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Summary: James was a no nonsense leader of the early church. His letter was written to specific issues in the church, those issues exist today.

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Study of James: Wisdom and Practical Christian Living

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)

James focus…

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."

• Talked about…

o Sin – power of it…

o Favoritism, and the little things that can pull us away – still sin.

o Faithfulness… faith without works is dead!

~ You are not called to achieve… but to have faith. Faith that leads to action… action backed up by Character…

James would challenge the church of today…

• to get on with the Father’s business…

• but I also think he would challenge the Christian of today…

o you can’t just skate through and let the church do it for you…

o Your faith should lead to your actions… and walk in the character to back up what you say you believe!

James 3:

Taming the Tongue

1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our LORD and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.


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