I begin with a note about the translation. You may find the version I am using unfamiliar, it was written in 1958. If you read the NASB (1971) or the NIV (1978) or the NLT (1996) or The ESV (2001) you owe a debt of gratitude to The JB Phillips. Phillips pioneered modern translations of the Scriptures, setting a high standard of linguistic scholarship, both in the original Greek and in English.

C.S. Lewis was an advocate of modernizing Bible translations to address the dynamics of the English language in the Mid- 20th century. Here is what he said about the JB Phillips New Testament: “It is like looking at a familiar picture after it has been cleaned”.

I am using this translation in the hope that some of you who have extensively read and studied this book will get a ‘clean perspective’ on this wonderful ‘Pastoral Epistle’. I also hope those not very familiar with it may be drawn into the study of this letter and that their life will reflect the Godly principals contained in it. I encourage you to let this book ‘Shepherd’ your lifestyle.

The Book of James is all about PRACTICAL BIBLICAL LIVING. Today our portion of God’s Word is going to clearly define what God considers to be ‘True Faith’. True faith acts. True faith does things. True faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior does things that God’s word commands. True faith is obedient to DO, not just think about, God’s will as revealed by the Scriptures.

James sets the standard for the new testament church. He clearly defines what Christ’s Body will recognize as ‘Faith’. It is what God has previously revealed throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. True Faith always Acts!

James 2:14-26

14 Now what use is it, my brothers and sisters, for a person to say they “have faith” if their actions do not correspond with it? Could that sort of faith save anyone’s soul?

  • You and I do what we believe in, what we have ‘faith in’
  • We have faith in things we trust. As simple as a chair we sit in or a person
  • We know belief or ‘faith’ in something moves us to act
  • So what good is a faith or belief that we will not act on?
  • When it come to faith for eternal life is an ‘inactive faith’ going to get you there?
  • The answer to this rhetorical question is clear: No.

Why not? Why can’t we just believe? Salvation is by God’s grace, we don’t have to ‘earn it’ right? We can’t DO anything to get salvation it is by faith… So faith is HUGH!It is very important that we understand how God defines faith. This info is found in a proper reading of Scripture.

15 If a fellow man or woman has no clothes to wear and nothing to eat, and one of you say,16 “Good luck to you I hope you’ll keep warm and find enough to eat”, and yet give them nothing to meet their physical needs, what on earth is the good of that?

  • This person espouses a position or belief yet does not act on it.
  • Lip Service / All Talk & No Action / All Show & No Go
  • Words are a poor replacement for actions
  • This question points to how useless ‘Inactive Faith’ is

17Yet that is exactly what a bare faith without a corresponding life is like—useless and dead.

  • ‘Bare Faith’: the literal translation: faith by itself
  • It is really a misnomer to call something ‘Faith’ if you don’t act on it
  • Why do you think God moves James to address this issue?
  • It is the responsibility of Jesus Christ’s Church to make clear what salvation is

18 If we only “have faith” one could easily challenge us by saying, “you say that you have faith and I have merely good actions. Well, all you can do is to show me a faith without corresponding actions, but I can show you that by my actions, I have faith as well.”

  • The actions of each person are a result of what they have faith in
  • If there is action then there is some sort of faith behind it (a reason we act)
  • But a ‘bare faith’ has no actions to join in partnership with it, so it it really faith?
  • Not as the Bible teaches…
  • What follows are examples from practical life and also from previous Scripture

19 To the one who thinks that faith by itself is enough I feel inclined to say, “So you believe that there is one God? That’s fine. So do all the devils in hell, and they shudder in terror!”

  • Faith without action is knowing who God is and yet not acting accordingly
  • Faith in God without acting like HE IS GOD puts you in the company of demons
  • Demons know what their level of ‘faith’ gets them: Eternal Damnation

20 One is short-sighted if they can’t you see far enough to realize that faith without the right actions is dead and useless.

