NT Nov. 1-5

November 1 — Hebrews 13 — Your Leaders.  Two times in this chapter the Christian’s relationship to church leaders is mentioned.  Both are in the form of a command—a requirement for us.  The first, in verse 7, is to “Remember your leaders” who preach to you.  Two things to remember about them are the doctrinal content of “the word of God” they share and “the outcome of their way of life,” which is basically how they live.  Then, we are to “imitate their faith.”  The second command is a double one: “Obey your leaders and submit to them” (v. 17).  We are not only to remember what they say but we are also to obey it as well.  This verse also emphasizes their responsibility: “they are keeping watch over your souls” and they “will have to give an account.”  If the leaders in your church are godly men, they should be copied and obeyed.

November 2 — James 1 — Brother James.  James was a brother of Jesus, actually a half-brother because Joseph was not the biological father of the divine Jesus.  But although James grew up with a perfect older brother, John 7:5 tells us that “not even his brothers believed in him.”  It was apparently not until after Jesus’ resurrection, when He appeared to James, that he became a believer (1 Cor. 15:7).  He soon became the leader of the church in Jerusalem and wrote this very compact and practical letter for our benefit.  One of his lessons in this chapter is to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (v. 22).  We are not to be a “hearer who forgets but a doer who acts” (v. 25).  One way to not forget what you learn from Scripture is to share with someone else what you learned that same day.  Write a note, make a call, or add this to some face-to-face conversation: “Hey, I noticed something neat in the Bible today,” and then share it.  It will help you to be a doer instead of a forgetter.

November 3 — James 2 — Works of Faith.  Martin Luther, the catalyst of the beginning of Protestantism, said that this letter of James “is really an epistle of straw … the Papists [Roman Catholic leaders] embrace it alone and leave out all the rest” (Luther’s Works).  I think both sides were misinterpreting what James said here about faith and works.  James was not contrasting them but only stressing that real faith will be demonstrated by what one does.  He was saying that so-calledfaith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (v. 17) and that this kind of “faith apart from works is useless” (v. 20).  It is like the young girl in a farming community who was the only one to bring an umbrella to the special church service to pray for a drought-ending rain.  Her faith was demonstrated by action.  The action shows the reality of faith.  That is why James could say that “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (v. 24).  Faith alone is not real faith.  Real faith shows itself to be genuine by being accompanied by appropriate action.

November 4 — James 3 — Taming Tongues.  Some of my most hauntingly, embarrassing memories are related to inappropriate things that I have said.  Something said in a few seconds can produce a lifetime of regretful and uncomfortable memories.  When James said that “no human being can tame the tongue” (v. 8), perhaps he was talking about taming the tongue without God’s help or of taming the tongues of others, like his outward-directed examples of taming horses and ships (vv. 3-4), beasts, and birds (v. 7).  With the aid of the Holy Spirit, we can tame our own tongues, so they won’t both “bless our Lord” and “curse people” (v. 9).  James had suggested earlier that a person canbridle his tongue” (1:26).  David also said that we can control our own tongue: “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” (Ps. 34:13).  And Peter presents the benefits of taming our own tongue: “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Pet. 3:10).  Forget about trying to monitor the speech of others; instead, concentrate on taming your own tongue!

November 5 — James 4 — Commission and Omission.  There are sins of action and sins of inaction.  James lists many sins of commission in this chapter: We “murder … covet … fight … quarrel” (v. 2), we become “a friend of the world” (v. 4), and we “speak evil against one another” (v. 11).  Instead of falling into these acts of sin, we are instructed to “resist the devil” (v. 7) and “draw near to God” (v. 8).  If we do not do these positive things, we are committing sins of omission.  “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (v. 17).  Resisting the devil is easier for us to recognize because of the obvious evil involved but it is harder for us to recognize that “whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (v. 4).  Being a friend of the world is so subtle and non-threatening.  It seems so tame, but it is deadly.  Would people around you know that you are different because you are a Christian without your telling them?  We ought to stand out from the world because we are to “go out from their midst, and be separate from them” (2 Cor. 6:17).

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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