We opened our workout with a singing of "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" (hymn #136).
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.
- 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
- 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.