Thursday, October 27, 2011

LESSON 6: Put Feet To Your Faith


Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 10/26/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show. Just click HERE to listen!

Put Your Feet To Your Faith

Review Lesson 5

Read James 2:8-26

Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[a] 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

Royal law is the laws given to us by Jesus – “love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

Favoring the rich because of what they can do for us) and ignoring the poor is breaking that law.

10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.”[b] So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.

We cannot decide to keep part of God’s law and not the rest. You can’t break the law, or sin, a little bit.

12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

We are saved by Grace, through faith. But we are also required to obey Christ. God’s Grace does not cancel out our requirement to obey Him.

Only God in His mercy can forgive our sins. We cannot earn forgiveness by forgiving others. But if we withhold forgiveness from others, after being forgiven by God ourselves, we show that we don’t understand or even appreciate God’s mercy.

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

True faith transforms our conduct as well as our thoughts. We do not earn our salvation by obeying God BUT obeying shows our commitment to Him.

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[c] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

True faith results in a changed life and involves a commitment of your whole self to God.

21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[d] He was even called the friend of God.[e] 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

Abraham was shown to be right with God because of what he did because he believed.

25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath,[f] so also faith is dead without good works.

Rahab demonstrated faith in God’s purpose/plan for Israel.


· What is the difference between having an intellectual agreement with scripture and true faith? Examples?

· Do these scriptures contradict one another? Romans 3:28 “So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.” James2: 24 “So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.”

· If you were on trial for being a Christian, what areas of your life would provide strong evidence of genuine faith?

· What might be a consequence for a believer who is not clear on the relationship between faith and works?

Further Study

Read James

Meditate on and memorize James 2:14


Thursday, October 13, 2011

LESSON 5: Do We Have Favorites?

Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 10/12/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show.

Just click HERE to listen!


Review Lesson 4
Read James 1:27, 2:1-7

1:27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

By caring for widows and orphans, we are putting God’s Word into action. When we commit ourselves to following Jesus’ ways, we protect ourselves from the world’s corruption. The world’s value system is based in money, power and pleasure.
• How does caring for the poor keep us from being corrupted by the world’s values?

Chapter 2

In Chapter 2, James talks about three principles of faith: 1) Commitment is an essential part of faith. 2) Right actions are a natural bi-product of true faith. 3) Faith without good deeds is worthless.

2:1 My dear brothers and sisters,[a] how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? 2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting[b] dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name[c] you bear?


• What does favoritism look like?
• What is the reason for favoritism?
• Do we favor the well dressed, prosperous looking person over someone who appears to be poor? Why?
• The appearance of wealth may indicate intelligence, wise decisions and hard work. What else could it indicate?
• Do you believe that riches are a sign of God’s blessing and approval? Does God promise us riches? Christ calls us to be ready to suffer for Him! Matthew 6:19-21, 19:28-30, Luke12:14-34.
• When James speaks of the poor in verse 5, who is he talking about? Does he mean that the poor will automatically go to heaven and the rich to hell?
• What is one of the greatest barriers to salvation for the rich? For the poor?

Further Study

Read James, chapter 2 and look for themes.
Meditate on and memorize 2:1.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

LESSON 4: Don't Just Listen, Do Something!

Welcome! The following notes coordinate with the 10/5/11 teaching on my Coffee and the Word radio show.

Just click HERE to listen!

LESSON4: Don't Just Listen, Do Something!

Read James Chapter 1:16-26

16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[a] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[b] 18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.[c]

Every good and perfect gift is from God and He is unchangeable. He always keeps His promises. Good gifts are from Him and Him alone.

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20Human anger[d] does not produce the righteousness[e] God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

We are to listen first, then speak and be slow to anger! You’ve probably heard the saying that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. When we talk more than we listen, we communicate to others that our ideas are more important than theirs. James tells us to reverse the process.
A flare of “ego” anger is always destructive…there are no exceptions.

22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

We must act on the message, not just hear it. We have a responsibility once we know the word of God. We must live out the Word in our lives, not just know it in our head. It is not about attending “Camp Feel Good” by listening to a sermon for the “feel good” benefit. Yes, God’s Word does encourage us, but it is not about our comfort level. It is about acting on it! Serving, loving others, being slow to anger, showing kindness and extending grace are just a few of the ways we can be doers of the word.

26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

James is referring to a person who says (and even thinks) they are a Christian, but their actions do not reflect that. For example, a person who says they are a Christian but doesn’t control their language is deceived in their heart. We all slip up occasionally, and allow our mouth to open and speak words we regret.


• What did James mean when he said we are God’s “prized possession” (vs.18) Why is it important that we know this?
• What does being “quick to listen” and “slow to speak” accomplish? What gets in the way of being quick to listen? Slow to speak? (vs. 19)How can being “slow to anger” help us in our walk with Jesus and our personal relationships?
• What effect should our Bible study time have on our behavior?(vs.22)
• Why do we need a mirror? (vs.23-24) What is an example of a mirror in this instance?
• What are some ways we can remember what we have learned? (vs.25)
• When is our religion worthless? (vs.26)

Further Study

Can you remember a time that you have been in a conversation but not really listening? What was the reason you didn’t hear the other person?
Are there times that you speak too quickly? Can you think of a specific situation? What was the outcome?

Continue to read James Chapter 1 looking for themes.
Meditate on and commit to memory verse 19.