James wrap-up. We start 1 Peter in 2 weeks!
Cumulative review of James 4 and 5:1-6. One more week of James, Lord willing!
We recited James 3 and 4:1-10, and further considered our own personal application of these passages.
Cumulative review of James 1 and 2. Recite first half of James 3.
Review of chapter 2
OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time together by singing hymn #113 "Join All The Glorious Names."
REVIEW & DISCUSSION
- Be a doer of the word and not mere hearers. Keep the Word of Christ in obedience. We should not only receive the words, but put them into effective practice. We must work out these commands and flesh them out in our lives.
- Deal with sins, and put aside all filthiness and wickedness.
- Care for the poor and distressed with compassionate mercy, without showing partiality.
- If we genuinely seek for wisdom and pray to God for it, God will always grant it.
- We can exhibit a natural tendency toward those that our culture deems respectable, and so we might be tempted to give disproportionate attention toward those people. Likewise, we might tend to treat those who are not commonly respected with a lack of attention or love. James tells us that we must not discriminate.
- Christians must not make sinful distinctions amongst men. Christians must emphasize Christ and our identity in Him, and so we must not discriminate based on any human standing, such as social status or race. Our preferences must not supersede the Word of Christ. We must not emphasize any sort of tribalism in our church as if it gives our church its unique identity.
- James tell us that the poor are the ones who receive the gospel and are saved (Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 1), while the rich are the ones who persecute the Church. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:25). We ought to emulate our Lord, who gave special attention and love toward those who were ostracized and rejected by the world.
OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time together by singing hymn #17 "O Father, You Are Sovereign."
REVIEW & DISCUSSION
- All things in this life will come to an end. Death is the great equalizer. Believers hope in future glory; in contrast, those who do not hope in Christ will find their lives ending in despair and hopelessness.
- God is the source of wisdom, and He invites us to ask of Him. "He gives to all generously and without reproach." (verse 5)
- How do we deal with anger? Keep our mouths shut! When we take time to listen and think instead of instinctively reacting with anger, we can defuse potential for sin. Our anger does not achieve God's righteousness; it does not accomplish good or establish justice.
- God is the one who brings us forth by the word of truth, but we need to receive the word implanted. We have to take the word that is in us and work it out in our lives. We must be doers, not mere hearers. We have to act upon what we have received and what we know. "Bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8). We must forsake all sin; and not only that, we must also replace it with the Word, which we then must actively practice in pursuit of righteousness and obedience to God. Galatians 5:13 says that we were called to freedom, but not for an opportunity for the flesh.
- When we look into the Word of God, it should show us what kind of person we are, and that there is a separation between us and God because of our sin. Therefore, when we receive the Word, we ought not to just store it away as knowledge, but actively practice and apply the Word in our lives in such a way that we repent of sin and actively do what it commands.
- James deals with mercy in verse 27. God wants true worshipers who not only turn away from sin, but pursue after obedience to what God wants, which is to love people, care for people, and show mercy to others ("orphans and widows in their distress").
OPENING HYMN AND PRAYER
We started off by singing hymn #133, "All Glory Be to Christ."
REVIEW & MEMORY VERSE RECITATION
Last week, we completed going through the book of James, so we spent our time today reviewing and reciting the book together. As we have in the past, we spent a few minutes to review a number of verses, then recited them together in unison, taking some time in between to consider propositions.
We recited James 1:1-4 after 3 minutes of review. Some propositions we considered together:
- Christians can have joy through trials
- For the Christian, trials have a purpose
- Trials are a test of our faith
- A note on trials: this is not talking about a specific type of trial, but every kind of trial
- A note on the word "perfect": this is talking about maturity and completeness, not flawlessness.
We recited James 1:1-8 together after another 3 minutes of review. Some propositions we considered:
- God gives us wisdom when we ask
- Praying without faith shows instability
- A note on "wisdom": this is not talking about any kind of wisdom, but specifically biblical wisdom. This was written to Jews who understood what the old testament said about wisdom - the call of wisdom is to seek wisdom, she can be found!
James 1:1-11 - some propositions and notes:
- Everyone will die - man is finite and temporary
- The rich man is always in a pursuit - maintaining wealth requires a lot of energy
- The rich man should often think upon death, because we all fade away
- You don't control your future - we can recall stories of rich men who have saved up much for retirement, only to pass away early or unexpectedly.
James 1:1-15 - some propositions and notes:
- God cannot be tempted, it is not possible or feasible
- Christ in His incarnation was tempted because he has full humanity, but never fell to temptation
This temptation is a desire to sin
A wise man is always dealing with his desires - as God's people we need to cut this chain reaction of sin. Best place to deal with sin is at it's roots, at inordinate desires (lusts). There is also some value to arrange circumstances, but the primary work is with his own desires
James 1:1-18 - some propositions and notes;
- God is the creator
- God is good
- God is consistent