Men's Workout # 32 - January 20, 2018

HYMN
We opened our workout with a singing of "Take My Life and Let It Be" (#375).
 
MEMORIZATION & DISCUSSION
As a group, we spent a few minutes reading the through small portions of James chapter 1, memorizing, reciting, and reflecting as a group.
 
James 1:1-4

  • Trials are not meaningless; they are opportunities for growth. We should consider them as such, rather than just mere inconveniences.
  • Perfect and complete are pointing to spiritual maturity, which God produces in His people
    • This is why we should consider trials with all joy
  • We find joy in our lives in the midst of trials because of the comfort and truth we receive from God's Word
  • James calls himself a bondservant, or a slave.
    • We are also slaves of God in that we serve Him. He is our Master, and our lives are not our own.
    • We don't live our lives according to our own desires or whims. We live for God's glory, to please and obey Him. 

James 1:5-8

  • When James speaks of wisdom, he is referring to Old Testament wisdom - God's eternal and divine wisdom to know how to live in our lives in the fear of God.
    • One who doubts whether God will dispense this wisdom to live according to His will is completely off base. Proverbs speaks of wisdom as one who calls all who seek after her and receive her (Proverbs 1:20-33). Therefore, those who doubt that God will give this wisdom are double-minded; they may pray for it, but in reality they don't really want it.
      • Those who sincerely seek after God's wisdom will always receive it.
  • Prayer
    • God always hears us when we pray according to His will.
    • When we pray, we should ask with faith ("ask, seek, knock").
    • We should pray according to God's will, not our own self-seeking will ("not my will, but your will be done").
    • Often, we don’t have because we don't ask. In faith, we should pray to God and ask that His will be done in our lives and in others' lives (i.e. pray for spiritual maturity, salvation for others). We can be confident that our prayers that align with His will are heard and that God will answer.
    • God answers our prayers according to His sovereign will, and we are called to pray in faith. At the very least, we can be confident that when we pray according to His will, He hears us.
  • It's not wrong to ask for wisdom for other areas of life (e.g. practical matters of life, like work). God welcomes and invites everyone to seek after God and pray for help.
    • Example: even within the Lord's prayer, Christ prays for both lofty matters and practical matters ("Hallowed be your name" and "Give us this day our daily bread").

James 1:9-12

  • "The rich man will pass away in the midst of his pursuits"
    • We should be reminded that we can't take any of our material blessings with us into eternity.
    • Those in humility should focus not on what they have in this life but what they do have in God's eyes and the glory he will receive in eternity ("the crown of life", verse 12).
    • We should be of the mind that we use whatever God has given us for God's glory.
    • There is a parallel thought found in Luke 12:13-34.
      • Be on guard against every form of greed.
      • Be rich toward God, give to others, and do mercy.
    • Warnings and dangers associated with becoming rich
      • Proverbs 23:4-5
        • Do not wear yourself out in the pursuit of wealth, because it is fleeting.
      • 1 Timothy 6:9
        • It is easy to fall into temptation and become distracted with foolish and harmful desires, resulting in ruin and destruction.

 
James 1:13-15

  • Spiritual death & the fight against sin
    • The death that James mentions is spiritual death, or hell. This is the outcome of accomplished sin.
    • When sin creeps up in a believer's life, it must be stamped out quickly, and not left to fester or grow.
    • Sin begins with our lusts and desires. In order to head off sin, we must deal with our lusts and desires.
      • It is better to be rid of what we value in life in order to gain eternity.
    • "Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust" [Romans 13:14]
      • We must deal with the fleshly opportunities for sin in our lives, but we must also replace the desires in our hearts with better things. Comprehensive dealings with sin means removal of physical opportunities and a renewing of our minds and hearts.
      • We are not necessarily trying to "produce" the right desires from scratch. Rather, we must encourage and nurture the good and true desires that are present in our lives due to the presence of the Holy Spirit and the abiding of God's Word.
         

Men's Workout #31 - January 6, 2018

HYMN
We opened our workout with a singing of "All People That On Earth Do Dwell" (hymn #18).
 
