Morning Bible Study
The church move
We’ve been given our twelve-month notice and need to move by July 25, 2020. We had 16 years left on our original lease.
Reason: Two growing churches bumping up against each other.
We are trusting that God will be doing amazing things.
If you see property possibilities, DON’T call the leasing agent – it will
drive the price up. Instead call the
office and we will have our agent follow up.
We don’t want to be like that man in Elisha’s day that didn’t believe the
famine was going to end…
(2 Kings 7:2 NKJV)
—2 So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God
and said, “Look, if the Lord
would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he said,
“In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
Thursday night is movie night…
The book of James is possibly one of the earliest things written in the New
It’s thought to have been written around AD 40-50
It was written by James, the half-brother of Jesus.
James’ father was Joseph, while Jesus’ father was God.
Though James didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah until after the resurrection,
James would eventually be recognized as the leader of the church in Jerusalem.
James was known in the early church as “James the Just” because of his
great devotion to God and purity of life.
Ancient historian Eusebius describes James’ prayer life, that he…
was frequently found upon his knees begging
forgiveness for the people, so that his knees became hard like those of a
camel, in consequence of his constantly bending them in his worship of God, and
asking forgiveness for the people
While the apostle Paul wrote mainly to Gentiles, James is writing to the
His teachings are going to be very practical (hence our “tools” pic) and
will draw much from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, as well as the book of
:11 Do not speak evil of
one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother,
speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are
not a doer of the law but a judge.
speak evil – katalaleo (“against” + “speak”) – to speak
against one, to slander
tense: Present active imperative (1st time)
tense: Present active participle (2nd time)
tense: Present active indicative (3rd time)
judges – krino – to separate, put asunder, to pick
out, select, choose; to approve, esteem, to prefer; to judge; to pronounce an
opinion concerning right and wrong; of those who act the part of judges or
arbiters in matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of
tense: Present active participle (1st time)
tense: Present active indicative (2nd time)
tense: Present active indicative (3rd time)
tense: Present active participle (4th time)
:11 …speaks evil of a brother …speaks evil of the law
Love and the Law
When James is talking about “the law”, he’s not talking about the Ten
He’s not talking about the 600+ commands in the Old Testament.
He’s talking about something greater.
During the last week of Jesus’ life, He was challenged by many religious
NKJV) —35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing
Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great
commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You
shall love the Lord your God with
all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all
the Law and the Prophets.”
Two laws acted as summaries of the entire Old Testament
The first “law” is found in Deut. 6:5, the law to love God
with all that you are.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with
all your soul, and with all your strength.
The second “law” is found in Lev. 19:18, the law to love
your “neighbor” as yourself.
(Leviticus 19:18 NKJV) You shall not take vengeance, nor
bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your
neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
If you look at all the Laws of the Old Testament, they are
summed up with these two things – loving God and loving others.
If you do those two things, you won’t be breaking any of
the other laws.
If you are slandering another person, you are directly breaking that “2nd”
law, the law of loving others.
Technically, the word translated “speak evil” three times in this verse
doesn’t contain the word “evil”, but the idea of “speaking against” (katalaleo) another person. That’s slander.
Peter uses this word to describe how we are unjustly treated by unbelievers,
when they accuse us of bad things even thought we’ve
only done good things…
(1 Peter 2:12 NKJV) …they speak against you as
(1 Peter 3:16 NKJV) …they defame you as evildoers…
A similar word is used to describe Satan:
(Revelation 12:10b NKJV) …for the accuser of our
brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast
The word used there is katagoros,
“against” + “marketplace”.
It carries the idea of accusing in public, or before a
I want to show you a clip from the movie “42”, about Jackie Robinson. Throughout the movie you hear incredibly
filthy language, things Jackie had to put up with when he broke the color
barrier and began to play in the big leagues.
The clip I picked started with a dad calling Jackie filthy names and his
son learning to mimic his dad…
Then baseball hero and good ‘ol southern boy PeeWee Reese decides he’s going to be different in how he
Video: 42 – Maybe Tomorrow We’ll
All Wear 42
When you find yourself speaking bad things about another person, your words
give others the idea that God’s law of love isn’t right.
