This is the first lesson for the New Beginnings Bible study class at King’s Grant Baptist. Our study in the book of James begins this weekend. It is a practical little book about Christianity in blue jeans. It helps us to see what a mature believer looks like and how that person lives in the world.
Here is a brief outline of chapter one:
The Wisdom of God (1–11). You need wisdom in trials so you will not waste your suffering and miss the spiritual growth that should result. When you trust God, trials work for you and not against you; but be sure your heart is wholly yielded to Him. If your heart and mind are divided, trials will tear you apart. I want to show this video in class this Sunday:
The Goodness of God (12–20). When you realize how good God is to you, you will have no interest in the temptations the enemy puts before you. When you are tempted, count your blessings; and you will soon have strength to say no.
Have you ever thought about how to change the world? Sometimes we wonder about any goodness in the world. Why do bad things happen to good people? The better question may be, “Why do any good things happen anybody?” We are the hands and feet of God, so if God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17), he can certainly work through us to bring it about. This video clip suggests that if we want to change the world, start with one random act of kindness (goodness):
The Word of God (21–27). The Word gives us spiritual birth (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:22–23). It is like seed planted in the heart that produces spiritual fruit (James 1:21). It is a mirror that helps us examine ourselves (James 1:23–25) and cleanse our lives. We must do the Word of God, not just read it or study it; the blessing is in the doing.
When we encounter God through his Word, lives are forever changed. When we read the words, we must allow them to abide in us and allow Christ to mold us into his image. Grace is the foundation of the gospel, getting something we can never earn and will never deserve. This clip shows how God’s Word, forgiveness and grace changed several generations of a family:
Here are “famous” verses we will encounter in this little book:
- “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” James 1:2
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach.” James 1:5
- “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
- “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19–20
- “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22
- “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:20
- “Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:2–3
- “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
- “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7
- “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
- “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16
I hope to see you this Sunday in the Welcome Center.