We opened our workout with a singing of "All Glory Be To Christ".
MEMORIZATION & DISCUSSION
We spent time in chapter 1 of James by memorizing, reciting, and reflecting as a group.
- Verse 18 says that God is the one who brings us forth by the word of truth.
- Other scriptural examples:
- Ephesians 2:10 - We are His workmanship.
- 1 Peter 1:3 - He made us born again to a living hope, according to His great mercy.
- Titus 3:5 - We are saved not according to our deeds, but according to His mercy.
- Other scriptural examples:
- What is the difference between "every good thing given" and "every perfect gift"?
- The main focus should not what's being given, but on the giver. Both things come from our unchanging God, and God is always good. Because God does not change, so also His goodness does not change.
- As sinners, we often tend to forget that God blesses us with many blessings and benefits. But we should remember that we receive God's good blessings every day without fail and give Him glory.
- What (or who) are the first fruits mentioned in verse 18?
- The first fruits refers to Israel, which is appropriate because James' letter is addressed to the twelve tribes of Israel dispersed abroad.
- Gentiles receive the blessing of Abraham and Israel as a blessing from God. Gentiles are not direct descendants of Abraham, but God has grafted Gentiles into His plan of salvation that was originally plotted out for Israel.
- Is there such a thing as righteous anger?
- Sometimes there are instances where righteous anger can be an obvious and justified reaction, such as when God's name is blasphemed. But, being sinful people, we must be cautious to almost never give ourselves an opportunity to act upon our anger, because our anger often gives birth to sin rather than accomplishing any sort of righteousness or justice.
- Reconciling Ephesians 4:26 and 4:31
- Ephesians tells us to "be angry and do not sin," but also to "put away all anger." This means that we must deal with anger when it arises before it leads to sin.
- What are we supposed to be "quick to hear" about?
- Sometimes we know we should not be angry about something, but those reactions may already be boiling in our minds and our hearts. At this point, it is important that we step away from these kinds of situations so as not to encourage the development of sin.
- Always hear everything out in patience and seek out the truth in every matter. Sometimes not hearing the entire story can cause greater anger due to lack of true understanding. Get the facts right, and don't act out in anger.
- We must receive the word of truth, but merely receiving the word will not result in true change or salvation. We must also be doers of the word (verse 23).
- Luke 8:4-15 recounts the parable of the sower. It's one thing to hear the word and be joyful, but an entirely other thing to receive the word and then endure in an obedient life, letting the word grow and bear fruit in our lives. We must be doers of the word; up until then, everything else can be superficial.
- We must turn knowledge of the Word into a practical doing of the Word.
- We ought to carry out what the Word says on every level - from the individual level to the level of the collective church body.
- "Perfect law" and "law of liberty" refers to the word of truth, the gospel, Christ, and the apostles' teaching.
- Jesus finishes God's revelation to His people. His words bring freedom from sin to His people. This freedom is not freedom to live a lawless life, but rather life of submission to Christ and of love for God and one another.
- Looking intently at the perfect law portrays a picture of one who would stoop low in order to pay close attention to details. We must carefully think about what the word teaches us and how we can apply those lessons in our lives.
- We must continually be doers of the Word. Sometimes we might think that we have already learned something, "claimed victory", and have no further need for that lesson in our lives. To do this would be to delude ourselves into complacency and false security.
- What are some ways we can guard ourselves from such self-delusion?
- Honest prayer before the Lord. Follow the example of the Psalmists and be dead honest before God. Work through all things before God, who knows us intimately and whom we have access to.
- Be close with people who can be honest with us and point out our sins and delusions.
- Look carefully through the word of God, which can expose us for who we really are and whether we are deluding ourselves.