Counterfeit or Concrete Christianity
James 1:26-27
{26} If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. {27} This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
 

INTRODUCTION:
A minister loved children and always preached tolerance in discipline. One day the pastor and some men of the church poured some concrete. Children came and put their hand prints and names in the wet concrete. The pastor became very angry. A friend said "what about the love and tolerance you always preach." The pastor responded " I love children in the abstract not in the concrete."

The text points out concrete or counterfeit Christianity. In these verses James makes a contrast for us. Let us notice these two emphasis.

1. First Notice A . . Counterfeit Christianity.

2. Second Notice A . . Concrete Christianity.
 
 
 

1.    First Notice A . . Counterfeit Christianity. v 26 
{26} If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.

EXPLANATION

A. The thoughts . . of a Counterfeit Christianity. v 26 a
            " If anyone thinks himself to be religious, . . . "     KJV Seems = Thinks

Strong's # 1380 dokeo (dok-eh'-o); a prolonged form of a primary verb, doko (dok'-o) (used only in an alternate in certain tenses; compare the base of 1166) of the same meaning; to think; by implication, to seem (truthfully or uncertainly):

Strong's # 1166 deiknuo (dike-noo'-o); a prolonged form of an obsolete primary of the same meaning; to show (literally or figuratively):

Same word 1380 translated think KJV James 4:5
Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

religious only time used
Strong's # 2357 threskos (thrace'-kos); probably from the base of 2360; ceremonious in worship (as demonstrative), i.e. pious: KJV-- religious. (DIC)
 

B. The tongue . . of a Counterfeit Christianity. v 26 b
            " . . . and yet does not bridle his tongue . . . "
 

ILLUSTRATION:
A few years ago I went to the hospital to make a visit to one of our members. A church member ask me to stop in and say hello to a person in the same hospital who resided in Mountain View. I had never met the person but stopped in and talked for a while. I asked the man about his spiritual condition. He said you don't have to worry about me I'm alright. I don't go to church but I am alright.

This person came home and within a month died. I asked someone about this person and they said "you could not be around him without him using God's name in vain". I make the judgement that man was not a Christian. You can't regularly curse God and be His child. Your tongue is not bridled.

Note the connection of the tongue and heart in Rom. 10:9-10
[9] that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; {10} for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

The mouth expresses what's in the heart.
 

C. The trash . . of a Counterfeit Christianity.
            " . . . but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. "

deceiveth
Strong's # 538 apatao (ap-at-ah'-o); of uncertain derivation; to cheat, i.e. delude: Vain

Strong's # 3152 mataios (mat'-ah-yos); from the base of 3155; empty, (literally) profitless, or (specifically) an idol:

Strong's # 3155 maten (mat'-ane); accus. of a derivative of the base of 3145 (through the idea of tentative manipulation, i.e. unsuccessful search,

1 Cor 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (KJV)
 

ILLUSTRATION:
Recently my wife and I helped our son in law and daughter with a remodeling project. We had a area where we threw trash. Some of this trash still had value to it. That made me think of my childhood days in the city of St. Louis. A man with an old dump truck would come around and go through peoples trash looking for anything of value. Today he would be called a man in recycling. It sounds better to say a man in recycling than a trash man doesn't it?

The trash produced by counterfeit religion has no value at all. It will not produce anthing of value or worth. It is worthless!
 

APPLICATION:

Do we try to recyle religious trash.   It will never amount to anything but counterfeit Christianity.
 
 
 

2.    Second Notice A . . Concrete Christianity. v 27 
{27} This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

EXPLANATION

A.    The . . Virtue of a Concrete Christianity. v 27 a
            " This is pure and undefiled religion . . . "

Pure
Strong's # 2513 katharos (kath-ar-os'); of uncertain affinity; clean (literally or figuratively): KJV-- clean, clear, )

undefiled
Strong's # 283 amiantos (am-ee'-an-tos); from 1 (as a negative particle) and a derivative of 3392; unsoiled, i.e. (figuratively) pure:

Heb 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. (KJV)
 

B.    The . . Vision of a Concrete Christianity. v 27 b
            ". . . in the sight of our God and Father, . . . "

        1. We must be concern how our religion stands before God and not man.
 

C.    The . . Visitation of a Concrete Christianity. v 27 c
            " . . . to visit orphans and widows in their distress, . . ."

visit
Strong's # 1980 episkeptomai (ep-ee-skep'-tom-ahee); middle voice from 1909 and the base of 4649; to inspect, i.e. (by implication) to select; by extension, to go to see, relieve:

Strong's # 1909 epi (ep-ee'); a primary preposition; over, upon, etc.;
Strong's # 4649 skopos (skop-os') ("scope"); from skeptomai (to peer about ["skeptic"]; perhaps akin to 4626 through the idea of concealment; compare 4629); a watch

visit translated look
Acts 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. (KJV)

Fatherless
Strong's # 3737 orphanos (or-fan-os'); of uncertain affinity; ("orphan"), i.e. parentless:

Widows
Strong's # 5503 chera (khay'-rah); feminine of a presumed derivative apparently from the base of 5490 through the idea of deficiency; a widow, literally or figuratively:

Strong's # 5490 chasma (khas'-mah); from a form of an obsolete prim chao (to "gape" or "yawn"); a "chasm"
 

D.    The . . Victory of a Concrete Christianity. v 27 d
            " . . . and to keep oneself unstained by the world. "

Keep
Strong's # 5083 tereo (tay-reh'-o); from teros (a watch; perhaps akin to 2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from 5442, which is properly to prevent escaping; and from 2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus),

Unspotted
Strong's # 784 aspilos (as'-pee-los); from 1 (as a negative particle) and 4695; unblemished (physically or morally): KJV-- without spot, unspotted. (DIC)

Strong's # 4695 spiloo (spee-lo'-o); from 4696; to stain or soil (literally or figuratively):
 

ILLUSTRATION:
Theologian Emery Bancroft wrote, "Some years ago a Parliament of Religion was held in Chicago, in connection with the World's Fair. At that Parliament the great ethnic faiths of the world were represented.

One by one the leading men arose and spoke for Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Mohammedanism. Then Dr. Joseph Cook of Boston, who had been chosen to represent Christianity, arose to speak. "Here is Lady Macbeth's hand," he said, "stained with the foul murder of Duncan. See her as she perambulates through the halls and corridors of her palatial home, stopping to cry, `Out (cursed) spot! Out I say! Will these hands ne're be clean?'"

Then turning to those seated on the platform, he said, `Can any of you who are so anxious to propagate your religious systems offer any cleansing efficacy for the sin and guilt of Lady Macbeth's crime?' An oppressive silence was maintained by them all ... Only the blood of Christ can purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God."

CONCLUSION:
On a cold winter day in 1986, Diane Elsroth entered a store in Bronxville, New York looking for something to relieve her pain. She bought a bottle of medicine, not knowing that someone had opened the bottle's tamper-resistant wrapping, tainted the capsules with cyanide, and returned them to the store's shelf. Within a short time after Elsroth left the store, the cyanide-laced capsules killed her.
 

Like a medicine mixed with cyanide, a perverted gospel has the power to kill rather than make whole.
 
 

1. First Notice A . . Counterfeit Christianity.

2. Second Notice A . . Concrete Christianity.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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