Summary: James simply states in Chapter 1 what a Christian has: Real Christians have a real faith that can stand under pressure. James could not be considered as a modern television evangelist because his message is too confrontational. His message is that the pow
Subject: What a Christian Has - Faith That Can Stand Under Pressure
Text: James 1:1-12*
Introduction: In this short book of James composed of 108 verses, James the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Pastor of the first church at Jerusalem, addresses the subject of Christianity from a very practical view. He does not try to debate philosophy or teach doctrinal theology. He simply states in Chapter 1 what a Christian has: real Christians have a real faith that can stand under pressure. James could not be considered as a modern television evangelist because his message is too confrontational. His message is that the power of God in the Christian’s life equips him/her to give evidence of their Christianity. For that reason, real Christianity is more than talk, and we all know that talk is cheap. James did not want the Christians to be guilty of making great claims, professing to be people of God while not living up to the standard of Christ. Christianity must not only be believed. It must be lived. The proof that our faith is real is a changed life. Genuine faith will always produce good works. Any faith that does not produce good works is dead. There is no salvation in a dead faith.
James is writing to people on the run - people who had been scattered by severe persecution. I am sure they would love to have heard Pastor James preach that these present trials would all be over soon, so do not worry, be happy. Nevertheless, instead, he writes, “in times like these, my brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. Allow your faith in God to the source of your joy.” In other words, learn to be happy in the midst of pressure and persecution. Notice that James uses the “divers” which means manifold or many. Somehow, the apostle is convinced that real faith can stand under pressure. This really does not sound so good to the ears, that is, “be happy when you go through a lot of problems and/or a lot of pressures.” He suggests that we develop an attitude of joy in the midst of suffering. Real faith can rejoice in the face of difficulty. Now I do not know about you, but I like the “rejoice on the top of the mountain sermon,” but James says to rejoice in the midst of the valley. A Christian must stand under pressure because temptations and trials cannot be avoided.
Temptations and Trials Cannot Be Avoided.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1:2)
James does not say if you go through trials, but when you are going through trials and difficulties, your faith is being tried. Since we all must go through, it is good to hear a strong word on endurance, staying the course and keeping the faith. James gives us some instructions on how to endure trials, that is, how to go through hard situations. If we are going to find joy in the difficult times, we need to know what is to be accomplished through the trial. James’ message is not that it is all going to get better, not that everything is going to go as you had planned, but he does say to let joy be developed in your life through difficult times.