Unit 29, Session 4: Doers of the Word
The early church was made up mostly of Jewish believers who had grown up believing they needed to fully obey God to be accepted. Grace was a new concept for them, and many struggled with understanding how grace and obedience fit together. Some made the mistake of thinking that once they had acceptance in Jesus, obedience didn’t matter after all.
This greatly concerned James—Jesus’ half-brother and a leader in the church at Jerusalem— so he wrote a letter to the Jewish Christians scattered throughout the Roman Empire. James wanted these Christians to understand that grace and obedience do not work against each other; they work with each other.
James wrote, “Be doers of the word. If you hear the word but don’t do it, you fool yourselves. Anyone who is a hearer but not a doer is like someone who looks at himself in a mirror, goes away and forgets right away what he looked like.”
James wanted Christians to realize that true faith in Jesus—a faith that comes by grace—will always lead to action. True faith is an active faith.
James gave an example: When we look into a mirror and see something is not right—our hair is out of place or food is stuck in our teeth—we don’t just walk away; we fix it. The gospel is like that mirror. It shows us what is true about ourselves, and when we see we are not living out our true identity, we should want to address it.
Help your kids understand that true faith in Jesus always leads to living differently. When we trust in Jesus, God changes our hearts so that we will want to live a life pleasing to Him. We aren’t accepted by God because of our obedience; we obey God out of gratitude because we are accepted by Him through Jesus.
Jesus said, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word” (John 14:23). James reminded believers to be doers of the word. Jesus rescues us from sin and frees us to live a life that honors God. By doing what is good and right, people who trust Jesus can show that they really believe in Him.
Doers of the Word
Because God created everything, He is in charge of everything. Everyone sins, or disobeys God. Our sin separates us from God. The good news of the gospel is that God sent His Son, Jesus, to take the punishment we deserve. Everyone who trusts in Jesus will be saved.
Family Discussion Questions
- What does it show to others if we say we love God but do not obey His Word?
• Why does God want us to obey Him?
• Who can help us obey God? Why are good works important to show our faith?
• What does it mean if a person says he or she has faith but does not obey God?
• Can good works save you? Why or why not?
Ships and Sailors
-Instruct kids that they will play a game where they have to listen carefully for directions in order to know what to do.
-Instruct them to run to one side of the room when the leader says “ships,” and to the other side when the leader says “sailors.”
-When the leader says “captain’s coming,” kids will stand at attention and salute.
-When the leader says “three sailors rowing,” three kids get in a line and pretend to
-Any child that takes too long to follow the command or cannot find the right number of partners is asked to sit out until the next round of play.
"You had to listen carefully to know what to do and do it quickly to avoid being “out.” It was important to both hear my words and do them. In today’s Bible story, we’ll hear about how important it is to both hear and do the Word of the Lord."
Open up a discussion as a family about ways your family can plan to serve in 2021. It's a new year with many new opportunities to serve as a family. Look up different opportunities in your city or neighborhood and plan out family service days.