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Flight JAM01 - James 1-5

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While it's vital for Christians to understand that salvation comes by faith, the book of James emphasizes an active faith, characterized by good deeds that flow from salvation. In this unmistakably Jewish epistle, the author encourages believers to live out and grow in their faith by embracing trials, carefully controlling their speech, and letting God's love flow through them to others.

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7/1/2020
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Flight JAM01
James 1-5
Skip Heitzig
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While it's vital for Christians to understand that salvation comes by faith, the book of James emphasizes an active faith, characterized by good deeds that flow from salvation. In this unmistakably Jewish epistle, the author encourages believers to live out and grow in their faith by embracing trials, carefully controlling their speech, and letting God's love flow through them to others.
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Bible from 30,000 Feet - 2018, The

Bible from 30,000 Feet - 2018, The

Take your knowledge of the full scope of Scripture to soaring heights with The Bible from 30,000 Feet. In this series, Skip Heitzig pilots you through all sixty-six books of the Bible, revealing major themes, principles, people, and events from Genesis to Revelation. Fasten your seatbelt and open your Bible for this sweeping panorama of Scripture that will increase your faith in God's plan for the world-and for you.

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James 1-5 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight JAM01

The Bible from 30,000 Feet, soaring through the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

Turn in your Bibles to the Book of James, please, five chapters in this short Book of James. Let's pray together. Father, you know the condition of-- our hearts are weak. You know what we are thinking, what we've gone through, what anxieties are present. As David said, try me and know my anxieties. See if there's something in me that is wicked or displeasing and lead me in the way everlasting. We make that our opening prayer.

We pray, Lord, that you would use this overview of the Book of James. Some of us know it so well. For some of us, it is the favorite, or at least one of our favorites. Thank you for his life and ministry and for using him to record these words. Speak to us and then work through us, we pray, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Book of James-- my oldest brother is named James, Jim, Jimmy, depending on who was talking to him and for what reason they were talking to him. And he, as my oldest brother, felt that he should be the one to sound the need for the younger brothers to become mature. So one of his favorite lines to us, but more to me, was, grow up! He'd say, Skip, grow up.

Well, I was growing up. That's just part of life. You can't help but grow up. But I know what he meant by that. He thought I should take certain things more seriously than I did. And so his message was, become more mature in the way you deal with things and handle things. Grow up.

Well, that happens to be the theme of this Book of James. It's that we would become more mature believers, that we would grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Those were Peter's words. But that really is a theme of this book. He wants his audience to continue to grow in practical ways.

A maternity ward is one of the most exciting places in a hospital because new life is happening there. And then when that child comes home, that child starts growing up and starts taking on certain features, at first you look at the baby and you think, I don't know who that baby looks like. But as time goes on, he or she starts picking up characteristics of mom, dad, grandpa, uncles, et cetera. And you notice that, and then even character traits.

And one of the most exciting days is when a child utters his or her first words. They're usually indiscernible, though you swear they just spoke your name or said dada or mama. But even if they say, lala, it's like, wow! Did you hear that? That is so exciting!

And even though it's not greatly articulated, and even if the child were to spit up before or after those meaningless articulations, it's still a great day. However, if that child is 5 or 10 or 25 years old and says dada, now it's not that exciting because by that mile marker, you would certainly expect much more maturity than just an inarticulate mumbling of words. So growth is necessary, and growth is expected, same with salvation.

I love seeing people come to Christ. We get excited around here when somebody raises their hand or walks forward, and we have had all alter calls. And hopefully soon, when all this is over, we'll be able to do more and more of that.

But as excited as we get about watching a conversion take place, I wonder why we don't get more excited about growth, as if, they're saved now, next, when that is just the beginning. There is so much more ahead potentially in that person's life, where that person could become a great tool to be used by God. The discipleship that takes place, that is what is paramount on the mind of James when he writes his book.

Now, we get into what is called the general epistles, or what are called the general epistles. The Book of James, first Peter, second Peter, first John, second John, third John, and Jude, those seven books are called general epistles, general letters, meaning they're not written to a particular person or a particular church group. They are written to a general population of people. It was circulated, nonetheless. But it has no address of group or person, like so many of the other books.

What's interesting about the book of James is that it is not a doctrinal book. It is a practical book. Now, I'm not saying doctrine isn't practical. If you know me, you know I believe that it is. But the way Paul would generally write is he would be doctrine heavy at the beginning of his letters, and then he would have a transitional section, usually a therefore section. And he would take and apply the doctrine of the previous chapters and get very practical.

James just is practical all the way through. It's not doctrinal. It's practical. Now, let me underscore that a little bit. In the Book of James, Jesus Christ, the name Jesus only appears twice. And the doctrine of the cross, the doctrine of the Resurrection-- these are principle doctrines-- and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit aren't even mentioned, only because that's not the intent of the book.

The intent of the book is to take people who already believe that and know that into a place of living out what they know. So the theme of the Book of James is that genuine faith produces genuine proof. Or better put, genuine faith produces genuine proof of faith. If you have faith, it will show. If you have doctrine, you'll see it in duty, in what a person is doing with their lives.

So there are a couple of verses that sum up the entire Book of James along those lines. Chapter 1, verse 22, look at it. "But be doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves." And then he gives an illustration. Over in chapter 2, verse 26 is another key verse. "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

If you're looking for an Old Testament book that is like the Book of James, I suppose it would be the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs has short, pithy, punchy, spicy sayings. So does the Book of James. It's just sort of in your face, in your grill. Here's the truth. Live this out. Do this. And it's highly exhortive, not much plowing deeper than that.

Now, it says, as we begin James, "a bond servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." So the author has stated James. Now, the problem we have is well, James who? Because in the New Testament, there are four different individuals by the name of James.

The most famous is James the brother of John, the son of Zebedee. And he was in that inner circle with Jesus. There was always Peter, James, and John. So he would be the most likely candidate.

The only problem is, by the time this book is written, he's dead. We know how he died. Acts, chapter 12 tells us a persecution arose in the church by Herod Agrippa, I. And he had James, the brother of John, killed during that time. So that pushes him aside.

There's another James in the New Testament who is an apostle of Jesus called James the son of Alphaeus called, in Mark, chapter 15, James the Less. Not because he was less of a person, but he was less famous than the first James that I just mentioned. So he is called in Mark 15, James the Less.

We don't know much about him. He was an apostle of Jesus. But this doesn't fit that he wrote that. Well, let's move on to the third. I don't want to explain too much because I realize I start getting into these books, and I start approaching them like I'm doing my verse by verse through the Bible. And I have to realize I'm doing a whole book of the Bible, so I don't want to get bogged down.

A third James is James, the Father of Judas. Now, James, the father of Judas, was somebody who is known in the early church in Jerusalem because he's mentioned in Acts chapter 1. The Judas that was his son was not Judas Iscariot. He's called Judas, not Iscariot.

