This Summer at STORYCHURCH we have been going through the book of James. It has been one of the most rewarding series I have experienced. This sermon series has had me looking deep inside my heart and mind week after week. James is a practical straight to the point writer. His illustrations bring a true realization on how we are to treat each other and God.
It is always a great feeling to take a Sunday morning sermon and be able to implement it immediately. To see changes in our lives only done by God, and in turn showing this change to others around us is special. Maybe it’s so practical of a message due to that James is the little brother of Jesus. I do not think there is a more unique point of view about Jesus then what James must have had. He grew up with Jesus and to find out later that he was the son of God. Talk about a mind trip. So James giving practical applications to life changes for those willing to listen.
James was writing to the twelve tribes of Israel. They had at this time been scattered. Several people who followed Jesus were in poverty from loosing their land. So James was writing to people going through some rough times in their lives.
I am writing a brief review of the week to week lessons in James that we are going through at STORYCHURCH. I hope you find this as rewarding as I have. This is part 1 of 3
Week 1 By Jeremy Copeland
The key word for this week was perseverance. Perseverance as pushing through and not giving up. In James 1:1-18 James talks about pushing through not giving up even through trouble times, also known as trials. That sometimes God lets trials come because he has a greater purpose in mind. That he wants to do something to you so he can do something through you.
But if we quit when times get tough we can come up short and miss the blessing God has for us on the other side of the trial. That perseverance is vital to what God has in store for us. We may have asked God, through tough times, why have you not fixed this problem yet? Or God you are taking to long and I can not make it through this. Maybe we should be asking instead. What is it you want me to learn through this trial? How can I be better from this?
Hold onto hope that God will use this trial to bring us to maturity in Him. Pray for wisdom through the trial and God to give you perspective. To many of us quit before we see the promise God has for us. The blessing in never achieved because we were not patient enough to trust God in these trials.
Big thought: We have always looked at trials as a bad thing. But what if we embraced these trials and have faith that God will use this trial for our good. If we go into a trial thinking this way we are prepared and willing to persevere. When we think we can not go any further we can keep going.
God is more interested in our long-term growth then our short-term comfort.
Week 2 by Jeremy Copeland
This week we walked through James 1:19-27. James starts out by saying we should be slow to speak and slow to anger. That the word is imbedded in us all. That Gods message of love, peace, and hope is in the very depths of us. When we speak or act we need to remember that his word is already inside of us. We say as Christians that we believe in these things yet we sometimes lash out in anger.
The problem with anger is that it does not produce righteousness. Anger is not going to lead you to what God has for you in life. We sometimes need to take a deep breath before letting anger out of us.
James talks about living out what we are saying. Living the word that is inside of us. Become the person the word is teaching in us to be. We say that we follow Jesus, yet we respond in anger. Not showing the love and compassion we know in our hearts to be true.
James uses the reference of looking in a mirror and forgetting what we look like. What he is saying here, we need to be what we say we are. Not sway from the word in our hearts. To make sure we are constant in what we believe. If you want to follow Jesus then take care of people.
Is your life an accurate reflection of the word planted in you?
Week 3 by Jeremy Copeland
Mercy triumphs over judgment is the topic of week 3. We usually want justice for ourselves. What is happening to me is the most important thing right? Example: While driving it’s always the other persons fault. The other guy can not drive and maybe riding to close to your bumper. But we never acknowledge when we do the same thing to someone else. We just say the other person in driving to slow. Our view on justice over mercy in these situations usually weighs in the side of justice.
James is saying the whole point of the way we are supposed to live is to take care of others. We are to take care of the poor and hurting people. This is what Jesus did all the time. Jesus himself was born into poverty. God chose the slaves in Egypt to be his chosen people. Not the rich and famous. James is saying to not show favoritism to the rich and popular people. God is for the suffering.
James states that the greatest law is to love your neighbour as yourself. This is also supported by Jesus. Jesus said the 2 greatest commandments is to love God and to love your neighbour. That we are to obey this law to its fullest. If we were to obey the law 90% and not obey 10% you are 100% a law-breaker. Someone might say that they have never committed murder and are not a law-breaker. But they have lied to others for their personal gain. They are still a law-breaker.
We can not hold ourselves to different standards because we are all law-breakers in our own right. James says that “Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
We want judgment when we are wronged. James is saying we should not ask for mercy from ourselves if we are not willing to give mercy back. We have to ask ourselves is their room for mercy in our lives?
What would someone say about you? Are you a person of mercy or a person of justice?
I hope by this review that you have been moved to be a better person as I have. Next week I will review weeks 4 through 6.
You can catch the original podcast here
If you are in the Durham NC area and a looking for a community of people that like to show you love and hope. Please come visit us at STORYCHURCH
Embrace the story you were meant to live