"Prepare For Action"
TEXT: Malachi 3; James 2
1. The lives of Jacob and Esau are used to reveal two common attitudes that show up in humanity. Esau foolishly traded his birthright for something (a meal) that would pacify his immediate desire (hunger). God uses this event to teach His children that making decisions based only on the present moment, and the emotions that you are expereincing in that moment, is both unwise and destructive. Many of the blessings we receive from the Lord require us to patiently wait for our Heavenly Father to move on our behalf.
2. A few questions that every believer should give intentional thought to: (1) how passive should we be about eternity, and (2) how serious should we take the Christian faith?
Meditating on such questions help us work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
3. Every child of God has been given a responsibility to discern if the spiritual teaching they are hearing is biblically strong and glorifying to God. Believers should be able to recognize false teachers by looking at the ‘fruit’ of their lives. Additionally, no one person can handle this responsibility alone, which is why God places us in a spiritual family.
4. The reality and concept of “family” is protected throughout the Word of God. Why? Because God has designed local churches to exist and behave as a family.
5. The Book of James reminds us to put action behind our prayers. If someone has a need that we can meet, we should take action and help fulfill that need. This doesn’t negate the power and necessity of prayer, but rather reveals that sometimes our actions can be the answer to the prayers we have brought before our Lord.
6. Faith is not simply believing something; it is behaving like you believe and trust the Bible.
What is God paying close attention to concerning our lives and behavior? He seems to be primarily concerned with: (1) the motivations of our heart and (2) if there is action behind our faith.
7. The Bible often speaks of caring for orphans and widows (who both represent the most needy and vulnerable groups of people in the 1st Century). How should this reality impact our lives? God expects His children to know who the most vulnerable people in their culture are. He expects us to know and to serve them.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. Why do you think God has structured spiritual growth to include so much 'waiting' on our parts (Truth 1)?
2. How do we answer the questions posed to us in Truth 2? What should/do we use to determine the answer to how serious we should take the Christian faith?
3. The lives of false teachers are full of "rotten fruit." What does that rotten fruit look like and what do you think it consists of?
4. Can you think of any 'guidelines' that may help believers determine which needs we are called to pray about, and which needs call us to action?
5. Who are the most vulnerable and needy people in our culture? Why? Also, what should American Christians be doing to minister to that vulnerable group of people?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following areas:
- Patience and joy as we 'wait'
- For godly motivations to be present within our hearts
- Putting action behind our faith + prayers