Summary: James teaches that followers of Christ are to be humble servants, they are to be joyful, they are, as they pray, to express strong faith and to rejoice whether they are poor or rich.
1. Open your bibles to James 1:1&ff.
2. As we finish up our study in the book of Judges we are going to start a series of sermons on the books of James, 1st & 2nd Peter, 1st , 2nd, & 3rd John and Jude.
3. The Lord willing through the summer and until next bible bowl book is selected we will study and preach from these seven N. T. books.
4. Along with the sermons you will have your workbooks to study from at home. Occasionally, on Wednesday nights (when Tom isn’t teaching on Wednesday nights) and then on some Sunday mornings we will use our workbooks together.
5. In this lesson we will begin seeking to learn and then live what James, Peter, John and Jude teach us from their writings.
I. FIRST, JAMES 1:1 TEACHES US THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A HUMBLE SERVANT.
1. Are you thankful that the bible refers to you as a “servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”?
2. James, the writer of the book of James was thankful he could refer to himself as a servant. Let’s read James 1:1, “James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.”
3. This James could be one of four Jameses that we read about in the N. T.
(1) In Luke 6:16 we read of one James that was a brother of the apostle’s, but nothing more is known of this James. “Judas the son [brother KJV] of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.”
(2) In Matt. 10:2,3,4; [Luke 6:12-15,16] “James the son of Alphaeus” is named as one of the apostles, but not very much is known about him.
(3) In Matt. 10:2, “James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother” is also named as one of the apostles. This James would not be the author of the book of James because he was behead by Herod too early to be the writer of the book, Acts 12:1,2.
(4) The fourth James that we read about in the N. T. is a half brother to Jesus (Matt. 13:55,56). We learn that Jesus and James were of a family of nine - Joseph and Mary and seven children.
a. In John 7:5 we read that Jesus’ fleshly brothers did not believe that he was the Son of God during the time that Jesus was alive on the earth: “For neither did his brethren believe in him.”
b. As Jesus was on the cross he chose to trust the care of his mother to John, the apostle, and not one of his fleshly brothers. This was probably due to his fleshly brothers not believing that he was divine, as well as human.
c. After Jesus was resurrected, among others, Jesus appeared to James (1 Cor. 15:7). In Acts 1:13,14 statement is made that Jesus’ brothers gather in Jerusalem with the 120 disciples. This shows evidence that his brothers began to believe he was divine after his resurrection. This should encourage you to never loose hope on others that you are trying to convert. After you die, is when your faithful Christian life might motivate them to become a faithful Christian.
d. In Acts 12:17; 15:13ff; 21:18 and Gal. 1:19 & 2:9 statements are made that let us know that James became a very influential leader in the church in Jerusalem.
5. All of these things have been pointed out to emphasize that James was very humble. James could have introduced himself, not as a servant, but rather as a brother to Jesus Christ.
6. Later, in James 4:6 James exhorts all Christians to be humble. “6 But He [God] gives more grace. Therefore He says: “ God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
7. Being a servant means what James emphasized. We are to serve both God and Christ. In their word they teach us to also server one another.
8. Being a humble a servant, a Christians will be obedient to God. They will be unselfish and help their fellow man. They will not seek recognition for themselves but instead serve and stay hid behind the cross.
II. SECOND, JAMES 1:2-4 TEACHES CHRISTIANS THAT THEY CAN BE HAPPY EVEN WHEN OUTWARD CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD NOT ENCOURAGE THE AVERAGE PERSON TO BE HAPPY.
1. Notice that James isn’t talking about temptations and trials that we deliberately walk into, but rather that we “fall into”. These are troubles that we find ourselves in, in spite of our best efforts to stay away from.
2. James encourages Christians to be happy, to look on the bright side and to not get all down and out and discouraged when difficult times come. The world around us bemoans any kind of hardship and difficulty. Christians should radiate with joy!