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young religious man Who is Truly Religious? James 1:19-27

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Describe someone who you think is truly religious. How can we tell? Is a person truly religious if he goes to all the church services? Maybe, unless he sits, soaks, and sours in his pew. There is a story of one pastor who spiked the communion juice every Sunday with lemon juice so his congregation would look more religious. Seriously, how do our family members, our friends, our neighbors, and even strangers know that we are truly religious? (take their responses and then read James 1:19-27)

As you may recall, the people to whom James addressed his letter were persecuted Jews who scattered from Jerusalem in concentric circles to Judea and Samaria, all the way north to Antioch in Syria, west to Caesarea Philippi, and south to Gaza. Where they were now living was amongst the ungodly Gentiles. Perhaps they were angry about their situation. Perhaps they wanted to take revenge for being forced out of their homes and away from their family and friends. Humanly speaking, who could blame them? What did James say about this? James 1:19-20

Answer 1


If God did not want them to take revenge, what did God want them to do? James 1:21

Answer 2


Apparently the Jews had taken on some of the ways of the Gentiles, because if they were to look into the mirror of God's Word they would see moral filth that they needed to get rid of.

Why do we look in a mirror; is it just to admire ourselves? No, we look to see if there are any flaws or to see if we look presentable for people. Is our hair combed? Did we put on our makeup right? Do we need a shave? Are our clothes rumpled? Does our clothing coordinate properly? These are some reasons we look in a mirror. In James 1:22-25 James likens the Bible to a spiritual mirror. How do we get rid of our moral filth? We can't just take washcloths and soap and wipe off the filth on our faces. Read 1John 1:7,9; Ephesians 5:26; and James 1:21-22.

Answer 3


Have we been washed of our sins? Have we gotten rid of moral filth or do we listen to crude jokes, watch sexually explicit or implicit movies or view pornography? Do we have a problem controlling our temper? What are we doing about it?

How do we make changes? What is the perfect law that gives freedom, mentioned in James 1:25? (See also John 8:31-32)

Answer 4


What is one evidence of a truly religious person, according to James 1:26?

Answer 5


What are two more evidences of a person who is truly religious according to James 1:27?

Answer 6


Lessons to Live by: (leaders, ask for members' input first)

Today's Bible memory verse:

James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (NIV)

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Answers: (use browser arrow to return to previous spot in Bible study)

A1: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires," (James 1:19-20, NIV).

A2: "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says," (James 1:21, NIV).

A3: We need to confess our sins to God and he will wash us and purify us, and forgive our sins. Ephesians 5:26 also says it is the Word of God that is like water that washes us. Let's not just look at the mirror of God's Word and then go on. James 1:21-22 says, “humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (NIV)

A4: The perfect law that gives freedom? That seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Laws usually confine us. However, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the perfect law that gives liberty to our souls, and living by the grace of God and in obedience to him gives us blessings from the LORD. Furthermore, we are to look intently into this perfect law, meaning we need to give attention to it and make it our lifestyle.

A5: A sign of being truly religious is keeping a tight reign on our tongues. Do we gossip or slander or use the Lord's name in vain? Furthermore, Ephesians 5:4 says, "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving," (NIV). If these bad things are true of us then we deceive ourselves if we believe we are truly religious.

A6: A truly righteous person is known by his acts of mercy and compassion and keeping himself clean, unspotted, and untarnished from the ways of the world. He keeps himself separated to God and seeks to please him. What are we doing for widows, orphans, and others in genuine need? How are we keeping ourself pure before God?

Lessons to live by: (my answers)

  • True religion begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ (more...). Only he can give us forgiveness and peace with God. Our right relationship with him will cause us to want to be like him.
  • Mere anger at injustice does not necessarily make us righteous or religious
  • Look in the mirror of God's word and make the changes by confession and forsaking sin, and living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Watch your tongue that you are blessing God and people with it, not cursing.
  • Act with compassion and mercy to those in genuine need, and keep yourself clean and unspotted from the ways of the world.

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