[LAUGHTER]

That's how he appears in the Book of John. Judas, not Iscariot, because Judas was a very common name. And it was one of the disciples of Jesus, not just Judas Iscariot, but this other guy named Judas. His dad happened to be named James.

But there's a fourth. And the general consensus is that this fourth person is the one who authored the Book of James. And that is James, the brother of Jesus, the half brother of Jesus, the sibling of Jesus, the oldest half brother of Jesus. We know from reading the New Testament, though I didn't know, growing up in the church that I grew up in. I always thought that Mary was perpetually a virgin because they told me she was until I read my Bible and found out, oops, they were wrong, that Joseph and Mary, after Jesus was born-- Jesus had a virgin birth.

Joseph and Mary had normal physical relationships and produced a number of children, brothers, and sisters to Jesus. And they're named, even, the brothers are, in the gospels. Number one was James, the oldest half brother, followed by Joseph, or Joses, depending on which version of the Bible you read, followed by Judas, not Iscariot and not the other Judas who's not Iscariot.

[LAUGHTER]

Let's call him Jude because that's how his name appears in the Book of Jude. And then finally, Simon, not Simon Peter-- again, these are common names-- but a guy by the name of Simon, all half brothers of Jesus, besides having half sisters. So the author of the Book of James grew up in the same home with Jesus.

Just imagine, if you can, living with an older brother who's perfect. How annoying would that be? How difficult would that be? How untenable would that be? Something goes wrong. Well, whose fault is it? Well, it's not Jesus.

[LAUGHTER]

Who didn't take out the trash? Obviously, Jesus wasn't around, or he would have, right? So this oldest half brother-- and again, I wish I had more time to explain it. I'm just trusting that you'll chase these things down on your own. But James is even recorded as mocking Jesus. His words are recorded.

But the short story is that these half brothers did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, did not believe in His mission, had no faith in Him at all until after His Resurrection. After the Resurrection, Jesus made a special appearance to them. They came to not only believe, but they came to be part of the early church.

James appears in chapter 1 in the upper room in the Book of Acts with the other apostles. And Mary, the mother of Jesus, she's there too. But later on, James becomes the leader in the church at Jerusalem. He becomes the primary leader.

So this is that James. And notice he doesn't say anything except he's a bond servant. So this is interesting. And again, I'm sorry if I'm plowing too deeply. I'll try to speed up after this point.

Paul will often say Paul, an apostle and a bond servant. What's interesting is James, the half brother, and Jude, the half brother of Jesus, just say bond servant. I've got to commend them for that. Because if I were writing this book, I would want to make sure my audience knew that I was related to Jesus, Skip, a half brother of the Lord Jesus Christ and a bond servant.

But he just goes-- he just leaves that out, because what's important is that he's a servant of Jesus Christ. He is a bond servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, "to the 12 tribes that are diaspora." Have you ever heard that term before, the diaspora? They're scattered abroad. And they were scattered abroad because of what happened in the Book of Acts, chapter 12.

I'm just going to read you this. Now, about that time-- this is Acts 12, verse 1. About that time, "Herod, the King, stretched out his hand to harass some of the church. And he killed James, the brother of John, with a sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also." Now, it was during the days of unleavened bread.

So James, the brother of John, is dead. The church gets scattered because of persecution. They are all throughout Judea, all throughout different parts of the world. And James, the half brother of Jesus, writes this letter to those dispersed Jewish believers to tell them to hold fast, basically, grow up. Stick this one out. Grow in Jesus Christ. Don't stop.

So he gives this general epistle to them, to the 12 tribes that are scattered abroad. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials." Now, I didn't give you the outline of the book. And I'm not going to give it to you at first. But I'm going to give it to you as we go through.

There's five chapters. And each chapter has its own emphasis. And the emphasis of all five chapters is maturity, growing up. So chapter 1, I would title it this way, Mature Christians are Robust. They're robust. They don't fold. They don't quit. They don't give up easily. They keep pressing on. They are patient through trials.

So he says, "brethren-- my brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, steadfastness, endurance. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." So mature Christians are robust. They're patient through trials.

Now, there are two factors in life that will bring you pressure, trials and temptations. And they're very different. God allows trials. Trials come because you're alive. You breathe air. You live in a fallen world.

It can come from a number of places. But trials are allowed by God and used by God to mature you. Trials are a tool that God uses to mature you.

Temptations don't come from God, James will say. Temptations are used by Satan to entrap you. One is to mature you. The other's to entrap you.

But if you are patient, even the temptations that Satan uses or tries to use against you, God can use for you. The very temptation can become a trial that God uses to purify you, because God promised He won't allow you to be tempted above what you're able but always give you an escape. So the bottom line is God manages those, and we should be patient during trials.

Now, a word about patience. The trials of your faith will produce patience. But you need patience to go through the trial. And so the reason you go through the trial is to produce more patience so that when you go through the next trial you'll have even more. And so it is a cycle.

You need it to be able to handle it. But the only way to get it is to go through a trial. So when the high-schooler came to the pastor and said, Pastor, I'm such an impatient person. Pray that God will give me patience. He said, OK, Father, send this young man trials, tribulations, heartache, hardship.

And the kid said, wait, a minute, Pastor. Why would you pray that? I prayed for patience. He said, well, Paul said tribulation works patience. It produces it. That's James' point as well.

And look at verse 5, following on the heels of that. "If any of you lack wisdom--" I'll put my hand up there. I so often do. "Let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally, freely, generously, and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith with no doubting. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose he will receive anything from the Lord."

The asking God for wisdom is in the context of trials. Of course you can ask God for wisdom anytime. But I would venture to say you're going through a trial frequently, probably daily. And so probably you're asking for patience. When you do, it's probably because you're going through a difficult time, and that is the context here. It's asking God for wisdom while you are facing a trial.

For example, God forbid you lose your job. You have no employment. COVID wiped out your company. Now you're jobless. But your boss let you go first, and you've always felt your boss had it out for you or had it in for you, however you want to look at it. And so you're mad at your boss now. And you're thinking of ways to retaliate, get back at him, write him nasty, vapid, stupid things on Instagram or Twitter.

I'm sorry for all those adjectives. It's just sort of what sums up the platform, generally. Or you're going to threaten him. Now, that's your flesh. Once you stop and pray for wisdom-- God, what do you want to show me through this? That's where this comes into view.

Warren Wiersbe told a great story when he was a pastor. He had a secretary who got sick. She had a stroke, had to be admitted to the hospital. Right around the same time, her husband also was admitted to the hospital and almost died. And Pastor Wiersbe said to her when he saw her, he goes, I've been praying for you through this. And she looked at him and said, what are you praying?

He said, I'm praying that God will help you. I'm praying that God will strengthen you. And she said, thank you, Pastor. But would you pray one more thing? Would you pray that God gives me the wisdom not to waste this. That's insightful. And that is the thought here.

