Bible Reading and Commentary September 5-10, 2016

Bible Reading and Commentary
September 5-10, 2016

JAMES — The book of James does not teach that good works save us, as some believe, but rather that good works are fruits of faith.

Monday, September 5, James 1
v. 13 — God may test our faith, such as He did with Job and Abraham. However, He never tempts us to sin. All temptation comes from the devil, the world, and our flesh. When we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “and lead us not into temptation,” we are asking God to keep temptation from us.
vv. 18-21 — Who and what saves us? God saves us through His Word of truth, the Gospel which He plants into our hearts. (Rom. 1:16)
v. 22 — What does God’s Word direct us to do? Some do’s in this chapter are: 1) Pray in firm faith. 2) Overcome temptation through the Word of God planted in us. 3) Get rid of anger and all moral filth.
4) Control your tongue. 5) Help people in their need.

Tuesday, September 6, James 2
v. 24 — This verse sounds shocking, but re-read v. 17 and you will understand that faith in the Lord Jesus will produce works. Good works reflect either the presence of faith or its absence. That’s how they will be used on the Last Day–as “proof” that faith was present or that the person was an unbeliever with no good works that pleased God.
v. 26 — Can we be saved by what we do? In v. 10 James proves that’s impossible. We need saving faith. That’s a faith that does more than admit God exists (v. 19). It’s a faith that trusts in Jesus alone for salvation. Such a faith will produce good works motivated by the Holy Spirit. An example of that can be found in Gal. 5:22, 23.

Wednesday, September 7, James 3
v. 8 — Can we tame the tongue? James answers negatively. He describes the terrible heartache an untamed tongue can do in vv. 5-6 and 10. What tames the tongue is the wisdom that comes from heaven. That’s the glorious Gospel (John 3:16). What it produces in us as we faithfully, daily build on it, St. James lists in vv. 17 and 18.
v. 10-11 — Cursing is using God’s name to wish evil on someone or something. Just as bitter water doesn’t come out of a spring that pours out fresh water, once I’m a Christian, only words that praise and glorify God should come out of my mouth.

Thursday, September 8, James 4
v. 6 — How do we stay humble? The humble Christian is one who doesn’t live for himself, but for others. He knows the good he is to do and does it. (v. 17) He builds his eternal life not on himself, but on Jesus Christ. He is no friend of the world (v. 4). He resists the devil, (v. 7) and he always stays close to God. (v. 8)
Vv. 9-10 — If my laughter and joy is a result of my friendship with the world (v. 4), if it’s at the expense of others (v. 11), then I need to turn that type of laughter into mourning. In other words, I need to repent. The Holy Spirit also will move such repentant Christians to be truly joyous and happy as they experience peace with God and have the hope of eternal life.
Vv. 14-15 — These verses help us to put our lives into perspective. The balance of life is very delicate and fragile; it can end any moment. How thankful we can be that Jesus has made us ready for heaven! (Rom. 8:1 and Eph. 2:4,5)

Friday, September 9, James 5
Vv. 13-15, 17-18 — Anointing the sick was apparently a custom in the early Christian Church. It had medicinal value only. While anointing the sick today is not necessary because we have excellent doctors who are highly skilled in the art of healing, our job as Christians is to be deeply involved in praying for the sick. God does answer our prayers brought to Him in faith. He can give us miraculous answers if it is His will. He can do it in the same way as He answered Elijah’s prayer.
Vv. 16-17 — We do confess our sins every Sunday morning. Where do we do that in the worship service? Look at pages 15, 26, and 38. Do we pray for the sick? We do every Sunday in the prayer of the church. So that you can pray for them during the week the sick in our congregation are listed in the bulletin. As Jesus says, our prayers are powerful and effective. God doesn’t lie.

Saturday, September 11, PHILEMON
Paul, in this short letter, is writing to a master of a run-away slave (vv. 10, 11, 15, 16). He is encouraging Philemon to accept Onesimus as a Christian brother. Onesimus apparently became a believer through his contact with Paul in Rome. God didn’t forbid slavery in the New Testament. The relationship between a Christian slave and master is brought out in Ephesians 6:5-9.

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