Monday, September 26, 2016

Overcoming Lazy Christianity

This sermon was preached by +ken on 9/25/16 at the House of Praise in Groesbeck, OH.

Before I get started, let me give you a little nugget to chew on. We are going to be in James chapter 1 today, so let’s go quickly to James 1 verse 27, looking at the word Pure. In the Greek, this is the word Katharos – which means clean, clear, or pure. A derivative of this in Greek is Katharsis – which is a performed cleansing. I say that to say this… I want you to have a Cathartic moment today.  Let's go back and read from verse 5.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth (reproaches) not; and it shall be given him.
Point 1 = Don’t be lazy in seeking wisdom. Do you think that you are going to just exist in this state of Christianity and just be? What now? How about taking a hard look at yourself, and a hard look at this Christ – the one who brought you salvation. Once you do, you probably realize that you don’t quite understand God’s ways, or even how or even what you are saved from. Have you taken the time to ask for wisdom? He will provide!

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
James 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Point 2 = Don’t be lazy when the winds of doubt come in. Faith is the substance the things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) That takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of effort to gather up things in your heart that you hope for, then walk as though the evidence has produced itself – even when you haven’t seen it yet. I mean, I haven’t seen heaven yet, but there is enough evidence. But lets be clear about it, if we doubt, we’ll never see the evidence.

James 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
James 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
James 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

Point 3 = Don’t be lazy in remaining humble. Your humility is greatly honored by God, but your wealth and fame is nothing. You don’t take it with you when you die; it only fades away like the grass. Prosperity preaching is a lie.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Point 4 = Don’t be lazy in submitting yourself to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee. (James 4:7) It takes a lot of work, a lot of self-discipline, to endure temptation. There is one who withstood all temptation, and He became our Savior. Call upon the Name of Jesus in those times, and He will rescue. Here I will digress a little --- there are two different takes on what to do when the devil comes a knocking at your door. First, we are reminded by Paul that we wrestle not with flesh and blood – that being we don’t wrestle with other humans – but rather our enemy is principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) Now, this wrestling, I don’t know about you but the last time I was in a physical wrestling match, I was tired when I finished. A lazy person makes a lousy wrestler. The same with fighting temptation, and striving to maintain our holiness. So there are a lot of times when we need to wrestle, and fight our way out of that temptation. However, there is an even more serious dangerous type of temptation – that of sexual immorality. Let’s be clear, when faced with sexual temptation – RUN!!! You can’t wrestle that demonic of a temptation. RUN!!! Flee fornication, flee pornography, flee sex outside of marriage, flee homosexuality, flee adultery…. RUN!!! Here is why… every sin that a man does is without the body, but every sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. (1 Corinthians 6:17) Jesus even spoke, if you look at a woman with lust in your eye, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. (Matthew 5:28) So my warning to you is this, if you are tempted with pride or lying or stealing – yeah, go ahead and wrestle with the devil – tell him how defeated he is and how victorious you are. But if you are tempted with sexual immorality, you need to run far from it. Go to a Godly brother or sister (of the same gender) and confess that temptation – and flee. Don’t try and reason with the enemy, FLEE sexual immorality. Your body is the temple of the LORD, do not defile it.

James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us (brought into existence) with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Point 5 = Don’t be lazy in recognizing God’s gifts to you. Here is the dichotomy of the Righteousness of God. God’s Righteousness is good news for you, but the Righteousness God is also bad news. Let me explain!!! God is Righteousness – this is great news! – God is holy – God cannot sin – God cannot do bad – God cannot turn from His Word – God cannot change His Covenant – God does not lay a trap for you --- these are all the good news about God’s Righteousness. However, God’s Righteousness is man’s greatest problem. God’s Righteousness cannot coexist with ungodliness. Forget about those bumper stickers you see that say “Coexist” – it can’t happen. God will not be mocked. It is dangerous for mankind. We want to reflect on how awesome it is to be a child of God, but then get so proud and arrogant and forget that Holiness means without spot or blemish and that Righteousness means being morally right. And in forgetting these things, we forget to recognize the Shekinah Glory covering over us; we forget to recognize the shedding of the Blood for the remission of sins, we forget to recognize the WORD made flesh and dwells among us. It is great good news that God would shower blessings upon His people, but it is a great bad news when His people forget to walk in these gifts, and allow ungodliness into their lives. I tell you, except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10) and seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you! (Matthew 6:33)

James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
James 1:20 For the wrath (violent passion) of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted (implanted) word, which is able to save your souls.
Point 6 = Don’t be lazy with your tongue. In God’s infinite wisdom, He gave us two ears and one mouth – better for us to hear, and not as quick to speak, thus providing time to be slow in anger.

James 1:22 But be ye doers (performers) of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
James 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Point 7 = Don’t be lazy in acting upon the Word. It is true that sometimes the seed gets thrown on rock or the seed gets choked out by weeds. If you look deep into your life, you can see moments when you rejected part of God’s Word. So from Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3, Today, if you hear His voice, Harden not your hearts… But a question I have for you here…. Do you really understand what verse 25 means when it says “shall be blessed”? Let me digress a bit more here…. For it is super important to know what “blessed” means. Let’s look at Psalm 1 --- READING -
Psa 1:1 Blessed are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.
Psa 1:2 Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the LORD, and they study it day and night.
Psa 1:3 They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.
Psa 1:4 But evil people are not like this at all; they are like straw that the wind blows away.
Psa 1:5 Sinners will be condemned by God and kept apart from God's own people.
Psa 1:6 The righteous are guided and protected by the LORD, but the evil are on the way to their doom.

  • Blessed – reject evil advice
  • Blessed – reject sinful examples
  • Blessed – find joy in following the Law of the LORD
  • Blessed – meditate day and night
  • Blessed – are like trees well watered, bearing fruit, never drying up, always successful
  • Blessed – don’t blow away in the wind
  • Blessed – are not condemned – there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ
  • Blessed – are guided and protected

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Point 8 = Don’t be lazy in your pursuit of pure religion. I gotta break it to you, the motions we go through when we stand or sit or kneel – or even raise our hands or sing our hymns --- this isn’t religion. Coming to this church every Sunday isn’t religion. Calling your pastor a pastor isn’t religion. While these things seem wonderful, they ain’t religion. These things are only “going through the motions.” No offence to the singers or to the pastor, but lacking one thing – without one major thing – all of us are unfit to worship God; each of our good deeds are merely filthy rags. We dry up like leaves; our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6) It is only the anointing of Jesus Christ in our lives that allow us to come boldly before the Throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). So as God gives us grace, which in Greek is the word Charis – of which we get the word Charity – here is where God’s desire for true religion lies. Your charity toward orphans and widows is God’s heart. But let’s not forget the last part of this. Keep yourself unspotted from the world. Religion wasn’t / isn’t supposed to be man-made rules. True religion is following God’s commandments – giving Him the glory. Again, this takes a lot of work. We have to weed out the bad advice of bad preachers. We have to clear out the sin in our lives so we can hear the Holy Spirit. Working out our salvation with fear and trembling --- because don’t you know? Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1st Corinthians 6:9-10)

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