Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the first of our five part class on the Book of James. I am really excited about studying this portion of scripture together and to see how God uses His Word to shape and transform our lives.
Each Thursday morning I will post a new blog with additional thoughts, questions, scriptures, and suggestions for further study. Please do join in on the conversation to share thoughts & questions, and to let the class know how God is working in your heart through His Word. (NOTE: to leave a comment click on the title of the blog (ie. “WEEK #1 – The Book of James”) and scroll to the bottom where it says “Leave a Reply”).
James had the unique experience of being Jesus’ brother. Could you imagine the impact this would have on your life? As we read through the Book of James what becomes crystal clear is that Jesus’ teachings are seen all throughout James’ letter. Spend some time reading through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and identify the teachings of Jesus that can be found in James’ letter.
James speaks very strongly about the need for followers of Jesus to not just be “hearers” of the Word, but to move to being “doers” of the Word. In his commentary on James (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries), Douglas J. Moo says:
“Those who fail to do the word, who are hearers only, are guilty of a dangerous and potentially fatal self delusion. If the gospel, by nature, contains both saving power and summons to obedience, those who relate to only one have not truly embraced the gospel (p. 86).”
Read through James 1 and think about Moo’s quote. Would your life give evidence to you being simply a “hearer” of the Word, or would it say that you are a “doer” of the Word?
One of the most convicting parts of James chapter 1 for me personally is the last two verses (26-27). The line that grabs my heart every time is: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress…”. James doesn’t make this an optional part of the life of a follower of Jesus, this is one of the things that flows out of a life that has been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus. A great book on this subject for further reading is “The Hole in Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns. Here are two great ministries where you can personally get involved in caring for orphans and widows: www.poetice.org (Zambia) and www.projecturge.org (Rochester NY).
NEXT WEEK: don’t miss next Wednesday as we will be studying chapter 2, which contains the most controversial material in the Book of James. Many thought the Book of James shouldn’t be included into the Bible due to what is found in chapter 2. See you next Wednesday Nov. 14 @ 7:00pm.
(Thanks to Brian Soller for creating an incredible graphic for this blog series.)