Friday, September 17, 2010

This Week's Reading - James 2 and 3

Greetings Project Ezra! This week we will be reading a combination of two chapters, starting from James 2:14 and continuing through James 3:12. These passages are a perfect illustration of what Solomon meant when he said there is nothing new under the sun. As in New Testament times, there are many people today who claim faith but have no fruit. True faith will make itself evident through the works that flow naturally from the new heart. Faith will also make itself evident through the taming of the tongue. The first and second chapters of 1 John address this as well. The one who says he believes but walks in darkness is a liar, but if we walk in the light as He is in the light, then the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. This is not a matter of working for your salvation, but of the true fruit of salvation.

Have you ever noticed that when a non-believer is around a committed Christian, their behavior frequently changes? They may choose not to bring up certain subjects, or change the subject of conversation when you arrive, or they may catch themselves using bad language and apologize to you for it. I believe much of this is as a result of the person’s conscience working on them. After all, we all know God’s law, and are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, not in ignorance. And it is that truth that makes the use of the law in evangelism so appropriate and effective. People can suppress the truth, but can never quite get rid of it, and it will jump out when the person least expects it. We need to preach in such as way as to capitalize on this fact, understanding, of course, that it is truly the Holy Spirit doing the work, and not us.

Strongly encourage people to examine themselves with a tender conscience. We have discussed this before, and I don’t believe it can be overemphasized. The law must be put in charge, or made the schoolmaster, to lead people to Christ. Nearly everybody believes they are a sinner in a general sense, but that sin needs to be made personal to them so they feel conviction for it and see their need for the Savior. As chapter 1 verse 23 says, the man who is a hearer of the word and not a doer is like the man who looks at himself in the mirror and then goes away and forgets what he looks like. We need to hold the mirror back up so he can’t help but see himself in truth. The following passages, both from the suggested reading and the chapters around it, will help him see his reflection better:

1:26 – If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is useless.
One of the fruits of the spirit is self control.

2:10 – For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
This is a good one to have ready for those who actually claim they are righteous. There are always a few. We may look good by man’s standards, but will never measure up to God’s.

2:14 – What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
The kind of faith that does not produce works in not true faith at all! True faith in Christ will always produce a change in the person’s behavior.

2:19 – You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!
Belief in isolation, or mere intellectual assent, is insufficient. Even the demons believe the truth of God’s existence, and they are certainly not saved.

3:5 – How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.
3:9 – With is we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Look at these verses in combination with 1:26. The fruit of salvation will be control of the tongue.

I pray these ideas are helpful to you in sharing the gospel.

This weekend I will be putting up the event page for our Halloween reading, and possibly for our Black Friday reading as well. These major readings are among the best times to invite other brothers and sisters to participate in Project Ezra, and the longer lead time will give you more opportunity to form your team. The longer passages also make it easier to divide the reading up, and most people will be more likely to join in if they have someone with more experienced sharing the reading with them. It is truly amazing the difference it makes when even one or two other believers join you, and what an encouragement their prayer and moral support can be. Some events, like Halloween (particularly if you will be doing your reading in the evening, as our group will be) are also likely to bring out some, shall we say, more “colorful” characters, so a group adds an additional level of safety for all participants.

Also, the dates for the 2011 Ambassador’s Academy season have been announced, and you can find out more information here:

And watch an informational video clip here:

Many members of Project Ezra have already attended the Academy, which is a 3 day evangelism boot camp in Southern California, and will testify that it is an absolutely life-changing experience. At the Academy you will receive training from Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Tony Miano, and a team of some of the best open-air preachers and evangelists in the country, if not the world. The Academy was my first introduction to open-air preaching, and gave me the skills to do so effectively and biblically. In addition, several regular Project Ezra participants (including me) will be serving as team leaders for the Academy in 2011.

If you have not attended, please prayerfully consider doing so. If you have already attended, encourage someone else to go. I have had the privilege of seeing several good friends of mine attend, at my encouragement, and have seen their lives change as my life was changed. I can’t describe what a blessing that is, and exciting it is to see more biblical evangelists come back and help re-energize our team. And if you were impacted by the Academy, please consider writing a short testimony detailing your experience. I would like to post those testimonies, and possibly pass some of those testimonies on to the Ambassador’s Alliance team, so others outside Project Ezra may be encouraged to come. Your testimony could be just the push someone needs to help them take that step of faith, and that step may lead to many people hearing the gospel and coming to faith in Christ. What could possibly be a greater blessing than that?

Finally, please keep posting your Project Ezra pictures and videos. I am still working on the new Project Ezra Youtube video, and want to include material from as many members of the group as possible. For an idea of what I am looking at doing, take a look at the first video, put together by Tony Miano here:
Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to post this to your social networking sites!

For the praise of His glory,


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