MEMORIZATION
We recited James 2:1-4 as a group.
Discussion points:

  • The point of the passage is to not practice personal favoritism. What are some ways that we could be practicing personal favoritism against people in the church today?
    • Racial and cultural discrimination
      • Ethnic churches tend to rally around their culture. It can be a really good thing to leverage your culture to reach people. But to gear a church body around a particular ethnic culture can lead to a "passive" discrimination in the interest of preserving a sense of identity. This can go against a proper obedience to reach out to all souls for gospel obedience.
    • Age discrimination
      • Multigenerational churches are great for worshiping with saints of all ages and experiences. But if they are separated, an attitude can be fostered where each side can look across the way and develop discriminatory attitudes, whether intentional or not.
    • Clique forming
      • It is easy to spend time with people you're more comfortable with rather than reaching out to someone you don't know as well, especially when they are in times of need. Being "clique-ish" can be very subtle and you could not even realize you are practicing favoritism.
    • Maturing children
      • Children can mature, become baptized, become members, and become willing and active participants in gatherings, ministries, and activities. We should welcome this and not look down on anybody simply because of their assumed lack of maturity due to age.
    • Distinctions between people of different life stages
      • Singles, married people, parents
      • A church with many children must not lose focus on ministry needs for single people.
    • Special attention toward rich people
      • Be generous and inclusive of all people, rather than excluding people based on your knowledge of their financial situations.
      • Practice generosity and make personal sacrifices.
  • The church must not practice favoritism.
    • Our faith in the Lord precludes favoritism. Why? Because the Lord received all people to Himself and did not discriminate. We ought to emulate our Lord's example and heart.
    • We ought to practice love toward those in need.
    • We ought to practice love toward the elderly who need special help. 

NEXT WEEK'S PASSAGE
James 2:5-9

  • "Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?" Where else in Scripture can we find a similar notion of the poor being blessed by God?
    • Luke 6
    • The rich man & Lazarus - Luke 16:19-31
    • 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
      • God's chosen the base and despised things of the world so that no one can sya that they have become acceptable to God by their own doing
    • The rich young ruler
      • How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God
      • Riches can be an obstacle to salvation
    • Scripture never teaches that one is saved by virtue of being poor. However, being in poor circumstances provides one with a greater situational opportunity to seek for help from God rather than in one's own provisions.
    • Barnabas sold his property in order to help those who were poor in the church
  • How do we reconcile being Christian and being wealthy? Is it impossible to be rich and also be saved?
    • Example of Job. Job was "filthy rich" but he cared for those less fortunate.
    • In this age, it is easy to learn about the needs for all of the less fortunate in the world, but it is practically impossible to help the entire world's needs
    • We can act in compassion and sacrifice to help those in need in our own communities, rather than staying within our own comfortable bubbles. We ought to use our positions, provisions, and blessings to reach out to our communities and serve their needs. This can provide a platform for the work of the gospel. We ought to actively seek these opportunities out.
  • We need to love others as ourselves because God has loved us first. "Put yourself in their shoes" and treat them the way you would want them to treat you.
    • If you love your neighbor as yourself, then you will not show favoritism.
      • James put its clearly in v9 and says that if you show partiality, you are sinning. Why? Because if you show partiality, you are not loving your neighbor as yourself.

DEVELOPING PROPOSITIONS
As a group, we developed some propositions from Colossians 1:21-29.

  • The gospel of Christ reconciles us to God.
  • God's will for every Christian is to be holy, blameless, and beyond reproach.
    • This comes about through the ministry of God's Word.
    • We must deal with every sin and every shortcoming in our lives, remembering that our sins are why Christ came to die on the cross.
  • All Christians should be striving to become complete in Christ - no one is under any exception.
    • The strive for holiness begins with repentance.
    • Holiness is expected of all believers.
    • No man can ever be sinless
      • 1 John 1:8 - "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
    • Sin is inevitable and no man can ever truly be sinless in this life, but this is not an excuse to practice sin or be lazy about repentance. On the contrary, God's Word exposes our sins and reveals our shortcomings to us in order to compel us to live in greater holiness for God's glory.

