Revival Through Truth!
I remember how amazed I was the first time I really saw what Paige taught so powerfully this week. It was from a Tim Keller sermon on The Sermon on the Mount. He said he had always thought the two ways of life Jesus talked about in that sermon were the pagan and the believer — but that is not the contrast at all. If you look at the four closing examples in Jesus’ sermon, you’ll see both men assume they are believers, both believe they are saved, but only one is. They are both in church, both professing Him as Lord — but one’s faith is proved true, and the other is proved false. It isn’t that works saved them, but it demonstrated that their faith was genuine, and not just talk. At the time, I shared this new insight with my dear friends Ann and Sylvia, and at first, they were skeptical — but they looked carefully with me at the four illustrations and saw it clearly. We three shared about how Keller had opened our eyes both to idolatry and to this truth. As we were making up a bed, smoothing the sheets, Sylvia looked at me and said: “These truths may be the beginning of revival.” I know they have brought revival to my heart.
Paige says this truth runs all the way through the Bible. And it does! I’ve been pondering Paul Tripp’s comment: “Our ears listen for what our hearts crave.” Could it be that we crave “easy believism,” so that we can continue to live for ourselves and still be saved because of the profession of our lips?
I’m going to start with Jesus’ final example first, for it is the clearest — the clincher! But it is in all four closing illustrations of the Sermon on the Mount. (Paige said this is all over the Bible — but that James, the brother of Jesus, particularly echoes the words of Jesus, and especially the Sermon on the Mount.)
Read Matthew 7:24-27
The foolish man and the wise man both hear Jesus’ words. But only one obeys and he is rescued from the storm of wrath.
Two Professing With Their Mouths
Read Matthew 7:21-23
Both men call Jesus Lord, but only one demonstrates true faith by doing the will of His Father in heaven.
Read Matthew 7:15-20
Both trees look the same in the winter, but when summer comes it is evident, one is living and one is dead.
Read Matthew 7:13-14
There are two paths: but one will lead to destruction and the other to life.
Saturday is my dear friend Ann’s funeral. I am planning to speak at it and show this video from Idol Lies. I’m showing it here, in honor of her. I absolutely know from the fruit in her life, and not just her profession, that her house is on the rock, His wrath has passed over her, and she is forever with the Lord. Click below to see her 1 minute testimony:
**1. What was Jesus’ repeated point from His closing four illustrations in The Sermon on the Mount? Have you seen this before? Any other comments on the above opening?
*2. Read James 2:14-26 on your own. What is his main point? What parallels do you see with Jesus’ teaching?
3. Listen to Paige’s opening up until she gets to the first point in her outline (Case studies)
A. What stood out to you and why?
*B. Paige has said it is important to know the context and to whom this letter was written. What has he been telling us (previous context) and to whom is it written? Why is this important to interpret this passage correctly?
*C. Paige described our cultural shifts — in parenting, and, in our churches, from thinking works save us to swinging to the other opposite of “just believe,” to just say the prayer and be done! Comments?
Friday: Dead Faith and Demon Faith
Begin listening where she reads the passage. and end when she says “Third case study.”
In your small groups read James 2:14-18
4. Verse 14 is the thesis question for the whole passage. What is it?
Case study 1: Dead faith.
5. The keyword repeated in verses 14 and 16 is “says” or “claims.” What is James’ point?
6. Paige says: This is not new.
A. Do you remember either of her Old Testament illustrations and the point?
B. Do you remember either of her illustrations from Jesus and the point?
C. Then she quoted 1 John 3:7-8. The point? (Can you sing this verse? :-))
**D. Comments on any of the above?
7. Paige says: This is not weird.
A. Her point with the 5 year old who was crying on the way home from church?
B. Her point with the story of the freshman who felt so alone in her faith and yet 90% of the room stood up when asked if they were Christians?
*8. What illustration does James give in verses 2:15-16 and what does he say about this faith in verse 17? Why?