You have family up in the stands. Be
sure to show them just who you are.
:12 There is one
Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are
you to judge another?
Lawgiver – nomothetes (“law”
+ “place”) – a lawgiver
is able – dunamai – to be able, have power whether by
virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through
favorable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do
something; to be capable, strong and powerful
tense: present middle participle
to save – sozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to
rescue from danger or destruction
tense: aorist active infinitive
to destroy – apollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way
entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; render useless; to perish, to be lost,
tense: aorist active infinitive
:12 one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to
I’m not the executioner
There are times when it’s proper to confront other believers over their bad
(Galatians 6:1 NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, if
another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and
humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall
into the same temptation yourself.
James himself will write,
5:19–20 NLT) —19 My dear brothers and sisters, if
someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering
will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
We need to be careful that we aren’t acting as judge, jury, and
executioner over other believers.
Being judge and executioner is God’s job.
He’s the “Lawgiver”. He
sentences. He also saves.
When you say to a person, “God damn you”, you are
demanding that God send them to hell (“to destroy”).
Don’t say that to another person. That doesn’t represent God’s law of love.
(Romans 14:4 NKJV) Who are you to judge another’s
servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to
stand, for God is able to make him stand.
:13 Come now, you who
say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there,
buy and sell, and make a profit”;
Come now – ago – to lead,
take with one
tense: Present active imperative
Today – semeron – this (very) day); what has happened
tomorrow – aurion – tomorrow
we will go to – poreuomai – to
pursue the journey on which one has entered, to continue on
tense: future middle indicative
buy and sell – emporeuomai (“emporium”)
– to be in business; to trade
tense: future middle indicative
make a profit – kerdaino – to
gain, acquire, to get gain
tense: future active indicative
:13 we will go to such and such a city
In Greek there are several ways to talk about the future.
If the writer uses a “subjunctive” mood, then he is stating a possibility,
the potential of something happening.
If the writer uses a future tense in the indicative mood, then he is
stating with certainty that something will definitely happen,
nothing “potential” about it.
James is using the future indicative.
The people James is describing are making a claim that they will definitely go to a certain place, they will definitely be
staying for a year, they will definitely be involved in business, and they will
definitely be making a profit.
:14 whereas you do not
know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even
a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
you do not know – epistamai – to put
one’s attention on, fix one’s thoughts on, to turn one’s self or one’s mind to,
put one’s thought upon a thing; to be acquainted with, to understand; to know
tense: present passive indicative
for what – poios – of what sort or nature
life – zoe – life
vapor – atmis – vapour
little time – oligos –
little, small, few; of time: short
appears – phaino – to bring forth into the light, cause
to shine, shed light; to become evident, to be brought forth into the light,
come to view, appear; to appear, be seen
tense: present passive participle
vanishes away – aphanizo (“not” +
“shine”) – to snatch out of sight, to put out of view, to make unseen; to cause
to vanish away, to destroy, consume
tense: present passive participle
:14 For what is your life?
When you’re young, you feel like you’ll live forever.
When you get older, you realize how quick life can be over, just like smoke
(Psalm 90:12 NKJV) So teach us to number our days, That we may gain
a heart of wisdom.
(Psalm 39:4 NKJV) “Lord, make me to
know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know
how frail I am.
:15 Instead you ought
to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
for that – anti – over
against, opposite to, before; for, instead of, in place of (something)
wills – thelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be
resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do
a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure.
tense: aorist active subjunctive
As a subjunctive, we could translate this, “If the Lord should will…”
we shall live – zao – to live,
breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead); to enjoy real life; to
live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting. Aorist subjunctive.
tense: future active indicative
do – poieo – to make; to do. Aorist subjunctive.
tense: future active indicative
:15 we shall live and do this or that
Both “live” and “do” are future indicative.
They carry a sense of absolute certainty.
Is it wrong to make plans?
Not at all.
Some folks use these verses in James and conclude that we shouldn’t be
making any plans in life at all.
Jesus talked about the importance of making a careful, thoughtful choice
when it comes to following Him.
Our choice ought to be made with careful thought and consideration.