  • Short sighted means you are not seeing everything that is there
  • If you don’t see that ‘Saving Faith’ results in action you are missing info
  • If you don’t realize ‘faith’ not acted upon is dead, you are wrong
  • Please don’t forget, what we are reading is what GOD says

21 Think of Abraham, our ancestor. Was it not his action which really justified him in God’s sight when his faith led him to offer his son Isaac on the altar? 22 Can’t you see that his faith and his actions were, so to speak, partners—that his faith was implemented by his deed?

  • One of many Biblical examples of how true faith IN God always acts (Heb. 11)
  • It took an enormous amount of faith to act as Abram did
  • But the action was the proof of what he believed about God
  • Abram believed Yahweh was who HE said HE was, and acted accordingly
  • Faith made him act, his actions proved he had ‘Saving Faith’ in God

23 That is what the scripture means when it says: ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.’ 24 A person is justified before God by what they do as well as by what they believe.

  • What validated Abram’s belief was his action
  • The faith that made His righteous was proven by his actions
  • What matters to God is both what believe and what you do about that belief

25 Rahab who was a prostitute and a foreigner has been quoted as an example of faith, yet surely it was her action that pleased God, when she welcomed Joshua’s reconnaissance party and got them safely back by a different route.

  • This example show how reputation, past and position do not matter to God
  • Her actions that resulted from faith pleased God, not her thoughts or words
  • What she DID resulted in being part of the linage that birthed the Messiah

26 Yes, faith without action is as dead as a body without a soul.

  • A body devoid of a soul is not actually a body…
  • Faith without actions is not actually faith…Not as God defines it!
  • Without a soul to animate it, a body is just a corpse, devoid of life
  • Is your ‘faith’ one that is active and alive or inactive and dead?
  • God is telling us that if you do not act on our belief it is NOT faith in HIS eyes


God’s Word defines ‘Faith’ as belief & action working together.

Faith that results in Biblical Salvation has corresponding right actions that accompany it. This is known as ‘Saving Faith’.

A profession of care about something that is not acted on in any way, is widely recognized as not really caring. Actual caring involves doing something.

Examples of faith found in the Scriptures always communicate what God’s people believed AND what they did.

So called ‘faith’ in Christ that is without actions flowing from it, is NOT a faith that receives eternal life.


Application is meant to be our guidance for God-desired change. We have to change in order to align our thoughts, attitudes, values & actions with God’s Word. (no one is ‘Naturally Aligned’ with Scripture). So we don’t just want change, we want THE RIGHT KIND OF CHANGE. What we are shooting for is that our actions would correspond to what the Bible teaches followers of Christ are to do. Scripture gives us what to believe and what to do regarding what we believe!

Is your theology aligned with what this Scripture is teaching? Why or why not?

When you evaluate YOUR ‘faith’ in Christ, do you focus on actions or intentions?

By focusing on actions more, what could you change about how you practice your faith?

Are you clear about what Scripture says we are to DO (Not just think) in response to Jesus Christ’s call on EACH OF OUR lives?

God’s Grace Over God’s Judgement!

We have been involved as a church in a quest to become as Biblical as possible. Why? Because it matters how Christ’s body lives! As those surrendered to the Lordship of Christ we want to live as God wants us to. Scripture gives us commands and principals for how we are to live as God’s people. God’s Word is the basis of how we form our church culture, the raw materials that we build our church culture from. We read & interpret and apply The Scriptures as God’s people always have: #1. We believe it is God’s Word, written by people under the power of the H.S #2. We read it in context and examine it according to scientific principals (Hermeneutics: The science of interpreting communication) #3. We practice it. We apply it to our actual lives, we ‘live it out’.

Today we shall read, understand & apply 3 aspects of Biblical Church Culture:

~ Biblical Church culture of welcoming: How we treat people entering our community

~ Biblical Doctrine of the equality of sin to God. How God views sin

~ Biblical Practice of ‘Grace Distribution’. How Christ’s Body is a ‘pass-through’.

James Chapter 2:1-13

1 Don’t ever attempt, my brothers and sisters, to combine snobbery with faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ!