9. Often we do pray for someone’s need without also giving money or some kind of service — is James speaking against this? Why or why not?
Case study 2: Demon faith
10. How do the demons demonstrate correct doctrine and also have emotion? ((2:18-19) So why are they the enemies of God?
11. What was her point with her story from Screwtape Letters?
It doesn’t matter if you possess good theology unless that good theology possesses you. (C. Leslie Mitton)
Saturday: Abraham and Rahab
Begin when she says “Third Case Study” and stop after she goes into the sheep and goats separation teaching.
Read James 2:20-26 and also Genesis 15:1-6
12. In Genesis 15, what promise does Abraham believe and how does God respond? (verse 6)
13. How is Abraham’s faith proved genuine in Genesis 22?
*14. Paige says Abraham’s righteous standing began with faith, not with works. God did not say, after he stayed Abraham’s hand from sacrificing Isaac, “Now you belong to me – but now I know you belong to me.” How do we know Abraham did not have a perfect faith?
**15. Paige points out the verbs of completing, perfecting, and working in this passage. John also uses these words in the letter of 1 John, written to believers, gives us some tests to increase our assurance that our faith is genuine. We are to walk in the light, we are to love our brother, and we are to stand up for the truth of the gospel. Do you see growth in your life in all of these areas? Share one specific example.
16. On your own, read Joshua 2.
A. What does Rahab believe about God according to Joshua 2:8-11?
B. How is her faith proved genuine?
C. How does her life parallel Abraham’s?
**17. Do you remember how the Puritans responded when someone said they had come to faith? Point? Thoughts? When you share the gospel with another, do you help them count the cost?
18. Contrasts (Review James 2:26)
*A. Difference between demons and Abraham? (Think about the word friendship — do you have that?)
B. Difference between well-wishers (James 2:16) with Rahab?
C. What contrast does Jesus give us in Matthew 25:31-46?
Sunday: God Hunt
**19. How have you experienced the presence of God through Paige’s teaching, through an answer to prayer, through unusual timing or circumstances, or through His comfort this week?
Begin after the sheep and goats illustration and end when she says: “James loves the people. He wants to set them straight. It’s not just a warning, it’s a wooing.
20. No contradictions:
**A. Paige certainly makes a thorough case for this being all through Scripture — did any example particularly stand out to you?
*B. How does she show that even James and Paul are not contradictory? What was Tim Keller’s point with needing two eyes? With Paul being an obstetrician and James a pediatrician?
Faith alone saves. The faith that saves is never alone.
(Probably John Calvin)
***21. No Categories of Christians — what was her teaching. This is HUGE!!! Have you been confused by the teaching of categories of Christians? Of needing a second act of grace?
**22. How does she think this error of categories of Christians happened? Thoughts?
I, Dee, heard Tim Keller tell of a woman who said she wasn’t sure if she became a Christian when she said and agreed with the prayer that she was a sinner when she was at a Christian youth camp, or when it dropped to her heart and her life changed later. He said, “I would say the latter.” Thoughts?
**23. Read Luke 8:4-15. Paige tells of teaching this parable and a big line forming afterward. What was her point? Thoughts?
**24. How is your life different because of your faith. (Listen carefully to her quote Kelly)
Tuesday: Wooing into Relationship!
I could tell she was remembering the Bartimeus story from the Read Aloud books. You might enjoy hearing it read:
Listen to the end.
25. First reality. Full point of our faith is that we are justified so that we are made new. What was her point of showing people a birth certificate when they ask about your children?
*26. What does the Lord tell us about what he will do for us in Ezekiel? How could you see that in the story of Bartimaeus?
27. How do you know Jesus has moved in and given you life?
28. I am not familiar with the logic term she used (marismus?) but the definition is “two opposite extremes that are shown to be equal.” How did James do that with Abraham and Rahab?
29. She closed with example of C. S. Lewis marrying Joy twice. Point?
**30. Is there anything she shared I missed that you want to comment on?
**31. What is your take-a-way and why?