14:28 NKJV) For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down
first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—
A farmer putting a watchtower in his field has to plan out whether he can afford it before he starts
A wise king makes sure he knows that his enemy is like
before he engages in battle.
There are some things in life you will never be able to accomplish without
setting goals and careful planning.
A house builder needs plans before he starts pouring foundations and
An athlete who wants to compete in the Olympics doesn’t just dream about
it, There needs to be goals, training, direction.
If you desire to be a doctor, you will have to make a lot of plans to
finish college, get into medical school, and further your training.
If you want to buy a house, it’s probably not going to fall from the sky.
You will have to figure out a way to scrimp and save for a
down payment. You will need to make sure
your income can support a mortgage.
If you are a person who lives from paycheck to paycheck,
you will probably never own your own house.
The issue here is not making plans.
The issue is about involving God in your plans.
:15 If the Lord wills
There is no future or subjunctive ideas here. It’s an actual word translated “to will”.
wills – θέλω thelo – to will,
have in mind; to be determined; to desire, to wish; to love; to take delight
in, have pleasure.
I want to talk about God’s “will” in two ways:
Definite God plans
It’s not wrong to make plans or even to have a degree of certainty about
your plans, as long as it is all under the override
authority of God’s will.
19:21 NKJV) There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless
the Lord’s counsel—that will
Though there are some things in life where we aren’t sure of God’s will,
there are a number of things we can be certain of –
I’ll look at two:
When Paul tells Timothy to make sure that the church is praying for people,
Timothy 2:3–4 NKJV) —3 For this is good and
acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires
all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
“desires” = thelo
You may be here today and you’ve
never made that important commitment to Jesus Christ.
God wants you to be saved.
Perhaps you’ve heard the truth about God’s love for you:
3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Do you know what it means that God “gave” His Son? It means that Jesus died for us, as Paul wrote,
Corinthians 15:3 NKJV) …that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
All that’s left is for you to make the choice, to engage your “will” to
open your heart to Jesus.
(John 1:12 NLT) But to all who believed him and
accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
Did you know that it is God’s “will” for you to be saved? It’s what God “wants”. It’s what God “desires”.
Let today be the day you open your heart to Jesus.
Thessalonians 4:3 NLT) God’s will is for you
to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.
This isn’t something you need to wonder about.
Your car was designed to run on a certain type of fuel.
If your car runs on gasoline, don’t be putting diesel in
it, or that ethanol stuff. That will
cause you trouble.
Your life will run much better when you learn what it
means to stay pure.
God wants our relationship with Him to be one continual time of
communicating with Him with an attitude of joy and thankfulness.
5:16–18 NLT) —16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
How much of your life could be described with words like
joy, prayer, and thankfulness?
You don’t have to wonder about these things. This is what God desires for you.
Indefinite God plans
There are some areas in our life where we are not quite as certain as to
what God wants.
It’s in these things that we want to be careful to leave room for God’s
How do we do that?
3:5–6 NKJV) —5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not
on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall
direct your paths.
Franklin Graham was discipled by the man who originally founded Samaritan’s
Purse, a ministry that tries to meet needs of people around the world – those
in disasters, wars, orphans, etc.
One of the biggest lessons Bob taught Franklin was about “God Room”.
The idea is to make sure that when you make your plans,
you are leaving room for God to work.
For extra credit, I’ve included a story in the app notes by Franklin Graham
about how he learned the concept of leaving God room to work.
Bob Pierce was a wild card, and also the founder
of Samaritan’s purse, (then Operation Christmas Child). He was a right hand guy to Billy Graham & was taking Franklin
under his wing at this time. Franklin
From India we went to Kathmandu, Nepal, and Iran. While traveling with Bob,
I learned many of life’s lessons. But the lesson Bob taught me that stands out
above all else is what Bob called, “God Room.”
“What do you mean?” I asked him once when he started talking about “God
room.” He gave me a glance that was close to disgust, almost as if to say,
“Don’t you know?” He took a deep breath and sighed before he said,
“‘God room’ is when you see a need and it’s bigger than your human abilities
to meet it. But you accept the challenge. You trust God to bring in the
finances and the materials to meet that need.
