Bible Study: August 17, 2014

by Staff/LifeWay Christian Resources, posted Thursday, August 14, 2014 (3 months ago)

NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week's Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passage: James 4:4

Discussion Question: Why is it impossible to practice friendship with God while at the same time practicing friendship with the world?

Food for Thought:

Because I have received Christ as my Savior, I am part of His Bride whether I act like it or not. Friendship with God, on the other hand, comes only by practicing the elements of that beautiful, almost unfathomable relationship.

One of the elements of friendship is faithfulness. Faithfulness means all the things we think it does -- loyalty, trustworthiness, attentiveness. Faithful also means faith to the full. The enduring message of James is that authentic faith cannot help but act.

Friendship also means closeness. Here we stumble on a big reason why our online and phone friendships can't offer the same satisfaction as the less-convenient face-to-face kind. The essence of close friendship is presence. Recall Exodus 33:11. "The Lord spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend." Moses never literally saw that face (see Exodus 33:23), but he came presence to presence with Him until his own face grew radiant. You and I are invited to come face to face or presence to presence with Christ, too, but that kind of intimacy only comes intentionally.

Friendship with the world is vastly more convenient because we live on the crowded pinhead of its epicenter. It's as close as our nearest billboard and shouts at us from our grocery-store checkout. It holds hands with us in the movies and eats with us in front of the TV. It promises pleasure and often delivers. So, no one who lives in this world is a friend of God accidentally. We make a choice where we want to be most present, a hard choice.

MasterWork

MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at

www.lifeway.com/masterwork.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.


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