Summary: James is a no nonsense leader speaking to the church. Those words are still relevant today as the same issues continue to arise.
Study of James: Wisdom and Practical Christian Living
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 TIME WE APPROACHED JAMES WE DISCUSSED…
• MATURITY IN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
• BALANCE BETWEEN FAITH AND WORKS
• PERSERVERE, ENDURE THE TEST OF LIFE… AND RELY ON THE PROMISES OF GOD
Lesson: God is consistent and good… we struggle with selfish sin, but endure through the test!
James 1: 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. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.
As we focus on verses 13-18 I want to tell you about a town from Oklahoma called Picher.
In 2009 Picher closed it’s doors… the entire city closed, evacuated, and shut down. Once it was a town of 20,000 people… in the first quarter of 1900’s it was a boomtown and had abundant lead and zinc.
The Picher area became the most productive lead-zinc mining field in the Tri-State district producing over $20 billion worth of ore between 1917 and 1947. More than fifty percent of the lead and zinc metal used during World War I were produced by the Picher district. At its peak over 14,000 miners worked the mines and another 4,000 worked in mining services.
Many of these workers commuted by an extensive trolley system from as far away as Joplin and Carthage, Missouri. Mining ceased in 1967 and water pumping from the mines ceased..