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September 28, 2021 4:00 am
All of us like imagining better version of ourselves.
Maybe we underestimate our weight or we add an inch to our height. But honestly, what we think were getting today on Truth for Life, we discover that when it comes to issues of faith.
Self-deception can have eternal consequences.
As Alister Beck to tell us more of our tax James chapter 1 verse 22, which reads as follows. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. I told some of you this before but it bears repeating in this context that some years ago I was invited to play at a golf club down in southern Ohio.
Somewhere in the Dayton towards and between Dayton and Indianapolis are not sure really what I want.
I was the guest of a gentleman and he told me that he would meet me on the practice range and so having received my gloves. I went down to the practice range I defined myself in the company of just one other man who was not my host so I was there filling time and swinging a bit and I waiting for my host to come. My procedure was as those who know me well and marked by my standard mediocrity but in comparison to the person who was the stranger just a couple of slots away from me on the range I was really pretty good because this man was by any standards appalling he was. He was he was not good or tall. His his drives were were ineffectual and weak and when he took out irons.
He consistently dribbled the iron shots all the way along the ground in a in a fashion that was frankly quite embarrassing incident embarrassing but embarrassed me in the middle of this sorry display. He took a call on his cell phone and his side of the conversation went something like this are yes on yes on the driving range oh really good actually very good driving it to the far end of the range. My arms all straight as straight as arrows and incredibly long took everything in me not to go over and grab the cell phone from the man and speak to his friend or his wife are very wise and say, you gotta be kidding.
Let me tell you the truth, and to handed back to the gentleman and say don't kid yourself. Do not kid yourself not be like that because that is essentially in colloquial terms what James says in verse 22 of James chapter 1 that's what he saying don't kid yourselves when it comes to the issues of faith when it comes to the Bible when it comes to Jesus when it comes to believing when it comes to behaving. Make sure he says they don't kid yourselves because there was in the expedience of those to whom you wrote a significant gap between their imagination and their execution in much the same way. There was on the driving range in the gentleman beside me and James urges his readers to consider two things. First of all, what is a very clear distinction and the distinction is there between listening and doing.
Do not merely listen to the word do what it says. The Bible must be taught.
That's why we been given the Bible.
That's why we preach from the Bible. It is a matter of necessity, as we've seen in the previous verses not only is the Bible a life-giving word, but the Bible is also a life transforming work, and it is as the Bible is explained that faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of God.
And when a man or woman comes to believe in Jesus and to trust in him. Then the Bible becomes the light on their pathway food for their journey. The map and so long they have in their hands if you like their own global positioning system and then able to go into it and find their direction and discover where they are to go but if the process stops there simply in the teaching of the Bible or in the listening to the Bible, then little if anything has been accomplished what James is pointing out is simply this, that if the Bible is going to be effective in our lives.
It must not only be listen to, but also received and acted upon.
James has urged everyone to make sure that they are quick to listen, in verse 19, but he now says make sure that you are not merely listening, now in this he is much like his brother Jesus isn't and in one particular instance. This becomes very clear when Jesus gave the sermon on the Mount where we have the Beatitudes all these wonderful statements concerning the poor in spirit, and those who mourn, and so on. After Jesus had concluded what we refer to as the sermon on the Mount. He then tells a story of two builders and Jesus was a masterful storyteller and having given them all the material in his sermon. He then gives them are therefore he deals in the realm of the soul. What if you like Thursday or let me tell you.
So what everyone who hears these words of mine. I noticed the next phrase and puts them into practice is like a man wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, the wind blew and beat against that house, it it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock, but everyone who hears these words of mine.
I notice this next phrase and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. James the brother of Jesus seems to be taking a leaf from Jesus book by making the same point and making it absolutely clear in this pithy statement a clear distinction which all of us can understand. Secondly, he also identifies a crucial deception and that is the danger of being self deceived. James is concerned about people being deceived and you'll notice in verse 16.
If your Bible is open. He says I don't want you to be deceived, dear brothers, here in verse 22.
He is concerned about self-deception. If anyone considers himself religious and yet doesn't keep a tight rein on his tongue, again you have the same verb he deceives himself accepting the word of God means doing what it says in James as will go on through this letter works this out with great clarity end at some length.
Beginning in chapter 2 in verse 14 where he asked the question, what good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith and has no D and then as he follows that line of thinking through he's driving home this point that he simply pays reference to in passing in this particular verse, and he uses what is supposed to be.