Question: Is it heretical for Paul to say that Christ's afflictions were lacking (verse 24)?

  • No. Paul does not mean to say that Christ's afflictions are inadequate. Rather, Paul is stating that he is suffering for the church in a way that Christ did not literally suffer. Paul carries on the work of preaching the gospel at great personal cost and suffering for the sake of the church.

Men's Workout Blog #30 - December 30, 2017

HYMN
We opened our workout with a singing of "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" (hymn #136).
 
MEMORIZATION
We recited James 1:26-27 as a group.
 
DISCUSSION (James 1:26-27)

  • The passage deals with a believer's "mouth and mercy".
    • This passage helps provide practical tests for God's people.
  • In the 1st century church, orphans and widows were always marked out as the people who were in the most dire need. However, in our day and age, we don’t have to limit our help to orphans and widows. We should follow Christ's example to reach out to all sinners and those who are in need of mercy and grace.
    • We can reach out to all of society's lowly and needy.
    • The love that God's people have for one another should also spill over to love those outside of the church as well.
  • The world can influence the believer to not care for those who are living in distress, and can carry through life only caring about themselves. In contrast, believers ought to be people of mercy who reach out to those in distress and need.
    • It can be easy for people in the church to think that those in need are in faraway countries, or those whom we do not personally know. But we should look closely at our own relationships (e.g., family) to not overlook those who are close to us and in need.
    • Serving others in mercy allow us to think more about others rather than ourselves, and helps protect us from becoming stained by worldliness.
    • We can be more intentional in seeking out opportunities to serve others in mercy. God wants us to be the expression of mercy to people in need.

 
QUESTIONS

  • What are some things that we could be doing as a church to reach out to those in need?
    • Visit senior homes.
    • Visit poorer neighborhoods and providing services to their families.
      • Grocery delivery, tutoring for kids, etc.
    • Host children's programs (e.g. VBS, tutoring).
      • This helps give burdened parents a break.
      • This also helps provides the church with an opportunity for gospel outreach to kids and their families.
  • There are definitely those in need within the church body, and the Scriptures are abundantly clear that we ought to minister to one another in love. But what are some examples or commands in the Scriptures that tell us about ministering to those who are outside of the church?
    • The good Samaritan was an outsider who provided great mercy and help
    • Christ's ministry is filled with examples of mercy and help toward those who were considered outsiders.
    • Boaz cared for outsiders in need.
    • Some passages that command us to do good to all people:
      • Galatians 6:10 - let us do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
      • 1 Thessalonians 3:11-12 - abound in love for one another, and for all people.
  • How can we effectively practice "bridling our tongues"?
    • Memorize Scripture.
    • Be surrounded by honest friends and family who can help sanctify you.
      • For example, marriage is a great sanctifier.
    • Practice self-control in all things - even in seemingly mundane things.
      • We are more useful to the Lord when we are able to practice self-control.
      • Practicing self-control in other areas of life can help us get better at controlling ourselves in what we say.

NEXT WEEK'S PASSAGE
James 2:1-4

  • Do not discriminate against people and make distinctions based on evil motives.
    • Follow Christ's heart and example. He reached out to the lame, lepers, poor, blind, outcasts.
  • Do not practice personal favoritism.
    • We can grow comfortable with certain groups of people within the church body and not seek to reach out to others; we ought not to neglect others because we do not "favor" them.

Men's Workout #28 - December 16, 2017

HYMN
We sang the hymn "Angels, from the Realms of Glory" (hymn #222).
 
MEMORIZATION
We recited James 1:1-21 as a group and spent some time discussing the passage and developing propositions.

