August 2014 - Northeast Baptist Church

Sunday, August 31, 2014

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James 3:13-18

God wants us to be wise and have understanding. We are taught in Proverbs 9:10 that “The fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 3:13-15 says, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For it is more profitable than silver, and it’s of more gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.”

Wisdom and understanding begin by acknowledging who God is and what He has done for us. Once you and I recognize the fact that God is holy and that we are not; we come to understand that we are separated from Him; and the only way that we can bridge that gap between us is by accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior; our wisdom and understanding begins at that moment.

The sad truth is that many are trying to gain wisdom and understanding in other ways.

Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 and see if this is not where our world is today. Those who don’t believe find the preaching of the cross to be foolishness. And, those who profess themselves to be wise are fools; they find themselves focusing all of their attention on the things that God has created rather than the Creator. 1 Corinthians 3:25 says, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” The same passage goes on to say in verse 27 that “God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the week things of the world to shame the things which are strong.”

James encourages believers in chapter 3 verse 13 to show their God given wisdom and understanding (that comes only from a relationship with Him trough Christ). We are to show it through our actions of good behavior, and our good deeds. In other words, don’t just say, “I’m a Christian.” Live like a Christian! I like the example of St. Francis. He said, “preach the gospel and if necessary use words.”

Talking to the church, James teaches church members not to be jealous; not to have a selfish ambition; not to be arrogant; and not to lie. The writer goes on to tells us that these traits don’t even come from God. Instead, they come from worldly influences, fleshly desires, and demons. In others words, if we possess these types of characteristics, then we are giving Satan a foothold in our lives.

James notes that when our lives are filled with envy, selfish ambition, arrogance, and lying then our lives will be filled with disorder, and every evil things too. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:3 that God is not the author of confusion (Satan is), instead God gives us peace.

Notice that in James 3:17-18 he reminds us that Godly wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentile, reasonable, full of mercy, good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy.

If you are demonstrating anything other than Godly wisdom and understanding in your life, then it’s time for a change.

If you are not a Christian, then it’s time to accept the facts that you have been foolish and week, and that you need God. In other words, admit to God that you are a sinner, ask for His forgiveness, and invite Christ into your life. If you make this decision, then you need to me or another Christian know so we can help you.

If you are a Christian, then you need to ask God for His forgiveness.

Once you have surrendered your will to His, then I would encourage you to put on the Armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:10-20. Prayerfully study God’s word, preach the gospel (if necessary use words), and pray for others to be faithful ambassadors for Christ.

August 17, 2014

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James 2:14-18

Living for Jesus is to be a way of life for every Christian.

It is to be applies in everything that we do. It should describe our character. It is to be demonstrated in the way we talk, the way we get along with others, and in the way we care for and pray for others.

For a Christian, the way we live begins with a relationship with God through our Lord Savior Jesus Christ. “We love The Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.” And, the author of the book of James goes on to remind us of the second great commandment according to Jesus. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

James 1:27 reminds us of our responsibility to care for those who are week such as the orphans and the widows. He begins chapter two telling us not to show favoritism.

Now, in 2:15-16, James shares an illustration of a brother and a sister in Christ who need benevolent help. They need food and clothing. The writer asks us, ” What good is it if we simply say ‘go in peace, be warm and be filled’ and we do not give them what is necessary'”?

James wants us to show our faith. But, so did Jesus. The Lord said, “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You? ’ “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’” (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭34-40‬ HCSB)

Understand that what we as Christians do, we do out of a gratitude for what Christ has done for us. He suffered and died on a cross, was buried in a tomb, and then He was raised from the dead for you and me. Therefore, I owe Him my life, so I live for Jesus in all that I do.

August 10, 2014

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James 2:1-13

This particular passage goes hand in hand with Matthew 22:37-40. In those verses, Jesus is asked a question about the greatest of the commandments. Understand that the Law given to Moses is bigger than just 10 Commandments. The Law is contained in the first five books of the Old Testament, and Jesus picked two that are not listed as a part of the 10 Commandments. However, the 10 Commandments are naturally divided into the two commandments that Jesus shared. We are to love God and make Him first in our lives, and we are love one another.

Turning to James 2:1-13, remember that James is writing to Christians. He may not use the same terminology as Christ, but he means the same thing. Here, the writer teaches us to 1. honor and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ in 2. the way we respect and treat others.

This became a reality to me this last week during a teacher in-service meeting. I listened to a speaker discuss how we as teachers get along with others. One comment that the man made was, “the problem is people, and the solution is people.” As a teacher, I have to get along with children, parents, other teachers, administration, kitchen staff, janitors, and the list goes on. Sometimes we divide the list into categories of certified and classified; or professional and support staff. Regardless of how we divide it, the reality is that we are all people.

While I sitting there, listening to the speaker, I could not help but think of a Biblical example. I begin to reflect upon Luke 7:36-50. In the passage, Jesus has been invited to Simon, the pharisee’s home. While eating, a woman approaches Jesus from behind. Can you imagine Jesus as He sat there, and warm tears began to drop on His feet? One by one, each tear would trickle down and across His feet. Eventually, He feels the strands of the woman’s hair as she begins to wipe up her tears. Next, she sacrificially anointed Jesus’ feet. She brakes open the most expensive thing she owned, a bottle of perfume. She pours it on the Lord’s feet, and the room is filled with the aroma. The odor is everywhere. It has saturated every fiber of the room.

