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I Don't Want to be a Fanatic

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
November 27, 2020 7:00 am

I Don't Want to be a Fanatic

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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November 27, 2020 7:00 am

Have you ever thought of yourself as a fanatic? Perhaps youre fanatical about cleanliness and your home is always in perfect condition. Or maybe you are a die-hard sports fan and wear all your teams gear. Dr. Boice reminds us that Gods Word requires us to be fanatical when it comes to living a Godly life.

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Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically for studying the book of James together and our topic is I don't want to be a fanatic. I'm sure you understand that that only applies to religion because nobody minds being a sports fanatic. That's what the word flam comes from.

After all, if I am a fanatic for his team and be a fanatic and all those ways but not religiously, at least in our culture. I know joggers who are fanatics.

Some of them run by in front of our house here every day to make any difference what the weather is there out jogging in New York City around the top of that great building which is the central post office for New York City. There is that motto taken from the Greek historian Thucydides that is become a symbol of the Postal Service.

Neither rain nor snow, nor sleet nor hail shall stay these brave couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds that use to apply to the Postal Service. But as you know, that motto has fallen on hard times, but I think it does apply to the joggers neither rain nor snow, nor sleet nor hail shall stay these brave couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. You gotta be fanatical to do that in the kind of weather we have in Philadelphia. I say that merely to point out that this idea of fanaticism is all right in most people's thinking, as long as it applies to things that don't really matter when you talk about religion, that which matters ultimately people get squeamish and I don't want to be fanatical by that they mean that they don't mind playing around with the ideas but as far as actually living by that which they profess or adhere to or hear preach. Well let's quite another thing they say I go along with that, up to a point. I believe it up to a point. Why, of course, I even think Jesus died for my sin but I just don't want to be to fanatical about it. I'm sure the James was talking about precisely that kind of attitude in the middle of this passage that is our text for this evening because he says the people will undoubtedly think like that do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. But to what it says person who does what it says is a fanatic in the best sense you know it's really only in religion but that word is properly used comes from the Latin word fanatic resident means to be inspired by divinity. Fanatical person is one upon whom the Spirit of the God has come wouldn't believe that in the pagan sense, but we can point out certainly affirm us Christians that a fanatic is one upon whom the Holy Spirit has come to lead to a knowledge of the truth, and also to motivate to live in accordance with the thing a person professes I said when I began to talk about James last week that it's very hard to outline this book someone is said to James is a series of sermon notes. I don't know whether that's true or not but it does indicate the problem that you have without lightning.

It seems to be rather restraining of beads very hard to get a sequence of thought when we come to this particular point. This matter of being really committed to that which you profess in living it out in a practical way. I'm sure there was some kind of a sequence of lot in James's mind as he penned the words these just written the first half of this chapter about testing and temptations and trials and hardship. All of those things I'm sure is.

He wrote that Downey must've recognized how many people would read those words would react. I would say my goodness. If that's the kind of religion you're talking about a religion in which patients is a goal. The patient's is to be achieved only by trials and suffering.

Hardship and tribulations. Why, I'm not sure I really want to commit myself to it very much at all. James is not given very many biographical references here, but if James was giving them. I know he could appointed to a number of examples in the Old Testament, which would only have made the matter worse. He could have used the example of Joe for example, which I used as we were talking about the meaning of suffering. Job is one who had been abundantly blessed by God in terms of this world's goods and his family as a godly family. Imagine raising in his day or hour 7.sons and three daughters, all of whom were godly and served the Lord, the monumental task God had blessed them abundantly to have that result in addition to that he had been prospered physically and well. Job was sitting on the top of the world and then suddenly in the day. All of this was taken away. The whole point of the story of Job is that this was not because of any special sin, and Job. Job was a sinner. Of course, like all the rest of us. Job hadn't done anything especially sinful to merit this kind of a judgment. In fact, God was allowing it to happen prove a point to show that man or a woman will worship and serve and praise God monitor what God gives because of who God is something that Satan didn't understand God demonstrated that not only be for Satan, the fallen angels, but the unfallen angels send through the medium of the book DOS as well. See all of those things nevertheless came upon him, and although it's true that at the end God restored the blessing a person might well say if that's what it means. Following the Christian way to be a godly person to serve the Lord Jehovah. I'm not sure I wanted to yell but I'll believe it when I don't want to be to fanatical again. I suppose you could take that great example of testing from the Old Testament that you have in the case of Abraham. Abraham began with what we would regard perhaps is very rudimentary faith.