I think a humorous analogy anyone. He says who listens to the word but it doesn't do what it says is like a man looks at his face in a mirror and then after he seen his face in the mirror he goes away and forgets what her face looked like every so often in an early morning breakfast meeting since I've been here in America. I have seen some funny stuff. I have been in the company of men wearing one brown loafer and one black loafer to pointed out to them. They are amazed and they said all dear, I think I noticed that but I forgot all about it. I got dressed in the dark. Most of us have stories like this when taking flowers from our church to people who were infirm back in the Hamilton in Scotland. On one occasion I had gathered up these flowers been given them by either my wife or someone in and instructed where they were to go. Given the instructions and somehow or another I have got Paul and on on my fingers and as a result of that I had I had rub my nose or or scratch my face and I saw myself in the rearview mirror and I made a mental note you better take care of that before use to get out on your on your visits by then. In the course of traffic and everything else I wasn't paying attention to it and I forgot about, only to discover that people looked at me in a very strange way and and I and I remember thinking it was a what's up with that. You know what were you looking at your problem or something.
What your problem and then I got back in the car looked in the rearview mirror and I realize what the problem it was absolutely no good to me to look in the mirror unless I did something about it.
The value of the mirror is not narcissism so that we can congratulate ourselves the volume in the mirror is in order that we can see our predicament to do what we can to fix and the Bible is like another and when we look into the mirror of God's word we find things out that we wouldn't know. Had we not look there.
But if we look in and discover them and do nothing about. Then we are self to see. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says let me make application of this in one simple aspect and that is in relationship to baptism because what is about to take place here in this pool is the expression on the part of six individuals who are testifying to the fact that eventually gone into the Bible. When they looked into the mirror of God's word be found out things about themselves they find out things about Jesus and they found out things about what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and they have guarded themselves against being self deceived and have decided to follow through on what they see in the mirror. What of the scene when they've gone in to the Bible.
Incidentally, I think there is some legitimacy and make application of verse 22 to baptism. For this reason, we notice the phrase get rid off, get rid off the phrase get rid of put off is occurs frequently in the New Testament defined in Romans chapter 12, you find it in Hebrews chapter 12 where he says that we set aside all the things that would hinder us in Ephesians 2 Colossians chapter 3. The picture is very clearly of clothing and the idea of taking off clothes marked a previous way of life and putting on closed the mark a new way of life and so frequently the New Testament writers say you should put this off and you should put that on there is some evidence that in certain areas of the early church that symbolism was worked out in the experience of baptism so that when a person came to be baptized became wearing their outer clothing over there undergarments in the Eastern fashion and when they came down into the rivers edge. They took off their outer clothing and left it on the one side, they went down into the river or into the lake or the stream to be baptized and when they were baptized they came out on the other side of the river, only to be met by some of their friends who gave them a complete new outer garment that was a symbol of them. Having said goodbye to this and hello to this so I said again.
I think it is some legitimate see him taking verse 22 and make an application of it to baptism, even if we weren't having a baptism service.
The apostles were commanded by Jesus to baptized going to all the world, he said, and baptize in the name of the father and of the son and the Holy Spirit and teach the people were baptized to obey everything that I have commanded teach them not simply to hear it, but to do it. It is vitally important when we think in terms of baptism that were very clear about what is not happening in this baptismal pool tonight.
There is no washing away of sin is just frankly pool of water. Although the washing away of sin is not being performed in here the washing away of sin is pictured in here he is given to is this baptism so that we might see in this picture of the fact that it is his blood, which cleanses us from sin.
It is his sacrifice, which washes away our sin and having come to an understanding of that are going through this water is simply providing for ourselves and for those who observe picture of what is already been performed so no one is having their sins washed away in here tonight. No one is becoming a Christian in this water tonight you will hear each of the people say that somewhere along the line they understood the gospel and they came to believe in Jesus and to trust in him. What is really happening here is of the people are coming through this baptismal pool in doing what the Bible says are in some ways like shopkeepers who put a new sign up outside their shop which reads under new management, legal transactions have taken place behind the scenes and in private.
All is become apparent is the shop is no longer what it once was. And suddenly there is a change in the whole fascia of the shop and the content of the shop and what the shop has the cell and it is no surprise when the sign goes up under new management. When these people come through this baptismal pool tonight an argument to the baptismal pool to say that we just got a Masters degree in religion. We just we just moved up three runs in the spiritual ladder towards acceptance with God. No other coming through saying is under new management. I'm under the management of Jesus. So then we should be baptized. Those who are under the management of Jesus. If were not under the management of Jesus, then the symbolism is completely lost as those who are under the management of Jesus are those who have come to the Bible and have looked into the Bible and if they've seen a picture of themselves as described like a sheep that is gone astray like a rebellious son like someone who's disinterested and they said, you know, that looks a lot like me, and when he looked into the mirror and saw that the also looked further in this so that Jesus by his death on the cross had come to make provision for all of our rottenness and are wondering that our waywardness and our sinfulness and looking further into the matter.