“You get together with your staff, your prayer partners, and supporters,
and you pray. But
after all is said and done, you can only raise a portion of the
resources required. Then you begin to watch God work. Before you know it, the
need is met. At the same time, you understand you didn’t do it. God did it. You
allowed Him room to work.”
Bob was on one of his rolls. His eyes sparkled and the words tumbled out:
“Many times I went to places like Vietnam, where I’d see people who needed
help. I would commit a hundred thousand dollars for the project. Then I’d go
home, knowing that Samaritan’s Purse didn’t have the money. I certainly didn’t have
the money. But I believed that through praying and trusting God, He would
“You know, Franklin, you always have to have ‘God room’! I stopped him and
asked, “Does this always work” I’m not sure I’ve got that kind of faith.”
Again he flashed a look that seemed to say,
“Aren’t you listening?” He smiled and said softly, “Listen Buddy, ‘God Room’ is
when you have seen a need you believe God wants you to meet. You try, but you
can’t. After you’ve exhausted all your human effort, there’s still a gap. No
matter what you do, you just can’t humanly bring it about. That’s when you pray
and leave God room to work. You watch God close the gap.
“That’s why I keep saying we need always to operate on ‘God room.” He
paused and grinned. When you go back to America, Buddy, commit yourself to
bigger things than you can humanly do. Then you can watch God work a miracle.”
I finally understood. In some ways I had already seen this principle at
work in Mafraq at the hospital when the missionaries there got down on tier
knees every Friday to pray for their needs.
But Bob pressed on, wanting to make sure I got exactly what he meant. It
seemed extremely important to him that if I didn’t get anything else out for
this trip, I would at least understand the “God room” principle.
“You see, Franklin,” Bob continued, “faith isn’t required as long as you
set your goal only as high as the most intelligent, most informed, and expert
human efforts can reach.”
Bob illustrated what he meant by telling me of a church in the United States
that has set a goal to raise one hundred thousand dollars to refurbish the
church. The church leaders appealed to the congregation and collected
seventy-five thousand. They still needed twenty-five. So
what did they do?
“They formed a committee, and members of that committee visited each church
member and encouraged them to give more so they could meet their obligation.
And they met it. Okay, that’s what human strategy and planning can do. Nothing
wrong with that, Buddy, but just don’t call it faith.”
“They reached their goal, didn’t they, Wasn’t that faith?” I asked
“Naw that’s just good sense at work. Now, here’s
how faith works. He told me about another church, which outgrew it’s building and needed to enlarge. Members pledged two
hundred thousand dollars for the expansion.
“About that time, a missionary couple from India came home on furlough and
worshipped with the congregation. They told about the hellhole of Calcutta. The
people could hardly believe what they heard. The couple never asked for anything,
just shared the needs of the homeless, starving children they were trying to
“You know what, Buddy? The board of the church got so involved with that
vision, they voted to take the entire two hundred thousand dollars and give it
to the missionaries for their work.” (Later on I
learned that this church became one of the fastest growing congregations in the
United States and completed several building programs.)
“Their giving the money to the missionaries—that was faith.” Then Bob got
to his point: “That’s where ‘God room’ comes in. Nothing is a miracle until it reaches the
area where the utmost that human effort can do still isn’t enough. God has to fill that space that room—between what’s possible and
what He wants done that’s impossible. That’s what I mean by ‘God Room’.
Bob stood up and faced me. He tapped me on the chest, emphasizing each word
with a thump of his index finger: “ You don’t exercise
faith until you have promised more than it’s possible to give.”
Bob lived by the “God room” principle, but it caused him many problems.
Some people who worked with him from time to time just couldn’t accept it. They
wanted everything written in black and white with a five-year plan and detailed
budget. Bob just couldn’t work that way.
People like Bob remind me of the words Jesus spoke to Nicodemus: “The wind
blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it
comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John
Bob was definitely one of those “unpredictable”
saints who responded on a moment-to-moment basis to the Spirit of God.
Bob Pierce was a spiritual giant to me. Next to my father, few influenced
me and set the course of my life more than my buddy, Bob.
