Men's Workout #31 - January 6, 2018

We opened our workout with a singing of "All People That On Earth Do Dwell" (hymn #18).
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. 

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.

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.