Lord, what is it you are doing why? Are you allowing this? I don't want to waste this lesson because I don't want to go through this lesson again, right? The worst thing in the world is you get put back a grade because you didn't graduate well from that grade. And so it's like, I want to learn the lesson. And let's have graduation.

Go down to verse 12, "blessed is the man who endures temptation. For when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted by evil. Nor does He himself tempt anyone."

Do you see those two factors, those two components of the pressures of life? Trials of life he writes about in the first part of the chapter. the temptations in life. He says, don't blame the temptations on God. God can't be tempted, nor does God tempt anyone.

But verse 14, "each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death."

Why did James have to write all that? I think because James understood human nature. And he understands that we humans don't like to be responsible for our own junk, our own mess, our own sin.

We like to shift the blame. Well, it's not my fault. It's somebody else's fault. Or I was born this way. I can't be held responsible. It's the way I was born.

I was reading an article some time ago how that in genetic research, some scientists have tried to say that you might have a genetic propensity for a number of things, including adultery, including anger. So you might be a promiscuous person, but it's not your fault. You were born that way.

And so in our culture, we have elevated the victim to the patron saint of humanity. Oh, you're a victim. Oh, God bless you. Awesome. That's what we all aspire, to be a victim.

So James understood this about humans. And he says, when you get tempted, don't you blame this on God. It starts within you. The problem is endemic to human nature. And you are in a world that has fallen that takes advantage of that.

So chapter 1, mature Christians are robust. They're patient in trials. And they manage through temptation. Chapter 2 is mature Christians are real. Mature Christians are real. That is they practice the truth. They just don't know it. They practice it. They live it.

And he gives an example. "My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly--" the word assembly, by the way, is the Greek word "sin-a-go-gay," synagogue. James was Jewish, writing to the diaspora, dispersed Jewish believers throughout Judea and other regions.

But when they would gather together, they're gathering-togethers were called synagogues. So if somebody comes into your synagogue, "there's a man with gold rings and fine apparel. And there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes. And you pay attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say to him, you sit here in a good place. And you say to the poor man, you stand there, or sit here by my footstool. Have you not shown partiality among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" So don't play favorites if you have these two visitors.

Now, I'm going to take you down to verse 8. "If you really fulfill the royal law-- according to the scripture, you shall love your neighbor as yourself-- you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors." I like that he calls this the royal law, not the Mosaic law, not the good law or standard law. He calls it the royal law. Why is that? Because it's given by a king.

And the king has a kingdom. And the king is saying, in my kingdom, the prevailing law is the law of love. Jesus said that is what fulfills all of the commandments. Love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. So its royal law. The king has given that as the mandate for his kingdom, love. Let love mark the believer. Love marks a mature believer.

How do I know if I'm really growing in Christ? How much do you love? How loving are you? How patient are you in trials? How do you put up with temptations? And how do you love people? These are very basic, simple, practical tests, the law of love.

Malcolm Muggeridge, who's an author that I've come to admire, greatly said the biggest disease, the biggest epidemic, let's say the biggest pandemic, just for the sake of modern times, in our modern culture, and he listed several diseases. He said the biggest problem aren't those diseases. It's an epidemic of lovelessness, lack of love, people feeling unwanted, uncared for, unloved.

In the Book of Romans, Paul said the love of God has been poured out in our hearts or shed abroad in our hearts, if you follow the old King James. I like poured out. So God pours out His love in our hearts. Just think of God with a big bucket of love. And here you are. And He's just guzzling, boom, boom, boom, boom, pouring as much love into you. Now you're full of what? Love, which means when you're around people, no one should be love starved because you've got so much.

Oh, I'm just-- I'm tapped out, man. I got no more love. It's impossible. If God is pouring out His love in your hearts, you always have plenty to go around. Oh, but I feel-- no, but let God do it through you, then. Admit Lord, I need wisdom in this. I lack wisdom. Help me out here. And allow the Lord to flow His love through you.

If God's love flows in you, then God's love should flow through you. And when you run out, He'll pour in more. So that's the royal law.

Down to verse 14, "what does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" Now, if you were to isolate that last four-letter question, you would have to answer it in the affirmative. Can faith save him? Yes, faith can save him.

But this translation is not as good as what is I think a better translation. Can that kind of faith save him? So what does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? He's not proving it by what he does. Can that kind of faith save him?

"If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one says, depart in peace, be warmed and filled, but don't give him the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus, also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." The Book of James has suffered because of this chapter, these verses over the years.

People have not liked it. People have felt, some have felt that James contradicts Paul, the apostle, in his great treatise in the Book of Romans, which is salvation by grace through faith alone. And they see James as a contradiction to the teachings of Paul.

Martin Luther at a difficult time with the Book of James. He didn't like it because he was struggling with a theology that when he read this, he felt like it was going back to his salvation of works. And he called the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Straw. He didn't like it. There was no meat, no substance to it, like the Book of Romans.

But I submit this is not a contradiction. This is a complement. He is complementing. He's giving the same truth, but flipping the coin. Heads, that's Paul. Tails, that's James. Same coin, but you're approaching it from two different angles.

You see, Paul talks about the root of salvation, which is faith. James talks about the fruit of salvation, which is works. Now, if you have the root, you'll have the fruit. If you don't have the root, you won't have the fruit. And he's saying, if I can't see no fruit, you ain't got no root.

[LAUGHTER]

That's James in the NSV, the New Skip Version.

[LAUGHTER]

"Can that kind of faith save him?" So he's not denouncing salvation by faith, because, well, back in chapter 1, he says in verse 17, "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above," comes down from God. Verse 18, "of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures."

So he acknowledges that even the gift of salvation is a gift from God. You don't earn it. So when he says, can that kind of faith save him, he's simply just saying that real faith has accompanying proof. You're able to see it.

So he's giving here, as he did at the beginning of this chapter, little tests to see if your faith is authentic. Because you can have faith in God-- because a lot of people, I believe in God, man. I believe in Jesus. He's my homey. He's my best friend. He's my-- we're like this. But you can have faith that's dead faith.

You can also have faith that's demonic faith. The devils believe and tremble. James says you should have not dead faith, not demonic faith, but dynamic faith, real, active, powerful, life-changing faith. That's also "faith by itself, if it does not have works--" root and fruit-- "is dead. You have faith--" or verse 18, "someone will say you have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works. I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble."

He's saying, big deal. So what? Ooh. You have faith in God. Yay! Next. Because the devil is doing the same thing. Every demon in hell believes there's a God in heaven, believes the doctrine of the Trinity, believes the deity of Christ, believes all the cardinal doctrines of the faith. They are not saved. It's not a real, active, life-changing faith.

"But do you want to know, oh, foolish man, that faith without works is dead." Simply put, your response to truth shows your relationship to the truth. Response reveals relationship.

So maturity, that's the theme of the book. Chapter 1, maturity is-- a mature Christian is robust. Chapter 2, a mature Christian is real. Chapter 3, a mature Christian is restrained. What do I mean "restrained?" He watches what he says with his lips or tweets with his thumbs.