  • Eternal life is the topic that runs through this section.
  • The epitome of the good things that the Father has given us is spiritual birth.
  • One's religion can actually be proven completely worthless.
    • If you are truly saved, you will have faith that is active, produces good works, and acts upon what you confess to believe.
  • If you don't check your sin and let it fester, it will eventually take over your life and lead to demise.
    • Sin hardens peoples' hearts.
    • A true believer will not let sin overtake their life.
    • The death mentioned in 1:15 refers to eternal death, not just bodily death.
    • A genuine believer does not willfully continue walking in sin
      • Refer to book of 1 John.
  • Be quick to hear.
    • This leads us to practice thoughtful responses without anger.
    • Those who practice rationality, calmness, and patience are wise. 

DISCUSSION AND QUESTIONS

  • Ephesians 4 is a similar passage that speaks to the slowness of anger.
    • Ephesians 4:26 - "Be angry and yet do not sin"
    • Ephesians 4:31 - "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."
      • When we put aside all of these evil things, what are we to replace them with? What should our demeanor and attitude be?
        • Be kind and tenderhearted, forgiving one other.
  • It is very rare that we can practice righteous indignation like Christ did. Our anger is not going to establish any form of justice. Instead, we ought to strive for wisdom, so that we can be people who are quick to hear and slow to anger.

Question: James is writing to Jews who seem to have embraced Jesus as Messiah. Why is James so full of urgent warnings?

  • Although they professed faith, the audience that James addresses are still discriminating against the poor. Their actions did not exhibit genuine saving faith, so James writes with forcefulness, aiming to correct their understanding and actions.
    • James is filled with imperatives for Christians to adopt and follow. There are over 50 - that means almost half of the verses in this book are imperatives!
  • The accomplishment of sin
    • We need to have a healthy fear of sin and its potential to afflict our lives.
      • If you uproot sin and deal with it at its inception, then you can be safeguarded against it. Up until sin reaches its completion, there is hope to fight and kill it.
    • Sin is accomplished when it has fulfilled its goal or purpose, which is to drag us away from God and into hell, the place of eternal damnation.

Question: How should we be motivated to fight sin? How should we think about our fight against sin?

  • God has chosen us for salvation through sanctification; He's saved us to live truly sanctified lives. Sanctification is a necessary component of salvation. 
  • We must deal with sin at its roots, or at its beginning.
    • When tempted with sin, we should ask ourselves:
      • "Why do I want the outcome of what will be accomplished if I sin?"
      • "If I do not sin and do not obtain the resulting temporary gain, will Christ be honored?"
      • "Am I acting in a way that honors Christ above and before all?"
  • We must consider the severe costs of sin.
    • If we gain temporary victories but lose the eternal prize, will it have been worth it? We should sobered by Christ's words when He spoke of those who "gain the world but forfeit the soul" (Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:36, Luke 9:25).
    • Sin deceives us and continues to harden the heart and the soul. A pattern of sin and compromise only snowballs and distances us from God.
    • A mind separate from the gospel justifies sinful behavior, lifestyle, and patterns.

 
We concluded our workout with a preview discussion of James 1:22-25.

  • "The word"
    • James is writing as someone who is not just a servant of God, but as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is an important distinction because James is writing to Jews who believe in Christ as their Messiah and Lord.
    • When James talks about "the word", He is referring to the Law of Christ, not the OT law. If James was referring to the OT law, then he would be saying that we must obey everything that is contained in the OT laws, which is not his intent.
  • "Be doers and not just hearers"
    • Reminds us of Christ's words in the Sermon on the Mount: "everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them…" (Matthew 7:24, Luke 6:47)
    • We should assess ourselves and consider what have we actually done with what the knowledge of the truth we have received.
    • God's will is for believers to hear, think, and do.
  • "Look intently at the word of God"
    • Pay very careful attention to the word of God and practice it.
    • Respond to the Word in action.
       

Men's Workout #27 - December 9, 2017

We opened our workout with a singing of "And Can It Be" (hymn #180) and a group recitation & review of James 1.
 
After our review of James 1, we studied Colossians 1 together. We went around the table to develop propositions through the chapter.
 
Colossians 1:1-4 (Henry)

  • Thankful Christians pray for one another.
  • Genuine believers exhibit faith, love, and hope.
    • Reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:8 ("breastplate of faith and love; helmet of hope and salvation").
    • This proposition challenges us to ask ourselves: "What am I believing in? How am I loving God and others? What do I place my hope in?"

