James 1:19-27 “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 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. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
Phony is defined as Assuming the appearance of something; false; hypocritical. To imitate; to copy with a view to defraud, by passing the false copy for genuine; to make or put on a resemblance; as, to counterfeit piety. Pastor Kyle continues his Sermon series on the book of James by stating that we all want genuine things in life and desire to know that it is real. How many times do we look for a Certificate of Authenticity in what we buy to tell that we got what we actually paid for? We do not want to be fooled by anything passed off as the real deal and not.
Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Pastor Kyle points out that all of us have a phony Christian inside called a sinner. Romans 3:23 affirms, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Galatians 5:17 explains, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
Romans 7:17-19 “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” All of us are sinners in desperate need of grace because nobody lives out their lives perfect and sinless, except the Lord Jesus. He came to live the life that we were meant to live, died the death that death that we were meant to die, because we couldn’t. But, just like a diamond, one of the key characteristics of a true Christian this side of eternity is that they have flaws. James spells out the details of authentic Christian living, without cop-outs; ways to grow in faith.
Let’s see what Pastor Kyle has to say about these details of authentic Christian living tomorrow.
In Christ, Brian