"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment, for we all stumble in many things. If someone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed we put bits in horses mouths that they may obey us. And we turn their whole body. Look also at ships. Although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how little or see how great a forest a little fire kindles. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature and is set on fire by hell." Wow.

Why such a big deal? Well, I think more sins are committed by our mouths than probably just about any other part of our bodies. It's so easy to do. It's so effortless. You don't even have to be intelligent. Usually it reveals a lack of intelligence.

In Proverbs 6, Solomon has a list of things God hates. Do you ever look at that list? It bears a reminder because as I read it, three out of the seven things God hates is a misuse of the human tongue. Six things the Lord hates. Seven are an abomination to Him, "a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies and one who sows discord among the brethren."

You will spend a total of 1/5 of your life talking. Some of you will do more. Some will do less. But you will average 1/5 of your life talking. You will generate in words a 50-page document every single day, or the equivalent of, in your words.

It equals to be about 132 volumes per year of about 200 to 400 pages per volume and over a course of a lifetime, over 3,000 of those volumes. That's how much you will speak. But notice how easy it is to sin in this area, how a little fire so is easily set. It's very, very picturesque, as James puts it.

Back in World War II, there was a poster that was quite famous in the United States. It showed a boat going down in the water, and it said, "loose lips sink ships." It was famous all over Europe, famous in the United States. And the idea is that be careful what news you tell to neighbors because there could be spies that are among us who are listening to you and will tell powers that be in other countries. So loose lips sink ships.

And James is basically saying that. Loose lips can destroy lives, can ruin a person's life. Sort of a humorous tombstone in England that was found. On the tombstone are the words inscribed, "beneath this stone, a lump of clay, lies Arabella Young, who on the 24th of May began to hold her tongue." You get it? She died on May 24. It took her death before she could get her tongue under control.

OK, James, thanks for that. Verse 7, "for every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly, evil full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father. And with it we curse men who have been made in the likeness or the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth perceived blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives or a grape vine bear figs? Thus, no spring yields both salt and freshwater. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in meekness of wisdom."

The ancient Greeks had a god by the name of Proteus. And what made Proteus unique is that he was a shapeshifter. He could change identities. He could be a stone. Then he could be a person. Then he could be a ship. He could just be a number of things.

So the idea is that he could always escape punishment. You couldn't corner him. The gods couldn't get a hold of this guy because he always shifted into something else.

Some people are like that with their mouths. They say one thing to one other person. But they're very, very different with another, and it just depends on what company they have. They're like Proteus. Their tongues shifts into different forms.

I was on the radio one time. And I had a caller call in and wanted to give me an earful about the problems in the modern church. And this was a charismatic Christian who said, the problem with the Church today is more Christians don't speak in tongues. And I said, well, I don't know that that's the biggest problem in the church today. I would say that one of the biggest problems in the church today is there are a number of Christians who can't control the tongue they have.

[LAUGHTER]

It's not that they can't speak in other tongues. They just need to keep their tongue tamed, under control. Now, no man can tame the tongue, James says. The inference is only God can do it. And so that's the thrust of this chapter.

Mature Christians are robust, real, and restrained. Number four brings us to chapter 4. Mature Christians are reserved. Look at how it begins. "Where do wars and fights come from among you? " He's writing to believers who have an assembly. They gather together, chapter 2.

And he's writing about wars and fights. The chapter opens on the battlefield. Wars and fights appear five times in two versus, so wars, fights, wars, fights, wars. "Where do wars and fights come from among you, believers in Christ, brothers and sisters? Did they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and you do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight in war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask, and you do not receive because you ask amiss that you might spend it on your own pleasures."

Conflict is a fact of life. Am I right?

Yes.

Conflict is the fact of all aspects of life, married life. That's why you say vows at the altar, till death do us part. Come on. Let's make this pact in front of God and men, but till death do us part, because there's going to be conflict.

I was reading earlier this afternoon actually that in medieval Germany, husbands and wives were allowed to settle disputes physically. So if they had a disagreement, they'd go outside, and they'd duke it out, husband or wife. You say, well, that's not fair. The man's stronger.

So because of that, there were certain parameters. The man had to be in a hole, with one arm tied behind his back. And his wife could have a sack of stones to pelt him with. And then they would duke it out, and they would settle their argument that way.

Of course, things have changed. We don't quite do that the same, or we shouldn't. But notice that he says-- he's speaking of believers not getting along. Let me just give you, so I can move on-- here's the short answer to conflict. Proverbs, 15:1, you know it. You know it. Speak it out. A soft answer. You got it.

A soft answer turns away wrath. Somebody comes at you just yelling at you, just talk to them like this, (QUIETLY) pardon me. Excuse me. Well, I've thought about that, and/or I'm sorry if you feel that way. You'll just de-escalate. [VOCALIZING DESCENDING SOUND]

And police, God bless them, they're skilled in de-escalation. I've watched some of our security guys with law enforcement backgrounds. They're just so good at taking high-amp situations and just with a soft answer, making the person just tame. Skill-- it's like, wow, it's really good.

Go down to verse 6, chapter 4, same theme. "But he gives more grace. Therefore, he says, God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." Now, he just said, where do wars come from, battles? And then look at verse 6, the word resists. That could be translated literally battles against. God battles against the proud.

So where do wars and fights come from among you? Well, they come from your own desires. But you want God to fight against you? So if you're in a battle, and you want God to be against you, just be a proud person. As soon as you are proud, God mounts a resistance against you.

You want to get God on your side, humble yourself. Soft answer, humility. You want God as your enemy? And nobody that I know with a rational mind does. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil. And he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. And purify your hearts, you double minded."

It was AW Tozer who used to say, nearness is likeness. Now, it says here, "draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." Nearness his likeness. He gives an illustration. You could have a husband sitting on a couch in the living room next to his dog.

His wife is 25 feet away in the kitchen. He is near to his wife, even though he is in proximity to the dog, because he has more in common with his wife than he does his dog. So draw close to God. Get in near proximity to God. Nearness his likeness. Draw near to God. He will draw near to you.

Verse 10, "humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." Verse 13, "come now, you, who say today or tomorrow. We will go to such and such a city spend a year, there buy and sell and make a profit. Whereas you don't know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a time then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. But now you boast."

There's the pride again. "You boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil." Pride took Lucifer out of heaven. Pride took Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Paradise. Pride took Nebuchadnezzar out of the Babylonian court. Pride took Haman out of the Persian court. Pride turns friends into enemies.

Humility is the great counterbalance to that. You say, well, I don't feel humble. It'll be hypocrisy if I humble myself. Do it anyway. Just try it out. Try to speak a soft answer because what's going to happen is you might not feel humble right now. But as you humble yourself, you'll start feeling it as you make a decision to do so.

Humility is better than humiliation. You humble yourself. If you don't humble yourself, humiliation comes from an outside source. So you take your choice.