  • Zero tolerance for discrimination, prejudice or unequal treatment in Jesus’ Body
  • Real faith in Christ and snobbery are mutually exclusive

2 Suppose one person comes into your meeting well-dressed and with a gold ring on their finger, and another, obviously poor, arrives in shabby clothes.

  • More-so then than now, people’s socio-economic status was reflected in dress
  • Each of these people are God’s ‘Image Bearers’

3 If you pay special attention to the well-dressed one by saying, “Please sit here—it’s an excellent seat”, and say to the poor one, “You stand over there, please, or if you must sit, sit on the floor”, 4 doesn’t that prove that you are making class-distinctions in your mind, and setting yourselves up to assess a person’s quality?—a very bad thing.

  • These kinds of interactions fuel pride and comparison
  • Making class distinctions is opposite of God’s heart throughout Scripture

5 For do notice, my brothers and sisters, that God chose poor people, whose only wealth was their faith, and made them heirs to the kingdom promised to those who love him.

  • God doesn’t assign eternal life based on socio-economic status
  • God has a different value system than the world’s

6 And if you behave as I have suggested, it is the poor person that you are insulting. Look around you. 7 Isn’t it the rich who are always trying to “boss” you, isn’t it the rich who drag you into litigation? Isn’t it usually the rich who blaspheme the glorious name by which you are known?

  • Can we afford to offend those God has placed great value in?
  • Why would we give preferential treatment to people who oppose God?

8 If you obey the royal law, expressed by the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’, all is well. 9 But once you allow any invidious distinctions to creep in, you are sinning, you have broken God’s Law.

  • The royal law = God’s heart, the full message of Scripture / The Gospel
  • He uses Jesus’ teaching that it is sin to ‘pick’ your neighbor based on appearances (you can pick your neighbor based on actions)
  • Invidious distinction is openly saying: ‘You are worth more’ for whatever reason
  • It is sin to judge people based on appearances of affluence and or influence
  • Our value to each other comes from the fact that each of us bears God’s image

V9: prosopolempteo typically is translated as ‘show favoritism’ or ‘partiality’. Here it is translated as ‘invidious distinction’ which conveys motivation for the action and the result of such action on relationships that fits the context!

  • This is why I chose to use the JB Phillips NT: masterful linguistic work from both ends!

It is like looking at a familiar picture after it has been cleaned”.

~ C.S. LEWIS, on J.B. Phillip’s original translation

Invidious: An action is invidious when it sows discord or strife between people. Invidious behavior can also be hurtful for no clear purpose. Invidious comparisons drive a wedge between people by comparing them in an unfavorable way. It is similar to the word insidious: it is thesame kind of actions that cause conflict, but insidious things are done covertly, in secret. This ‘invidious distinction’ is happening right out in the open (at worship).

10 Remember that a man who keeps the whole Law but for a single exception is none the less a law-breaker. 11 The one who said, ‘Do not commit adultery’, also said, ‘Do not murder’. If you were to keep clear of adultery but were to murder a man you would have become a breaker of God’s whole Law.

  • Biblical Doctrine: break one commandment & you’re guilty of breaking them all
  • Is this an Unachievable Standard? Absolutely!
  • All of God’s commandments are connected to who He is and His heart for us
  • God’s point of view: We are all equally guilty, all in equal need of forgiveness

12 Anyway, you should speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom. 13 The one who makes no allowances for others will find none made for them. It is still true that “mercy smiles in the face of judgment.”

  • James, under the control of The Holy Spirit is writing to proven followers of X
  • Read: “You, who have fully surrendered your life, should speak and act…”
  • Who we are informs everything we do
  • When we live from gratitude and honor the one who judges based on heart
  • What makes us who we are is that God has transformed our hearts
  • Being judged by the law of freedom means that EVERYTHING is forgiven
  • Everything is forgiven because of Jesus The Christ!
  • In Christ: Repentance + Surrender = Forgiveness
  • And we are to speak and act from that place of liberty from sin and God’s wrath
  • We should be the most forgiving people in the world!
  • The rest of the world is going to judge and be unforgiving, we will offer mercy
  • We love because HE first loved us. We forgive because HE forgave us.
  • We have experienced the reality of how Mercy triumphs over judgement
  • Literal: God’s Compassion assumes superiority over God’s Judgement
  • Compassion is to assume superiority over judgement in our lives! ‘In Christ’

We are all guilty and deserve God’s Judgement. Instead Christ died for us. To be forgiven and have eternal life will you live for HIM? Will you truly lay down your life, turn it over to HIS will, HIS plan, HIS ways? We who follow Christ do this EVERY DAY!


