FAITH WORKS RELIGIOUSLY

 

James 1:26-27

FAITH WORKS #7

 

 

In many ways religion is in trouble today.  Most young people don’t have time for it.  Older adults often misunderstand it.  The church often doesn’t seem to be relevant.

 

Religion in some ways is rightly in trouble, because much religion is useless.  The only valuable religion is pure religion.  Pure religion is an outgrowth of true faith.  Truly religious people are people of faith.

 

First one becomes saved, second the saved person comes to pure religion. He becomes truly religious.

Pure religion is a result of being a changed person. Galatians 6:14-15, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

 

Tonight we see that Faith Works religiously.  The right kind of religion is contrasted with the wrong kind of religion in verses 26-27.

 

POOR RELIGION IS VAIN – Vs. 26

 

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.

 

 

There are many people who appear religious.

They “seem to be religious” in their own eyes.  They count themselves as religious people.

Jesus warned about these “religious” people in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6.

Matthew 6:1,5,16

 

The religious people James is talking about:

Say their prayers religiously.

Give to the church religiously.

Speak for God religiously.

Read their Bibles, religiously.

Outwardly they seem to be pious and devout, except when they open their mouths!

 

Ephesians 4:25 - Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

 

Luke 6:45 - A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

 

A man’s tongue is an indicator of just how good a man’s heart is.  Naturally speaking, a man’s heart is wicked. Jeremiah 17:9

 

What comes out of the mouth is an indication as to whether a person’s heart has been transformed or not!    

 

Most important, what comes out of a man’s mouth when he is with those who know him best is the true indicator of the condition of the man’s heart.

Many a person keeps the mouth under control when in public. But how is he in private?

 

In James 1:26 James is telling us that the man who outwardly appears religious but can’t control the tongue is fooling himself.  He thinks himself religious, but God has not tamed his tongue.  This man’s religion is useless or vain.

 

This reminds me that what I am is more important to God than what I do in religious activity. Proverbs 6:16-19, Philippians 4:8

 

PURE RELIGION IS VALUABLE – Vs. 27

 

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.

  

·        PURE RELIGION IS VALUABLE TO GOD

 

James is not talking about religion that is acceptable to the world.

James is not talking about religion that is acceptable to friends and loved ones.

James is not talking about religion that is acceptable to us.

 

James wants us to consider religion that is acceptable or valuable to God.

Such valuable religion is “pure” and “undefiled”   

 

This should lead us to self examination.

Is my religion valuable to God because it is clean and without contamination?

Am I consistent in my walk with God?

   

·        PURE RELIGION IS VALUABLE TO MAN

 

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…

 

Who had the hardest time in the ancient world?

Widows and orphans had the roughest time.

There was no life insurance.

There were no welfare plans.

There was no government support.

The poverty of widows and orphans was great.

They were in great need.

 

James is saying that a truly religious person is actively concerned about the people who are in the greatest need.

Historically, God had always taught this kind of religion. Deuteronomy 14:28-29

 

 

The New Testament is very clear that we should be a people who care for the needs of those who are less fortunate. Galatians 6:9-10, 1 John 3:17, 1 Timothy 5:3, 8

 

The practice of pure religion, then, includes meeting the needs of widows, orphans and others in need.

When we take care of widows and orphans, we are touching the heart of God.

 

Psalm 68:5 - A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

 

·        PURE RELIGION IS VALUABLE TO OURSELVES

   

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.

 

To insure that the influence of the world system will not harm us, we must first be totally committed to God. Romans 12:1

 

Pure religion keeps a person unspotted, “unstained”, or “unpolluted” by the world.

What we listen to can pollute us.

What we watch can pollute us.

What we participate in can pollute us.

 

James will tell us later in this book in James 4:4, Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

 

John tells us in 1 John 2:15-17 - Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  [17] And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

 

The world system includes three basic areas of temptation to which Eve fell in the Garden of Eden.

 

LUST OF THE FLESH – What feels good

LUST OF THE EYES – What looks good   

PRIDE OF LIFE – What centers around me

 

If you want to be truly happy, don’t let the world influence you.  Be unstained by the world’s influence.

 

POOR RELIGION IS VAIN – Vs. 26

PURE RELIGION IS VALUABLE – Vs. 27

·        PURE RELIGION IS VALUABLE TO GOD

·        PURE RELIGION IS VALUABLE TO MAN

·        PURE RELIGION IS VALUABLE TO OURSELVES

 

 

 

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