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Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. We here at “Word For Life Says” want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons. May God bless you!
February 2, 2014
“Hear and Do the Word”
(Click here for PDF: Hear and Do the Word Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
(Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver,” (Prov. 25:11). Priceless. But, if you, like I, have ever been the one to put the foot in the mouth and speak at the wrong time, know the consequences are not so priceless. They are quite the opposite, in fact.
James, in his book, really talks a lot about Christian living, particularly when it comes to the mouth (see James 3). His book opens our understanding on living out God’s Word in our lives through deliberate action and not just complacent listening. And many verses found in his book are key to teaching us great human communication skills.
James 1:19-20 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
In these verses, James lays out good ideas for human communication. By using the words “every man” he implies that these are good guidelines for anybody to follow when dealing with one another.
First, “be swift to hear.” I must admit in the age where texting and social media is the prevalent form of communication, really learning to sit down and hear someone out is a passing characteristic trait. This being “swift to hear” is not for one who is running to hear gossip of others. Rather, it is the ability to stay oneself in a conversation where another can unload a burden; where another can trust you to be their confidant in the time of trouble.
Secondly, we are commanded to “be slow to speak.” If you’ve ever been in the midst of one of those conversations where the other person is always jumping in and cutting you off, you know how it can put you off. Proverbs 21:23 reminds us, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Many of the misunderstandings that occur between people is because the right words were not spoken at the right time, rather the wrong words were spoken at the wrong time (see James 3 for more on this tongue of trouble).
Lastly, this verse admonishes us to be “slow to wrath.” Proverbs 14:29 tells us, “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” The one with a quick temper shows his/her lack of self-control. Oh, how easy it is to let loose and lash out. But, what great strength is shown in the one who doesn’t.
One of the fruit of the Spirit is “temperance,” (Gal. 5:23), which means self-control. In other words, passions of the flesh that provoke one to rise in anger are not to have the final rule or say. We, as Christians, are to allow the working of the Spirit to have free course as opposed to that of the fleshly desire. That’s why Paul said, “I keep my body, and bring it into subjection . . .,” (1 Cor. 9:27a). He, as well as we, are running this Christian race and often that requires putting the things we feel under obedience of Christ who Himself was our living example (see Is. 53:7).
“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” “Man” operates with fleshly inclinations. What that means is man is not infinitely wise and all-knowing as our heavenly Father is who said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD,” (Is. 55:8). Man judges according to his finite knowledge and abilities especially in times of anger where his judgment could be clouded and impaired by raging emotions.
This often causes man to lash out on his own without first prayerfully considering the consequences and recourses of his actions, thereby not producing the “righteousness of God.” That’s why the Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” (Eph. 4:26). Proverbs 16:32 tells us, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” He that can control his emotions through inner strength is stronger that the man that can conquer a city with his outer strength.
James 1:21 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
“Lay apart.” Take it off! There are things that can hold an individual back from being all that God has called them to be. Hindrances that get in the way of one fulfilling God’s Word in their lives. James said lay it apart – take it off, because it is not profitable to “save your souls.”
Rather, “receive with meekness the engrafted word.” “Receive” means to bring into one self. This is what we want to lay ownership to and put on: “the engrafted word.” The Word is an essential component in the spiritually mature life. It upholds us (Ps. 119:116). Through the Word faith is increased (Rom. 10:17). The Word is our weapon to fight with (Eph. 6:17). The Word lights the pathway for us (Ps. 119:105). The Christian cannot live without the Word. God freely gives it to us “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Tim. 3:16), that when we “receive” it with “meekness” we will know how to operate like Him and not according to our fleshly wrath.
James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
“But be ye doers of the word.” A “doer” is a person marked by activity and action. It’s a person who is not complacent, content with just sitting on the side lines. This person believes in getting in there, rolling their sleeves up and working the Word to its fullest capacity.
God’s Word is not an aquarium. In an aquarium we view the fish from the outside. We don’t go in and interact with them. We just watch them swim along thinking how beautiful and peaceful they are. God’s Word is beautiful and peaceful but it is also meant to be lived out; it is meant to be interacted with. One is not just to be an observer or a “hearer” but a “doer.”
They that only hear are “deceiving your own selves.” Many pack churches out on Sunday’s to fulfill their weekly obligation of attending church without having a personal relationship with the Word; without contemplating and applying its truths to their own lives. This may make one appear spiritually rich on the outside but on the inside they have cheated themselves out of its rich rewards. This is deceptive to self.
James 1:23-25 “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
There, in the morning rush to get out of the door, a dash to the mirror to make sure every hair is in place and the face is in order. Walking away, another dash to the mirror to verify once again that everything looked okay. Again, in the car, adjust the mirror once again to reaffirm what one looks like, and so on; readjusting and running back to the mirror so that outwardly things may appear right.
One who doesn’t have an active relationship with the Word does not have it as a constant measuring stick to live by. Think of a level which is used in construction to make sure everything lines up evenly and according to plan. Without that level walls could end up slanted and out of place causing the entire structure to be unstable. Just taking a quick glance or eyeing it will not give a good representation. You need the tool to be absolutely sure.
