"Doers...not just Hearers"
Since we have moved to our new church facility, I have found myself sitting all over the place in our new sanctuary during Sunday morning worship services. Sometimes I am sitting in the very front, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes I am even in the back by the sound booth where I can see everyone. The other week as I looked around at all of you sitting in the seats listening to the sermon, I noticed something…I noticed that for the most part, you all received the Word of God very eagerly. I also noticed that most of you are very diligent note takers, scrambling to write down each and every word like if you missed something it was the end of the world… Well I started thinking about this, and I wondered, “what does everyone do with their sermon notes?” Some of you have been sitting under the teaching of God’s Word for a very long time…as a congregation, we spend a lot of time listening to the Word of God being taught to us…many of us, and again by seeing the notes you guys take, should have hundreds of pages of sermon notes. We have spent thousands of hours listening to God’s perfect and good word being taught…but what do you do with it all? Is it just enough for us to receive God’s Word? Or is there more?
According to James the half-brother of Jesus, there should be more…
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” – James 1:22-25 (NKJV)
A few years ago, I was over at the Hartman Center in Milroy with our teenagers for our annual Winter Camp, and the theme for that year was “THRIVE –Not Just Survive”. That as Christians, as followers of Christ, we need to grow in our walk with Him. If you call yourself a Christian, your life today should not look the same as it did a year ago in relation to where you are with God. So, we looked at different things that we can do to do to thrive in the Christian life: That in order to thrive in our walk with Christ we need to be reading the Word of God daily, to thrive in our walk with Christ, we need to be memorizing Scripture, to thrive in this life we need to be studying and digging deep into the Bible. God’s Word is quick, it’s powerful, it’s sharper than any two-edged sword; we all have been given every single thing that we would ever need to thrive in this life…
But do you understand what James is saying here? It’s one thing to hear it…it’s another to do it.
There was a man who did something bad and he was put in jail for life. When they put this guy in jail, he was given a Bible to read. For 33 years this guy was in jail and basically all he had was the Word of God, and then one day he died. The guards went into the jail cell to get his body out, and when they went in, they noticed along all the walls of the jail cell was all this information carved into the walls that this guy had learned while reading the Bible. Here were a few things that were written:
The name “God” appears 3,358 times in the Bible, while the name “Lord”’ appears 7,736 times
Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse in the entire Bible
The 9th verse of the 8th chapter of Esther is the longest verse in the Bible
Ezra 7:21 contains all of the letters of the alphabet except for the letter “J”
No word or name more than 6 syllables can be found in the Bible…
This man spent 33 years with the Word of God and all he got out of it was trivia… information…this man never even realized that he could have had a relationship with the Creator of the universe…
I share that with you because Romans 12:2 says that as Christians we need to be transformed, we need to change, we need to continually grow in our relationship with Christ…but information without application means there is no transformation. See you could have all the information in the world about the Bible…you could be in church every time the doors are open, you can be a part of every Bible study in town…but information without application means there can be no transformation.
The Bible was not given to us just so we can have all this information…the Word of God was given to us to grow, to apply it to our lives and make changes where we need to…we shouldn’t just hear the Word of God, we need to do it! As Christians, if we want to thrive in this world, we have to be walking in obedience to the Word of God…it’s one thing to come here every Sunday…listen to a sermon, say “Pastor that was a great message” …but it’s another thing to do it! Don’t just be hearers of the word…be doers!
For His Glory,
Pastor Doug Wagner