August 8 2009
This week the study began in James 1 and it was appropriate that it began with words of encouragement not to doubt and but to persevere under trial. We learned that God doesn’t tempt us but he will use the enemy to test us even as he did Job.
In verse 21 it is clear that we “… must humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” Could it be that when we doubt and don’t believe that it is our pride getting in the way? We discussed the fact that either ALL the word is real and it works or we might as well scrap the whole thing. I remember facing this question in my own life when the mountain of brain cancer was before us. We must humble ourselves and believe.
Verse 22 gives a warning that we must not be ones who just hear the word and go on with life, no, the word is there that we should be obedient to it in its entirety! You can’t pick and choose because this is a form of doubt which this chapter says will make you double-minded and unstable in all you do. Either you believe or you do not believe… no gray.
Then we moved on to Matthew 7 which instructed us not to judge others, have persistence when in prayer, and believe. It’s easy to give up too soon but God wants our full attention and he will wait until we get serious with him. Verse 12 is put with this prayer section for a reason; how we treat other people is important to God and our prayer/answered prayer process.
We learned that “…narrow is the road …and only a few find it,” I have recently heard of a mamby pamby “gospel” that says there are other ways to eternal life and that God wouldn’t let so many people go to hell. This is trash from the pit of hell. Jesus says in John 14:6 (NIV) “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me…” This is clear! Don’t be deceived! God doesn’t want anyone to perish but he is holy and righteous and things must be done HIS WAY! JESUS!
This led perfectly into the next few verses about how to tell a false prophet by his fruit. We need to be very aware especially in these days. Don’t just take what someone says to you as gospel! You have direct access to the throne of God, USE IT! Think for yourself and take everything to God for confirmation. Use the word as a ruler and if what’s being said doesn’t match up, chuck it! It’s time for the Body of Christ to stop letting all the voices of the world and the cunning adversary tell us how we should believe or that we can’t believe. The Word of God is the moral absolute and without it we will compromise our souls.
Listen, if we don’t know the “Rock” and we haven’t built the house of our lives upon him, we will never make it through the storms of life. This is what Matthew 7:24-27 is all about. We must be building our relationship with him little by little every day! You may not think that the word is doing anything in your life until you are faced with insurmountable circumstances…then you will see what God’s word has done! Persevere, keep reading and studying and praying and asking and believing because this is for a time in the future when you will need everything that you have learned so …LEARN WELL…you’re spirit and others may depend on it.
I know this is a long one but hang in there; it’s worth your time. Next we went to Romans 2:17-28; who are the Jews became the question of the hour. Paul addresses the “better than thou” attitudes of the people and shows them through this passage that the people who called themselves Jews were Jews by race but not by heart and that the whoever believed and had the flesh taken away from their hearts by believing in Jesus were the true Jews.
Paul is also clear to point out that it is by the Spirit that all this comes in a person’s life not by the do’s and don’ts of religion. So through all this we discovered that if we have received Jesus as Savior and he has changed our hearts then we are the Jews, God’s chosen people.
We then went to Romans 9 to discover who the Israelites are and who Abraham’s children are. Verses 6 -26 would have been bold words at the time and really they still are today. Paul sheds light on who’s who pulling all people together to God giving the explanation that it is because God is God and he is in control that he can do what he wants and thank God he does! Again this has nothing to do with race but it is all about the heart.
All this gave us a new perspective on reading the bible, you have to know who you are in Christ and that none of it comes because you wanted it or because you do such great things but because of the work of the Holy Spirit and the righteousness of Christ which we gained through HIS death and resurrection and NO OTHER WAY!
We then read Ephesians 1: 4-13 to find out the truth about who we are and the assurance of the salvation which we have obtained through believing in Christ. These are not empty boastful words that I speak but scripture, it is the truth about who we are in Christ and it’s time for us to believe it and walk in it.
Last but not least we returned to Romans 8, read the entire chapter if you want…its all good but we started in 18 and read to 27. This talked about our groaning world and bodies that long to loose from the bonds of decay. It also brought “hope” into clear view. Verse 24 clearly states that because of the hope we have and (vs. 23) because of what Christ did on the cross we WERE saved. (Hey, I’m just quoting the word; God said it I believe it no doubting involved.) The word “were” indicates that it has already been accomplished. (Go back to Romans 9 1-5 and you’ll see what is ours and who it came by).
We discussed that if it is raining you can’t say I hope it will rain. That is no hope at all because it’s already raining! (End of verse 24) I like the way verse 25 is put in the Complete Jewish Bible version, it really brings it into focus, it says, “but if we continue hoping for something we don’t see, then we still wait eagerly for it, with perseverance.”
When I planted my watermelon seeds I believed they would grow but I didn’t see the growth so I waited eagerly for them to pop through the ground. This is the same kind of expectancy we wait with (only WAY MORE INTENSE) for the return of our Messiah and the fullness of all he will bring. Hallelujah!
Hope this helps, have a great rest of the week!
August 8 2009