- A Well Built Life
- Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:19-25
- Lyndol Loyd August 24, 2020
Digging In: A Well Built Life
Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:19-25
Good Morning Church! Welcome to the kick-off for “Digging In: Going Deeper into God’s Word.” My goal for this message series is that we will learn to love God’s Word, learn the Word, and live out the Word.
Jesus ended the sermon on the Mount, the most famous sermon in the Bible, by telling a story. Two guys went out, and they both built homes.
They built them on different foundations. One guy went out and built his house on solid rock. The other guy built his house on a foundation of sand. Then unexpected rogue winds came – the trials and the storms of life. The tsunami hit those homes. The winds came, the floods rose, and the rains came down. The house built on the shifting foundation of sand collapsed, but the house built on solid rock was able to withstand the storms of life.
Jesus says after telling this story in Mathew 7:24, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like that wise man who built his house on the rock.”
To start us off today, let’s look at how to build our lives on the Bible, the solid rock. So that when the storms and trials and difficulties of life come inevitably, you’ll be able to handle them.
When we started 2020, none of us had any idea what was ahead of us. Then the words “COVID-19” and “Coronavirus” came blowing in like a violent storm. Experience tells us that life is full of storms. COVID is our current storm. In the future, there will be others. It is just the way life works.
You will have storms in your life – emotional storms, health storms, financial storms, you name it. If your life is not built on solid rock, on the foundation of something that doesn’t shift, you’re going to crumble. You can’t build your life on the opinions of others. You can’t build your life on popular opinion. You can’t build your life on culture. You must build it on unchanging truth.
This morning I want to point us to James 1:19-25. God gave you five senses – hear, smell, see, taste, and touch. Everything you know, everything you experience in life comes through one of those five senses. That’s how you encounter life. God wants you to learn to encounter the Bible with every one of your senses. We’re going to look at this today. These are all found in James 1:19-25.
If you’re taking notes, the first way that I build my life on the Bible is this:
I receive it with my ears. We’re talking about hearing the Bible. Hearing the Word of God. Hearing God speak to you.
The Bible tells us in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.”
Every time you hear me as your pastor teach a message, or you hear a Bible teacher, you’re hearing the Word and your faith is being built.
You’re doing this first one right now.
You’re listening to the Word of God being taught. That builds your faith. “Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message comes through the Word of Christ.”
Let’s see what James says about this, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore get rid of all moral filth and evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you.” It is the Word of God that saves us. If you don’t hear the good news, you can’t be saved.
James says, “Be quick to listen” – that’s using my ears, and he says, “Accept the Word.” In this passage, it teaches that I must receive the Word with my ears.
This is an interesting phrase, “accept the word.” In Greek the word is “decomai,” which is literally a hospitality term meaning to welcome the stranger. In this passage, it means to welcome the Word. We welcome you, Lord. We welcome your Word. Come on in. I’m wide open. It is an attitude of acceptance. If you’re going to get the Bible in your life, you’ve got to start with being wide open! Having an attitude of acceptance. Welcoming the Word. Accepting the Word planted in us.
I read it with my eyes. I receive it with my ears, but I read it with my eyes. You cannot grow without reading the Bible.
James 1:22-25 says this: “Don’t merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself he goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like!”
That’s what happens a lot of times on Sunday. You hear a message, and by the time you get to the parking lot, you’ve already forgotten it. He looks in a mirror, looks at himself, but then he goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.”
The whole reason why we are doing “Digging In: Going Deeper Into God’s Word” is because we want you to be blessed. I want you to be blessed in every area of your life. I want God’s blessing on your family, your work, your finances, and your health.
First, James says “the person who looks intently.” What’s he talking about here? He’s talking about reading the Bible. But when I read it, I don’t speed read it. When I read the Bible, I read it, and I reflect on it. I think about it. I ponder it. I look intently. It says that the person who does this is like looking in a mirror. Many times the Bible is compared to a mirror in Scripture. The Bible compares itself to a mirror.
What’s the purpose of a mirror? The purpose of a mirror is to evaluate ourselves. The Bible helps us do that. It’s the mirror of God’s Word that helps us evaluate ourselves.
