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Do What It Says! (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
September 29, 2021 4:00 am

Do What It Says! (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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September 29, 2021 4:00 am

When we buy a new appliance, it’s important to read the owner’s manual and follow its directions. God’s Word is like the believer’s instruction manual. Find out why merely listening to it isn’t enough. That’s our focus on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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When we get to apply provides us with helpful instructions. You can read the manual from cover to cover, but if you don't follow the directions. Your appliances not work as believers we been given God's word to guide our lives. But it's not enough for us to simply listen to it today on Truth for Life. Alister Beck explains why I invite you to turn to James chapter 1 that might be helpful to know the way going to turn. I traverse in Jeremiah chapter 31 but that's just to be forewarned, no James chapter 1 and reading from verse 22 to 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 a man who looks at his face in a matter, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he is tired but doing it. He will be blessed in what he does. Father we pray that with our Bibles open before us the spirit of God will take the truth and write it in our hearts convince us in our thinking and changes in our living. We look alone to you to accomplish this, and we pray in Christ name on then over continuing to pay close attention as we can to the very practical instruction which James is providing for us in this letter, we began to look at the section to which we now return I we began to look at verse 22 under the heading don't kid yourselves and we noted that James is warning his readers warning us of the dangers of self-deception. The dangers of self-deception. He has urged upon them the importance of listening in verse 19 we saw that in verse 20, but now he warns them against merely listening important that you listen, he says, verse 19 and in verse 22. It is important also that you do not merely listen out of great wisdom and this is in there because it is possible to derive a measure of satisfaction just from listening. If the person who teaches is enthusiastic or clear concise or helpful or whatever it may be, then the listener may be caught up in the enthusiasm of the preacher may actually deem the time of listening as being worthwhile and may actually go out of the opportunity, determining that it really was a good experience for him and for him or for her to be here. But, of course, if five minutes or 15 seconds after the benediction when the Bible is closed-end music begins to play. If that same individual who has determined that this is been a worthwhile exercise and has been profitable and good for then if they themselves remain unchanged by Ed then James says is really useless exercise in the extreme wars is possible to be charmed by the Bible being taught without being changed by the Bible being taught. There are wonderful illustrations in the Bible of those who work hearing who were listening carefully and yet who remained absolutely unchanged.

The picture that is used here in this verb for hearing on listening is the picture of the individual who in the first century would've attended the lectures.

For example, we have enacts the scene in the lecture hall of Taranto's and this is representative of a number of these lecture facilities that were in existence at that time and people would go regularly to listen to the lectures without ever becoming disciples of the one who taught and that is the word which is used here because the person who is happy to go along and listen but it is only an merely listening without ever being changed by the truth. For example, have this classically in the life of Herod who in listening to what we might say was the second best preacher that John the Baptist and Mark records of Herod. He used to listen to him and be profoundly disturbed and yet he enjoyed hearing him address his statement isn't used to listen to him and when you listen to John the Baptist, preaching disturbed in and got them all jingle jangle inside of himself and yet when not all past away and he walked out and he said you know but II really enjoy listening to John the Baptist. He was charmed, but he was unchanged, and when listening becomes for anyone of as an end in itself than any benefit that may be gained is inevitably imperfect and is inevitably short-lived at says I see do you frequently know the great danger of being somewhere like Parkside church where you're not being subjected to a seven minute homily out of Newsweek magazine, or somebody's rambling thoughts.

But there is at least an endeavor irrespective of who is behind this pool bit that is an honest endeavor on the part of the individual to turn the congregation to the Bible and to look into the Bible so that we are all very clear that all of us is under the instruction of this book that none of us is prescribing overage or form it in some way unrelated to it know we are all under the instruction and tutelage of the Bible, and therefore if we merely listen to it, then we are in great danger. Great danger because the more we listen to it without being changed by the less likely we will be changed by I can pick out individuals who consistently attended to listen to the Bible where unchanged by the longer they went, the less likely they were to be transformed because they became hardened to the truth that they had. They became familiar with in the maven of said it was beneficial no use to them at all. Now the superficial casual glance of man number one.

Here in verse 22. The superficial casual glance looks into the mirror and immediately forgets fails to do anything about it is a picture of the individual who treats the Bible teach the word of truth in the same way Tasker and New Testament commentator for whom we have cause to be thankful, suggests that the forgetting that is referenced here and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like is not the forgetfulness of lack of memory or lack of cognitive ability but Tasker suggests that it may well be a purposeful forgetting. So he writes as follows.