God appeared to him in the vision and set Abraham I want you to leave your homeland and go into a land that I'm going to show you what I'm going to bless you and make your name great, multiply your seed and your going to be the source of blessing to all the nations, not merely your own people, but the other nations as well. Abraham started out it wasn't a great deal of faith.

I'm sure there are people to whom God could appear wouldn't even respond to that start out but nevertheless you could understand yourself and Abraham shows that if you received a blessing like that of vision. And if God said in addition, now if you obey me. I'm going to prosper you and make your name great make you a nation and everything wouldn't be great measure of faith that you need in order to respond and go. Abraham began like that God began to work in Abraham's life in the way of Abraham's life was not a way of unmitigated blessing free from hardship went through periods where there was famine in the land that he didn't know where he was going to get enough to eat were times when marauders came in out of the desert and carried off the produce of his nephew, and the families livestock goods and Abraham a great risk to himself without brought those things back. Finally, the with the spiritual tests there came a great peak of testing when Abraham now man would become strong in faith, was told by God to take his son Isaac. Sonny love and sacrifice him on a mountain under the Lord must've been a great struggle.

But Abraham did it through the experience of God stopped him. Just of the birch of killing his son and offering them up. God taught them through that experience something of what it would mean for God himself to give his only begotten son upon the cross, Abraham learned through the things that he suffered, he learned through trials. The person could say, well, if that's what it means to be a Christian. I'm not sure I want to go along with it either, but we say, however, having talked about that kind of the background, the kind of things that came in the life of Joel over the kind of trials and testings were placed before Abraham that I am not sure really that that's the reason you and I hesitate to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to what the Lord Jesus price would require because although Job lost all his possessions and all his children, on the average just speaking now percentages. There are very many people who go through that and it's very unlikely that you and I would be called upon to do anything quite like that again. Although it's true that Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his son that so far as I know was an isolated incident very unlikely that that will never occur again were probably not going to be called to do anything even approaching that. So I'm not sure that it's really the example of people like this slow. Certainly, intellectually, we can think along those lines is not really the example of people like that bothers us so much as it is very kind of things. James talks about in these verses, because as he begins to talk about doing the word what he talks about is not great feats of heroism, not the kind of things that will cause our name to be listed in the future 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews, but simply matters like controlling our speech being slow to anger, personal righteousness, controlling our tongue caring for the orphans and widows and then Leslie Mrs. personal righteousness all over again. This is the theme of the verses let me read them, my dear brothers, take note of this. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.

Do what it says.

Anyone who listens to the word does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like the banner looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it. He will be blessed in what he does anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world and say is that fanaticism yes it is I believe in the biblical sense. Our problem with commitment, I also believe not for my reluctance to be heroes and heroines.

Perhaps we gladly do that for my reluctance to carry out the implications of the gospel in the tiny details of our personal conduct and lives justly to those items. First of all there's this matter of speech with which he begins. James says more about speech than anybody else in the Bible is very concerned for this. Undoubtedly, because he saw the ill effects of ill tempered or uncontrolled speech is first example has to do with speech that leads to anger.

He says don't let that happen.

Control it be slow because anger does not produce the kind of righteousness God desires said when I was introducing the book of James last week that over and over again in this book James refers back to the sermon on the Mount. Apparently, certainly we have an example here because we recall that in the middle of the fifth chapter of Matthew the first of the three chapters in Matthew that contain the sermon on the Mount, our Lord spoke about anger very concerned about anger.

He said let not the sun go down upon your wrath and he began to spell out the kind of things that we do when were angry, and he took it in very serious terms, he said, is not merely a matter of saying well I lost control of myself a little bit you know how that is.

I've always had a bad temper.

My father had one for me and his father before that didn't dismiss it that easily.

He said that anger in the speech that results from what is akin to murder because he made the identification.

As he did all his ethics between the flock and intents of the heart and that which ultimately flows from it.

If the thought and intents of the heart is allowed to go on unchecked said some of you say Rocca to your brother say term of contempt.

He said some of you say the person that you dislike you fool. The word is more or less means one who is a moral fool that is unscrupulous unethical person. It's a slander on his conduct price as you do this, but I tell you the one who does those things and says it is in danger of hell fire Lord didn't mince words.

James doesn't either, and he says here as he begins to talk about practical matters that the Christian was committed to the gospel in a life of discipleship should first of all, have his tongue or her tongue under control. He talks about personal righteousness as well. I don't know whether at this point he's thinking specifically of the sermon on the mount, but he may well have our Lord says the end of that fifth chapter verse 48 be therefore perfect, complete, even as your father in heaven is perfect.