During this series, we’re going to give you a Bible reading plan. There are lots of good ones. It doesn’t really matter. Just find one that fits you, fits your style. So you are systematically reading through portions of the Bible on a regular basis. You’re not doing this dip and skip method where you go, “Lord, what do you want me to know?” And you put your finger down. That doesn’t give you good results. But I want to have a Bible reading plan because I want to receive God’s Word with my ears, and I want to read God’s Word with my eyes.
I research the Bible with my hands and mouth. I’ll need to explain this to you. Is there a difference between Bible reading and Bible study? Yes.
Reading the Bible is reading the Bible. Studying the Bible is studying the Bible. It’s not studying unless you have a pen or pencil and you’re writing it down.
In fact, there are two components of study: writing it down and talking about it with somebody else. That turns reading into study. When I write something down and talk about it with somebody else, I am studying the Scripture. That’s why we are encouraging people to be in Engage Groups. Because the way you study the Bible best is actually in a group. You listen and write, you read and talk. You use your hands, and you use your mouth to study the Word of God. I write down what I learn, I talk about what I learn. We are going to teach you how to do this in the Engage Groups.
John 5:39, Jesus says this, “You search the Scriptures because you believe they will give you eternal life. And the Scriptures point to me!”
In Acts 17:11, Luke talks about a group of people in a city called Berea, a little city in Greece. He says, “The people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really teaching the truth.”
These guys are searching the Scriptures. They’re reading and not just reading, they’re studying, they’re writing it down. They’re having a small group discussion. That’s what’s going on here. These people are listening to Paul preach, and then they’re going over and having a small group discussion about it, which is what we do in our small groups.
I review and remember with my mind.
The Bible says this in James 1:25: “The man who looks intently into the perfect law and continues to do this, not forgetting what he’s heard…he will be blessed in what he does.”
If you’re going to be blessed in what you do, you have to learn how to review and remember with your mind. Review – you continually do this, you’re pondering, you’re thinking about it over and over, and you’re remembering, not forgetting.
If you’re serious about being spiritually strong and mature, you don’t want to be a spiritual baby anymore. You don’t want to be a spiritual wimp. You don’t want to still be on the bottle ten years from now. You want to be a godly man, you want to be a godly woman. You want to be spiritually and emotionally strong. The single greatest habit you can develop is the habit of memorizing Scripture. By hiding the Word in your heart. By putting it in your mind.
In the Bible, there’s a word for what we’re talking about here. The skill of remembering and reviewing is called “meditation.” That’s all mediation is. Meditation is simply remembering and reviewing the Scripture in your mind.
There’s one more way that I build my life on the Bible. I receive it with my ears; I read it with my eyes; I research it with my hands – I write down notes, I talk about it; I review and remember it with my mind, and the last one:
I respond with my actions
James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says!” Turn it into actions.
James says, “Don’t deceive yourself.” How do we deceive ourselves? We think if we’ve heard something, we’ve got it. No. I could talk to you about how to be a good parent, but if you don’t do it, it doesn’t help.
You’re just deceiving yourself.
I could talk to you about how to build a balanced budget based on scriptural principles, but if you don’t do it, you’re just deceiving yourself. You don’t really know it.
You only believe the parts of the Bible you actually do. I only believe the parts of the Bible I actually do. We are to be doers of the Word.
Let’s go back to that story that I started with where Jesus ends the sermon on the Mount. Matthew 7:24-27. Look at this verse. “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine… is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
I don’t want that to happen to you. I’ll say it again: We don’t know the storms that are going to come into our lives, or into our nation, in the days ahead. But I do know this, you’ll crumble if you don’t have solid foundation for your life. You must build your life on the unchanging Word. When you build your life on truth, if it was true a thousand years ago, it’ll be true a thousand years from today because truth does not change. It’s a rock. And you need a rock to build your life on.
If your life is not built on the rock, I’ll tell you how you’ll know. You’ll have stress. You’re stressed out. Because the sands are shifting and the house is tilting, and you feel stressed and worried and anxious about that, because your house isn’t solid and steady because it’s not built on something that doesn’t change.
I receive it with my ears.
I read it with my eyes.
I research it with my mouth and my hands.
I review and remember it with my mind.
And I respond to it with my actions.