Summary: James is a no nonsense leader of the church. His letter speaks to specific issues in the church, and those issues are still around today.
Study of James: Wisdom and Practical Christian Living
* as a long time participant in Sermon central... there will be spliced material and illustrations in from the site. If not cited I apologize.
JAMES 1: 9-14
The Book of James is probably the oldest book of the New Testament, written perhaps as early as A.D. 45, before the first council of Jerusalem in A.D. 50. James was martyred in approximately A.D. 62, according to the historian Josephus.
James is a great complement to Paul’s teaching on faith…
• By grace alone (solo grati)
• By Faith alone (solo fidei)
Although James does not teach us how to come nearer the lord through salvation, he does tell us how a just man orders his daily existence. James, throughout his life, was known as James the Just, because of the correctness of his actions, the uprightness of his demeanor and the strength of his character.
By following his words, we can live the same way.
MAJOR THEME: THE BALANCE BETWEEN FAITH AND WORKS
Some think that this epistle was written in response to an overzealous interpretation of Paul’s teaching regarding faith. This extreme view, called antinomianism, held that through faith in Christ one is completely free from all Old Testament law, all legalism, all secular law, and all the morality of a society. The Book of James is directed to Jewish Christians scattered among all the nations (James 1:1).
In the book of James we see the reality of the Christian walk and how to walk it…
• The adages…
o Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk
The Book of James is the ultimate description of the relationship between faith and works. So ingrained in the Mosaic Law and its system of works were the Jewish Christians to whom James wrote that he spent considerable time explaining the difficult truth that no one is justified by the works of the law (Galatians 2:16). He declares to them that even if they try their very best to keep all the various laws and rituals, doing so is impossible, and transgressing the tiniest part of the law made them guilty of all of it
As Martin Luther himself said, "You are saved by faith alone, but if faith is alone, it is not faith."
Some of the more famous passages:
(James 2:10) because the law is one entity and breaking one part of it is breaking all of it.
James 1:19: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
James 2:17-18: "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
James 3:5: "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark."
James 5:16b: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
LAST WEEK WE DISCUSSED…
• MATURITY IN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
• BALANCE BETWEEN FAITH AND WORKS
• James 1: 1-8
• Search for wisdom for every day life..
• Patrick, age 10, said, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
• Michael, 14, said, “When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don’t answer him.”
• Michael, wise man that he was also said, “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”
• Randy, 9 years of age said, “Stay away from prunes.” One wonders how he discovered that bit of wisdom.
• Kyoyo, age 9, said, “Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.”
• Naomi, 15 said, “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”
• Lauren, age 9 said, “Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.”
• Joel, 10 years old, said, “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.” and
• Eileen, age 8 said, “Never try to baptize a cat.”
James 1: 9-14 9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. 12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.