It's the summation of a whole series of ethical commands that he has in that chapter. Perhaps James was thinking of that here. He says this is the righteous life that God desires. When he begins to spell out what that means.

He says it has to do with keeping oneself free from the moral filth and the evil of the age we live in an age characterized by moral filth, though perhaps not so much of the city of Jerusalem as if he had lived in Athens or Rome.

We live in the same kind of an environment the contamination of the world through its entertainment books limit standards of its conduct in business in all other areas we know all too well. James says keep yourself free from that.

Don't be contaminated by these things was talking to a person was in finance the other day and he said is unbelievable. The kind of things going on in the financial world. I said what you mean you mean that they manipulate the books Holly said even worse than that.

It's downright dishonest even with their clients. I said you mean they rob from the rich in order also to Rob from the poor. He said you got it exactly say those things we know all too well.

James says keep yourself free from those things. If you're a follower of Christ. Verse 26 he talks about the control of the time were going to come back to that after he says later on in the book that the tongue is unruly that it's hard to control the tongue.

Indeed, no one can control it. Only God can do it.

Therefore, you need a relationship to Jesus Christ and which are transformed from within.

As Paul says the book of Romans, in order that there might be a difference in these things then lest we miss it. He comes back at the very end of talk about personal righteousness again.

I think perhaps of all the items that are mentioned here. There's this matter.

In verse 27 that religion pure and faultless is to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Why is it that we sometimes think perhaps because of our theology that we can dispense with acts of social righteousness gone through a period in American Christianity that's been characterized why this for different reasons. Perhaps breath because working so so concerned for the gospel. Justification by grace through faith apart from works. We don't want to stress works at all of this is a work. Therefore, we don't do it because it might detract from the gospel. I don't know wraps or other reasons to get closer to our hearts, but I do know that we been deficient in this area is amazing that James writing here about the essence of pure religion can focus not on a doctoral matter, but on a matter of conduct. I notice he's not talking about the content of the faith. If he had said the content of the faith is to take care of widows and the orphans he would've been wrong. That's not the content. It's an expression of it. The content of the gospel is in God's work in Christ for our salvation, but he says religion consists in this you, Lord, religion means.

It means the practice of the faith, composed of two Latin words Ray means again, and this word LI G which is used here for which we also get our word ligaments is that which binds things together. So religion is that which binds us back again to God. That's what religion is the practice of the faith that whereby our conduct.

We are bound back again to the character of God. Now he says that you're talking about. That has to do with these very practical matters, so he says I want you all to be fanatical I want you to be fanatical in controlling your tongue. I want you to be fanatical where your own personal morality is concerned, I want you to be fanatical caring for other people, then lest you miss it. I want you to be fanatical where your personal morality is concerned, keep yourselves unpolluted from the world you say. I'm not sure I want to do it. It sounds all too difficult. Why should I be concerned about things like this let me give you the answers that he has these verses.

First of all, he points out that it's only by practicing what we hear and preach that we come to know ourselves. In other words, self-knowledge is right wrapped up with the practice a religion is what is talking about.

By his image of the mirror mirrors Scripture, and he says when you look in the word and see what it says there what that should do is cause you to be fixed upon the word in order that you might really hear and understand that and apply it in such a way that you live differently. Sort of a person takes a mirror and glances that it then looks the way it does nothing at all. Look into a mirror to see how things are going. Have you washed your face. Some people like up in the morning and they don't know whether they've done it or not. Moon you have to look in the mirror to find out you comb your hair is your time on straight number of other details like that you look at the mirror in order that you can see the state of things as they are now. He says when you read about the claims of Christianity.

Not Christ with the claims of Christianity upon Christians, the kind of lives that were to live. It's not so you can go out and speak learnedly about the kind of life. The Christian should live so you can go out and live that kind of life so he says the first thing that should happen is that as you look into the requirements of Christianity as you find them in the word that you find out what kind of a person you are you really doing those things are really pretending to do those things are you doing some of those things, but not other things are you doing the superficial things, not the important things.

The only place you're going to find out about that is in the word and the only place. Therefore, you're going to find out about yourself is in the word you know we all have very distorted ideas of ourselves. Talk to your husband, your husband knows what you're like, talk to your wife.