They discovered that acceptance with God was not something that was Aaron or achieved by religious activity, baptism, or anything else but was something that was granted as I get to all who would come in humble and believing for now. You can check this for yourself by reading all the way through the acts of the apostles and you will discover that there is a distinct pattern which runs all the way through the acts resembling chapter 2 Peter preaches on the day of Pentecost and as a result of his preaching. People begin to say to what are we supposed to do with this and find Luke tells her that they were cut to the heart. There was a listening with 30 years there was something that he never encountered before because they were hearing the very voice of God through the voice of a man, what are we supposed to do what you we knew Peter and he said this is what to do. Repent and be baptized every one of you in other words, doing about turning from the way you're going to trust in Jesus and what he is done and then get baptized so that everyone will know that you're serious get baptized so that everyone will know you're for real easy baptism is an outward sign of an inward spiritual chain.
It's the siding going up that declares what is taken place in private, is what we often say that an unbaptized believer is like a soldier who is unwilling to wear the uniform. So anybody become a soldier and didn't want to wear the uniform. That's the reason you become a soldier in part is when you like to one of those uniforms. They always look so good I can imagine joining the airport and amends as I know your uniform, what size would you like as a world you know and he said okay what I think we can find one like that and so he gave me the uniform that is enough.
I just want to be in the Air Force on the ice want to be a soldier but I want to be incognito. I don't want anyone to know that I that I that I am in the Army. I don't want any because there might be some people hate me for being in the Army might be hard to be in the Army.
The medial position you might get killed in this army.
So why don't I you do with others in the no can do then is no such thing as secret discipleship because either our discipleship will destroy our secrecy, our secrecy will destroy our discipleship and an unbaptized believer is like a soldier that will wear the uniform or like a spouse who refuses to wear a wedding ring. I never wear a wedding ring. We better be very careful if you got a husband. He says I'm not going to wear a wedding ring. You might want to get him a ring for his nose. Then if he doesn't want to wear it on the screen because you want the girl to know that that is an expression of the reality of a relationship that is precious and unassailable. The distinction is between listening and doing some people are very good at going through the menu for your and are there when you going to restaurant. I cannot just go through the specials. Increasingly, I want to say no, no, because my life is going by and frankly, no, not just just out I'll get something in and sit there and listen to all Aladdin me a thing until you watering you eat, you can memorize timetables for all the buses that go everywhere on the Greyhound system. Never take a trip you can listen at Cleveland Hopkins Airport to every announcement of every flight that is going to where you want to go without ever going to your destination because there is a vital distinction between listening and doing in those cases, perhaps not affect in this case it is a matter of our eternal destiny. Do not merely listen to the work, and so deceive yourself do what it said there is a vital and important distinction between merely listing God's word and doing from Alastair begged today on Truth for Life. Alister returns in just a minute to close with prayer so please keep listing if you're a regular listener to Truth for Life.
We hope this program has become a solid source of Bible teaching for you. As Alister mentioned, the Bible is not only a life-giving word but it's also a life transforming word. That's what you'll often hear us invite you to open your Bible because God's Word has the power to change your life.
We also will help you instill a love for the Bible in the hearts and minds of your children or your grandchildren as well.
So we been recommending a book titled Bible stories. Every child should know this is a colorfully illustrated story book. It's packed with Bible stories. You can read two young children from both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
There are even questions at the end of each chapter to help guide the conversation after you read the story.
Be sure to request a copy of Bible stories every child should know when you give a gift of any amount to Truth for Life. Simply visit our website Truth for Life.org/donate or call 888-588-7884. Now let's join Alister in prayer.
Father, thank you for the Bible. Thank you. We can read it thank you that it's truth prevails. Thank you that the Holy Spirit drives it home to the minds and hearts of those who were humbly accepted. Speak into the lives of those of us who've been listening to the story for a long time without ever doing anything about how it was not simply again to go through another Sunday where we lived into the mirror and then go away and forget exactly how we appear.
Save us from self-deception and help us Lord, we pray for Jesus sake.
Amen about the pain a new appliance usually comes with an owners manual and follow the instructions and do what they tell you to do the appliances not function properly. God's word works in much the same way. It's not enough to merely listen to God's will, we have to do what he tells us learn more as you join us tomorrow Bible teaching of Alister Barrick is furnished by Truth for Life with the wording is for living