Colossians 1:5-8 (Daniel)

  • The gospel has been given to us.
    • There is no self-boasting in its discovery, or that we have found it out for ourselves. 

Other propositions from the group for verses 1-8:

  • The gospel continuously bears fruit throughout the world.
  • The gospel comes through people (in that faithful servants of Christ teach the gospel to others).
  • The gospel is heard, and the gospel is understood.
    • It is meant to be fully understood, not just heard and checked off a list.
  • Genuine Christians continually grow.
  • Christians share encouragement & praise reports with one another.
  • The gospel is the word of truth.
    • Simply put, the gospel is truth. People need to hear the truth. When paired with the understanding that we have the gospel, the truth that comes from God, we are compelled to share the gospel. In simple words, sharing the gospel is merely giving people truth that they do not yet have or understand.
  • Believers are in the Spirit.
    • Every genuine believer of God has His Spirit in them.

Colossians 1:9-10 (Sassoun)

  • Christians are to pray without ceasing.
  • Knowledge of God's will is a gift of God dispensed through prayer.
    • The bearing of spiritual fruit is a result of having this knowledge.

Colossians 1:11-12 (Nate)

  • A Christian's strength comes from God's power.

Other propositions from the group for verses 9-12:

  • Christians strive to be steadfast and patient.
    • Endurance and patience require strength that comes from God.
    • Real power is demonstrated in submission to God's will and timing. This falls in line with the worldview that God is sovereign and controls all things.
  • Christians give thanks to God.
  • God allows and qualifies Christians to receive the inheritance of eternal life.
  • God wants us to strive to produce fruit in every good work.
    • Not focused in only one specific area, but in a comprehensive way we are to excel in every good work
  • Having spiritual wisdom and understanding is necessary to please God.
    • Knowing and practicing God's will requires that we have spiritual wisdom and understanding. We ought to take God's truth and appropriate it in real life in tangible ways.

Colossians 1:13-14 (John T.)

  • Christ is our King and our Redeemer.
  • We are responsible for our sins and we need forgiveness and rescue.
  • We once belonged to the domain of darkness, but we have been transferred to Christ's kingdom.

Colossians 1:15-17 (Ming)

  • Christ existed before all things.
  • All things have been created through Christ.
  • Creation includes things that are invisible.
    • The world is more than what we can see with our eyes.
  • All things depend on God for existence and sustenance.

Colossians 1:18-20 (James)

  • Christ is preeminent in the church and in all things.
  • The church is the body of Christ.
  • Christ reconciled all things to God through the blood of the cross.
    • The truth that we need reconciliation shows that we are at enmity with God because of our sins.

Question: The Bible tells us about others who had been resurrected in the flesh before Christ's resurrection took place. Knowing this, why is Christ called the firstborn from the dead?

  • Christ is the first to be resurrected in a glorified sense.
  • The others who had been resurrected physically before Christ had not been raised unto eternal life and glory. Although those people were physically resurrected, they still eventually died physical deaths. In contrast, Christ was resurrected and is eternally alive.
  • The hope of resurrection we have is that we will also be raised unto eternal life and glory.

Men's Workout #26 - November 18, 2017

We began our workout by discussing James 1:18-21 as a group.
 
Verse 18 - God is the one who brought us forth

  • God is the sole author of salvation. He is the one who brought us forth out of our sinfulness, wickedness, and hardness of heart.

Verse 19 - Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

  • We should have this mantra ingrained in our minds.
  • Being slow to anger means being slow to wrath. The feeling of anger often results from an injustice done, and what soon follows is a mentality that wrath is justified to come upon the injustice.
  • However, God is slow to anger, and so we should be like Him. Our anger does not correct the universe, nor does our anger accomplish right or good, nor does it achieve the righteousness of God (verse 20).

