OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time together by singing hymns #352 "I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord" and #339 "Rise Up, O Men of God!"
MEMORIZATION, RECITATION, & DISCUSSION
James 5:1-6 (4 minutes)
This is a severe warning against hoarding your wealth and pleasing yourself. We must be a giving and generous people.
Rather than hoarding for ourselves, how can we serve and bless our communities?
Family - Show mercy toward your own kids. Raise them up, and do not neglect them. It can be possible to mistakenly prioritize giving and serving to others and neglecting to care for your own family. Perhaps we may not even be aware of their needs, because we forget to think, pray, plan, engage, and talk with them.
Church body - Get involved in outreach to local & surrounding communities. Support missionaries & evangelistic efforts. Take inventory of resources, time, and energy that are available and utilize them effectively - don't waste them!
James 5:7-12 (4 minutes)
How do we respond to suffering as believers? With patience, waiting for the coming of the Lord. When we suffer, we look forward to the coming of the Lord.
We must avoid complaining. Fix your thoughts on the Lord, who sets all things right. Don't complain, because it may cause ourselves to fall under judgment. We may complain against one another, but our ultimate accountability is with our Judge, the one true God.
How can we endure suffering? We can encourage one another. Also, we can consider the examples of others who endured sufferings (like Job and the prophets), and then be restored in hope by seeing the outcome of their endurance - God's compassion and mercy.
Scripture is clear that if we desire to live godly lives, we can expect to endure suffering. God's calling for us when we suffer is to endure with patience for the coming of the Lord.
James 5:13-15 (2 minutes)
When we suffer, we must pray. Our focus and attention must be directed toward God.
Sometimes, our suffering is a result of our sin. Nothing escapes God's notice and is outside of His sovereign work. God may be using our sufferings a means to get our attention and to bring us back to a worship and focus on Him.
On the flip side, when we go through times of cheer, we should still focus on God and sing praises to Him for His goodness.
James 5:16-20 (3 minutes)
God's expectation for us is that we actively care for each other's spiritual well-being. James exhorts us to do this for one another through confession of sins and prayer.
We ought to engage with each other, not with a “consumer” mindset (that is, to only be a recipient of blessing from others), but with an attitude and desire to mutually encourage one another.