Actions Speak Louder Than Words
INTRODUCTION: In this passage, James' teaching is an expansion of that which he just presented. Three times already James has mentioned the danger of being deceived: 16, 22, and 26. It is possible, according to James, to think you are living the Christian life when in actuality, you are just fooling yourself. James has referred to the Bible as a mirror, here one goes to the mirror to see a reflection of pure religion, and there he finds it. James, as we have already seen, is an intensely practical-minded Christian; he reduces everything to the terms of practical daily life. Remember, he is a creative doer, he did not come to audit the course but to take the test, and his thoughts are on the day of graduation.
The word ''religion'' is used three times in two forms. Paul used the word in Acts 26:5 when speaking of his former life before he was converted. Josephus, an early church historian, used the word to describe worship in the temple at Jerusalem.
By contrast, the word most commonly used in the New Testament for genuine, God-honoring, and God -pleasing worship is (eusebeia), whose basic meaning is that of godliness and holiness.
This passage has been referred to as the ''test'' of true religion: test of conversation, compassion, and conduct; talking, acting, and doing. James is saying that a true believer will control the tongue, care for the afflicted, and live an unspoiled life. This passage calls for the kind of life that God accepts.
I. THE TONGUE AND RELIGION 26
Jesus is reminding us that the tongue is quite an indicator of a person's life.
''For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.''
In this passage we are not dealing with Salvation but with Service; not in what we believe but in how we behave.
Authentic religion is much more than outward expressions of worship.
''These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me ...
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