Verse 20 - The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
Question: How do we balance what Paul said in Ephesians 4: "Be angry, yet do not sin"? Is there an anger that is right before God? Should we develop anger when we see deeds that are offensive to God?

  • Yes, we ought to be angry against sin. Committing sin is a cause for God's wrath.
    • Examples:
      • Jesus overthrowing money changers' tables at the temple. He acted in zealous anger for God.
      • God hates idolatry.
      • We can feel angry when we observe immorality in our lives and in others' lives.
  • Although we feel anger toward things that are justifiably sinful, we should never give ourselves permission to act in unrestrained anger.
  • When we feel angry, we must trust in God's sovereignty, acknowledging that He is ultimately the one in control of all things. We can have confidence and assurance in trusting that all things are in God's hands.

Verse 21 - To receive the Word, we must repent.

  • We must let the Word fill us in all things - in our knowledge, our will, our character, and our actions.
  • We can't expect to receive the Word or be truly changed by it if we are clutching onto sin.
  • We must receive the Word in order for it to become implanted in us. When we receive the Word, it implants into us via knowledge and meditation, which then ought to be applied in practice.
  • Reception of the Word involves more than just translation from words to actions. We must also understand implications for our lives and hearts. When we develop implications that apply toward changing our thought life and our character, those implications will relay into action.
  • We should use new learnings and understanding to reflect on past experiences and evaluate ourselves. This should lead to correction and change. This change should not more than just performing actions, though. We must be hearers and continual doers. We must become transformed in our minds, our hearts, and in our characters. We can't just perform "good actions" in isolation, consider ourselves changed, and then turn back to a lifestyle of unrighteousness.

Men's Workout #25 - November 11, 2017

We began our workout with a singing of hymn #35 - "O Great God."
 
MEMORIZATION
As a refresher, we recited/read James 1:1-15 together.
 
DISCUSSION
Question: Why does James bring up the fact that God is not tempted? Why is that important?

  • James is teaching us about the character of God. God has nothing to do with temptation, so James is shutting down the very idea; no one should say that they are being tempted by God toward evil and sin. To do so would be impossible because it is against God's nature and character.
  • God is not the source of temptation. The source of temptations is our own lusts and desires (James 1:14-15)
  • Temptations arise when we pursue and nurture our lusts and desires, in contrast to pursuing the glory of God and the exaltation of His name.

Question: Does James 1:13 apply to all men or only to believers?

  • It can apply to all people, because believers and unbelievers alike are all sinners.

Question: What is the time period for the approval spoken of in James 1:12?

  • The approval is not given at the end of someone's life, but after reaching the end of a period of trials.
  • After having been approved for enduring through trials, one receives the crown of life, which is referring to the eternal life that will be received in the future.
  • The approval is given as a result of not only enduring physical pain and suffering, but by remaining steadfast in worship and love for the Lord through the sufferings.

Question: How should we understand "persecution," and what are some examples we can relate to today?

  • When somebody is persecuting you, that person is aggressively pursuing you for evil because of your faith.
  • Other trials that can be forms of persecution: disease, loss of job, or the death of a loved one.

Question: If there is comfort in our lives, should we be praying for trials in our lives?

  • No. On the contrary, Jesus prayed "do not lead us into temptation" (Matthew 6:13).
  • It's okay to express humble longing to be spared from trials.
  • We should not be naive and think that we won't endure trials as Christians. But at the same time, we shouldn't be sadistic and long for or pursue suffering as if it is something desirable.

Question: We know that God disciplines us. Should we consider those trials?

  • Unless somebody's sin is patently obvious, we can't know whether something is a trial or a working out of God's sovereign plan.
  • There is no basis in Scripture that tells us that our sins are a cause for our sufferings. They can be, but not always.
  • The Lord's discipline is in a different category from temptations and trials. It is possible that temptations and trials can meet in the middle, but it is not often the case.
  • Not all trials are discipline. Disciplinary trials are a subset of all trials.
    • 1 Corinthians 11 and Hebrews 12 are passages we can refer to for to read about God's discipline and how He deals with His people.

We briefly previewed James 1:16-21.