If a man does see glimpses on his countenance of the ravages being wrought by sin, sickness, anxiety, or the inevitable passage of time. His instinct is to banish such a vision quickly from his memory and to turn it once to other things that usually seems to make a lot of sense to me because most of us routinely do not forget what we saw in the mirror unless we've got some problem we usually remember it's one we don't want to remember that we can deliberately put it aside and get on with other things so I say to you again.

50 seconds after the benediction you will get a pretty clear indication of what is going on in all our hearts and mind when we want to immediately forget what is being said, we want to turn away one from what we've seen of ourselves. We want to dispense with that which is confronted as challenge doesn't call this to change. I want immediately to find somebody out in the corridor, with whom we can talk about the final four. Whether the derive is going to finish at 6 o'clock in time for the South African service or what ever it might be. I don't say that to make any one of us feel guilty because I'm as good at it as the next person. This, but it is a striking picture there when you see the end of a golf tournament.

Now that I'm there in my mind and it comes down to that 18th green. You don't find that people are chasing off to catch the bus, you don't find that when that pot has dropped a sale will that's the end of that. Let's get on with life. You find that there is an almost holy, all that settles on the event while you believe we were here.

Can you believe we saw this I want to sit here for a minute or two because I don't want to ever forget what happened to me here ever had that experience.

When the Bible stalked whatever passing benefit may be gleaned from a casual observance. The right response as James is the response of careful obedience. He moves very quickly from his illustration in man one to the man who, by contrast, verse 25 looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard about doing it and he's the man who will be truly happy. He's the blessed man and the blessing will come along the pathway of obedience. We really have that in verse 25 is what we might refer to as simply the right response to the truth. The right response to the truth or to the war, and there are three words that I want to give you before I give you those three words I want you to look carefully at what it is.

James references in terms of our response to it. What is the man looking into what the man is looking intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, James is already talk about the truth he spoke, spoken by the word of truth, which is a reference to the gospel as taught by Jesus and then is under student taught by the apostles, but given the fact that he is writing to our congregation or to people, many of whom came out of a Jewish background, many of whom had a clear understanding of the law in its ceremonial aspects in its civil aspects in its moral implications to them is summarized in the 10 Commandments.

I don't think that that is it dead that it is any doubt that James here is making a very clear and crucial point necessary for all who read, hence my reference to Jeremiah 31, from which I want to read right now in verse 33 and here the word of God through the prophet Jeremiah is as follows. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord is what I'm going to do if my people, I'm going to put my law in their minds and I will write it on their hearts. Of the 10 Commandments had been written, not on their hearts. But on tablets of stone. They had been given these tablets. Those 10 Commandments, incidentally, were not given to them as a means to get out of the bondage of Egypt, the 10 Commandments were given to them after they had been redeemed and come out of the bondage of Egypt, the 10 Commandments were given to them to frame they are lying's now when you go into the New Testament and you come back to James and you turn back a couple of pages into Hebrews which is the most Old Testament, New Testament book then you discover that the writer to the Hebrews after he has made unmistakably clear that Jesus death on the cross has one son for all made an atoning sacrifice for sins that the reason he is set down is because his work is completed and in verse 14 of Hebrews 10 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

And then he says, and the Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. The third person of the Trinity has something to say on this. The Holy Spirit has spoken.

How is he spoken, and what is he said will fascinatingly, he has spoken the Bible and the Holy Spirit quotes Jeremiah 31 this is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. He takes this promise made first and directly to the people of Israel, and he expands it and explodes it if you like to to fit with all who are the people of God by grace through faith. Who are the chosen generation, the Royal Bruce to the holy nation, the people belonging to God as Peter puts it in first Peter 29 and he says this is the covenant I made with them. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. In other words, this perfect law that gives freedom is perfect because it is God's provision. It's perfectly suited to our needs and to our natures. It is if you like. Just what the doctor ordered member.

Jesus says it's not a healthy that neither Dr. is the sick, I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And then the physician who heals, gives, if you like the prescription he says now I have redeemed you in order that you might become the firstfruits that you might be dedicated to God. How are we to be dedicated to God where where to be dedicated to God by the doing of God's will. Where do we find the doing of God's will, we find it in his law, what is this law is an external know it's internal where is this law it's written in our hearts and paradoxically, the constraining impact of the law is what provides freedom. Freedom now unless we get this, we will be in all kinds of difficulty and some of us frankly are nine order from talking with you because you bought an approach to Christianity which says which which uses terminology correctly in its phraseology but misapply is it so for example you routinely say were not under law when under grace which of course is true is a quote from the Bible. But what is it mean in a significant number of people who say that phrase to me this is what it mean used to be in the Old Testament there was nothing going on about law, but once we got to Malachi and went through the 400 years of the into testamentary. According to Matthew. Then we were finished with law and all we do is grace under law. You're supposed to do what you were told to be the 10 Commandments under grace. You do what you feel like the Holy Spirit helps you to feel the way you want to feel so really you don't want anybody telling you anything that you're supposed to do or not do because that's Old Testament stuff. If you're truly in the New Testament, they will never say that to you and if they do, you will know they are legalists.

