Summary: 1. Trust God to bless you through His transformation (vs. 1). 2. Trust God to bless you through His truth (vs. 1). 3. Trust God to bless you through your trials (vs. 2-4).
Christianity Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Part 1: Believing in God’s Blessings
Sermon by: Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 12, 2012
*One of my favorite Scriptures is Matthew 7:7-11, where Jesus told His followers:
7. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
9. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10. Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
*Our Heavenly Father wants to bless His children beyond measure! We can trust Him to bless us. That’s the message tonight from this introduction to the Book of James.
1. First: Trust God to bless you through His transformation.
*God wants to change us the way He changed the man who wrote this inspired letter. We see him in vs. 1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.”
*Who was this James? -- There are four men named “James” in the New Testament who could have written this book. One was the Apostle John’s brother, James. But Bible Scholars believe that he died too soon to have this letter. So most agree that this James was the half-brother of Jesus.
 What can we say about this man? -- Well, he grew up in the same home as Jesus. Matthew 13:54-58 tells us:
54. When He (Jesus) had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?
55. Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
56. And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?"
57. So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house."
58. Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
*What do you think it would be like to grow up in the same home as Jesus? -- Surely there were good things about it: The best spiritual atmosphere you could ever have, and the best big brother anybody ever had.
*But it also must have been tough in a way. How would you like to grow up in Jesus' shadow? -- That goody-two-shoes never did anything wrong!
-James grew up in the same home as Jesus.
 Another thing that we can say about him was that he was a sinner like you and me. James was lost, probably until after the Lord’s resurrection.
*Luke 4:16-30 records an earlier visit of the Lord back to His hometown of Nazareth. And there we see how harshly the locals turned against Jesus:
16. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
17. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19. to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.''
20. Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
21. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.''
22. So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, "Is this not Joseph's son?''
23. And He said to them, "You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’”
24. Then He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
25. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;