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Faith That Behaves


"19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's day! We're so glad to have our brothers and sisters from around the world here with us today. Please know, that we continue to lift all of you up in our prayers. We would  ask that you would do the same for us. We would also appreciate if you would share our website with all of your family and friends. 
One of the popular concepts going around the church today, is that salvation is based on a personal decision for Christ and that such a decision may or may not result in a changed life. In this paradigm, a child from a Christian home may make a decision at summer camp "to invite Jesus into his heart."  He  is given a Bible and told to read it every day. And, perhaps when he gets back to his church, he is baptized. He attends church every Sunday, because that’s what his family does. 
As he begins to get older, church isn't much fun anymore, so he prefers having fun with his worldly friends to hanging out with the church crowd. His friends introduce him to drinking, drugs, pornography, and sex. He gradually stops going to church. H's quit reading his Bible. And now, he has no real desire to know Christ. And yet his parents will say, "But he’s saved, because he made a decision for Christ as a young boy!" 
That brings us to the question,  "Does a new life in Christ mean a changed life?" As much a newborn baby gives clear evidence that he is alive and well, so too should a new believer gives evidence of his new life in Christ. His desires change. Leaving his sinful ways far behind him. I believe that if a person refuses to walk away from what condemned him, alienated him from God, he loves his sin more than he loves Christ. In other words, he should question whether or not he's truly saved.
The changes that occur from new life in Christ grow out of the new heart that God grants us by His power. I do not want to give you the illusion that these changes are automatic or effortless. If they were, the New Testament would not need to contain numerous exhortations to spiritual growth. It requires constant effort on our part. Denying yourself is an essential part of the Christian life. Jesus called upon those who wish to be His followers to reject the natural human inclination toward selfishness. The Lord Himself exemplified self-denial. The evidence of the work of God in a transformed life.
If you have come to faith in Christ, it is crucial for you to cultivate a heart that is receptive to God’s Word of truth. 

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we again thank You for Your Word, we are so grateful for the wisdom and clarity needed to understand the truth, help us to apply to our lives. Lord, we know that the condition of our heart is critical, may we never overlook self examination. Help us to recognize any unconfessed sin, any iniquity regarded in our heart, bring it before us and convict us, so that we would repent and turn from away from anything that is unpleasing to You. Open our hearts to the truth about ourselves, that we may come to terms with the reality of our spiritual condition. May we not only long for Your Word, but hunger for the truth in submission and humility. Cause us to be doers of the truth and not just hearers.
In Christ's name we pray

Today's Message: Faith That Behaves

As Christians, we are to listen, not as a means to influence anyone else, but as a way to let God’s Word rid us of all sordidness and wickedness. Listening is a crucial leadership necessary for true discipleship. We live in a world that seems to be incompatible with following Jesus. Gen­erally speaking, those around us in the world are not dedicated toward God’s purposes, serving the com­mon good, working for the benefit of others, deepening relationships among people, spreading justice, and developing character. 

True believers walk according to God’s law. They have the mind of Christ. We rejoice in the testimonies of God revealed to us on the pages of Scripture. However, that's not the case with the unbelieving world. Sinners are headstrong and adamant, unyielding in the way of God, the Word of God, the will of God. Although most unbelievers are not intentionally evil, actively hostile to Jesus' followers, it can certainly be challenging for Christians to serve God outside of church. Psalm 119:155 says "Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your statutes." Godly people, true believers, are described as those who "delight in the law of the Lord." In other words, a person’s attitude toward the Word of God is a test of their faith. The Word of Truth, is what made us new creations. When we first heard the Word, the Word gave us the mind of God and the mind of Christ and the Holy Spirit excited faith in our hearts, and we believed the Word and were born again in the Spirit. It all began with the Word of God. 
Open with me your Bibles to the book of James chapter 1. As some of you know, I have a special affection for the wonderful epistle. It is so rich. James reminds us in moments of tension, what we don't say speaks best in the high calling of our daily work.
I invite you to follow along with me as I read to you, to set the text in our minds as we prepare our hearts. While we listen for what the Spirit of God is saying to us. James 1:19-21.  

