OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time together by singing hymn #213 "My Hope is in the Lord."
MEMORIZATION, RECITATION, & DISCUSSION
James 4:1-10 (4 minutes)
Conflicts among God's people stems from lusts, desires, sinfulness, and selfishness. When we selfishly hold on to these things, inevitably there will be friction between people. The solution is to mutually abandon selfish pursuits, and seek God's desires, will, and interests instead.
God doesn't desire ceremony and religious practice from us - He wants our spirits, what is inside us. Therefore, we must submit ourselves humbly to God.
The promise of God is always looking ahead to eternity and heaven. Our exaltation and reward is from God. His recognition and His reward is what we seek as our reward.
James 4:11-12 (2 minutes)
We must not go around judging and condemning people. We must practice the mindset of "innocent until proven guilty." We must be careful not to falsely accuse anybody of wrongdoing or sinfulness.
This is consistent with the Lord’s instructions regarding church discipline in Matthew 18:15-17. It is only for that which has been verified/confirmed that anyone is put through steps 3 and/or 4. The church is comprised of people who genuinely love the Lord and pursue His likeness in their lives. We do not operate with sinful suspicion and baseless accusations in God’s church.
God is the only Lawgiver and Judge, and only He knows people's hearts.
James 4:13-17 (4 minutes)
We live in a world that is controlled by God. We do not control our own destinies. This is not to say that we should not plan for the future, but all things should be submitted to God's sovereign will.
We can make plans, but we must not presume in our own arrogance that these things will or must come to pass. Every day belongs to God, and we ought to submit all of them to Him.
James 5:1-6 (5 minutes)
The rich have a responsibility not to store up treasures for selfish enjoyment, but to take care of others in need (i.e., widows & orphans). The rich especially must not abuse or take advantage of the poor.
“Sabaoth” = Hebrew word for "hosts". In this context, this word is used to describe Christ as the Lord of the host of angels in heaven. When Christ returns in the day of judgment, He will return with this host of angels. James directs the rich in life toward the day of judgment, when Christ will come with His host of angels and judge all the earth.