James wrote his letter roughly 15 years after Jesus ascended back to heaven, and his "bent" was on obedience whereas Paul's "bent" was more on faith. Both are speaking the same message, but looking at it from "two sides of the same coin". In chapter 1:18, we see "the word of truth", which is Jesus. James' friend, John, would later write, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
James continues the letter in verses 19-27 by focusing on not just hearing the word, but doing it also. The appropriate response of the believer to the Word of Truth is obedience. In verse 21, James tells the reader that they (we) must "put away filthiness" which means to repent, and then we must "receive the Word", which is faith in Jesus.
In verse 22, we understand that once we become believers, we MUST ACT. He gives the example of glancing in a mirror. In that day, they didn't have mirrors like we do. They have very expensive metal that was polished enough to give a vague reflection. He is telling us that we must look intently at Jesus and to stand strong as a doer. In verse 26, we are reminded that the power of our mouths either brings blessing and encouragement, or it brings curse and discouragement.
James also gives us the "how" to do this. Over 60 times in scripture, God's people are told how to treat widows, orphans, and strangers. God always tells His people how to care. Jesus modeled this over and over again. Since James is the half-brother of Jesus, there is no doubt he witnessed this himself. Jesus told us to go and do likewise!
To Discuss Today:
1. Is your Christian walk one of information or transformation? What are you involved in that brings information? Does that lead to transformation? How?
2. Why is it important to "be the hands and feet of Jesus" or as Pastor Alex says, "be Jesus with skin on"?
3. What should we "do" for God? Why? (think about our relationship with God and our obedience to Him...)
4. Missional Halloween is coming. How will you be intentional with your neighbors?