So mature Christians are robust, real, restrained, and reserved. In chapter 5, mature Christians are resigned. That is they are fully resigned, no matter what comes their way. Conflicts, trials, temptations, whatever it might be, any kind of trouble, they're resigned and steadfast and patient.

So he returns now in chapter 5 to where he started the book in chapter 1, with the trials and troubles of life, the pressures of life. If you look at verse 7, "therefore, be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord." Now, we've been waiting for the coming of the Lord for 2,000 years. That's being patient.

The churches had to be patient for two millennia. And every generation has to hear the same message. The Lord is coming. But until He does, be patient, endure, be steadfast. I believe the Lord is coming soon. I do. And I could state a number of reasons why. But have 7 minutes, 28 seconds left, so I won't.

[LAUGHTER]

Just say, until He does come, be patient, be steadfast. "See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until he receives the early and latter rain? You also be patient. Establish your hearts. For the coming of the Lord is at hand."

He likens our experience to that of a farmer. There's a lot of circumstances a farmer cannot control. The farmer can't control the weather. A farmer can observe the weather, can plan for the weather, can strategize with the weather, but can't control it.

Verse 10, "my brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed, we count them blessed to endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job. And you have seen the end intended by the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brethren, do not swear either by heaven or earth, with any oath. But let your yes be yes, no be no lest you fall into judgment."

Verse 13, "if any one among you is suffering--" here's how practical James is. Is there anybody among you suffering? Some would say, yeah, I am. Yeah, I am. Yeah, I am. What do we do? Let him pray. Practical.

Is anyone cheerful? Yeah, I'm cheerful. I'm happy. Let him sing songs. You sing. You guys pray, depending on the situation. He's just highly pragmatic. Verse 16, "confess your trespasses one to another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man gets a lot done or avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. And he prayed earnestly that it would not rain. And it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit."

I challenge you to go back at some point and count the number of words in Elijah's prayer in 1 Kings, Chapter 18. Not very many. Could do it in about 20 or 30 seconds, his prayer. Take that very short prayer compared to the prayer of the prophets of Baal, which was from morning, the text says, till noon. Four hours they prayed. It didn't work. 20 or 30 seconds he prayed. It worked.

Why? It's the fervent, effectual, or effective prayer of a righteous man, a man in relationship to the living God gets a lot done. And Elijah, interestingly, becomes the example for that. Let's close out the book. Look at us. We did it!

[LAUGHTER]

Verse 19, "brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." He was speaking to brothers. He's speaking in the context of a church assembly. But he acknowledges another group will be present, and that is professing believers who are unsaved, unregenerate.

They come to church. They're in their assembly. But notice he calls him in verse 20, "a sinner." That's a New Testament term for not just everybody who has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but a category of person as opposed to a saint, one who lives that lifestyle. Let him know that he turns a sinner from his error.

So he is acknowledging there are unregenerate people, false believers among true. So if somebody makes a profession of faith but then seems to backslide, do everything you can. You could say, well, it proves that they weren't saved. OK, you can look at it theologically.

Or you could look at it practically and go after them and try to turn them back and bring them back to a place of real repentance and acknowledgment of their sin and a faith in Jesus Christ. And if you do that, you turn a sinner from the error of his way, and you save a soul from death, that is spiritual death, and cover a multitude of sins, because now his sins are atoned for by the blood of the lamb. So the Book of James, mature Christianity, spiritual growth.

As we close, let me give you a few tidbits about spiritual growth. Number one, spiritual growth is expected. Spiritual growth should happen. It's the normal course of life.

Baby is born. You feed the baby, You burp the baby. You change the baby's diaper. You don't have to do much. You don't have to take it to special classes. It's going to grow into an adult.

Growth should happen. Christian growth is expected. It should happen. Discipleship should be a normal part of our life.

Second, spiritual maturity has nothing to do with age. We would like to think that there is a correspondence, that the older a person gets, that the more mature they become, but not necessarily so. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, in some churches, you have children who are 70 years old. Babies, he called them. They're just being weaned from the bottle. And then you have mature men and women, who are of a relatively young age, but mature in other ways, in spiritual ways. So it doesn't have really anything to do with age.

Third, maturity is a process, not a performance. It takes time. It's not a light switch. It's not like, well, I got filled with the Holy Ghost last night. Now I'm sanctified, wholly sanctified.

Yeah. Good thought. But it takes a lifetime to get sanctified. And even when you die, if you are growing and becoming robust and real all these other Rs we said tonight, by the time you kick the bucket and they bury you, they're still room for you to grow. It's a process. It's not a performance.

Number four, and I close with this, best part, ready? You can grow as much as you want. As much as you want. It's not like there's a favored few. Your growth is directly proportional to your desire.

If a person wants to grow strong, you'd probably say, well, you need the right diet, and you need exercise, right? It always boils down to those two things. I don't care what fancy title you're after and much money you spend on some fancy diet. It comes down to food intake and exercise, right? Same in the spiritual life.

Diet-- what are you eating? What are you feeding on? What are you reading? What are you meditating on? And exercise-- are you praying? Are you sharing your faith? Are you discipling others? So input and output, you can grow as much as you want.

I close with this story. There is over in Europe in the Alps, a tombstone, not like the one in England about Arabella Young. But this is a tombstone to a guide who died while trying to rescue a tourist for a noble reason. He died in rescuing a tourist, a hiker.

And what I love is the epitaph that is written on the tombstone. It has his name. And then it says this, "he died climbing." He died climbing. He died doing what he loved to be doing. But he died making progress, going higher.

James was written as a tribute to those who are climbing, going higher. And James says, no matter where you're at, keep going higher. Keep growing up. So whether it's James, my brother, or James, our brother, same message. Skip, grow up.

Father, thank you for the growth that is possible. Thank you for the salvation that is given as a free gift. Thank you for all the ways you are committed to our growth through the pressures of life, the trials of life, even the temptations that come from Satan that you can co-opt for your own purpose to strengthen us so that we come out the other end better for it and able to instruct others who are going through similar circumstances.

Thank you for this practical Book of James. It has been a companion to so many of us for so many years. And no matter how long we've read it, it's always convicting to read it afresh.

Thank you for your spirit working through it in Jesus' name, Amen.

[APPLAUSE]

Let's all stand.

For more resources, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from The Bible From 30,000 Feet.