So don't listen to them. Don't pay any attention to them at all because the key is you been set free from all that you are no longer under law you're under grace now. Maybe something of a caricature, but not too much. The fact is we are no longer under law as a means of acceptance with God all about acceptance with God, and it always was. As a result of grace. The grace of law we are not under law as a means of acceptance with God that we are under law as a means of living for God, our freedom in Christ and this is the paradox is tied directly to our obedience. It is by our obedience that we are free disobedient people think they're free by there in bondage, obedient people may feel themselves constrained by there and freedom.

James is taking a leaf out of his brother's book is Jesus said the same thing. Time and again John chapter 8. If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples, as is verse 31 of John eight. If you hold to my teaching, you're really my disciples. Remember we talked earlier about the people who listen to the lectures but and become disciples. Jesus may live the same thought in his mind. You come along to all these talks. He says, and you listen but you go away your charm by the buyer not changed by them. If you hold to my teaching, then you really my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. I have to get back to the to the this is a parenthetical journey here if you want to think this through a little more.

Let me commend a book to your call pathway to freedom.

You don't need to read the whole book by just the prologue and in the prologue, the author their deals with Calvin's third use of the law. The third use of the law and as I say you will be held by that Cowper in one of his hymns succinctly grasps this in one stanza when he puts it as follows to see the law by Christ fulfilled okay. Jesus kept the law every detail of the law in his perfection. He did what we in our sin cannot do could not do to see the law by Christ fulfilled and hear his pardoning voice and hear his pardoning voice that the rest of the quote in Hebrews 10 there is in the Holy Spirit goes on to say, and their sins and their lawless acts I will remember no more. Why, because of the finished work that he just referenced in the in the earlier part of the chapter to see the law by Christ fulfilled and hear his pardoning voice changes a slave into a child and Judy into choice to see the law by Christ fulfilled and hear his pardoning voice changes a slave into a child and Judy into choice.

I love your loss. As the psalmist. I love it's not external to me.

It's not a nuisance to me.

It's not making me chafe at the bit. Why because it's written in his heart. If you want to know freedom guilt, lust, fear, loneliness, aimlessness, emptiness as a Christian. It is dependent upon your obedience on obeying what you've been taught.

That's why you see some people in a congregation like this go on to maturity and others don't. Same scene that sold everyone here is the same sermons. What's the difference will this all in the parable of the sower. Remember Jesus said in that sore one for the storm when he sold some seed fell by the wayside is landed on stony ground. It was on the hard bits of the path and never had any router told the birds picked it up and it was gone in a moment or two that I hardly had a chance to hit the ground and it was away in the same way the people come and listen to the Bible taught and there out the door within 15 seconds, they can they can think they can't imagine why they would stay around forever, and I also longer than others instant bloom, all of a sudden their enthusiasts springtime enthusiasm wanes in the summer dies by the autumn and in the winter. No one knows where they are.

Others seem to be going along nicely and the truth is choked out, choked out by staff by worries and cares and money and possessions, and anxieties because we forgotten that godliness with contentment is great gain and in actual fact, when you read the parable of the sword becomes perfectly clear that there's a tremendous amount of waste each in the whole process is. But the good soil said Jesus represents the hearts of those who receive the truth when it is planted in who obey and who go on Alister, big reminding us today that we can't just listen to God's word. We have to obey it. This is true for life will hear more on this topic tomorrow.

Alister's message today ended with the parable of the sower and the seed. It's a reminder to us as parents with grandparents even Sunday school teachers, we have the great privilege and responsibility of planting God's word in the hearts of our children and grandchildren. So don't wait to request a copy of the book we been talking about cold Bible stories every child should know this is a collection of more than 120 stories from both the old and new Testaments. It's available through tomorrow and it's perfect for passing God's truth on to the next generation. Request a copy of the book Bible stories every child should know when you get online at or tap the book image in the we also mention if you'd like to purchase extra copies to give this book as a gift book Bible stories every child should know is available to buy at our cost you go online to above Lapine. It's not enough for us to hear or even listen to God's word.

We can know what it says but it's what we do next makes all the difference.

How are we to respond.

Teaching we find in the Bible by Doug Moore tomorrow Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living


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