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Teaching Pastor Adam Brock wraps up our series on James by exploring the intersection of faith, wealth, and the anticipation of Christ’s return.

Key Takeaways

  • We should view our wealth and finances as a blessing from God to be used to further His kingdom, not as something to find ultimate security or trust in.
  • Living in light of Christ’s promised return means facing each day with eager anticipation, patience during difficulties, and a desire to use our time and resources for eternal purposes.
  • God calls us to consistently and fervently bring our needs and the needs of others before Him in prayer, trusting that He hears and wants to act on our behalf.
  • While we are not guaranteed physical healing in this life, we can be certain that God hears us, sustains us through trials, and will complete the good work He has begun in us. The call for Christians is to trust in God’s will, whether it involves physical healing or enduring grace.
  • True security and hope are found only by placing faith in Christ alone – His sinless life, atoning death, and victory over the grave on our behalf through the gospel.

James 5:7-11

Patience is more than just waiting – it’s actively enduring trials by focusing on God’s nearness. Rob Walls discusses what it means to be patient through spiritual temptations and trials as we wait for the Lord’s return. He urges believers to follow biblical examples of those who endured suffering with faith and trust in God’s faithfulness. He is faithful, even when we don’t understand what He’s doing.

Key Takeaways

  • Develop patience by focusing on God’s presence rather than circumstances
  • Grow in faith through enduring trials, not avoiding them
  • Stay watchful against temptation and continue strengthening your faith

Bruce Baker walks through James 4:6-10, outlining 6 practical steps for returning to God.

  1. First, we must submit fully to God, resisting pride and self-reliance.
  2. We need to resist the devil’s temptations, knowing that he will flee when resisted.
  3. We should draw near to God through prayer and worship.
  4. We need to purify our hearts through confession, repentance, and cleansing.
  5. We must grieve and mourn over our own sin, not just the sin of others.
  6. Finally, we must humble ourselves before God.

Like the prodigal son, the way back home is to turn around and walk toward the open arms of our patient and loving Heavenly Father. What steps do you need to take today to return to closeness with God? Are there areas of grief or repentance He is calling you to? Make this the start of a revival in your own heart.

If you are not a Christian and would like to know more, reach out. We would love to talk with you.

Church Counselor Kevin Richard discusses the quarrels and conflicts already arising in the early church. He unpacks the root causes of disunity and “friendly fire” among believers – our own sinful desires. Though Christ had only been gone a short time, believers were already giving in to fleshly desires that bred bitter quarrels and dissension.

James pinpoints the root issue as hedonistic desires that wage war within our hearts. When we coddle these desires, conflict is the inevitable result. James’ solution is humble submission to God, which resists the devil, draws near to God, repents of sin, and grieves over divisions.

Humility requires putting God’s mission over personal preferences and desires. When we lay aside our own agendas to advance the gospel together, we reflect the unity of our Savior. As we submit ourselves wholly to God, we will walk in greater unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The fruit of humility is unity and harmony within the church.

Key Takeaways

  • Our desires cause fights and quarrels in the church
  • Choosing the world makes us enemies of God
  • True humility submits to God and resists the devil
  • Humility brings unity of purpose in the church

Further Study

James opens chapter 4 with hard truths for the church. According to James 4:1-3, what causes fights, quarrels and conflicts?

In James 3, we are confronted with a sobering warning about the power of the tongue and speech. James uses vivid imagery of horses, ships, and forest fires to illustrate how something small, like our words, can have a powerful impact. Our tongues have the power for both tremendous good and harm. James tells us to watch our words closely, as they reveal the true condition of our hearts.

Key Takeaways

  • James emphasizes both right belief and right action (orthodoxy and orthopraxy). Faith and works must align.
  • Our words reflect the condition of our hearts. We must watch our words.
  • Worldly wisdom is selfish, envious, and disordered. It comes from earth/demonic realm.
  • Godly wisdom is pure, peaceful, and gentle. It comes from Heaven. We must seek God for it.
  • Seeking and embracing God’s wisdom can lead to transformation in our homes, workplaces, our church, and world.
  • We must reject worldly thinking and trust in the work of Christ.

Further Study

  • How does James 3 describe the power of words?
  • What does James 3:2-12 tell us about the relationship between our words, our actions, and the state of our hearts?
  • Is it possible that sinful speech has become ingrained in your life? Have calluses developed on your heart so that you don’t even see the power of your words? (Compare with Ephesians 4:29.)
  • James 1:23-25 talks about the importance of looking intently at the word of God. Spend some time this week mediating on and memorizing Scriptures that talk about the power of the tongue: Psalm 34:13; 39:1, Psalm 141:3–4; Proverbs 13:3, 21:23.
  • James contrasts worldly wisdom and godly wisdom. Use James 3:13-18 to list the characteristics of each.
  • According to James 3:13-18, how does worldly wisdom affect relationships? What are the implications for your family? Your marriage? Our church?
  • In the sermon, Adam said, “You could only reject worldly wisdom and begin to live this new way of life through the power that comes from knowing Jesus. You can only transform the way that you speak through the power that comes from knowing Jesus. But here’s the good news: a changed heart leads to a changed life… And because of the finished work of Christ, what He has done for us, there is an invitation for every single person who walks into these doors, every single person who hears the goodness of Jesus for you to become a part of his family. When we confess our sin and by faith, trust in Jesus, He is faithful to save us and to begin the process both of forgiveness fully.” Have you come to Christ for grace and forgiveness?
  • Perhaps your are you a believer wrestling with the very sins James warns about. We serve a God whose mercies are new every morning. By God’s grace we can tame our tongues and find in Him the forgiveness and wisdom we could never attain on our own.

