"THE EPISTLE OF JAMES" The Implanted Word (1:21-25)
INTRODUCTION 1. This study is based upon Jm 1:21-25, in which we read concerning "The Implanted Word" (the KJV uses the word "Engrafted"): 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 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: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 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. (James 1) 2. Several observations can be made about the Word of God from this passage, and the first pertains to what the Word is able to do in our lives... I. THE POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD A. NOTICE THE WORDS OF JAMES HIMSELF... 1. "which is able to save your souls" (1:21) 2. Stated very clearly, the Word of God has the power to SAVE OUR SOULS! [To see how, let's consider some other scriptures...] B. ITS POWER TO SAVE IS FOUND IN ITS ABILITY TO... 1. CREATE ANEW a. I.e., to cause us to be born again - 1Pe 1:22-25; Jm 1:18 b. This is because of what the Word of God contains: God's way of salvation through Jesus Christ! 2. SANCTIFY a. The word "sanctify" means to "set apart for a holy purpose" b. David sang of the Word's ability to sanctify God's people - Ps 19:7-11 c. In His prayer, Jesus spoke of the sanctifying influence of God's Word - Jn 17:15-17 d. Thus the Word of God can serve to set us apart for His purpose! 3. PRESERVE a. The young were told to preserve their way by the Word of God - Ps 119:9,11 b. The elders were admonished to keep the church pure by the same Word - Ac 20:28-32 [When we take the time to consider the POWER of the Word of God, it becomes evident that the Word is very important to the Christian! But the value of "The Implanted Word" can only be realized when certain conditions are met. We find those conditions mentioned in our text...] II. BENEFITING FROM THE POWERFUL WORD OF GOD A. THERE ARE THINGS WE MUST LAY ASIDE! (21a) 1. James mentions such things as "all filthiness and overflow of wickedness" (NKJV) - cf. Paul's description of things to lay aside - Col 3:5-9 2. For the Word of God to bear its fruit in our lives, the "weeds of sin" must first be uprooted! a. We cannot hope to benefit from our study of the Word if we continue to dwell on that which is spiritually filthy and to engage in wickedness b. Could this be why many do not get much out of Bible study? B. WE MUST HAVE A PROPER ATTITUDE! (21b) 1. James says to "receive with meekness" the Word of God 2. A humble and receptive attitude is essential to get the most out of the Word of God 3. It helps to remain humble if we remember two things: a. We are sinners too! b. We can be easily deceived also! 4. We should study, not to learn facts, not to win debates, but to learn God's truth to save ourselves and those around us! 5. Is this prayer of David our own? "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Ps 119:18) C. THE WORD MUST BE "IMPLANTED" IN OUR HEARTS! (21b) 1. It is only the "implanted" Word which can truly save our souls a. Therefore we must be sure to take the words out of the pages and implant them into our hearts! b. Otherwise we are no different from the Jews who gave lip service to their Words written on stone 2. A distinguishing feature of the those under the NEW COVENANT is that the Word of God is to be WRITTEN IN THEIR HEARTS - He 8:6-13 3. Where is the Word of God today? a. Is it only in ink inscribed on paper? b. Or we have we read it often enough, meditated upon it enough, that it has become IMPLANTED in our hearts as well? 4. Is this possible without daily reading of the Bible? D. IT MUST BE APPLIED IN OUR LIVES! (22-25) 1. We must be "doers of the Word and not hearers only" 2. Otherwise, we deceive ourselves (and usually ONLY ourselves) a. God is not deceived b. Nor is the devil c. Most likely our children will see through us d. And so will many others! 3. Notice that the true blessedness of the Word comes... a. NOT by "looking into the perfect law of liberty" ALONE b. BUT by "continuing in it," and being "a doer of the work" 4. Yes, it is not just the READING of the Word which provides JOY, PEACE and HAPPINESS, but the actual application of the Word in lives through faithful obedience! CONCLUSION 1. Notice that James calls the Word of God the "perfect law of liberty" - Jm 1:25 a. This is because in its power to: * CREATE ANEW * SANCTIFY * PRESERVE b. ...it provides TRUE FREEDOM: LIBERATION FROM THE GUILT AND DOMINION OF SIN! 2. Of course, what gives the Word this power is the message it contains: THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST (God's power unto salvation - Ro 1:16) 3. Undoubtedly you have heard it...but hearing it is not enough! a. You must lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness - that is, to REPENT - Ac 17:30-31 b. You must receive the message of the gospel with meekness - in other words, to BELIEVE - Jn 3:16 c. You must also be a "doer of the Word" - for example, to OBEY HIS COMMAND TO BE BAPTIZED 1) For Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to those who OBEY Him - He 5:9 2) And in addition to the commands to believe and repent, He calls us to be baptized! - Mk 16:16; Mt 28:19; Ac 2:38; 22:16 Receive with meekness these very words of Jesus and His apostles, for that is how the Word of God is able to save your soul!