Additional Messages in this Series

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8/8/2018
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Flight GEN01
Genesis 1-11
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We're going back to the beginning in this first flight. Written by Moses and inspired by God Himself, Genesis means origin. From the formation of all created things and the fall of man to the flood and the fallout of man's rebellion, Genesis 1-11 chronicles the beginning of everything. It all starts here.
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8/15/2018
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Flight GEN02
Genesis 12-50
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This flight takes us through the biographical part of Genesis and God's response to man's rebellion. Four men are prominent in the formation of the nation of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Through this lineage, God would fulfill His promise of salvation for humanity.
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8/22/2018
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Flight EXO01
Exodus 1-18
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The central event in this flight through Exodus is the redemption of God's people, the Israelites, from their bondage in Egypt. We fly over Egypt and the wilderness where Israel wandered for forty years. The plight of the Israelites, their disobedience, and God's deliverance all foreshadow Jesus Christ.
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9/5/2018
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Flight EXO02
Exodus 19-40
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The Sinai Peninsula is the backdrop for this flight to Exodus, where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments along with detailed instructions for how He was to be worshiped. Miraculous signs of God's absolute power abound, along with the revelation from God that would define Israel's national identity.
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9/12/2018
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Flight LEV01
Leviticus 1-27
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Leviticus describes the worship life of the nation of Israel. We discover how the Israelites were instructed to make atonement for their sin through sacrifice. The overarching theme of this book can be summed up in one word: holiness. After centuries of captivity in Egypt, the Israelites needed a reminder of who God is, His absolute holiness, and how they were to live set apart for Him.
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10/10/2018
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Flight NUM01
Numbers 1-36
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Numbers contains two censuses of the Hebrew people. The first is of the generation that left Egypt, including how they were organized, their journey in the wilderness, and their refusal to enter the Promised Land. Due to their disobedience, the first generation of Israelites failed to enter the land God had promised; however, God remained faithful by leading a new generation into the Promised Land.
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10/17/2018
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Flight DEU01
Deuteronomy 1-34
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After forty years of wandering, the Israelites were finally ready to enter the Promised Land. The book of Deuteronomy can be organized around three messages Moses gave while the Israelites waited to enter the land. With the key word of this book being covenant, Deuteronomy speaks of the special relationship God established with His people.
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10/24/2018
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Flight JOS01
Joshua 1-24
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In this flight over the book of Joshua, we get to know its namesake, who shared in all the events since Exodus and held the place of military commander under Moses' leadership. We'll also get a tour of the Promised Land and follow Israel's conquest of Canaan, after which Joshua divided the land among the twelve tribes.
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11/7/2018
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Flight JUD01
Judges 1-21
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The Israelites experienced a period of victorious conquests in Canaan after Joshua's death. But as their obedience to God's laws and their faith in God's promises diminished, Israel became entrenched in the sin cycle. God divinely appointed Judges to provide leadership and deliverance during this chaotic time. Sadly, God's people repeatedly did what was right in their own eyes.
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11/28/2018
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Flight RUT01
Ruth 1-4
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In this flight, we'll see the godly love and courage of two very different women from very different backgrounds. And we'll meet Boaz, who became Ruth's kinsman-redeemer, a type of Christ. Although the book of Ruth is short, it is prophetically important in terms of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Ruth's story of romantic grace places love at the center of each of its four chapters.
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12/5/2018
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Flight 1SAM1
1 Samuel 1-31
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In this flight, we find the nation of Israel in desperate need of direction and leadership. We will meet the man whose good looks, physical stature, and success in war made him an obvious choice from a human perspective, but Israel's first king had a tragic flaw: pride. From the ashes of King Saul's calamitous reign, God raised up an unlikely man who would become Israel's next king, a man after His own heart.
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1/16/2019
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Flight 2SAM1
2 Samuel 1-24
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David went from shepherding livestock to serving as God's sovereign king in Israel. His faith and obedience assured him military and political victory as one by one he defeated Israel's enemies. In this flight, we both celebrate David's successes and identify with his failures as we get to know this man whom God called, "a man after My own heart."
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1/23/2019
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Flight 1KIN1
1 Kings 1-22
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After years of being a powerful unified nation under King David, Israel, because of their disobedience, became a divided nation under many different kings. This book reveals a story of good kings and bad kings, true prophets and false prophets, and faithfulness and disobedience to God.
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2/6/2019
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Flight 2KIN1
2 Kings 1-25
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Despite the many kings who took control of Israel, the nation still lacked true leadership. Second Kings continues the history of a divided Israel, and we see what happens when a nation passes from affluence and influence to poverty and paralysis.
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2/13/2019
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Flight 1CHR1
1 Chronicles 1-29
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The book of 1 Chronicles recounts the lineage of King David as well as God's promise that He would establish His reign on earth through this man after His own heart. As we see how God fulfilled His promises to David, we discover how that presents a witness of His faithfulness to us today.
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3/6/2019
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Flight 2CHR1
2 Chronicles 1-36
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After King Solomon's reign and death, the nation of Israel went on a spiritual roller coaster ride that ended with the division of the kingdom and the people's exile. From the temple's building to its decline and destruction, we see a parallel to 1 and 2 Kings from a spiritual viewpoint.
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3/27/2019
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Flight EZR01
Ezra 1-10
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The book of Ezra begins with King Cyrus' decree for the children of Israel to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. Ezra tells of two different returns: the first led by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple, and the second by Ezra to bring reformation to the people. In this flight, we see God's faithfulness in keeping His promise to return His people to their homeland.
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4/3/2019
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Flight NEH01
Nehemiah 1-13
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At the end of Ezra, the temple in Jerusalem had been rebuilt and dedicated, but the city walls were still in ruins. After gaining permission from the king of Persia, Nehemiah led a group to repair and rebuild the walls. Though he was met with hostility and conflict, we see how Nehemiah gathered his spiritual strength from God during trialing times.
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4/10/2019
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Flight EST01
Esther 1-10
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Esther reads almost like a fairy tale: A Jewish maiden becomes queen of Persia. The villain launches an attack to destroy the Jews. In the end, his plot is thwarted by the hero and the brave maiden, who risks her life to save her people. Though the name of God isn't mentioned once in this short book, we clearly see God's providence and faithfulness in dealing with His people.
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4/24/2019
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Flight JOB01
Job 1-42
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The book of Job opens in the throne room of heaven with a conversation between God and Satan regarding the faithfulness of a man named Job. God allowed Satan to test Job, and Satan caused Job to lose his health, wealth, and even his beloved family. But in the midst of Job's tragic circumstances, God revealed His sovereignty and faithfulness, and Job's steadfast faith prevailed.
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5/1/2019
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Flight PSA01
Psalms 1-150
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The book of Psalms is a collection of songs, prayers, and poetry that express the deepest of human emotions. These artistic masterpieces were compiled over a period of roughly 1,000 years from the time of Moses to the time of Ezra and the return from the Babylonian exile. As we fly over the Psalms, we'll see beautiful writings of gladness and grief, pleading and prayers, and reverence and worship—all with one overarching theme: a complete dependence on the love and power of God.
