Yesterday, I taught on staying focused on God's mission by hearing and obeying the word. Parts of James 1:19-27 are often quoted as relationship advice: don't talk so much but listen more to your spouse, etc. That is always good advice and may be a fair application of the text. However, the passage actually ends with a focus on what right religion actually is. And, that focus is on service and purity. So, that is where I focused on Sunday in my message at Two Rivers Church.
The outline is below the video and feel free to use it if you find it helpful.
Renewed Focus on God's Mission
1. Less Talk
"My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness" (James 1:19-20).
a. slow to speak
"The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding" (Proverbs 17:27).
"Do you see a man who speaks too soon? There is more hope for a fool than for him" (Proverbs 29:20).
b. slow to anger
"A patient person shows great understanding, but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness" (Proverbs 14:29).
"Be angry and do not sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger" (Ephesians 4:26).
c. quick to hear
"Anyone who has ears should listen!" (Matthew 13:9).
2. More Listening
"Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you" (James 1:21).
"Also, this is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the message about God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the message of God, which also works effectively in you believers" (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
3. More Application
"But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts--this person will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:22-25).
"They have eyes, but they don't see. They have ears, but they don't hear" (Jeremiah 5:21).
4. More Action
"If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (James 1:26-27).
"When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:19).
"Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew 7:24).