As promised, Bob and I arrived back in the United States just before
Christmas. I shared with Jane Austin all I had seen and learned, including all
the funny stories about Bob.
Only later did I realize that Bob had a motive for wanting me to go with
him on the tour. For some reason Bob saw something of himself in me. What he
had in mind would drastically affect my future. Maybe that’s why he spent so
much time making certain that I really understood “God room.”
The other day I came across a blog
post by young pastor, Chase Replogle, as he wrote
about the grand dreams he had while in seminary.
He had drawn up plans for what he thought a good church ought to be
about. Yet after seminary, his ministry
plans fell apart. He ended up getting a full-time
secular job and started a small bible study in his in-laws’
He kept dreaming of his future mega-church, all the time ignoring the
little flock that met every Sunday night, right in front of him.
Then he came across Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic book Life Together.
Pastor Chase goes on to write,
I’m not sure what motivated me to pick it up. Maybe it was
its deceptively small size. Whatever my reason for starting the book, I was
entirely unprepared for four words on page 27: “God hates visionary dreaming.”
It makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who
fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by
others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands,
sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God himself accordingly. He
stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He
acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds
men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure.
When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an
accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.
This young pastor is now seven years into leading this
same group, now grown to about 60 people.
He has realized that he has the church God had for him all along.
Make your plans, but leave room
for God to do things the way He wants.
:16 But now you boast in
your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
you boast – kauchaomai – to glory (whether with reason or
without); to glory on account of a thing; to glory in a thing
tense: present middle indicative
arrogance – alazoneia – empty, braggart talk; an insolent and
empty assurance, which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully
despises and violates divine laws and human rights; an impious and empty
presumption which trusts in the stability of earthy things
boasting – kauchesis – the act of glorying
evil – poneros – full of labours,
annoyances, hardships; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in an ethical sense:
evil wicked, bad
:16 you boast in your arrogance
Arrogant boasting is nothing but trouble.
Two moose hunters from Texas are flown into a remote lake in Alaska. They
have a good hunt, and both manage to get a large moose. When the plane returns
to pick them up, the pilot looks at the animals and says, “This little plane
won’t lift all of us, the equipment, and both of those animals. You’ll have to
leave one. We’d never make it over the trees on the take off.” “That’s baloney”, says one of the
hunters. “Yeah,” the other agrees,
“you’re just chicken: we came out here last year and got two moose and that
pilot had some guts: He wasn’t afraid to take off!” “Yeah”, said the first hunter, “and his
plane wasn’t any bigger than yours!” The
pilot got angry, and said, “If he did it, then I can do it. I can fly as well
as anybody!” They loaded up, taxied at full throttle, and the plane almost made
it, but didn’t have the lift to clear the trees at the end of the lake. It
clipped the tops, then flipped, then broke up, scattering the baggage, animal
carcasses, and passengers all through the brush. Still alive, but hurt and dazed, the pilot
sat up, shook his head to clear it, and said, “Where are we?” One of the hunters rolled out from being
thrown into a bush, looked around, and said, “I’d say about a hundred yards
further than last year.”
:17 Therefore, to him who
knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
knows – eido – to see; to know; to know, i.e. get
knowledge of, understand, perceive
tense: perfect active participle
good – kalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent,
eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable
sin – hamartia – to miss
the mark; to err, be mistaken; to wander from the law of God, violate God’s
law, sin; that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine
law in thought or in act
:17 to him who knows to do good
We usually think of sin as doing some particularly evil thing, or “sins of
Some people live their whole lives in fear of crossing a line or breaking
Here the concern isn’t what we’ve done that’s bad, but that we don’t do the
things that are good.
Sins of omission
3:27 NKJV) Do not withhold good from those to whom it is
due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
I’m not sure James talking about not doing the things in the previous few
I think he’s summarizing all that he’s been telling us.
Being impartial towards others (2:1)
Faith demonstrated by good works (2:18)
Using words to bless, not curse (3:10)
Drawing near to God (4:8)
When we know to do these things and we neglect to do them, it’s “sin” to
As we’ve been making our way through James, is there something you’ve
neglected to do?