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5/8/2019
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Flight PRO01
Proverbs 1-31
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Known for the wisdom it contains, the book of Proverbs reveals how to deal with everyday situations. But more than just good advice, it is God's words of wisdom, which we need in order to live righteously. These proverbs are universal principles that apply to all people for all times, because they speak of the character of God and the nature of man—both of which remain constant.
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5/15/2019
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Flight ECC01
Ecclesiastes 1- 12
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The book of Ecclesiastes records King Solomon's intense search to find meaning and fulfillment in life. In this flight, we discover some significant truths—namely, that all worldly things are empty and that life's pursuits only lead to frustration. After tasting all that this world has to offer, Solomon ultimately concluded that life without God is meaningless.
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5/22/2019
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Flight SON01
Song of Solomon 1-8
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The Song of Solomon portrays a moving love story between King Solomon and a shepherdess. The story reveals the intimacy, love, and passion that a bridegroom and his bride share in a marriage relationship. Even more than the fulfillment found in the love between a husband and wife, we'll discover that the spiritual life finds its greatest joy in the love God has for His people and Christ has for His church.
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5/29/2019
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Flight ISA01
Isaiah 1-27
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The prophet Isaiah's ministry lasted around fifty years and spanned the reigns of four kings in Judah. His prophecies are quoted in the New Testament more often than any other prophet's. In this first flight over Isaiah, we focus on his prophecies of condemnation that pulled no punches and pointed out Israel's need for God.
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6/26/2019
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Flight ISA02
Isaiah 28-66
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Of all the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah is thought by many to be the greatest, in part because of his clear prophecies about the Messiah. In this second flight over his book, we see his continued work and how God used his prophecies of both condemnation and comfort to generate change in the individuals he encountered.
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7/3/2019
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Flight JER01
Jeremiah 1-20
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The book of Jeremiah is a series of oracles written in the southern kingdom of Judah over a period of fifty-plus years. It speaks of judgment, the promise of restoration, and the protective hand of God over those He loves. In this flight, we catch a glimpse of the man behind the prophecies as he allowed God to speak through him in unusual ways to open the eyes of the people of Israel.
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7/10/2019
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Flight JLA01
Jeremiah 21-52; Lamentations 1-5
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The prophet Jeremiah allowed God to speak through him in unusual ways to open the eyes of the people of Israel. As we complete our flight over his book, we find the prophet reinvigorated by God's promises as he continued to prophesy Babylon's impending invasions and, ultimately, Judah's captivity. Then our flight continues over the poetic book of Lamentations, which Jeremiah wrote as he wept and grieved over Jerusalem's destruction, ending the book with a prayer for Israel's restoration from captivity.
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7/17/2019
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Flight EZE01
Ezekiel 1-48
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Written by Ezekiel the priest, this book takes place during the second Babylonian captivity and documents the fulfillment of several prophecies from previous Old Testament books. In this flight, we see God continue to offer promises of restoration through Ezekiel, bringing the nation hope despite their tribulations.
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7/24/2019
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Flight DAN01
Daniel 1-8
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Chronologically, the book of Daniel links the time of the kings in 2 Chronicles to the restoration of Jerusalem in the book of Ezra. It begins with the first Babylonian captivity and ends with Daniel's vision of seventy weeks. In it, we witness both prophetic history and the four prophetic visions of Daniel, as well as powerful stories that reveal a faithful man of God who was unwilling to compromise his beliefs.
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7/31/2019
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Flight DAN02
Daniel 9-12
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Midway through the book of Daniel, the focus shifts from the historic to the prophetic. Daniel's four prophetic visions reveal the stunning accuracy of biblical prophecy, as well as Daniel's uncompromising faith in God's fulfillment. From the rise and fall of human kingdoms to the Messiah and the day of judgment, Daniel's visions drove him to his knees in fervent prayer for the people of Israel.
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8/7/2019
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Flight HOS01
Hosea 1-14
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Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam II, and he had a clear message to deliver: Israel had rejected God, so they would be sent into exile and become wanderers in other nations. On this flight, we see a clear parallel between Hosea's adulterous wife—whom God had instructed Hosea to marry—and Israel's unfaithfulness. But even as Hosea endured a rocky marriage, he continued to share God's plan that He would bring His people back to Himself.
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8/14/2019
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Flight JAO01
Joel 1-3; Amos 1-9; Obadiah
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Through three ordinary men—Joel, Amos, and Obadiah—God delivered extraordinary messages to His people, warning them against greed, injustice, false worship, and self-righteousness. On this flight, we witness God's patience and love for Israel, and we see how He stands ready to forgive and restore all who turn away from their sin.
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8/21/2019
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Flight JON01
Jonah 1-4
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Rather than focusing on prophecy, the book of Jonah narrates a prophet's story. Jonah was blatantly disobedient to God's call, but despite his defiance, God redirected his path through a unique situation. The resulting revival in Nineveh shows us that God's grace reaches beyond the boundaries of Israel to embrace all nations.
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8/28/2019
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Flight MNH01
Micah 1-7; Nahum 1-3; Habakkuk 1-3
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God used three prophets—Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk—to criticize, comfort, and inspire: Micah encouraged social justice and the authentic worship of God. Nahum prophesied against the Assyrians for returning to their evil practices. And though Habakkuk didn't address Israel directly, his message assured them that evil does not endure forever. Through these prophets, God's people confessed their sins and grew confident in His salvation.
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9/4/2019
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Flight ZHA01
Zephaniah 1-3; Haggai 1-2
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The prophet Zephaniah addressed the social injustice and moral decay of Judah and her neighbors, proclaiming the coming day of the Lord and His wrath upon the nations—both an immediate judgment and a future end-times judgment. God sent Haggai the prophet to preach to the restored community of Jews in Jerusalem after their return from exile in Babylonia. Haggai encouraged the nation to set aside their selfishness and finish rebuilding the temple, an act of obedience that would align their desire with God's desire.
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9/18/2019
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Flight ZMA01
Zechariah 1-14; Malachi 1-4
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As we fly over the last books of the Old Testament, we first look at the expanded message of rebuilding the temple when Zechariah encouraged Israel to anticipate their ultimate deliverance and the Messiah's future reign. One hundred years after the temple was rebuilt, the book of Malachi revealed that God's chosen people had once again slid back into their sinful practices. Malachi declared God's promise of a coming messenger, John the Baptist, and a coming Messiah.
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10/2/2019
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Flight INT01
Intertestamental Period
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In between the Old and New Testaments lies 400 years of history. During this intertestamental period, God chose not to speak to His people through prophets as He orchestrated people, politics, and events in preparation of the coming Messiah. Scholars have come to call these four centuries the silent years. Remarkably, the silence would be broken by a newborn baby's cry in Bethlehem.
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10/9/2019
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Flight MML01
Matthew 1-28; Mark 1-16; Luke 1-24
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These three Synoptic Gospels give us our first glimpses of Jesus' life and death here on earth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke present Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah, the Servant of the Lord, and the Son of Man, respectively. On this flight, we'll see the service, sermons, sacrifices, and sovereignty of Jesus as we witness the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies.
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10/16/2019
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Flight JOH01
John 1-21