"This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls."
James tells us, that as believers having a right response that involves three things, the first is a  willingness to receive the Word with submission. Verse 19-20, "This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." You were born again by the Word of truth, you know the power of the Word of truth, you are aware of its regenerating capability. You have experienced the power of the Word that transformed you. He's not speaking abut something generic here. We obtain the evidence of the real regenerating work of the Holy Spirit by a continual hearing of the life-giving Word with an attitude of submission. The idea is here that someone who is truly regenerate is going to be eager to grasp every opportunity to increase their hearing of God’s Word because, they desire to have the mind of Christ. He's talking about pursuing the knowledge of God and His divine will, every privileged occasion to hear it.
He's talking about trials. Because trials demand wisdom which only the Word of God can provide. Therefore, "be quick to hear," meaning you want to run to the Word where you find there the truth of God that meets the trial of life. When the believer is faced with trials, he runs to the Word, which provides comfort. And, when there are temptations, he turns to the Word where he finds the strength to resist. Be quick to hear, pursue every opportunity to be exposed to the Word of God and to receive it with submission. It implies an attitude of eagerness.
I believe that there may have been some in the fellowship, whom James was addressing who wanted to talk but not to listen. Therefore, he says you need to listen to the Word of God, submissively, and be silent until such a time as you are prepared to speak rightly of divine truth. Next he says "and slow to anger;" Words to live by. Angry outbursts, even when justified, rarely produce anything good. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see again and again, the importance of meekness.
When we are facing a tense situation, it's often tempting to react quickly based upon our emotions. Our fears, anger and pain rush to the surface, like a crashing tidal wave and we react. However, one of the most beneficial things we can do is not to react too quickly, but take our time. Sometimes, it is also the most difficult to accomplish. Imagine how many regrets could be prevented, if we were not rash with our words. Anger does not produce the righteousness which reflects God's nature. He is implying here, that there are some people who get hostile against the Word of God. They don’t like what they hear and they react. That kind of hostility, that kind of deep resenting resistance to the truth of God does not produce the righteousness of God. 
So those who are true believers are known by the attitude with which they receive the Word of God, and that is an attitude of submission. I might question the salvation of someone who professes Christ, but I never question the salvation of someone who demonstrates an ongoing passion for the Word of God with a submissive heart. Verse 21, "Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls." Putting aside means to divest yourself, it’s actually an aorist middle participle, having already put off. Before the Word of God can be received productively, having the ability to produce the righteousness of God, it must be received submissively and it must be received with purity. That means to put off sin.
Peter says something about this in I Peter 2:1-2, "Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation."  In other words, there is a putting off before a putting on. When James says "Therefore, putting aside all filthiness," he uses the word "rhuparia," which refers to filthy clothes that soil the body. It comes from a root word, rhupos, it refers to the wax in the ear. It is to say, get rid of any sin, that inhibits your hearing of the truth of God. Then, he adds "and all that remains of wickedness." He's saying that the flesh is still there, get rid of the evil that still lingers in our humanness. It must be dealt with, confessed and repented of.
Genuine believers, true followers of Christ understand this. We have a desire to repent, we desire to be cleansed of sin. We desire the sin to be removed so that we may hear the truth of God. We delight in the law of God. The true Christian has a strong compelling desire to divest oneself of filthiness and an overflowing of wickedness that would hinder the righteousness produced in his life by the Word of God. Evaluate your heart for God’s Word.
Lastly, in verse 21, he says "in humility receive the word implanted." Here he is speaking about having a teachable spirit, a longing to be taught by God. To be clear here, he is not talking about a passive acceptance. He is talking about humbling yourself beneath the Word of God, in active acceptance. One of the challenges I find with many Christians, is they get their theology so well established, they actually become less than teachable. So James is calling us to go to the Word of God with a meekness and loneliness that makes you teachable, every time. So that you can receive the implanted Word. That's a beautiful thought, that God actually plants the truth in His Word in your heart.
He ends the verse, with "which is able to save your souls." Beloved, it is the Word, which continually delivers you from sin, and someday presents you faultless before God. It's not only justification, but the ongoing process of sanctification. It delivers us from sin and continues to deliver us from sin, it literally rescues our souls.
In Closing..
I have seen the sin of anger rip Christian families and churches apart. Unbridled anger is a devastating sin that always creates distance and destroys relationships. And, yet, it is tolerated in many homes and sadly, even many churches. I have seen a congregation bully a pastor in anger, in an attempt to control the church.
 Unchecked anger gives the enemy a foothold in your life. Jesus labeled anger as the sin in which murder was rooted. 
I believe that we must listen to God’s Word before we just let loose, lashing out in anger. When we feel anger welling up inside us, let us be silent and listen to God’s Word, which can deliver us from anger, and the new birth gives us the ability to overcome this most common of sins. The Holy Spirit produces self-control in our lives; therefore causing us to be slow to anger.
Far too often, we are quick to point out that anger is not always sinful, and while this is true, our anger is very rarely like the righteous anger of Christ. More often than not, our anger stems from wounded pride, rather than what angers God.
The fact of the matter is that hearing God’s Word, rather than speaking angrily against it, produces obedience in us; while ungodly anger, on the other hand, works against it. The world boasts of being in control of their lives, fighting to hold onto that control. True believers are willing to submit to God and His Word, to be controlled by the Spirit. This new birth is expressed in a new life.
May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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