Scripture commands us in Christ’s Body to welcome everyone into our community equally. It is a stewardship to be taken very seriously.

How we live as Christ’s Body is important. Each command is of equal importance to God because He cares about our heart condition.

Jesus Christ’s Church exists based on God’s Mercy. We make God’s grace reality in our lives by expressing God-given grace to others.




What is your responsibility as far as making people feel welcome here at Midtown?

Why is each and every sin equally offensive to God? Why is this an important biblical doctrine?

How can you specifically elevate mercy over judgement in your life this coming week?


Be clear about the audience of this letter. Based on what these people had done to demonstrate a wholehearted surrender to The Lordship of Jesus Christ, there is an assumption that these people had been given eternal life in Christ and were indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

James audience either had comfortable lives as residents of Jerusalem, or had come to Jerusalem about 20 years ago for Pentecost and never went home! Or they came to be part of the ‘Called Out Ones’ in Jerusalem from the surrounding areas of Judea and Galilee more than ten – twenty years ago, but they now find themselves as part of this group that fled Jerusalem during the ‘Persecution’ that followed Stephen’s stoning that was led by Saul, soon to be Paul.

They had been living scattered throughout Palestine for between eight and twelve years. This exemplified ‘Giving Up Your Life For ME’ as Jesus requires of His recipients of Eternal Life:

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? ~ Mark 8:35-37

Luther called this a ‘Straw Epistle’ because the Gospel was not central to the text. Luther missed the historical context I just referred to, he placed the Scripture in his own context rather than understanding the actual context of the Scripture. The Gospel is central to the people James writes to. The Gospel is central to James, more so than perhaps Luther’s experience would allow him to understand.

James, Jesus’ half-brother, writes this as the clearly established leader of the Jerusalem church, 18 – 20 years after Jesus Christ’s Death and Resurrection. His Bonafides are unquestionable and this letter was considered Scripture perhaps before any other new testament book was afforded that status. I love Luther but he was wrong about the book of James.

Last week Jame began this letter with an encouragement to persevere in our discipleship, to let God transform us by walking with HIM through the temptations and trials that HE sees fit to give us. He points out two things that keep us from the kind of relationship God wants for us to have with HIM: Divided Loyalty and ‘Stuff’.

From there James gets right to the heart of the matter: Sin and Salvation.

James Ch 1:13-27

13 No one should say when they are tempted, “God is tempting me.” For God has no dealings with evil, and does not himself tempt anyone.

  • Biblical Theology: Believing what we do about God based on Scripture
  • God’s people have read the scripture in unity for thousands of year
  • God has NOTHING to do with temptation to sin or with sin itself.
  • This is something Christ followers are not double minded about: Repentance
  • This is a crucial aspect of Biblical Christianity: God is BLAMELESS in our sin.

14 Instead each person’s temptation is due to the pull of their own inward desires, which can be enormously attractive. 15 Their own desire takes hold of them, and that produces sin. Unrestrained sin, in the long run means death. 16 Make no mistake about that, my brothers and sisters!

  • This is wisdom as to the nature of sin’s source being in each of us
  • Sin, rebellion against our Creator, is inherent in every human being.
  • Our desires / pride / lust / selfishness consume and capture us
  • We have all gone against God
  • Each of us needs forgiveness of our sin in order to be in relationship with God
  • Our rebellion (SIN), if it is not reconciled, it will end in ETERNAL DEATH

17 But every good endowment that we possess and every complete gift that we have received come from above, from the Father of all lights, with whom there is never the slightest variation or shadow of inconsistency. 18 By his own wish he gave us life through the Word of truth that we might be, so to speak, the first specimens of his new creation.

