Will you be a doer, not just a hearer?

Dear BPCWAians, Over the last few weeks, we have looked at how best you can benefit from the messages every Sunday. I suggested several ways to aid your concentration, understanding and remembering of the sermon. I closed off expressing the hope that we will all be doers of the Word. After all, the church, as we know, is “the pillar and ground of the truth” that is supposed to help us to know “how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God” (1 Tim 3:15). And, that in the Great Commission, Christ required us to make disciples, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt 28:20). So, realising that this is a key purpose of the church and what God expects of His believers, I want to cover some ways to help us be a doer of the Word, and not just a hearer.

Have a clear understanding. Sometimes we do not do what we learn because we do not fully understand or are not convinced. It is always my endeavour to teach God’s Word with clarity according to what God intends from that text of Scripture, and make clear what He commands and expects from those verses preached. I am not propounding that we have the excuse to not do God’s Word until we fully understand every single aspect of a teaching. But it is important that when you hear a message, you must seek to sharpen your understanding about that passage. Every word and every verse in the Bible is God’s voice. Make every attempt in your heart to be sure you understand what God expects in that passage. Because if you are not sure of what God’s Word says and even if you are apparently “following”, you would be doing so simply to be following the crowd or just to meet other’s expectations. This is not good, because when the environment changes, you would behave differently because you have no personal convictions. We should have genuine convictions and obey because of that. This is the kind of doer that we should always desire to be. If you do not have personal convictions about it, you will not stay firm but instead will waver in your obedience when the situation arises.

Have a humble and teachable heart. James 1:21 tells us to “receive with meekness the engrafted word.” Pride and stubbornness prevents us from being doers of what we hear. Me, stubborn? Surely nobody likes to admit to that. It may be because we think that what God’s Word says isn’t the best way, i.e. I know better because of our own experience and our own wisdom. Or that we just want to do things as how we’ve always been doing and think best. To reject the clear counsel of God is to say “Yes, yes, God, I know you said that, but I don’t think I really need to be so serious or it does not apply to me. ” This is a rebellious attitude. This was King Saul’s indictment from the prophet Samuel “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1Sam 15:23). At the root of it, it just simply means that we think we know better than God. There are so many forms of pride that a short Pastoral chat will not be able to cover them all. When we come before the Word of God, we must come humbly before it. Salvation requires humble submission to His way of saving us, then we must have the same attitude in obedience to please Him according to His way as a saved child. This is what God expects of every Christian who worships and serves Him. No one is higher or above God. The preacher and the hearer must yield under His Word. We must realise that pride was the first sin, and it is a sin that often continues in our hearts. Isaiah 5:21 warns, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and are prudent in their own sight!”

Do not rationalise or give excuses. If God proclaims that something is sin, then it is sin indeed. If God proclaims what is the right way, then that is the right way. No but’s, no negotiations. When we hear something that sounds especially difficult and the natural man wants to rationalise it away, let us stop our hearts right there and command our hearts to submit and obey God. We must be honest and recognise this and not let it carry us away from hearing God’s voice. You may even be thinking that “God’s Word and way was fine for the New Testament Christians, but He cannot expect us to live with such high standards today. We have to be realistic.” Some of us may think that God’s Word is not practical so we give that excuse to not obey it. Rationalizing and excuses are self deceptions, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). Who are you fooling?

Be committed to change. Being a doer and not only a hearer means that you are committed to changing when God reveals His will through His commands about how you are living and what you are doing. It is to unlearn what we may even have grown up thinking, and to relearn what God now teaches us. And this is a process that must continue throughout our Christian lives, as we let the water of God’s word form and mould our minds and lives. We must realise that the new man is to be very radically different from the old man after salvation. This is how we become conformed into His image. But if we keep rationalising, how would we ever change? Remember that God promises, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25).

Remember that to not do is sin. I started with saying that we must first establish God’s authority. If that is what God says, then not to do it is disobedience, and it is sin. God’s Word is our law and should regulate our lives. And “sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4) Every time we hear God’s Word, let our Will you be a doer, not just a hearer? be filled with holy fear, humbled with the desire to obey and please Him. We can hide from man, but we cannot hide from God. And let us know that when we refuse to do what He speaks to us, we constantly grieve His Holy Spirit.

Almighty God of truth and love ,to me Thy power impart;

The mountain from my soul remove, the hardness from my heart. O may the leas to mission pain my reawakened soul,

And drive me to that blood again, which makes the wounded whole.

Yours in our Lord’s service