James 1:22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
Matthew 7:24 “”Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Luke 6:46 “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I say?”
Have you ever wondered how many Sunday morning sermons you have heard in your life? For me, I know the number must be in the thousands. Adding in my podcast addiction and then if you sprinkle in the conferences and retreats I’ve attended over the years, the number of sermons I’ve listened to sure adds up. This, of course, doesn’t even include all those sermons that I’ve personally preached!
Do you ever get irritated with yourself that you have a difficult time remembering what the Sunday sermon was about on Tuesday morning? Hear me, I’m not down on Sunday sermons. I was a pastor for 35 years so I’ve preached my fair share. My concern is not the preaching of the word, but more what James said, that I might be fooling myself by not taking the vital step of application of the word.
I remember hearing a pastor make the statement; “One missions trip is worth a years worth of sermons.” At first, I didn’t like the statement, but as I began to reflect upon my own experiences, I realized that what he said was true for me and probably true for most western Christians. If our walks with Christ are to be the walk of faith, then the word of God is really only alive and active in us when it is put into practice, by faith.
I remembering having to defend my faith while preaching the gospel on the streets of Scotland. I hate to say it, but my bold proclamation of God’s word most likely made a greater impact on me than on those who were listening, primarily because my faith was being stretched. I was putting into practice what I professed.
Jesus didn’t only teach principles; he taught practices. If you look at how he taught his disciples, he would always include giving them something to do. He didn’t just teach them about forgiveness; he told them to forgive their debtors. He didn’t just talk about love, but showed them how to love their enemies. If he multiplied the bread, he made them pick up the pieces.
As our culture has pursued more and more education, we have elevated preaching and teaching in the evangelical church. Yet, most Christians are educated way beyond the level of their obedience. We don’t really need to know more, we need to do more with what we know. Our orthopraxy needs to balance out our orthodoxy.
Let’s not fool ourselves by just listening to God’s word this coming Sunday morning, let’s make sure we do what it says. May we be balanced by having good doctrine and good practice.
Prayer: Lord help me this week to hear the word and put it into action. May I be a wiser builder who builds his house on the rock, all because I put feet to the word of God. Thank you for the pastors who faithfully share your word. May I be faithful to receive it with gladness and with action. Amen