Summary: James lets believers know that trouble, trial and difficulty are part of life that cannot be avoided, but that as believers we CAN deal with the trouble, trial and difficulty that comes our way...
A Study of the Letter of James
August 21, 2013
Last week we learned a little about the background and history of the book of James. During this past week I asked you to read the ENTIRE book of James once every day… how many did that?
Tonight we are going to begin our study in chapter 1, so let’s take the leap and begin to focus in on the verses and learn what God has for us in this wonderful letter!
v.1 – This is a greeting and/or introduction from James to his readers. We can see that the letter is FROM James (whom we believe is James the Just, brother of Jesus).
We see that James reveals his mindset and attitude immediately in his greeting. He says, “this letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God and Jesus mentioned together like this equates Christ WITH God, just as Jesus had said, “I and the Father are one!” James believed Jesus was God!
Not only do we see the mindset and attitude of James being a slave (obedient) follower of Christ, whom he believed was God, but we see to whom James is focusing his teaching… the Jewish believers scattered abroad!
To the 12 tribes ‘scattered’ could represent the fact that because of the many times the Jews had been taken into captivity that there were Jews living all over the known world. Coupled with those of foreign lands who had converted to Judaism… there were Jews in every country around the Promised Land.
Remember the book of Acts… especially chapter 2… When the Holy Spirit showed up and those in the upper room were speaking in tongues… it was not a heavenly language but it was the language of the many different countries represented by Jewish pilgrims coming to worship in Jerusalem…
But this reference by James could have also been a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 when Rome put down a Jewish rebellion and totally destroyed Jerusalem… and because of that the Jews were forced to move to other countries to survive.
Both situations could apply, but either way James is speaking specifically TO Jewish believers and followers of Jesus Christ!
HOWEVER, even tho’ his words are focused toward Jewish believers, the principles we can learn from James applies to ALL believers, Jew AND Gentile!
v2-4 – What is coming OR What can we expect?
In v2-4 James paints what many may consider a grim picture for believers.
When people come to Christ as Savior, they hear the message of being saved, redeemed and eternally promised to God… these images produce within our mind a thought that when we come to know Christ that our problems and troubles are OVER!
However, these thoughts could NOT be further from the truth. Thoughts like that are from the enemy attempting to discredit the Savior in which you claim your deliverance!
We ARE delivered and redeemed when we come to Christ and we ARE promised eternal life and heaven with God… BUT even tho’ we know Christ and have been saved, we still live in a broken, sinful world!
The life of the believer is NOT removed from life in this world. We are NOT removed from the brokenness and sinful nature that surrounds us…
We have been redeemed from this evil and we will one day be delivered FROM it, but IN this world we will always face hurt, heartache and the brokenness of sin!
So what James is telling believers here is that this is what we MUST expect! We cannot mistakenly believe that all things will go well because we have accepted Christ. James is seeing life for what it is… unfair and hard!
The fact James is getting across here is that for those who know Christ, while they are in this world, will ALWAYS face a brokenness and sinful world, each and everyday!
What James is basically saying here is that it is NOT a matter of “IF” we face trouble, but it is the fact of “when” trouble comes to our door!
How often do you shake your fist at God over trouble in your life? You get mad at God and say or think, “God I am serving You, why are you allowing this to happen?”
James is clarifying to all believers here that even when we rec’v Christ in our lives, we still live in a broken world… and in a broken world we will ALWAYS face trouble, trial and pain!
James instructs believers to count it a joy to face this trouble… so often we don’t count it joy instead we hang our heads and complain to God! We miss out on the opportunity that James says is there to grow in Christ and develop a stronger spiritual presence and character…