OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time together by singing hymn #133 "All Glory Be To Christ."
MEMORIZATION & DISCUSSION
- James is writing to a Jewish audience. They have a history of putting righteous men to death.
- Who are some examples whom the Jews condemned and put to death?
- Jesus, Stephen, James, and the prophets (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15), such as Zechariah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Elijah
- Should righteous people willingly let harm come upon them?
- In this context, James' point is to condemn his Jewish audience for their past (and current) wrongs. James is not prescribing a principle for righteous people going forward.
- However, we know that there are varying responsibilities for different groups of people. We know that Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek (Luke 6:29), but on the other hand, we also should not act as sitting ducks who invite harm. Additionally, we ought to physically protect our loved ones in shepherding care.
- If the Lord blesses us materially, we must always keep our hearts in check to obey the Lord's will in righteousness. We must not use our positions and resources to inflict harm on others for selfish gain.
- James is now addressing the brethren to be patient for the coming of the Lord.
- The coming of the Lord is joy for believers, but a terror for those who are evil.
- Like those who waited in Noah's ark for the fulfillment of the events they knew would come, Christians also must wait patiently for the return of the Lord. We know the day is coming, but we do not know when it is. Until it comes, every day can feel like a seemingly ordinary day, and we don't know how many more there will be. We need to be patient, and be the kind of people who can deal with these ordinary days until the coming of the Lord occurs.
- "Early and late rains"
- In Israel, there were seasons of rain that farmers expected and depended upon to water their crops (Deuteronomy 11:14). Until the rains come, the periods in between are filled with days of waiting, albeit with expectation.
- Patience is a manifestation and evidence of great strength, resolve, and self-control.
- Continually waiting for the Lord and His return requires great strength. How can we foster patience in our lives as we wait for His return?
- Pondering and anticipating the precious outcome and results of His return. Keep the reality and truth of His coming in our minds.
- Participating in fellowship and encouragement with fellow saints.
- Continual prayer and soaking in the Word.
- Singing about the Lord's return.
- Meditate upon and recite Scripture.
- Verse 9 deals with our treatment of one another. Specifically, James tells us to stop complaining against one another, because God takes our complaining against each other seriously to the point of judgment against it. Instead, Christians must be content in the Lord and rejoice in all things.
- What are some examples of complaining against each other that can happen in the church?
- Gossip and slander against other brethren.
- Being critical of others who are not serving (and vice versa). For example, Martha complained that Mary was not helping out with all of the labor in the church (Luke 10:38-42).
- Comparing yourself and/or others based on the amounts of each person's financial giving to the church.
- Comparing yourself against others based on the amounts of their physical blessings (i.e. salary level, ability for large purchases, etc.).
- Grumbling and complaining is an offense to the Lord; He takes it very seriously.
- Exodus 16 - 1st generation Israelites complained against God.
- Numbers 11:16-35 - Israelites complained about lack of meat.
- Philippians 2:14-15 - do all things without grumbling or disputing.
- Genesis 1:12 - Adam complained against God about Eve ("the woman You gave to be with me")
- Remember that love is patient (1 Corinthians 13). Rather than grumble and complain against one another and God, we ought to be patient with one another.