Pure and Undefiled Religion Part 1.
HANDOUT FOR SERMON. PURE AND UNDEFILED RELIGION. Manchester, June 5th, 2022 Manchester, Tn 9:30 a.m.
Scripture: Hebrews 12:28, James 1:26-27 God tells us that He investigates the heart behind the action. Proper action alone is not acceptable not even in worship. How do we know what is in our hearts? Our actions and attitudes reveal what our hearts are filled with. Scripture: Proverbs 11:9, Prov. 15:4, Prov. 16:24, Prov. 18:21, Prov. 18:4, Prov. 12:18, Prov. 25:18, Luke 6:43-45, Matthew 12:36, Ephesians 4:19, Titus 3:2, James 3:5
Read: James 1:26 What do we think when we hear the word “religion?” Interesting that God speaks of PURE and UNDEFILED religion. How does that measure up with you, with us?
7 times the word religion is used in the NT: Acts 25:19 about Judaism “their own religion” Acts 26:5 about Pharisees “strict sect of our religion” Galatians 1:13 about Judaism, Paul’s former conduct. Galatians 1:14 Judaism, Paul’s advancement. Colossians 2:23 About Asceticism, “self-made religion.”
Define “religion.” The belief in and worship of superhuman controlling power especially a person God or gods. A particular system of faith and worship. Greek words used: Threskeia, Threskos, Deisidaimonia. Religions means reverence to God. Hebrews 12:28
God focuses on the individual. In essence God looks at the heart of the person, the inward man! Mankind has the tendency to practice the “substitute system”. We know what God has said, requested or told us but we want to substitute it for what we prefer or want.
LESSON: 1) JAMES 1:26-27 This is the only passage that mentions “Pure Religion.” It is based on one’s personal action and interaction with others, orphans and widows, and living correctly. So, how do we speak to family, friends, and others? How do I treat other people, including orphans or widows? What is my interactions with others like?
2) JAMES 3:1-13 God’s message to us about controlling our tongue. However, what does that have to do with pure religion? God explains. 3 simple observations from this passage:
God has a plan for you! Each one of you! He wants us all to become a teacher/spokesman for Him. It should be the goal of everyone here to teach. Teach yourself, family, friends, all mankind. We need to be able to control our tongue to be the good influence that God expects of you.
An inconsistent tongue is one of the worse things. Inconsistency in our service to God, to our family and to the world. Hypocrisy destroys any religion you may have!
God wants us to recognize the power we have. We have the power to change things first and foremost in our own lives (Romans 12:1-2 can be transformed). Small things can control big things God teaches us. You can control things and you can change things for yourself and for others. IF you can learn to control what you think then you can control what you say.
Your indiscretion ends up hurting other. Small things can hurt people deeply and definitely have a terrible impact on others that lasts a lifetime.
WHAT MUST I CONTROL? Three areas we all can be better at. What are the things I must control so I may serve God properly, pure and undefiled?
ANGRY REACTIONS. The standard approach of God’s people should be- do not return evil for evil! We must get a better control on what we say and how we say it. Control what you say and what you choose not to say. James 1:26, Ephesians 4:31-32 Sometimes Christians struggle with a form of anger called “righteous indignation”. Yet God says no evil for evil! There should be no room for any other reaction than the right one. God teaches us there comes a time to “let things go.” Consider the life of Stephen in Acts 7 what was his attitude and heart like? We need to do things to create and keep peace, 1 Peter 3:8-10. God wants peace to rule in us. You inherit blessings when you are treated poorly, and you do not respond in anger!
PERSISTENT NEGATIVITY. Are you always complaining? If so, you are most likely focusing on the bad, ugly and unfair. Complainers are people who want everything to line up as THEY want things to be! We are to focus on God and His will and direction. Matthew 5:4-5 “Blessed are those who mourn.” Christians must recognize that God can work things for good even when it appears bad! Be optimistic! The downer person is persistently negative!
RESIDENCY IN THE REALM OF GOSSIP. Why do we like to talk badly about others? Why does it fill our minds as we go about our normal day? Are we focusing on the mistakes and sins of others? Did you realize that some people sit in the building in order to gossip more? If you are in the realm of gossip-there is 100% crime rate against God’s laws and teachings! You must just STOP IT! It is not God will. 2 Corinthians 12:20
How will I ever improve? Ephesians 4. (Look at 3 points then we are done.) -Begin your day, each day talking to God. Why should I talk to God each day? Because when you talk to God you can not become consumed with anger. When we talk to God properly, we are humbled. We are reminded of who we are! Reminds us of our unworthiness because of our sin. Philippians 4:4-6 Tells us to rejoice in the Lord. How many mornings have you talked to God? Start talking to God every morning, humble yourself in the hand of the Lord and He will lift you up!
Begin your interactions with others by listening. This is something I truly struggle with. Keep in mind “always speak last, let others speak first.” When we learn to listen and to gain a more correct perspective of something we will be more effective in spreading the word and bringing others to Christ. James 1:19-10 What does it teach? Let us also always stop and listen to God first, listen for the purpose of applying it to our own lives.
Commit to memory this verse: Ephesians 4:29. Focus on your words. Give more thought to what you say and how you say it. There are 4 great points in Ephesians 4:29, let us find them.
-Don’t say things that are rotten because it contaminates whatever it touches.
-I need to choose my words wisely so that they build up another, things that are appropriate and encourages others.
-We must choose our words wisely that they may give GRACE to those who hear us!
CONCLUSION: Back to the book of James. If you view yourself as a worshipper and do not bridle your tongue, then your religion (reverence to God) is not proper in His eyes. God pronounces judgment! So, we all need to look inward. If you want “pure and undefiled” religion – then you MUST CONTROL your heart and words. Words do matter!