Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LESSON 3: More Wisdom From James 1 Continued

Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 9/28/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show.

Just click HERE to listen!

LESSON 3: More Wisdom From James 1 Continued

Review Lesson 2: Read James Chapter 1:9-15

9 Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

Both being poor and being rich are concrete examples of trials that test our faith-either may result in spiritual disaster. The poor should be glad for their elevated position because material riches mean nothing to God. If they did, then these people would be deemed unworthy. The rich should be glad that money means nothing to God because money is easily lost.

12God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Picture the victory wreath given to athletes that win a big event-that is the “crown of life” mentioned in verse 12. Staying faithful to God, even under pressure of testing or temptation, is how we receive that crown.

13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong and he never tempts anyone else.

Christians often wonder why they still have temptations. God does not tempt us. He may test us, or allow us to walk through a trial. But He doesn’t tempt us by seducing us to sin.

14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

It is easy to blame others and make excuses for evil thoughts and wrong actions. Temptation is stems from our own desires, our “sin nature”. When sin is allowed to remain, it can only result in death.


· What do verses 9-11 have to do with the theme of enduring through trials and counting it all joy? What is James telling us about how rich and poor should be viewed within the church? Is it happening?

· Verse 12 tells us that a positive approach to a trial is met with a reward. Does this promise of future Blessing really make any difference to us? How?

· What is the ultimate source of temptation? Why is temptation so dangerous?

· Other than blaming God when we are tempted, what are some other ways we avoid taking responsibility for our actions?

· How can we avoid falling into temptation leading to sin?

Further Study

What are some temptations in your life? How can you avoid falling into sin? Is there someone who can pray with you about this situation? If not, ask God to bring that person into your life.

Continue to read James Chapter 1 looking for themes.

Meditate on and commit to memory verses 12 and 13.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

LESSON 2: If You Need Wisdom, Ask God!


Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 9/21/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show.
Just click HERE to listen!

If You Need Wisdom-Ask God! James 1 Continued

Read James chapter 1:5-8 (scriptures from NLT)

5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
Wisdom-(dictionary) Knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action.
The wisdom we get from God is not intellectual or philosophical, but spiritual understanding of the purpose of trials. This wisdom has 3 characteristics:
• It is practical-relates to life, not a product of the trial but a tool to overcome the trial.
• It is divine-goes beyond common sense.
• It is Christlike-asking for wisdom is asking to become like Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24, 2:1-7)
When God gives us something, he does it liberally and without reproach (rebuking). In other words, He gives generously. He is not stingy and He doesn’t give it grudgingly. We ask-He gives!
Ask God for wisdom, He will give it to you. He gives it freely because He wants to.

6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
We must not only believe in God, we must believe Him.
Ask in faith-know that if you ask, He will answer. Ask and He will give it in abundance! (Matthew 21:22)

7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
A “double minded” (divided loyalties) person is drawn in opposite directions—back and forth between belief and disbelief, sometimes believing that God will help, other times just throwing up their hands and giving up. We must have faith and not waver, stand strong!


What kind of help will God provide us during a trial? (1:5) Example:
What is the difference between a trial and a temptation?
What are some typical trials in the life of a Christian? (distinguish between a temptation & trial)
What does it mean to ask without doubting? (1:6 “do not waver”)

Further Study

What of trials are you currently facing? What would help you respond to trials with real joy?
Write down some ways God may be using this trial in your life. Pray and ask Him for the ability to respond to this trial with trust in Him and His plan for you.
Read Chapter 1 several times, looking for the themes.
Meditate on and memorize James 1:5-6


Thursday, September 15, 2011

LESSON 1: Count It All Joy?


Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 9/14/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show.

Just click HERE to listen!

Count It All Joy? James, Chapter 1
• The writer of this letter identifies himself as James. There are at least five men named James listed in the New Testament. Two were Jesus’ disciples and one was His brother. The book of James is thought to be written by Jesus’ brother.
• The letter was written prior to A.D. 62.
• The letter was addressed "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad”. He is talking to the Jews scattered throughout Gentile lands, or “Jewish Christians.”
Faith That Works.
The book of James is practical and ethical and places an emphasis on duty rather than doctrine. His main concern is that believers demonstrate their experience with Christ, rather than just act “religious”. In other words, this is a “walk the talk” book.
James is directing us toward godly living. There are 108 verses and out of those, 54 clear commands are given. The mood of this letter is often described as “imperative” which means absolutely necessary or required. It’s a statement of Christian ethics.
Practical Application
This book is relevant to us because it is describes ethical living based on the gospel. James emphasizes personal growth in the spiritual life and sensitivity in social relationships.
“The message of James speaks especially to those who are inclined to talk their way to heaven instead of walk there.” (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)
Christ is Revealed
James recognizes the Lordship of Jesus from the beginning of the letter where he calls himself a “bondservant” (NKJV) or “slave” (NLT) of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a close parallel between the content of the letter and the specific teachings of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. James doesn’t quote Jesus directly, but the instruction is reminiscent of Jesus’ teachings. This indicates a close relationship between James and Jesus and shows the strong influence of Jesus on James’ life.

Read James 1:1-3
Who is this letter written to?
How does James identify himself?
What are some examples of trials as mentioned in verse 2?
What does James mean when he says “count it all joy” (NKJV) or “consider it an opportunity for great joy” (NLT)?
Think about a time of trial, or testing, you recently experienced. Were you able to be joyful?
How does “testing of your faith” produce patience?

Further Study
Read Chapter 1 several times, looking for the themes.
Meditate on and memorize James 1:2-3