Saturday, March 17, 2012
James 1: 12-27
In our last study we learned that trials lead to maturity, making us more like Christ. And a question was asked about wisdom. Because it says in James 1:5 if anyone lacks wisdom they should ask God for it, and not doubt it. And I was asked if I really believed God always gave us wisdom. I said yes I believed it. Then Juergen told me a story He had heard at the 50th birthday party of his brother. He was talking to an old friend. She had a step son who got into drugs. It was a very difficult situation. They prayed allot. At one point they had to kick the son out of the house and change the locks on the doors. The whole drama lasted many years. But in the end the son got the help he needed, and is living a drug free life. Juergen’s observation was that some problems take years to resolve. We do not see the wisdom at once. Sometimes it takes a very long time. So wisdom is not always seeing the whole picture, or the end of a matter. It’s just being lead in the way we need to go day by day. It’s trusting in God’s direction and trusting God has the map. But going through trials do not just gain us spiritual maturity, they also earn us a crown. James 1: 12 “ Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” My kids work for rewards. During the vacations I can get them to do extra reading and math if I promise them a trip to toys r us at the end of the vacation. James says we will receive a crown of life. So what is a crown of life? I asked Juergen to do a short teaching on the 5 crowns that will be given to believers….. There are 5 different crowns mentioned in the Bible. And these crowns will be given to believers at the Judgment that is mentioned in 1 Corth 3:10-15. The crowns are • Crown of Righteousness 2 Tim. 4:8 To all who have kept the faith and longed and loved for His return • Crown of Rejoicing 1Thes. 2:19 To all who have helped bring others to Christ • Crown of Life James 1:12 To all who endure temptation & are faithful through trials and to those that love Him • Crown of glory 1 Peter 5:1-4 To all that serve and shepherd God’s people • The imperishable or eternal crown 1 Cor. 9:25 To those who have had self-control in all things and subdued the old sinful nature. It says in Rev 4:9-11 that we will cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus. So if we aren’t even planning on keeping the crowns, why should we care about earning a few crowns before we get to heaven? 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." So far in James we have a formula or principles to live by. The formula goes like this… Trial - faith - obedience - perseverance - crown of life does anyone have a personal example of how this principle worked in your own life? Now we are going to read about another kind of progressing or formula Read James 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. temptation - lust/sin - sin – death Should I ask for an example of this? A funny example would be one of the many diets I have tried and failed. You are doing really good, then you see the cookies, you get tempted by the cookies, eventually you give in to the temptation and eat the cookies, but you don’t stop there…you give up on the diet all together, so it’s death to the diet. Unfortunately I know too many people who are dealing with other temptations that will not make them fat, but kill them spiritually. How could a good God allow this to happen? James 1:13 temptation is not from God. So God lets us go through a trial for our own Spiritual growth, but God does not tempt us. From the following verses, how can we avoid temptation? Philip 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Ps 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Eph 6:7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, What does God do in James 1:17? Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. I feel like there is a connection between the good gifts God gives to us and the stuff we are tempted to take for ourselves. What do you think? Read vs 18-21 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. What kinds of temptation can you find in these verses? talking to fast getting easily angry evil filthiness naughtiness And what should our response be? Be slow to speak, slow to anger, avoid wrath, be clean, be good, receive the grafted word. What does grafted word mean? Read V 22-27 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Your thoughts on these verses?