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Jas 1:22 says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” The Lord wants us to do more than just hear the word. He wants us to do what we hear. Look at Matt 7:24-27. The Lord contrasts those who hear his word and do it with those who hear his word and don’t do it. There is a major difference.
Tonight, you have the opportunity to hear preaching from the Bible, and there is no doubt that the Lord has something for you. But you need to hear it. Sometimes you might come to church and be so distressed, distracted, or distraught that you can’t hear anything. However, if you can hear it, the Lord wants you to do something about what he’s showing you. He doesn’t want you to be a hearer only.
Hearers only are:
Deceived hearers – Jas 1:22 – “deceiving you own selves.” Deceived hearers hear the preaching but don’t think that it has anything to do with them. They think, “I’m fine like I am.” Or perhaps they can think of someone else who should be hearing this message. They don’t want to change or do anything about what they are hearing.
Forgetful hearers – Jas 1:23-25 – “a forgetful hearer.” Forgetful hearers hear the preaching and know that it’s for them. They may even come to the altar and cry under heavy conviction about the message or something in the message. But then they get home and soon forget what they heard. It has no transforming affect on their lives. They are still just the same as they were before they heard the word.
A young man called me after he had reaped a good bit from bad sowing. After helping him sort out some things, I started to give him counsel. He interrupted and said, “I know this stuff; I heard it when I was younger.” Yeah, and he forgot it, too. I forgot what I heard as a teenager at McCallie School. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I realized that I had forgotten several things that I thought I was a learning for the first time. What a difference those things would have made in my life if I had done them when I heard them the first time.
Foolish hearers – Matt 7:26-27 – “likened unto a foolish man.” A foolish man hears the word and doesn’t think that the rain, floods, and winds of life are going to get him. They might get someone else, he thinks, “but they won’t get me. I’ll be smarter than that.” However, the rain, floods and winds come in every man’s life. And they will ruin your house if you don’t do what you’re hearing from the Lord. A house built on sand can’t stand the storms of life.
Hearers and doers are:
Wise hearers – Matt 7:24-25 – “I will liken him unto a wise man.” When you are a wise hearer, you recognize what you’re hearing is for you. It’s to strengthen your foundation. The word works in your life the same way that the food you eat nourishes your body. You can’t see the nourishment itself, because it’s taking place on the inside. But you can surely see the results of the nourishment in the strength and growth of your body. Likewise, doing what the Lord tells you to do builds and strengthens your foundation, which is indiscernible. But when the storms of life come, then you see the result of doing what the words say because your house doesn’t collapse. It stands strong. Doing what you hear transforms you by the renewing of your mind. This transformation shows up in your actions.
Blessed hearers – Jas 1:25 – “this man shall be blessed in his deed.” When you are a hearer and doer, not only do you grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, but the changes in your life benefit others. Your family, your friends, and those to whom you minister are blessed by the changes taking place in your life. And that’s a blessing to you. Furthermore, the changes that take place in your life never stop. Even when you are old and gray headed, your life continues to transform when you are a hearer and doer of the word.
Conclusion: I remember that face that stared back at me in the mirror so many years ago when I started to get right with the Lord. The face today does’t look anything like that face. I have changed. God’s word did that. I would not be standing here in front of you tonight preaching this message if I had not been a hearer and doer of the word. And that’s a blessing. Let’s be hearers and doers of the word, and not hearers only.