  • God gives us good things (verse 16)
    • God is good. He abundantly gives us good things; most of all, He gives us eternal salvation.
  • The ultimate goodness of God is demonstrated in our salvation (verse 18)
    • He brought us forth in the word of truth.
  • Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (verse 20)
    • We are called to not get angry, but to be those who are wise, humble, and temperate.
    • Anger doesn’t produce or approximate the righteousness of God. Often we feel like it does!
    • Emotionally charged anger doesn’t result in good.

LEADING DEVOTIONS
Reminder: We should be in the practice of reading Scripture and drawing out and clutching onto obvious truths, and not always getting bogged down in the minute details.
 
Peter's name was chosen, and he drew 2 Thessalonians 1 from the hat.
 
Peter made the following observations from this text:

  • [Verse 11] When God calls us to be His followers, we must live according to His truth so that we can be counted as worthy and that the name of Jesus can be glorified in us.
  • [Verses 6-7] Vengeance belongs to God. When we face affliction, we are not in any place to repay others with affliction. We should stay away from such action.

Other propositions and observations:

  • We have an obligation to give thanks to God (verse 3)
  • Christians can grow under persecution (verses 3-4)
  • We boast about God's work in other believers (verse 4)
  • Endurance through suffering results in worthiness to enter the kingdom of God (verse 5)
  • God does not overlook injustice (verse 6)
  • The afflicted in Christ can look forward to relief (verse 7)
  • The gospel of our Lord must be obeyed (verse 8)
  • The gospel is a call to obedience (verse 8)
  • Those who reject God pay the penalty of absence from God and His glory (verse 9)
  • The Lord is powerful and majestic; comfortingly so for believers, but terrifyingly so for unbelievers (verses 6-10)
  • Christians live for the glory of Christ (verse 11)

Men's Workout #23 - October 28, 2017

We opened this week's Workout with a singing of hymn #126: "Behold Our God."
 
LEADING DEVOTIONS

Name 1: James Tan's name was drawn out of the hat, and led us in a devotion through 1 Peter 1:1-12. Some propositions from this text included:

  • Believers are chosen unto obedience (verses 1-2)
  • God is worthy to be praised for His mercy (verse 3)
  • The Lord reserves a place for us in heaven (verse 4)
  • Tested faith is precious; salvation is imperishable (verse 7)

Other propositions and observations:

  • Arthur
    • We are born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (verse 3)
    • We are protected by the power of God through faith (verse 5)
    • Despite our trials, we rejoice in our assurance of salvation (verse 6)
  • Nate
    • Faith leads to salvation (verse 9)
    • Salvation is precious; ancient people sought for it but couldn't find it (verses 10-12)
  • Peter
    • Inheritance through Christ in incorruptible, reserved in heaven for us (verses 3-4)
    • The gospel is not only the good news; it is also a mystery that is revealed to those whom He chooses (verses 3-5)
  • Pastor Dan
    • Salvation is exceedingly valuable and lasting (verse 4, verse 7)
    • By comparison, everything in this world will not last. Not even "diamonds are forever"! Today's cycles of technology, automobiles, etc. that the world yearns after and pursues will all ultimately fade away.
    • Salvation is dependent on the power of God (verse 5)
    • This is a comfort for believers. We are protected by the power of God.
    • We still face trials, but by enduring them, God produces the assurance/guarantee of salvation in us.
    • Salvation is planned by God (verses 4-5)
  • John Lee
    • Salvation was a mystery to the prophets of old and the angels (verses 10-12)
    • Prophets carefully inquired to know about how and when the work of salvation would take place
    • Seeing is not a requirement for saving faith and salvation (verse 8-9)

Name 2: John Lee's name was drawn out of the hat, and he led us in a devotion through 3 John. Some propositions from this text included:

  • Ministers have great joy when they see their "children" walking in the truth (verse 3)
  • Christians should support those who are doing God's work  (verses 5-8)
  • Do good and not evil (verse 11)

Other propositions and observations:

