Sunday School Material 2-2-14: Hear and Do the Word

(James 1:19-27; 2/2/14)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is God wants His people to be known for anger management, obedience, tongue control, ministry, and being unpolluted. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live godly lives.

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Read James 1:19-21

I. Self-control Needed. In our Sunday School material James addresses his readers as siblings. He urges them to control their tongues. Human anger doesn’t produce the righteousness that God desires. He talks about getting rid of the bad and accepting God’s word.

Applications -

- Anger control among spiritual siblings. Notice in vss. 19-20 that James urges his siblings in the Lord to be quick to listen and slow to speak and to become angry. Human anger is said to result in that which is not the righteousness that God desires.

First, as believers, we should see ourselves as spiritual siblings or brothers and sisters in the Lord. Siblinghood is an involuntary relationship that is based on having the same parent(s).

We should work on nurturing siblinghood among one another, which includes urging one another to live by God’s will with love and our support.

Second, it will be work for many of us, but we should do the hard work of being quick to listen and slow to speak and become angry. There is a great danger in listening to a sentence and forming a response, especially an angry response, while the person is still speaking.

With more listening, we may discover that the person misspoke in the early sentence or that your angry reply will only make things worse.

Third, emotional outbursts or anger fueled actions normally lead us in a direction contrary to what God is calling us to do. We should strive to be mature enough to funnel the energy of anger into doing what God wants done. In the field of social justice work, there is the term “cool anger.”

It is an anger that fuels constructive action. This is as opposed to “hot anger,” which is anger that leads to destructive action. Let’s work on loving as spiritual siblings and controlling our anger.

- Getting rid of the bad and accepting the good. Notice in vs. 21 of the Sunday School material the urging to get rid of the bad and accept the good. First, we are called to not only be aware of things that need correction in our lives, we are called to actually make the corrections.

We are called to get rid of the bad. The “bad” may be anger issues, robbing God of His money, being apathetic towards those in need, or any number of things.

Second, we should work on accepting the good. God has number of “does” and “don’ts” for us in His word. Our job is to accept them and obey.

For example, we are called to accept and do good things like rejoice in the Lord, love God with all that we have, and to love others, as we love ourselves. Let’s work on getting rid of the bad and accepting the good.

As for salvation, we are saved from going to Hell by accepting Jesus as our savior by faith. But we are saved from many challenges on Earth, by accepting and obeying God’s will for us.

Read James 1:22-25

II. Hearing and Doing Required. James urges his readers in our Sunday School material to move past just hearing the word of God. He calls them to be doers.

He talks about how listening without obeying is like looking into a mirror and forgetting what you saw. There are blessings for those who hear and obey.

Applications -

- Doers of the word. Notice in vss. 22-25 the call to be a doer of God’s word and the blessings attached to such.

First, it is so important for us to press pass knowing God’s word and will to actually obeying God’s word and will. There are too many professional students in the church. We are high on studying but low on obeying.

Second, there are blessings for those who obey. The more we obey, the more we can expect God to bless. Let’s work on being doers of God’s word and will with the expectation that God will bless as He sees fit.

Read James 2:26-27

III. Proper Religion Described. In our Sunday School material James talks about how real religion must control the tongue. Real religion looks out for and helps the less fortunate.

Examples of the less fortunate are widows and orphans who are without resources. Real religion calls for keeping one’s self from being polluted by the world.

Applications -

- Tongue control. Notice in vs. 26 of our Sunday School material the urge to control our tongue as an indication of how real our religion is. Every believer is called to speak the truth in love. This calls for us to speak, instead of being silent. It calls for us to speak the truth, not flattery.

It calls for us to speak the truth, in love, not with an abrasive spirit. If our claim to be mature in the Lord (i.e., real religion) doesn’t control our tongue then we have some growing to do. Let’s work on controlling our tongue, in a way that glorifies God.

- Responsive to the needy. Notice in vs. 27 that real religion is charitable to those in need. First, the “haves” should strive to help the “have nots.” In the text, widows and orphans were at the top of the list of the “have nots.”

Second, we should also work on empowering the “have nots.” When a person is hungry, the immediate need is to give them something to eat. However, without empowerment, they will be back for more handouts.

The greater ministry is to empower the person to be able to pay for their own meal. Widows should develop financial literacy and discipline to prevent them from being poor and needy, when their spouses die. Let’s work on being responsive to those in need.

- Unpolluted. Notice in vs. 27 of our Sunday School material the call to keep ourselves unpolluted by the world. As believers, we are called to be in the world, but not of the world. We are called to live in this world, as the salt and light with God directing and controlling our steps. 

However, the more we associate with the world and its values, the more tempted we are to drift towards them and away from God’s will for our lives. The church ought to provide a community in which we can help one another stay unpolluted.

Let’s work on being unpolluted by the world. This means let’s work on staying true to God’s calling for our lives.

Conclusion: Let’s work on anger management, obedience, tongue control, ministry, and being unpolluted. God has much for those who obey His will.

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