The Word is that tool that keeps us in line so that we won’t “forget what manner of man he was.” He who is a “doer” of the Word has an active relationship with the Word and keeps coming back to it to align his or herself aright. This is the one who looks intently into the Word, here referred to as “the perfect law of liberty,” and sees it for the truth marker that it is.
“This man shall be blessed in his deed.” Luke 11:28 says, “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it;” a promise that is spoken over and over again in the Bible (see also Deut. 4:40; John 13:17 and Rom. 2:13). God’s blessings are poured out on the “doers,” not the “hearers.” The “doer” is the one whom despite his/her feelings does the will of the Father (see Jesus’ parable in Mt. 21:28-31). Jesus was a “doer!” In agony He declared, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” (Lk. 22:42).
James 1:26-27 “If any man among you seem to be religious, and brideth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Here is a reiteration of where the lesson began with instructions on being swift to hear and slow to speak. One can seem holy and pious on the outside but if that little inside member known as the “tongue” is not brought under control, “this man’s religion is vain.”
If the Word is not active in his life causing him to operate in love and concern for his fellow brethren, rather seeks to tear others down, his religion is not fruitful. It’s not producing what will draw men to Christ, instead it is repelling. The Word is meant to go beyond just believing it, it is meant to be put into operation and lived.
James, in essence, was saying if you really want to know the Word is at work in one’s life watch what they do. “Pure religion and undefiled” fulfills the command of God in their lives. “Pure religion” is seen in action. It shows in their care of others like “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.” It goes beyond just being a hearer and displays evidence of being a doer. It is also shown in how they line themselves up to the Word “to keep himself unspotted from the world.” The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. A “doer” shows what they believe, whereas a “hearer” is only a complacent bystander.
There are enough hearers, observers and viewer of the faith. God needs some action heroes that will allow the Word to work in their lives. God needs more “doers!”
Below are activities that will help support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!:
Draw the Scene: James 1 22 Puzzle Print Out (For this Draw the Scene students can make their own pictures on the printable puzzle, cut out and enjoy. Don’t forget, using cardstock is best).
Below are Links/Resources/Activities for help support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!:
“Whistle, Listen, Do” (This is a really fun, get into it game to play with children to help them learn James 1:22. All you need is a whistle and kids. Gotta try this one. Enjoy!)
“James 1:22 Lesson Ideas” (Play a game of Jesus says (based off of Simon Says) or do a mirror object lesson. Here you will find these great, easy and inexpensive ways to really bring out this week’s lesson. Psst . . . and hardly no prep work involved. How cool is that? Enjoy!)
Children’s Activities for Listening:
“Listening Ears Craft” (This craft is so easy with simple preparation and can easily be adapted to this week’s lesson. Enjoy!)
“My Listening Ears Headband” (Simple and Printable. Enjoy!)
“Speak, Lord, For Your Servant Hears” (This is such an adorable way to do a listening craft. A picture of the student with huge, listening ears glued to the side. If you already have pictures of your students on hand this one will be a snap for you. Oh, how they will enjoy seeing themselves like this. Just change the verse to match our lesson but this is easily applied here also. Enjoy!) – Pictured Below thanks to my friend Deanna at His Treasure Seekers (Used by Permission)
Children’s Activities for Mirrors (vss. 23-24):
“Blank Printable Mirror” (Originally these are used for party invitations but how great to just print out and have students draw a picture of what they think they look like in the mirrors. Add verse to the back and there you go. An easy alternative activity that really brings out this week’s lesson. Enjoy!)
“Aluminum Foil Face Mirror Craft” (How creative! Here is a chance to use old cereal boxes, aluminum foil and crafting sticks. Together they make this cute craft. Goes very well with this lesson. Enjoy!)
Children’s Activities for Obeying God (which is what being a doer of the Word is):
“Obey the Lord Your God Puppet/Teacher Skit” (What a way to teach a lesson on obedience! With practice and a puppet from the dollar store (oh yeah, dollar store, I have lots) this can be really easy to do. Don’t have or can’t get a puppet, make a paper bag puppet. The students can make one to of themselves who will be doers of God’s Word. Awesome! Enjoy!) – Below are some I made for a previous lesson with templates from Teachershelp.org: boy and girl (cardstock is best to use) – Add verse cut out below to the back of your puppet
“Obedience Games for Kids” from Ehow.com (This is great! Some of the old classics are brought out to teach children about obeying/following directions like Simon Says, Red Light, Green Light and more. Enjoy your play time with your students as you revisit your past with this idea. :))
“Warning Signs” Activity from Kids Sunday School Place
“The Rewards of Obedience” from Ministry to Children
“Obey Donuts” (If you are looking for a treat to go with this lesson than this is it. Refrigerated biscuit dough is all it takes. I often make treats similar to these for my students. Enjoy!)
“I Will Obey God Crafts for Kids” (Here you will find several ideas to implement for this lesson. Enjoy!)