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Listening and Doing (James 1:19-27)

Sermon on 15 January 2023 by Ps Gaius


He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

God requires 3 things from us – to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.


Can we be angry?

My dear brothers, take note of 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.- James 1:19

Ephesians 4:26 tells us that in our anger, do not sin. Although we can be angry with something that is not right, we should not sin against the person. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry – God wants us to put a stop to our anger; do not stay angry for long. In addition, do not be easily provoked into anger.

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:9

Do not be quick to speak when you are angry. Do not let your tongue run out of control. By our words we will be condemned.

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother (without a cause) will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother, ‘Raca (contempt),’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.– Matthew 5:22

God has displayed wrath Himself. With the exception of Noah, his family and selected animals, God flooded the entire world.When Jesus was at the temple in Jerusalem, He was angry because the temple was not used for worship but for the people’s own purposes. Let us be gentle in our response. It does not mean that we compromise; we can correct something but we do not need to raise our voice.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. – Proverbs 13:1

Our words should always be intended to build others’ up, not put them down.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29

So can we be angry? Yes, we can be angry for the love of others and not for ourselves. Let us respond gently, in love. James gives us steps on how to be slow to anger.

1. Be quick to listen to others. When we listen, the Holy Spirit will guide us to the real issue.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, - James 1:19

2. Listen to the word.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. – James 1:21

3. Doing the word.

We do not merely listen to the word, we have to do it. We need to correct what is wrong. The blessing of God comes when we listen and do the word.

Do not 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 mirrorand, after looking at himself, 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. – James 1:22-25

4. Doing His will

One may have religion, but may not have salvation. God wants us to come to Him with a pure heart. Let our hearts be as pure as little children. God wants us to look after others, especially those who are defenceless. James 1:27 mentions orphans and widows, as they are helpless. Let us seek to help those who are unable to repay us. God will give us the resources to do this.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:26-27


Let us walk out Micah 6:8 in our lives – to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. Let us remember to listen to others, listen to the word, do the word, and do His will.

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