Simon thinks to himself, if Jesus could just know what kind of a woman she is, He wouldn’t even let her touch Him.

Know that we serve a mighty God. He knows us; He knows our struggles; He even knows our thoughts, and He knew Simon’s too.

Jesus teaches the Pharisee an important lesson. Using a parable, Christ says, “one who has been forgiven much, loves much.” The truth is that unless you have been through what someone else has experienced, sometimes, it’s hard to understand that person.

James 2:1-13 reflects upon the same idea. Only, this time he uses an example from church. His illustration involves two men visiting the same church for the first time. One is obviously very wealthy. He has on very expensive clothes and rings. The other is a very poor man. He is not wearing any rings, and his clothes have holes in them.

The church’s usher greets both men and shows them to their seats. The wealthy man is guided to a place in the front of the room. The usher wants everyone to see who just came in. He wants to make sure that the pastor sees this man. On the other hand, the poor man is shown to an obscure place. His place is “out of sight, out if mind.” It’s probably somewhere in the back. James suggests that he sat on the floor beside a footstool.

James wants you and me as readers to know that it’s not the material things that we have that measures our spirituality. He even writes, “Listen, my beloved brothers: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and the heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”

In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3) Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” The poor in spirit are those who have come to a place where they recognize their need for God. Their possessions do not matter, they simply know that they need a relationship with God.

If you and I are guilty of showing favoritism, then according to The Bible, we are committing sin. In James 2:8, the author reminds us of Leviticus 19:18, but the verse is more familiar as a quote from Christ in Luke 7. James writes, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The truth is that we are all guilty of sin. The Good News is that Christ died on the cross, was buried in a tomb, and then He was gloriously raised from the dead to save us from our sins. Ask God for His forgiveness, invite Christ into your life, trust Him to save you, and begin a new life.

Today, like our Lord Jesus Christ and James, I want to encourage you to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all you mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

July 27, 2015

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James 1:12 is a pivotal verse upon which the previous verses and the following verses hinge.

The verse begins with the word blessed. Jesus used the word repeatedly in the first 11 verses of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. The kword means happy, and why wouldn’t those mentioned in Matthew 5 be happy? For example, verse three says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. They should be happy because they have come to the realization of their need for God and His generous kindness. Or, verse four says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” These have come to the reality that they are sinners, and they need a Savior. One more example comes from Psalm 1:1, and the man in this verse has learned that he will be happier if he avoids bad company.

Going back to the text, James 1:12, we read, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial…” The idea is that he has overcome it. And, he should be happy, he has just experienced victory in a trial in the furnace of adversity called life.

Know that God allows us to go through difficult situations to prove us. Yes, He wants us to know that He is always faithful, but He wants you and me to recognize how much faith we have too. The more we go through, the more we grow in our faith and the closer we grow toward God.

According to the verse, we will receive a reward for our perseverance in trials. The Bible calls it the Crown of Life. The Bible describes various rewards or crowns that will be given to believers in Heaven.

The crown is not a kingly crown. After all, Heaven does not need another king because Jesus Is called the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Rather, it is a wreath that is placed on an olympian’s head after he has won an event.

In 1 Cor 9:25, the apostle Paul compares the Christian life to Olympians in a race. He says that their reward is only temporary, but the believer’s reward is eternal. Know that as those who have over come, we are winners. We have stuck to it. We have persevered. We have been faithful to the end. We have trusted Christ and received eternal life.

James continues. He notes that the Lord has promised this Crown of Life to those who love Him, and God keeps His promises.

Sunday, August 4, 2014

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James 1:19-27

Understand that James is writing to believers, and in verse 19, he says, “This you know.” You and I have to ask ourselves, “What do we know?” The author is reminding us of what he has already said.

We know about the trials of faith. We know that if we persevere through our struggles, they will end in a perfect result, and we discover that we have lacked nothing. We have also learned to trust God for the wisdom and strength that we have needed.

We know that we do experience temptations. These are temptations to do evil, but while God give us trials, He does tempt you and me to do evil.

Our temptations to do evil come from three sources. The devil is described as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” And while Satan and his devils do tempt us, we are also tempted by the world that we live in and our own fleshly nature.

We have learned through scripture that temptations follow an order. We look; we like; and we lust. James 1:14-15 says it like this, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

Again, James 1:19 says that we already know this.

The author continues. He tells believers to be quick to hear (the Word of God), slow to speak, and slow to anger. What James is teaching you and me is to live our faith. The place where we will learn about our faith is in the Bible. And, the writer wants us to live in a way that will win others to Christ.

Sad to say, but the way we live our lives, talk, and show our anger do not always demonstrate God’s righteousness. So in James 1:21, we read, “Put aside all filthiness and wickedness.” We are to humbly receive God’s Word, and it is to be implanted or applied in our lives. The reality is that as Christians, we know that hearing and applying the Word of God will lead to salvation.

James continues, he encourages us to not only read the Bible but to practice our faith. To do this, verse 25, says, “Look intently” into the Word. When we do this, we will learn about God’s perfect law and liberty (the freedom that can only come from a relationship through Christ).

A simple way to remember this is:
Look into the Word of God.
Listen to the Word o God.
Learn from the Word of God.
Live the Word of God.

James’ suggestions for practicing your faith include visiting the orphans and widows, and keep yourself from the influences of the world.

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