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The spiritual depth of John sets it apart from the other Gospels, with one-third of its content dedicated to the last week of Jesus' life. Rather than focusing on what Jesus did, John focused on who Jesus is, presenting Him as God incarnate and highlighting His deity. On this flight, we'll see seven miraculous signs of Jesus, as well as seven statements that He used to identify Himself as God.
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10/23/2019
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Flight ACT01
Acts 1-28
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The book of Acts presents the history of a dynamic, growing community of believers that started in Jerusalem and went on to spread the gospel throughout the known world. In this book, the gospel writer Luke also recorded how the early church received the Holy Spirit, who enabled them to witness, love, and serve with boldness and courage, even when faced with persecution.
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10/30/2019
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Flight ROM01
Romans 1-16
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The book of Romans is the apostle Paul's letter to the church in Rome, and it focuses on God's plan of salvation for all humankind. Romans is the most systematic of Paul's letters, reading more like an elaborate theological essay rather than a letter. On this flight, we look at Paul's strong emphasis on Christian doctrine as well as his concern for Israel.
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11/13/2019
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Flight 1COR1
1 Corinthians 1-16
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In 1 Corinthians, Paul confronted the problems that had infiltrated the influential church at Corinth and defended his position as an apostle of Christ. He later rejoiced over their repentance and acceptance of his God-given authority. On this flight, we discover the power of a new life in Jesus as we see how Paul shared the heart of the gospel with his fellow believers.
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11/20/2019
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Flight 2COR1
2 Corinthians 1-13
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After Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, false teachers began spreading opposition to him in the Corinthian church. Paul sent Titus as his representative to deal with them, and most of the church repented. Paul wrote this epistle to express his joy at the turnaround and to appeal to them to accept his authority, which was confirmed by the many hardships he suffered for the gospel. On this flight, we find beautiful truths to carry with us through our own times of suffering.
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12/4/2019
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Flight GAL01
Galatians 1-6
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Galatians is a firm statement of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. When Paul wrote this letter, the false doctrine of legalism and faith by works had infiltrated the church throughout Galatia. As a result, believers had traded their freedom in Christ for bondage to the old Jewish law that had been fulfilled by Jesus. On this flight, we discover the differences between law and grace as well as the practical application and results of the proper doctrine of grace.
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1/8/2020
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Flight EPH01
Ephesians 1-6
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Who are we in Christ? In Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus, he answered that very question as he addressed a group of believers who were ignorant of their spiritual wealth in Jesus. He explained how the Christian is the bride of Christ, a temple in the Lord, and a soldier for the gospel. On this flight, we see how Paul also emphasized unity among believers, describing the church as a body that works together for a common goal.
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1/15/2020
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Flight PHI01
Philippians 1-4
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Referred to as the epistle of joy, Philippians contains the message that joy is possible in all of life's circumstances, including suffering. Paul wrote this very personal letter while in prison, and despite his trials, he rejoiced over the caring and generous church in Philippi and encouraged them in unity, humility, and prayer.
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1/22/2020
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Flight COL01
Colossians 1-4
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On this flight, we see how the young church in Colossae became the target of a heretical attack that included angel worship, the depreciation of Christ, and reliance on human wisdom. In Paul's letter to this church, he refuted the heresy by exalting Christ as the very image of God, the preexistent sustainer of all things, the head of the church, and the first to be resurrected.
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2/12/2020
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Flight THE01
1 Thessalonians 1-5; 2 Thessalonians 1-3
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The apostle Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians in response to a report that some errors and misunderstandings about his teaching had crept into the church at Thessalonica. But Paul also used the opportunity to encourage the believers there, exhorting them in the Word, warning them against pagan immorality, and urging them to remain steadfast in God's truth in the face of persecution.
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6/10/2020
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Flight TIM01
1 Timothy 1-6; 2 Timothy 1-4
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These loving letters to Timothy, a young pastor in Ephesus, reveal Paul's true love for his brother in Christ. Timothy was facing a heavy burden of responsibility, so Paul not only instructed him about the conduct of the church and its ministers but also encouraged him to stand strong for the faith against false teachings, to endure hardship, and to preach the Word.
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6/17/2020
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Flight TPH01
Titus 1-3; Philemon
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Paul's brief letter to Titus focuses on Titus' role and responsibility in the organization and supervision of the churches in Crete. Throughout the letter, Paul also stressed the importance of sound doctrine and church order. In Philemon, on the other hand, the apostle took a more personal approach and spoke on the application of the great principles of Christian brotherhood to social life.
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6/24/2020
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Flight HEB01
Hebrews 1-13
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Although this well-written book's author is unknown, it reveals a man with a great desire to encourage Jewish believers to live in the grace of Jesus, especially since many of them were slipping back into the rites and rituals of Judaism to escape persecution. The letter centers on the person and work of Christ, inspiring believers through all the ages to pursue Jesus in every area of life.
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7/15/2020
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Flight PET01
1 Peter 1-5; 2 Peter 1-3
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The apostle Peter wrote these letters to encourage persecuted Christians and to defend the authenticity of God's Word against false teaching that had infiltrated the church. He called on believers to grow in their faith so they might detect and combat the spreading apostasy. On this flight, we see how these letters uniquely encourage us as we live in conflict with our culture, giving us incentive for holy living as we look forward to Jesus' second coming.
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7/22/2020
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Flight 1JOH1
1 John 1-5
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In this letter, John lived up to his nickname—the apostle of love—as he urged the church to continue living a life of faith in Christ. He defended the nature of Jesus against heretical teachings and warned his readers about those who taught such things. John not only addressed the preeminence of God's love for us but also emphasized our duty to love others in return. This flight shows you how God can transform your life when you follow Him wholeheartedly.
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7/29/2020
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Flight JJU01
2 John, 3 John; Jude
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These three epistles were written to encourage the church to keep a strong biblical foundation. The authors exhorted believers to walk in love but to be discerning in their expression of love, to have and enjoy fellowship with other Christians, and to stay strong in the faith. On this flight, you'll discover why it's so vital to balance love and truth to reach a lost world with the gospel of Jesus.
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8/5/2020
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Flight REV01
Revelation 1-11
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Considered to be one of the most powerful books in Scripture, Revelation is a direct vision from God to the apostle John. It's both a warning to the world of a coming tribulation and a source of hope for believers as we anticipate Jesus' return. The book is filled with prophecies of future judgment, but in it, we find a glimpse of heaven and the glories awaiting Jesus' bride, the church.
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8/12/2020
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Flight REV02
Revelation 12-22
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In the second half of Revelation, we read some of the most thrilling text in the entire Bible, getting a preview of a future judgment, Jesus' thousand-year reign on earth, the eventual fate of unbelievers, and the church's eternal destination in the new heaven and earth. As we conclude our journey at 30,000 feet over the Scriptures, we discover how the history of the world culminates as we look to Jesus in all His splendid glory.
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8/19/2020
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Visit to the Cockpit Q&A with Pastor Skip
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Our midweek series The Bible from 30,000 Feet came to a close with a final Visit to the Cockpit Q & A session. In the last message of our series, Pastor Skip answers questions from the congregation on topics throughout the Bible, from creation to the end times.
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There are 58 additional messages in this series.