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Notes & Transcripts

James 1:19-27 ‘Shut up, listen and do the Word’



The importance of the word (1:19-21)

                Get rid of moral filth and evil

                Humbly accept the word

                Word can save you


Don’t just listen, do what it says (1:22-24, 2:14-26)

                     Don’t deceive yourself

                     Forgetful mirror gazer

                     Illustrate using the mirrors


The perfect law

                What is the ‘perfect law?

                Our response



Problem with Christianity

Radical Pastor Ortez


True Obedience is true freedom - Henry Beecher

One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The importance of the word (1:19-21)

It’s interesting that James brings up anger here and then moves on to ‘getting rid of moral filth’ most of the time hateful anger is what brings on ‘moral filth’ and so this is saying that the antidote – the anti hateful anger medicine and all ‘moral filth’ is pretty much our dirty laundry is to ‘humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you’ (1:21)

The ‘word’ here is the ‘word of truth’ mentioned back in verse 18 where James tells us that the word’s power is to create new birth. It is the gospel that has brought you into a relationship with God through the blood of Jesus.

Here we have a responsibility of accepting God’s word in our daily lives. God’s word not only gives life it transforms life. It should impact your life and my life. Often we read the bible and then we go away and forget what it says. Reading God’s word becomes a chore and not a discipline.

If you let it the word will change us and mould us into Christian people who will be more like Christ and prepare us for his return. We are like the clay; God is the potter who fashions, moulds and changes us from the inside through our relationship with Jesus and God’s word. My prayer is that we don’t just read it for the sake of reading it like we often do but it becomes a habit for all of us to read, reflect and apply it to our everyday lives.

Don’t just listen, do what it says (1:22-24, 2:14-26)

James offers a funny illustration. The person who hears the word and then fails to put it into practice is a like a man who looks in the mirror, walks away and immediately forgets what he looks like. We are meant to laugh at this stupid mirror gazer and then realize that hearing the word without doing it is equally ridiculous. Is God’s word like a mirror? Well I think we can say that, because when we look at it closely and assess the reflection it shows us exactly who we are. God’s word shows us who we are on the inside. It reveals things about us:

 1. We see our flaws. We see that we are sinners.

2. We also see that Jesus Christ died for our sins.

3. We see that by believing in Jesus Christ, and making him Lord of our life, we can be changed forever.

There are other mirrors around us: presentation


This mirror is like the mirror of the world.

This world doesn’t really have a clear view of right and wrong. It’s blurry.


This mirror is the reflection you get from your friends. Man, it looks good. It’s pretty. But it doesn’t do much good. Other people also have problems, and so when they tell you how good you are or how bad you are, it won’t be accurate! They will reflect to you what their own standards are.


This is the mirror of religion. Religion makes a lot of good claims, and does contain some bits and pieces of truth. HOWEVER, it is cracked up and incapable of revealing the full truth.

Remember it only God’s word that we will mould us into the Christian people that God’s wants us to be. Not double minded and unstable.

The perfect law

In verse 25 James describes this word as the ‘perfect law that gives freedom’ what on earth is this? Is he talking about the Jewish law, the gospel of salvation, the NT as a whole or something totally different? No James is still talking about the same ‘word of truth’ that gives and transforms life. In the first Christian communities in the middle of the first century when James wrote his letter here only one ‘word of truth’. It was stuff on Jesus’ life & teaching. These were taught and memorized throughout the churches before later being written down n what we call the Gospels. So the ‘word of truth’ and the ‘perfect law’ meant the same thing.

The apostle Paul also refers to the words of Jesus as God’s new ‘law’ (1 Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2).

Hearing and doing this law, says James in verse 25, is the path of ‘blessing’. It doesn’t say what the blessing is but it’s more likely the blessing of finally being in his presence and being rewarded openly and publicly.










It is important for us to keep hearing and learning God’s word but often these become the goals of the Christian life. Listening to the scriptures and understanding their meaning can become the primary acts of Godliness. Advancing our knowledge of God’s word is not the goal of the Christian life; it is simply the means by which God strengthens us for the life of faith. Church services, bible studies and personal quiet times are all important, but they are not central acts of godliness. Doing is impossible without hearing, but hearing without doing is ‘worthless’.

I’ll leave you with this story of:

Radical Pastor Cortez

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