  • Arthur
    • Love for the church extends to those who are both familiar and non-familiar (verse 5)
    • God's work is a collaborative effort within the church (verses 7-8)
  • James
    • It is biblical to pray for others' good health (verse 2)
      • Health and prosperity enable us to live, but life is more than just these. God blesses us at every level of our lives.
    • Evildoers deny the truth and hurt the brethren (verse 10)
  • Nate
    • Gaius is a converted Roman Gentile who is faithfully supporting the ministry.
      • We know he is a Roman Gentile because of his name.
  •  John Tang
    • Christians testify concerning good deeds (verse 12)
  • Peter
    • Walking in truth brings joy to those who are walking in truth (verse 4)
    • Truth exhorts believers to do good (verse 11)
  • Pastor Dan
    • John's joy is grounded in the faith of his spiritual progeny (verse 4)
    • Faithful Christians honor and support the work of the gospel (verses 6-8)
      • We ought to support those who go out for the sake of Christ
      • We can participate in the work of the gospel by supporting those who go out
      • With discernment, we should link arms with other churches and ministries who are faithful in God's work
    • Imitate submission to apostolic authority (verses 11-12)
      • Do not imitate those are evil. Rather, imitate people who submit to Scripture.
      • We are to imitate Christ, and in so doing we also imitate those who have loved and submitted to Him.
    • Affirm faithful brothers (verse 12)
      • The word "everyone" in verse 12 is referring to believers only.
    • John wrote this letter with pen and ink (verse 13)
      • There are things we communicate in writing, but also things we'd rather communicate more intimately in person.

MEMORIZATION
As a group, we recited James 1:1-5, and then discussed the passage together.

  • There are three imperatives given to help us navigate through life, with all of its inevitable trials:
    • Consider
      • It all begins in the mind, with our thought life.
    • Pray
      • Christians depend on the Lord for all things, and they ask of Him freely.
    • Glory (verb tense) (verses 9-10)
      • Another way to understand this is to boast.
      • Christians boast in their humble circumstances while looking forward to future glorification.
  • How should we understand the words "perfect and complete" in verse 4?
    • The word complete can also be thought of as whole, or comprehensive.
    • Perfect does not mean flawless, but rather a state or point of completion
  • We can continually ask God for wisdom (verse 5).
    • God is welcoming and generous. He does not scold those who continually seek and ask for wisdom.
    • This wisdom is general wisdom, or spiritual wisdom.
      • This is the wisdom we need in order to live our lives in a pleasing manner before the Lord.

Next weeks' passage for memorization is James 1:6-11. We spent some time previewing the passage together.

  • Verses 6-8 tie back to what is stated in verse 5.
    • When we ask God for wisdom, He will generously give it to us.
    • When we doubt whether He will give, we actually are doubting His generosity and character.
    • The one who doubts is tossed back and forth, and unstable in his ways.
      • A man such as this should not expect that he will receive anything from God.
      • When we go to God, we should absolutely and confidently believe that He hears us and gives generously. We have confidence that God gives lovingly & graciously to His children.
    • When we pray according to His will, He will grant what we ask to us.
  • Richness and humility
    • A rich man is always pursuing something. He can continually pursue his goals, but the truth is that has not yet arrived at his final destination.
    • The rich man is to glory in his humiliation (verse 10)
      • Life is a vapor and riches will not last forever.
      • Think of the flowers that grow around the I-680 - the wildflowers bloom after rains all around the freeway, but they fade quickly when the sun comes back, bringing with it heat and wind.
    • Always live with the understanding that this life will come to an end.
      • Leverage what God has given us in this life with this understanding.
      • Thinking about death will help us rightly frame how we live our lives today.
    • Think toward eternity.
      • If we have it good in this life, focus on the fact that we are all going to die and live a more blessed life in heaven.
      • If we don't have it good in this life, focus on the fact that life after death will be better than what we could ever have in this life.
    • Humble circumstances
      • When we are in humble circumstances and conditions, our natural reaction is to sulk. Instead, we ought to think about eternal blessings. We ought to fix our hope in heaven and glory in future blessings.