied, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

An example of two doers and one hearer.

Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. Master, he said, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The mirror of God’s Word.

When one walks and looks into a mirror he sees his face. When one truly looks into the word of God, he sees much more:

Hebrews 4:12-13.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow , and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

We need to take God’s word and DO IT! It is not enough to simply hear and believe; the devils have done that much James 2:19!

The mirror of God’s Word.

Ezekiel 33:30-33.

As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord. My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

When all this comes true, and it surely will, then they will know that a prophet has been among them.

The mirror of God’s Word.

We are instructed to examine ourselves.

1 Corinthians 11:28. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.

How do we examine ourselves? We have to look in the mirror.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

James1:23. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

The mirror of God’s Word.

How many truths are there in the Word of God that you know, but you are not doing?

The washing for the repentant sinner.

Revelation 7:14.

These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The washing for the “Believer”.

Ephesians 5:25-26.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. (We are washed by doing the Word, not just hearing)

What are you doing?

Romans 10:17.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

James 2:14-17. (But faith without works is dead)

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, Go in peace; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

What are you doing?

Allowing God’s Word to remain in you.

The use it or lose it principle.

Mark 4:21-25.

Also He said to them, Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Then He said to them, Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

The Bible has been given to enlighten us and not confuse us, but God gives us enlightenment and if we obey he gives more, if we ignore it we lose what we already have.

God stops speaking when we stop listening.

Zechariah 7:11-14.

But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.

When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen, says the Lord Almighty. I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one travelled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.

Amos 8:11-12.

The days are coming, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine through the land not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.

God stops speaking when we stop listening.

Herod is an example of someone who silenced God.

Mark 6:18-20.

For John had been saying to Herod, It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife. So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

Luke 23:8-9.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.

Man’s disregard for God’s Word.

A. The winds and waves obey him.

Mark 4:39-41.

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, Quiet! Be still! Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?

They were terrified and asked each other, Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!

Man’s disregard for God’s Word.

B. The demons obey him.

Mark 1:25-27&34.

Be quiet! said Jesus sternly. Come out of him! The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, What is this? A new teaching and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.

and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

Man’s disregard for God’s Word.

C. Yet man disobeys him.

Mark 1:40-45.

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, If you are willing, you can make me clean.

Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. I am willing, he said. Be clean! Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them. Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

What are you doing?

It is not enough to just hear the Word of God.

Luke 8:12-15.

Hear, retain, persevere and bear fruit.

John 15:7-8.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http://www.lockman.org/)




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