In his sermon on James 3:13-18, Tom Bruce examines how to walk in godly wisdom versus worldly wisdom. Have we made the wise decision to follow Christ? Do we need to crucify our flesh and obey God’s call, even if it’s uncomfortable? He challenges us to commit more deeply to Christ and His work. Even when God calls us out of our comfort zone, He grants the courage to follow Him.

Key Takeaways

  • Examine if there is worldly wisdom at work in your heart, producing envy, selfishness and pretense.
  • Ask God to cultivate your heart to walk in purity, peace, mercy and sincerity.
  • Be willing to step out in courage when God calls you to deeper commitment.

Drawing on James 2:14-26, Executive Pastor Greg Bath tackles a classic controversy – the relationship between faith and works. James 2 makes clear that while we are saved by faith alone through Christ’s finished work, genuine faith inevitably results in good works.

Further Study

  1. What was your life like before you came to Christ? Now you don’t have to elaborate and going in great detail. You know how to put all the dirty sins in there and all that. But for each and every one of us, we had a life before we came to Christ. So three or four sentences, What what your life was like before you came to Christ?
  2. What happened that changed your life? What was it? When was it? Who was it that changed your life?
  3. Describe your life after God saved you.
  4. Is there a difference between your answer to the first question and your answer to number three? If there’s not a difference between number one and number three, give us a call. We would love to talk with you about it.

How do we know our faith is genuine? Walking through James 2:1-26, Teaching Pastor Adam Brock tackles that question head-on, explaining that real faith is more than just intellectual belief or spiritual talk—it actually transforms how we live and relate to others. He reminds us that we must be doers of God’s word, not just hearers because faith without action is useless and dead. Yet this kind of faith is impossible on our own. The key is relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us from within. It is only through the Spirit’s work in our hearts and lives that we can move from intellectual belief to genuine faith.

Key Takeaways

Genuine faith is revealed in our relationships

  • Favoritism is actually a sin!
  • We must see others as God sees them. Then there is no room for favoritism.
  • How we treat others reveals what we believe about God.
  • We all need grace and a Savior.

Genuine faith is not an empty claim

  • We must be doers of God’s word, not just hearers.
  • Faith without action is useless and dead. True faith results in a transformed life.
  • Faith is more than intellectual belief.
  • Theology must lead to a transformed life. Even demons have good theology!

Genuine faith produces an obedient life

  • Faith and actions go together, as illustrated by Abraham and Rahab
  • Faith leads us to live in obedience to God

Further Study

  1. If our faith is revealed in our relationships, are you the kind of person others would consider loving? Are you an encouraging person? Can others look at your life and see that you know the living, true God because of the way that you interact with others?
  2. Can people bring their unbelieving coworkers, neighbors, and family members here? Can they know with confidence that they’re going to be met with truth? We’re not going to ever compromise the message. We love them too much to tell them anything but the truth. But can they bring those unbelieving friends in here and know this church is going to love them? Are we a church that shows favoritism instead of Christ-like love?

Key Takeaways

Practice controlled speech

As believers of Christ, the way that you speak should never contradict your profession of Christ. A transformed heart signifies a transformed life and a transformation in our communication. Ephesians 4:29 is crucial.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”

Ephesians 4:29

Imagine a world where Christians thoughtfully live out this verse – verbally expressing only what benefits others and helps them grow. It would create an immediate, dramatic change across every aspect of life.

Practice compassion

When James wrote this letter, widows and orphans represented the most vulnerable people. James underscores the vital role of the family of faith in caring for its members. It’s always right for the people of God to be people of compassion so we must never overlook the most vulnerable among us. We must be a people marked by compassion.

Practice personal purity

When we put on the holiness of Christ and when we live in a way that reflects the holiness of Christ, we’re pointing to the fact that our Father is holy. Our actions, our lives should be a response to who our God is, a perfectly holy Heavenly Father.

BCM Director Blake Grundy challenges us to examine if our faith consists of empty words or real, meaningful action. Using James 1:21-27, he outlines three essential steps. First, we must make an initial effort to remove sin from our lives while also filling our hearts with scripture. Second, we need a true commitment to living for Jesus, not just when others are watching but in private as well. True religion cares for the helpless and rejects worldly pollution. Finally, regular spiritual checkups are required. We cannot forget the things God reveals in us that need changing.

Key Takeaways

  • Making an initial effort to remove sin and add scripture study is essential
  • Private commitment reveals your true relationship with God
  • Caring for others and pursuing holiness are markers of sincere faith
  • Regular spiritual checkups prevent forgetting the changes God wants

Further Study

  • How do we move beyond empty words to meaningful action?
  • What sins might God be asking you to remove from your life?
  • Does your private devotion match your public persona? What needs realigning?
  • How can you faithfully care for the helpless around you this week?
  • Take some time to schedule regular spiritual checkups.

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