"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"

Preached by on January 15, 2017
— From the series,

The thing about mirrors is they always tell the truth. Sometimes we don't like what we see in the mirror, but we can't blame the mirror. What is your spiritual mirror telling you?

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

(James 1:22-27)

Intro:

A. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”  I would guess that most of us know where that quote comes from, Snow White.  The wicked witch in that story sure liked it when the mirror told her that she was the fairest. But when it told her that she wasn’t … then she got very angry and very jealous.
B.  That’s the thing about mirrors, they always tell us the truth, even if we don’t like what we see!  Some part of our morning ritual is coming face to face with the mirror.  Most of us probably get our first look at ourselves while we’re still pretty scary looking.
C.  Facing our mirrors first thing in the morning is NOT that pleasant an experience.  Mirrors are very honest little things.  They don’t compromise.  They don’t gloss over our defects and tell us we’re better-looking than we really are.  They show us every wart, wrinkle, gray hair & pimple.

D.  So why do we all have mirrors in our bathrooms?  Well, because as unpleasant as it may be to confront our own faces first thing in the morning, we know that if we don’t take a look at ourselves, and make some major adjustments, the rest of the world is going to see that morning face!
E.  As James writes to the Christians dispersed throughout the world, he uses a mirror as a practical illustration of the Christian living out his faith.  Let’s examine our text a little closer.

 

I.  Doers of the Word

A.  READ James 1:22-25.

B.  There many great questions that we simply don’t have the answer to.  “Who wrote the book of Hebrews?”  I don’t know.  “What is the dating of the book of Revelation?”  I have my opinion, but I don’t know.  “How old is the earth?  Is really only 6000 years old?” I don’t know, but again, I have my opinion.

C.  We can spend a lot time talking about things to which we cannot give a concrete answer.  My experience has shown me that many people want to argue over theology because that is easier than practicing it.  Theology is simply “the study of the nature of God and religious belief.”  James calls us to put our theology into practice or admit it is meaningless.

D.  Listen to Heb. 4:12.  God says through Isaiah that his word does not return to him empty or void, but accomplishes his desire and achieves its purpose.  Peter tells his reads that they would do well to pay attention to God’s word for it like a light shining in a dark place.  The Bible is not simply a good story or a text book for religious debates, but the transformational message from God.  The Bible is not our salvation, but our pathway to salvation, which is Jesus Christ.  It is because of that, that James tell us that simply to hear the message proclaimed and do nothing, is like looking into a mirror, seeing what needs to be change, but do nothing about it.

E.  James says to you and me, “Look intently into the perfect law, do what it says, and you will be blessed.”  The Greek for “look” means to bend down and examine.  It is what Peter and John did at the tomb of Jesus that Sunday of his resurrection.  James is calling us to deeply look into the perfect law of liberty.  Do I want freedom?  YES!  Does that require of me to change and be conformed to the image of God instead of following my own desires?  YES!  When I deeply examine God’s perfect law of liberty and DO IT, I find a life that is blessed, content, happy, and free.

 

II.  Defenders of the Helpless

A.  James gives us one practical illustration of what it means to look into the perfect law and do it.  Listen to our text, James 1:26-27.  If I am receptive to the word of God then I will be responsive to the calling of that word.

B.  Last week I mentioned about being slow to speak.  And we will spend more time on the tongue in a few weeks.  But James places it here because religion is more than just words we say, it actions we do.  James is simply telling us to be an advocate for those who are afflicted.  The orphans and widows of the first century faced very difficult times and James says to help them.

C.  I know what worthless religion is; it is thinking I am a Christian but talking like an unbeliever.  It is self-delusional.  It is focusing on me and what I desire instead of what God desires.  But pure religion, faultless religion is acting on behalf of others and keeping myself from the pollution of the world.

 

Conclusion:

A.  Let’s come back to this spiritual mirror as we close.  Take a close look at yourself.  Don’t think about your spouse, children, other people in the congregation, just look in the mirror of God’s word and examine what it shows about you.

B.  Maybe, as you look in that mirror of God’s Word you realize that you try to hide your struggles, trials and temptations, and for now have decided to do nothing about them.  Let me remind you, God sees all of you in that mirror and you and I can’t hide anything from him.

C.  Take a look at the way you see others, especially the helpless.  Are you touched by their need?  Are you striving to bring about a better life for those who need you to be a doer of God’s love?

D. Take a look in that mirror and see as God sees you – either unspotted or dirty.  It’s okay to say, “I am saved by the grace of God and I am striving to do all that he has revealed to me.”  But if you look and see a spiritually dirty person, then let us share with you how Jesus can wash you clean.  During this song, you may feel the desire to have this family wrap you in love and prayer, walk beside you in a time a trial, or for you to let go of your sin and accept God’s grace.  If we can do any of those things, then come as we stand and sing.