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"Blessed Are The Doers"
James 1:22-25

Wednesday AM Bible Study
May 21, 2003

In our last study, we saw how James introduced us to the sort of attitudes we should have to be receptive to God's word and gain it's life-changing benefits (vv.19-21). And now, here is the second part of that instruction. It would do us little good to be receptive of it, and yet not faithful to do it.

We should always be cautious of "success" and "self-help" literature. But one of the leaders in that movement, Anthony Robbins, has rightly said that he has found that statistically less than 10% of people who listen to "success" material actually do what it says. He said, "The main problem most people have is that they know what to do, but they don't do what they know."

We, as Christians, have the same problem. Here, Pastor James reminds us of the importance of not only hearing and "receiving" God's word, but of putting what we hear into practice.

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (v. 22).

A. This is an "imperative" - that is, a command. The Bible is filled with the instruction that we are to be "doers" of what God says (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 11:27-28; John 13:12-17; Luke 6:46).

B. This is also an imperative in the "present tense". That means that it's something that we are to keep on doing as a regular practice of life.

C. James says that the person who doesn't do this is "deceiving" themselves. People who "hear" the word can easily "deceive" themselves in such a way as to not do it and thus lose the benefit of hearing.

1. They can deceive themselves by being "sentimental" about the word. instead of obedient to it (Ez. 33:31-32).

2. They can deceive themselves by being "prideful" in the hearing of it, instead of humbled by it (1 Cor. 3:18-19; 8:1).

3. They can deceive themselves by justifying the sin it points to, instead of repenting of it (1 John 1:5-10).

"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 (vv. 23-25).

A. Those who are "hearers only" gain no benefit. Stop and think how many times in the course of a day you look in a mirror. Why do you look into it? What do you check for? What good would it do to only look, but never do anything about what you see? The same principle applies with those who look into the Scriptures.

B. By contrast, those who are "doers" as well as "hearers" are "blessed.

1. They are looking into the "perfect law, the law of liberty". It is "perfect" because:

a. It is from God (Psalm 19:7-11).

b. It is complete (Matthew 5:17-19).

c. It leads to the goal of our full liberty in Christ (Gal. 3:22-24; 5:1).

2. They not only "look" but "look into" it in such a way as to perceive. The word James uses describes a close, intense kind of looking.

3. They not only look intensely and perceive, but they abide in it - that is, remain constantly with the matter and persevere in it.

4. They then become not forgetful hearers, but effectual doers. Dr. Mitchell used to say that he never memorized Scripture - even though it was very apparent that he had. He said that he simply put a passage into use; and in doing what it said, he ended up memorizing it.

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