Write the following on the board. What is the difference between these two terms? What is Pure Religion? James 1:26-27
- The essence of religion - its most simple form
- The Basics of religion - at its most basic component
What does practical religion mean? What would an impractical religion be?
- Religion that promotes action/activity in ones daily life
- Religion that improves the participant in a meaningful way
- A means of staying "In the world" but not be part of the world
LDS General Conference 1961–October Howard W. Hunter, An Everyday Religion
In other words, religion is more than a knowledge of God or a confession of faith, and it is more than theology. Religion is the
doing of the word of God. It is being our brother's keeper Gen. 4:9 among other things. To keep unspotted from the world
does not mean that one must withdraw from all association with the world, but rather to keep away from the evils of the world;"
"Can we therefore eliminate religion from our week-day affairs and relegate it to the Sabbath day only? Surely not, if we follow Paul's admonition.
Religion can be part of our daily work, our business, our buying and selling, building, transportation, manufacturing, our trade or profession, or of anything we do. We can serve God by honesty and fair dealing in our business transactions in the same way we do in Sunday worship. The true principles of Christianity cannot be separate and apart from business and our everyday affairs."
The Story of Kathy:
Would you spend 20 minutes of your time in the service of others every day? The story of Kathy.
How has the service of these individuals changed their life. Do you think that they found it "Worth it"? What can we learn from this story?
How does service to our fellow men affect us?
Let us look at The Book of James - a book of practical religion:
The book of James is generally thought to be the brother of Jesus Christ. After Jesus was resurrected, James served as an Apostle and was an important leader in the early Church (Acts 12:17;15:13–20).
Luther and some of the other Reformers desired to remove this book from the bible. This was because this book taught that an individual is not saved by "Grace" alone but that
works/deeds were requiredto be saved.
Temptations should not get us down.
Have any of you ever became depressed/sad that you have individual "weaknesses"/temptations? James Teaches us that we should have patience with our weaknesses/temptations. James 1:1-4 2 Nephi 4:17 - O Wretched Man that I am
Why does James say that we should "Joy" in our temptations, and the trying of our faith?
What can we learn from this?
What do we do when we feel weak - and lacking of wisdom?
One of the most famous scriptures to the LDS member? James 1:5.
However many do not read the verses before/following it, nor do they see these verses in their chiasmic setting. This scripture is in direct correlation with our weakness/temptations and how we can overcome them. Let us read James 1:5-7
What does James teach of us - as concerning our focus/faith when we ask for help?
What is a double minded man?James 1:8-11
What does he say concerning the rich/poor? What is the final result of the rich/proud man - see vs 11
Does God Tempt us?or do we succumb to temptation ourselves? James 1:13-16
We may find further insights from this scripture by looking at its Hebraic Poetic form - What is temptation... how do we overcome it? James 4:17 - knoweth to do good - doeth it not - to him it is sin
Count it Joy when we are tempted (2)
Upbraideth Not (5)
Driven to and fro (6)
He shall not receive of the Lord(7)
Rich in being made low (10)
So shall be the rich man's fading (11)
Promised to all that love him (12)
Lust bring sin - and death (15)
Basic characteristics of a disciple of Christ:James 1:18-21
swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, lay apart all filthiness and naughtiness
receive in meekness word of god - to save our souls
Be ye doers of the word not hearers only.James 1:22-27
vs a man who looks into law of liberty - not being forgetful - but obedient is blessed
What does it mean to be "Unspotted" from the world? D&C 59:9
What is "Pure Religion"?
What does it mean to Bridle ones tongue? (The whole chapter 3 of James is concerning this)
What does it mean to "seem" religious - but not bridle a mans tongue? James 4:11, James 3:3-5
What did James compare the tongue to in these verses? (The bit on a horse’s bridle and the helm of a ship. A bit is the steel part of the bridle that is inserted into the horse’s mouth. A helm is the steering area of a ship.)
Why is our tongue like a bit/helm of a ship - how can our words lead ourselves and others to ruin/salvation?
The whole chapter of 3 is concerting the controlling of ones words...
Why so much emphasis on controlling ones words?
How can one's words hurt more than physical pain to others?
Ensign April 1992 - Marvin J. Ashton
"In the world today we are victims of many who use their tongues as sharp swords. The misuse of our tongues seems to add intrigue and destruction as the media and private persons indulge in this pastime. In the vernacular of the day, this destructive activity is called bashing. The dictionary reports that to bash is to strike with a heavy, crushing blow.
Such a popular behavior is indulged in by far too many who bash a neighbor, a family member, a public servant, a community, a country, a church. It is alarming also how often we find children bashing parents and parents bashing children."
Do we see examples of the use of words in our culture today to defame, hurt, abuse, and purposefully destroy individuals?
Do we see this in the Media, Politics, School, Work, our own Home?
How does this relate to the commandment:Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor? Exodus 20:16
What does it mean to be a respecter of persons?James 2:1-10
Do we judge others by how they dress, their occupation, etc.?
The poor in the world, yet rich in faith - are heirs of the kingdom. Why then should we judge them?
Can a man be saved without works?James 2:14-20
What profit is there if you have faith without works?
If a brother be naked/destitute and you don't help him/her what profit is there?
Why would people want to throw this book out of the Bible? Why didn't they like these doctrines?
Example of faith/works together saved Abraham, Rahab James 2:21-26
The book of James provides us doctrine about the "Practicality" of Religion. True Religion is more than just theory, and doctrine. Our religion is a practical religion. It provides guidelines and doctrine that should facilitate our behavor to be true disciples of Jesus Christ.
"The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel." Ensign - Oct 1986 Boyd K. Packer