  • In contrast to who & what we are; naturally rebellious and evil, God is GOOD!
  • HE has proven to be complete and unchangeable in HIS goodness
  • There is proof is what HE has done for us, how HE has had MERCY on us
  • The proof is that HE has given us life through HIS Word of Truth
  • The Word of Truth is The God-Man Jesus Christ and The Gospel Message!

19 In view of what He has made us dear brothers and sisters, let everyone be quick to listen but slow to use their tongue, and slow to lose their temper. 20 For human anger is never the means of achieving God’s true goodness.

  • Because we have been humbled by being forgiven, by being given eternal life
  • Because of The Sacrifice of Christ for us… PROVING His goodness
  • We are to reflect God’s goodness in our relationships (3 specific how to’s)
  • Be a good listener. Don’t go shooting your mouth off. Control your temper.
  • There is a distinction between ‘Human’ anger and ‘Godly Anger’ (Motive)
  • If God has saved YOU from eternal death and indwelt you with His Spirit…
  • Here is how you validate the reality of your faith: Listen / Be Quiet, / Chill Out!

21 Be done with impurity and every other evil which touches the lives of others, and humbly accept the message that God has sown in your hearts, and which can save your souls. 22 Don’t only hear the message, but put it into practice; otherwise you are merely deluding yourselves.

  • Bottom line: renounce evil and in humility fully accept what God has done
  • That is what is known as ‘Saving Grace’
  • God gives each of us who is to be HIS child the grace to humble themselves
  • The reality of how we live our lives is the proof that God has humbled us
  • We practice behaviors that flow from the message of Christ, what HE taught

What does this look like, only hearing the message and not putting it into practice?

23 The person who simply hears and does nothing about it is like someone catching the reflection of their own face in a mirror. 24 They see themself, it is true, but they go on with whatever they were doing without the slightest recollection of what sort of person they saw in the mirror.

  • You see yourself, no problem recognizing that, it is obvious who you are
  • There is zero impact of seeing that person, you basically ignore the information
  • That information is, for all intents and purposes, meaningless to you
  • How crazy: to know of Christ and not respond by surrendering your life
  • You have see that Jesus is God and yet you are un-impacted / unchanged

25 But the person who looks into the perfect mirror of God’s law, the law of Liberty, and makes a habit of acting on it, they are not like the one who sees and forgets. They put that law into practice and are blessed by their actions.

  • This is a description of one who has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ alone
  • This person sees God exactly as HE is: The perfect giver of ultimate liberty!
  • This person is wholeheartedly impacted to the point of radical change of habits
  • This is opposite of a ‘unregenerate’ person who’s life unaffected by the Gospel
  • Practicing the reality of our salvation is who we (Christ’s Body) are meant to be!
  • Our actions agree with God’s Will… so blessing flow from them!

26 If anyone appears to be ‘religious’ but cannot control their tongue, they deceive themselves, and we may be sure that their ‘religion’ is useless.

  • Religion is used here to denote a proper relationship to God (humble servant)
  • This relationship is a lie if we don’t grow to honor God with our words
  • If we surrender our lives to Christ that includes our words (I Surrender All)

27 Religion that is pure and genuine in the sight of God the Father will show itself by such things as visiting orphans and widows in their distress and keeping oneself uncontaminated by this world.

  • These are examples of what real Christians do, not meant to be a definitive list
  • Two categories of ‘Such Things’ that ‘True Religion’ shows itself in:
  • Caring for those who are without family structure to care for them
  • Living in ways that renounce what is valued in this world: Riches / Power / Self
  • It is a given that this world is trying to contaminate you with it’s disease: SIN
  • You must proactively & intentionally counteract the effects of this corrupt world

James calls us to live, make decisions and act on the reality of the ‘Message’


Each of us is born with rebellion against our Creator inside us. We also bear God’s image, though our SIN taints it. God is not to blame for our sin and without God’s forgiveness our sin will ARE Spiritually, Eternally DEAD!