Your wife knows what you like with the person who probably least knows what you're really like is yourself. The only place you really going to find out about that Scripture what we really do is have a distorted idea of ourselves which always makes us better than we are. Think of a story is and how to win friends and influence people. The Dale Carnegie book 1st chapter of that book talks about how reluctant people are to face the truth about themselves and Dale Carnegie's approach to winning friends and influence people as above all, not to tell them that's a slightly different point in the gospel makes what the illustrations that Carnegie gives a very apt one page. There he talks about a gangster that was well known in New York City. The early decades of the century, and it was finally captured in 1931 was a young man but he was apparently entirely unscrupulous, particularly about killing people, on occasion, a policeman stopped by his car and asked if he could see his license and two gun, probably because that was his name reached in his vest pocket and pulled out one of his two guns and shot the policeman.

That's the kind of man he was. Well, he had to hole up somewhere in he was eventually surrounded by the police and that was a great big shootout New York City. It was in all the papers and probably was eventually captured you say what the person like that.

Think about himself he say I'm a bad man. I should people not at all. We know what he thought about himself.

Because after they captured him. They found a note in his girlfriends apartment where he was captured bloodstained as a result of the shootout which he had scribbled out these words he said underneath this coat beats a warm heart a kind one, one that would never do anybody any harm. And when they finally took him up to Sing Sing and were due to execute him for his crimes he left behind these words. He says this is what I get for defending myself. That was Crowley's opinion of himself.

Now, if a character like that doesn't see the harm in his life. No more do you are. I am us the word of God reveals it to us. The only way we find that out is when we come face-to-face with those things that the Lord Jesus Christ, your Lord and my Lord have us do really deliver him in this world. Secondly, is not only we have self-knowledge.

We also find what we do, becoming acceptable to God. This is what James says in verse 27 religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this look after orphans and widows, etc. word acceptance is used in different ways in the Bible there's an acceptance of us in Christ, which has to do with our justification. When Paul writes in Ephesians 16 that God has made us accepted in the beloved. This is what he's thinking of. This is not what James is thinking of here.

James is thinking more the way Paul is at the end of Philippians in the fourth chapter verse 18 when he talks about the service of the saints in Philippi, which he says is acceptable under God. In other words, what they did was acceptable under God because it was in accordance with the things that he lays out for them to do in the Scriptures. If James says religion which is acceptable to God. Is this and spells it out. It implies, does it not that there is a kind of religion that is not acceptable to God that we put that in terms of contrasted is quite obviously a religion which is a religion of words only an unmatched by deeds number three this kind of life. In addition to giving a self-knowledge and acceptance with God also provides us with personal blessing. I think he's talking about that in verse 25 the very end because he says a man looks into the perfect law of freedom and is freed by anthem lives by not forgetting what he is heard will be blessed in what he does blessed by God.

So we asked the question, do you want to be blessed. You want God to bless you. The answer is here.

Read the Scriptures see what it says live by what you find there are finally not only does this provide blessing for us. That obviously provides blessing for other people as well.

We imagine where we are quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger that will not be a blessing in the lives of the people to whom we would otherwise be angry and slow to listen when we read that we are to keep ourselves from the moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent in the world are we to think that while we are blessed by that but that would be without a blessing in the lives of those with whom we have contact that would cease to be a blessing to our families of the people with whom we work as well when it says that we are to look after the orphans and the widows. Examples of the kind of social work we can do.

Are we to think that while we are blessed in doing that that would not be a blessing to them. Of course not.

In all these things other people are blessed as well. So when we do it we become something of what the Lord Jesus Christ obviously desired for his disciples what he said you were to be polite of the world and you are to be the salt of the earth all kinds of fanatics. Some of them are very quiet fanatics and perhaps that's the best of all possible kinds, but they are people who are not afraid to live by what they know and profess one of the young girls from this church is not here this weekend because she's home with her family.

She has a Jewish background and she's going home for a bat mitzvah of the daughter of her sister sister pleaded with her now when you come home please please please do not spoil this bar mitzvah. What she meant was, don't talk about Jesus this young girl asked us to pray for her because she says, although I have no desire spoil anything that goes on one of my just say when they say, although I haven't seen you for such a long time.

What's new she only has one answer.

What's new is Jesus so she asked that God would give her wisdom and we would pray she might have wisdom as she bears witness.

I would call her fanatic. I would desire, we might all be fanatics in that sentence infused with the spirit of Christ friends of Jesus were desirous of singing his praises throughout the world. Let us pray father, bless these practical words to our hearts. Those of us who day by day the very practical lives. Granted, as we do, we might give very practical testimony that one was the king of kings. Even Jesus you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians. Thank you again for your continued support of this ministry

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