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The testing of our faith

The testing of our faith

We begin the book of James as he leads us through some practical Christianity as we go through his letter over the next three days.

James 1:Greeting

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,

10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.

11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Hearing and Doing the Word

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.

24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 2:The Sin of Partiality

1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,

3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet,"

4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

6 But you have dishonoured the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?

7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honourable name by which you were called?

8 If you really fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself," you are doing well.

9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.

13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,

16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe---and shudder!

20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?

22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;

23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"---and he was called a friend of God.

24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Things to think about…

1.Remember James (the Lord's brother) was the chief elder at Jerusalem for the early church. He was the one who led and spoke in favour of the letter at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 which was to be sent to all the Gentile churches. James very much remained a minister to the Jews and here we see he is writing to the 12 tribes of the Dispersion 1:1. This is referring to the Jews who lived outside of Israel who were living in other parts of 1st Cent Roman and Greek culture. James wants to strengthen these Jewish Christians especially as they are suffering for their faith. The Jews were persecuted anyway, but these folk are both Jews and Christians. Either way they were a marked group in 1st Century Roman culture.

2.Joy in suffering is a mark of grace and James says that suffering makes us perfect whereby we lack no good thing, Jam1:2-4. James also says that we are not to lack wisdom and as such should pray to the Lord to receive wisdom. Working for the Lord is a great blessing, but working without wisdom is futile. All our endeavours should be open to receive counsel from others in Christ so that we may move forward with the Lord's guidance and blessing. As the Proverbs say "get wisdom, get insight", Pr 4:5.

3.There would be very few disagreements in church and the community if we all took James' advice in Jam 1:19, 20 and be "quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." Pray that we all have this disposition in our communication.

4. We all have those that we would prefer to spend time with within our immediate circle of friends and acquaintances. But even as this is the case, James says that partiality is a sin where there is an obvious distinction between one person and another based simply on their wealth, Jam 2:1-13. James in bringing our character back to the gospel summarises our propensity to show partiality by saying that we should "so speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty… Mercy triumphs over judgment". Great advice.

5.Works exercised with faith is the goal for any Christian and gives a blessing to all, but works done in the flesh (even within Christian service) never produces lasting fruit. How do we discern the difference? A good test is to ask 'who are people talking about after the work is done'? Is the name of the labourer or the name of the Lord on people's lips? Spurgeon's hearer's as opposed to those who heard other great orators of the 19th Century would come away saying, 'what a great Saviour' as opposed to 'what a great preacher' as would be said of others at the time. John the Baptist's advice regarding ourselves and the Lord is still valid – 'we must decrease, yet He must increase'trial, 2 Tim 4:11.

Vision Point

CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.

Prayer Points

1.Pray for Tad  brother Andrew in hospital. 

2.Our Community events – once a month on a Sunday in place of the Axiom evening service at church. First one at Chapters on the 23rd Feb – around 4:30pm.

3.Please continue to pray CBC's Mallacoota bushfire appeal. Give thanks for the opportunity we have to serve Cess and his wife Wyonya. You may give now directed in the announcements.

4.Pray for continued follow up rain across Australia – especially NSW and Vic.

5.Christine Denning's mum recovering from a broken femur. Pray as she rehabilitates.

6.Ministry planning and events calendar for this year.

7.Our outreach initiatives as well as the Axiom podcast.

8.Sunday's message on James 3 "The power of a spoken word" - Ps Jay. Axiom:- "JOY – Jesus, Others, yourself – really?"- Jay.

9.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop and podcast area.

10.Church finances to meet our expenses.

11.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.

Praise Points.

1.Tad's operation was a success – he is home now.

2.Tad's brother Andrew is 'miraculously' up and walking around. Pray that the Lord can speak to his soul about Christ now he is on the mend.

3.More visitors on Sunday – pray as they settle into CBC. Please continue to welcome them and get to know them as you can.

4.New Website being finished this week – Praise God for Melody and Suzie making this happen.

5.Good soaking rains across Australia – especially in NSW over the weekend.

6.Recharge and Kids@Church ministries blessed over the weekend – thankyou leaders. New kids and youth in both ministries.

7.CBC's Mallacoota appeal David Jeffrey of Mallacoota, so far $1870 has been sent and received – thankyou CBC.

8.Unity, peace and Christ's love over our church.

Announcements

1.Whole church - Hosting, morning tea next Sunday morning.

2.1st Community gathering – At Chapters café Karalee 4:30pm Sun 23rd Feb.

3.Member's meeting – A celebration of God's grace over CBC – Sun 23rd February after morning service. Open invitation – all welcome.

4.Bushfire appeal – no target has been set but CBC will be raising money towards fireys and bush fire victims. You can donate directly through our "Give" tab on the website http://www.chuwarbaptist.com/give . Label your offering "Bushfire appeal"

5.Kids@Church and Recharge parents.Leaders for next Sunday Older group Leader:- Catherine Charlesworth. Lesson :- Hot Air Balloon. Younger Group:-. Fi Beatty, Assistant:- Leah Christensen. Lesson:-Journey to Mars Psalm 119:105

6.Recharge youth 7pm at Church, Fri 7th Feb for all High Schoolers. Recharge parent for this week – Lee Davies.

February's catechism question...

Question. 9. Question:- What do we pray for in the second petition?

Answer. "That the gospel may be preached in all of the world, and believed and obeyed by us and all men"

Bible Reference – Matt. 28:19-20; John 17:20-21; Acts 8:12; Acts 28:30-31; 2 Thess. 3:1.



"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3

Pastor Jay

The tongue is a fire
Now he is useful