God in His all encompassing goodness has made a way for us to be ‘New Creations’. The Word of Truth became one of us humans, God Himself was incarnated in the man Jesus Christ. God Himself was the sacrifice for each of our sin & rebellion, violently killed by His own creation. And then Christ rose from the dead the and He lives and HE is coming back!

God implants the truth of Christ in all those who are to be new creations and indwells them with His Spirit. This is the Good News, the Biblical Gospel of Jesus The Christ!

When God Biblically converts us to faith in Christ we can now behave in ways that reflect God. We will reflect HIS goodness in our relationships. We will renounce our anger as an affront to God.

Humble submission to God’s will in Christ is the source of our eternal life and we display that in a total rejection of everything that opposes God. We live like the Gospel is our ever present reality… because it is!

Christ -Given salvation is the basis of the Body of Christ. Christ’s people live by standards that are possible only because we have God’s Spirit, that is the way to have ‘True Religion’ as defined by God.


How honest are you about YOU being the cause of your sin? How honest are you about what the end result of your sin remaining unforgiven will be?

In the days and weeks ahead how can you more fully embrace the reality that in Biblically converting to Christ following you are a ‘New Creation”?

What is the connection between humbly accepting the message God has sown in your heart with being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to lose your temper?

If your daily life is not consistently impacted and directed by the Biblical Gospel, is it possible you are not all the way there with surrendering your life to Jesus The Christ?


We need this book as a church; we need wisdom to guide our discipleship. The Book of James mirrors the book of Proverbs at times. Prescribed practice is detailed then Theology explains why or Theology is explained by citing ‘Normative Practices.

The book of James is considered a ‘wisdom’ book in regard to Biblical genres along with Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Psalms and Song of Songs. It was written to guide a flock that had yet to develop a culture of shepherding. James is caring for their souls with his explicit warnings about sin and it’s consequences.

Here at the beginning of the letter, the stage is set for series of practical lessons that are meant to have the goal of glorifying Christ through our character and spiritual maturity. It is about embracing the idea that Spiritual Growth is a lifestyle for those of us who have surrendered our lives to Christ!

The rest of our world is not concerned with ANY personal growth, much less growth towards OUR CREATOR. The rest of the world is becoming more and more self-absorbed. We cannot imitate Christ AND live self-centered lives; unless we are living in ‘virtual reality’, which is where narcissism lives. How do we reject this wretched life of self absorption? We live for OUR Lord, we do it by BEING His Body, here, now, in person, warts and all.

Our vision here at Midtown church is Biblical Church Culture. That means reading The Scriptures, Old & New Testaments as Jesus Christ’s ‘Called Out Ones’ have always read it. That reading of it HAS to include real life application! That is what we mean when we say we ‘read’ the Bible as Christ’s followers have for 2000 years. This means in order to live as we are called to we ALL have to GROW UP! Spiritually / Emotionally / Relationally We ALL have a lot of growing to do!

The rest of this world is not trying to grow, they are trying to lower the bar. They argue that the world of today should be accepting of attitudes and behavior that have been rejected by humanity for centuries, even millennia. The rest of the world is not concerned with growing, it is concerned with being made to feel good about their selfishness, FEEL good about their consumerism, their dysfunctional way of doing relationships, Feel GOOD about their greed and lust and destructive obsessions. We are going to be different. We are committed to a lifestyle of Spiritual Growth! Are you good with that? Have you embraced that?

James 1:1-12 (JB Phillips)

1 James, servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, sends greetings to the twelve dispersed tribes.

  • Authorship
  • Audience
  • Historical Context
  • Social Context

2 When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers and sisters, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! 3 Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. 4 But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become people of mature character with the right sort of independence.

