Summary: Part 3 of 7 in our teaching series, "TRUE RELIGION" For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.newsongs.org
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**NOTE: THIS IS A CONCEPT OUTLINE FOR THIS MESSAGE. GRAPHICS AND MULTIMEDIA ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT THIS SERIES.
:: The Letter from James
James’ desire was to see people grow in their spiritual maturity – doing so would allow a relevant faith to transform real life.
:: Brokenness Leads to Growth
Experiencing and enduring PRESSURE, STRESS, HARDSHIP & TRIAL are part of the process of reaching spiritual maturity.
The spiritual principal here is that you have to be broken before you can grow.
[James 1:2-5, 12-15]
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But you must let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
1. Exercise of JOY - God’s grace & power are able to work in our lives
2. Exercise of ENDURANCE – workouts promote growth
3. Exercise of PRAYER - not for the removal of pressure, but for wisdom on how to handle it; wisdom that consists in a belief of the power, and word and promise of God.
VIDEO: ID THEFT
:: Mis-Taken Identity
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
Why would you forget what you look like?
• Unknown identity – there is no definition as to who you are
• Loss of identity – letting others define who you are
• Assuming multiple identities – letting situations define who you are
Why would this idea of identity be important to the early church?
:: Reclaiming Your Identity
21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. 22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
1. Get cleaned up
2. Evaluate yourself with God’s Word
3. Be a person of action, with an identity established by faith
[James 2:14-20, 26]
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[f] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 26 Just as the body is dead without breath,[i] so also faith is dead without good works.
There is a well-known tale about a guy who came to church late. He walked in right near the end of the service. He said to an usher, "Is the sermon done yet?" The usher answered wisely. He said, "The sermon has been preached, but it has yet to be done."
:: Small Group
This week at small group, we’re going to get into more of the faith vs. works debate and how this teaching applies to our lives.