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Preached at Straightway Bible Church on March 10th, 2013.  Below you will find the study notes I handed out. James lays out much practical instruction on how to live the Christian life.

(Click here to see the entire series of “The Book of James – Practical Faith”)

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Here are the study notes:

James 1:19-27 Basic Christian Living

James 1:19–27 (NKJV)  19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

  • Swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
  • Listen, shut up, and don’t get mad easily.
  • The implication is to not get mad at God when He instructs us; don’t argue, don’t blame God
  • Doesn’t do a whole lot of good to hear God’s word, zip your lips, be patient… then turn around and engage yourself in all the world’s filthy lusts and pleasures.
  • Meekness is power under control, discipline. It is a picture of routine diligence, effort and hard work.
  • It’s “hear and then do what you heard”, put to action the “implanted word”.
  • There is no lack anywhere, anytime of Godly things to “hear” and yet we see an all time LOW level of “doing”.
  • There will be a LOT to be answered for on Judgment Day from the “Christian leaders and teachers”.  That’s exactly why the Bible says “not many” should teach  James 3:1

Find out what God has to say (hear).
And change your life accordingly (do).

  • That could pretty much sum up the committed Christian life.
  • Bible study that doesn’t change your life is just academic exercise.
  • Prayer that doesn’t change your life is just a mental ritual.
  • The Christian walk is dedicating our life to learning the Truth of God, and changing our life to agree with that Truth.
  • Every exposure to God, should result in a change in our lives.
  • Every Bible message we hear should move us to transform more into the image of our Lord.   Hear and do…
  • Every hymn sung, every praise lifted up, every verse memorized, every Sunday School attended… each exposure to God should be reason to reflect on our life and result in change.   Hear and do…
  • Every time we hear God’s Word and it doesn’t result in “doing” we become desensitized and immune to it… it gets easier and easier to hear and hear and hear and hear but never “do” (change)
  • Change has to be an active desire and exercise on your part. Learn the habit of asking: “Lord, how do you want to change me?”
  • Hearing God’s Word and not doing do it is like immediately forgetting what you look like when you roll out of bed in the morning and just heading out of the house thinking you have soaped, showered, shaved and brushed yourself.
  • Rein in that tongue or quit wasting your time on Christianity.
  • It’s pure and undefiled Christianity to care for orphans and widows.
  • And…
  • To keep yourself unspotted from the world.  What is unspotted? It means that drops, drips, splatters and residue from evil and wickedness are not on you.
  • Continual de-spotting, de-greasing, de-staining. It’s using the “Christian bar of soap” to continually wash yourself of the world’s spots (sin). 1 John 1:9

In a Nutshell

  • Lay aside filthy wickedness
  • Open your ears
  • Control that renegade that lives between your chin and nose
  • Just hear it… Just do it
  • Care for orphans and widows
  • Wash the sinful spots from your soul continually, and don’t play in the filth
  • That’s about as plain and simple a description of “the Christian life” I can come up with. Easy to understand but requires daily diligence and effort.


What are the effects on your spiritual life to continually hear, hear, hear and not do? What kind of things “in the mirror” do you think are there but easily forgotten by us? Why is taking care of orphans and widows “pure and undefiled”? Is that a calling or something anyone can simply do knowing that God will reward for it?