Summary: James is a no nonsense leader of the early church. His letter speaks to specific issues, and those issues are still in the church today.
Study of James: Wisdom and Practical Christian Living
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
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
As Martin Luther himself said, "You are saved by faith alone, but if faith is alone, it is not faith."
1 My brothers, as believers in our glorious LORD Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Favoritism… we do it all the time.
Webster defines: as one who has deemed a favorite… which is… 1 : one that is treated or regarded with special favor or liking; especially : a person who is specially loved, trusted, or provided with favors by someone of high rank or authority
To hold in high regard … we extend that not only to others, but also to ourselves…. Rather than living as servants we can think to highly of self because of accomplishments…
Last year, Ken Griffey, Jr. chose not to attend "The Players Choice Awards" to receive the "Player of the Decade" award. Junior beat out three time MVP winner Barry Bonds and four time Cy Young Award winner, Greg Maddux for the honor. The award is a big deal. He joins the ranks of baseball greats Wagner, Cobb, Ruth, Foxx, Williams, Mantle, Mays, Rose, and Schmidt.
Why didn’t he go? Trey, his 5-year-old son had a baseball game that night--his first, and Junior didn’t want to miss it.
Favoritism is a sticky thing…
Philip Yancey, in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, says, “.....it seems that God arranged the most humiliating circumstances possible for his entrance, as if to avoid any charge of favoritism. I am impressed that when the Son of God became a human being He played by the rules, harsh rules.....”
Jesus Himself… allowed to be placed in an animal stall… a manger of some kind…
And here James warns us… favoritism can become a sin… by disregarding the life of another… AND WE LIVE IN A WORLD THAT DEGINERATES THE VALUE OF PEOPLE … in movies we see death often… we have raw and crude humor that mocks or makes fun of others for anything and everything… we show favoritism when we don’t value any soul that God would bring our way because of some form of discrimination… whether by color or by economic status… God says this is a sin.
STORY OF MAN WITH GLADIATORS ARENA…
OUR STORIES today are just that, stories… in a movie someone is killed, it’s just an actor… My Grandmother could not watch TV because in her mind if she saw it happen, it happened.
In the times of Rome they didn’t have TV… they had the gladiator games… real people, slaves and political prisoners… forced to fight for their life… STORY OF TELMECHIUS AND GLADIATOR FIGHTS
James challenges to value life… and not to show favoritism… for it is a sin… and then James makes that comparison and contrast…