  • When, not if trials come… Trials are normative for Christians
  • Trials feel like and represent failure (change your thinking about failure)
  • Failure having such bad connotations is a recent thing, a snowflake thing…
  • A Lifestyle that embraces & learns from trials / failures is ‘Biblical’: Discipleship
  • Renounce the fear of failure / Own your failures and let that humble you
  • Nothing has value until it is tested. Is faith OUR meant to be worth something?
  • We are to view it as a process (Sanctification) We signed up ‘to be made Holy’

5 And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem, they have only to ask God. He gives generously to all without making them feel foolish or guilty, and each may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given to them.

  • The process is a given… now let’s talk about how we navigate the process
  • James assumes a reliance on the Scripture (Old Testament)
  • Beyond the particulars of Scripture we seek God in Prayer (Governed by Bible)

6 But you must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether you really want God’s help or not. 7 One who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. 8 That sort of person cannot hope to receive anything from God, and such a life of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.

  • Wholehearted / Undivided
  • Humbled / At The End Of Yourself
  • Only God can get rid of your doubts. He doesn’t always do it right away.
  • The anything refers to things only God can give: ETERNAL THINGS
  • If your loyalty is divided you are hoping on superstition and magic, NOT GOD
  • No one is able to ‘Practice’ undivided loyalty in each decision they make
  • Stability comes for the ‘Author of Stability’: THE TRIUNE GOD

9 The person who is poor may be glad because God has called them to the true riches. 10 The rich may be glad that God has shown them their spiritual poverty. For the rich person, as such, will wither away as surely as summer flowers.

  • Your material possessions &connections DO NOT reflect your Spiritual State
  • God has mercy on the humble and down trodden when it matters: ETERNALLY
  • The hope of the rich lies in the discovery of their spiritual poverty (Matt. 5:3)
  • The things of comfort and luxury are not lasting

11 One day the sunrise brings a scorching wind; the grass withers at once and so do all the flowers—all that lovely sight is destroyed. Just as surely will the rich person and all their extravagant ways fall into the blight of decay.

  • This life is but a season
  • The prioritizing of material things over the things of GOD brings death & decay!
  • Everything in this world is temporary. We can choose to invest in eternal things!

12 The person who patiently endures the temptations and trials that come to them is the truly happy one. For once the testing is complete they will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to all who love Him.

  • For those without STUFF inTHIS world, HOPE lies in Eternity with Christ!
  • The definition of true happiness, eternal happiness, eternity with Christ
  • God has a plan for salvation and growth that is a lifestyle and a lifelong deal.
  • Those who are undivided in their trusting Christ for eternity GET THE CROWN!
  • The crown of life IS ‘Eternal Life’ with Christ!…
  • The Bible also teaches of another kind of eternal life…one without Christ

A lifestyle of growth is a lifestyle of actively participating in that growth (DISCIPLESHIP), this happens in challenges, trials and temptations (failures).
God’s Word calls us to embrace what God allows in our life, enduring the process that HE has chosen for our growth spiritually. God’s goal is to make your character reflect HIM (Spiritual Maturity).
As we navigate the process of God developing our character, we are directed to consult with our Master on how to proceed. He is generous, gracious and able to provide the wisdom we need to grow spiritually.
The basis of a biblical relationship with God is to approach Him from wholehearted, undivided surrender to Christ as Lord. The stability of our relationship is only as strong as our complete loyalty. Solid Biblical Gospel Foundation.
Our spiritual condition is not based on or reflective of our socioeconomic position. Scripture teaches the ‘Anti-Prosperity Gospel’. Material poverty is helpful in overcoming spiritual poverty. Material success can be a roadblock to overcoming spiritual poverty: We ALL need to overcome spiritual poverty!
Trusting Christ for Eternal life is reflected / expressed in trusting Him for THIS life. When we place Christ in priority over everything this world can offer, then we can find peace in the promise of that eternal life with Christ.

What would help you embrace failures as part of God’s process of spiritual growth?
What would help you seek God’s wisdom in the challenges you face?
What do you see when you honestly evaluate what divides your loyalty to God?
How much do you connect your dependence on God and your prayer life?
How well do you recognize when material things distract you from biblical spiritual growth?