Summary: We look at the letter of James and his challenge to put our faith into action.
James – written probably by Jesus Brother who was Head of Church in Jerusalem.
James is writting before AD50 when Jerusalem Council was held. He is writing to the scattered Jewish Christians … they were being persecuted by both Gentiles and Jews.
James is helping them to know the truth about God … and challenges them to live their lives for God.
… reminder from last week about trials and temptations coming into our lives … we will all face them, but it isn’t God trialling us or tempting us!!!
Question Gwyn asked me last week ‘Why is it that the Devil never gets the credit when things go wrong?” (Verse 14 doesn’t mention Satan … it talks about our greed and so on, but that gives Satan something to use to get to us) … and the same applies to us as individuals … why is it that we blame God when things go wrong?
We need to really get an understanding of the character of God ….
• God is Good!
• God is Just!
• God is love!
It’s not that He does good things or loves … He IS GOOD and LOVE and JUST!
He talks about Maturing through our trials and needing God’s wisdom to make the right decisions during those trials.
Then we move on ….
James becomes far more challenging and in their face here.
i. Change in attitudes - James 1:19-21
He talks about three things …
1. Quick to listen
2. Slow to speak
3. Slow to anger
Anger doesn’t show the righteousness of God … let’s think who did we say God was in our introduction … LOVE
I’m sure they were angry because who wants to be persecuted? Who wants to really go through trials … trials are really getting in the way of how they want to live their lives.
Everyone would love to have a life with no more trials … James is being realistic about trials throughout this whole chapter. James says we need to slow down … because it stops anger in it’s tracks.
Confession time: I can become so angry when things start to escalate. I am really calm until I start to feel pressured and then I start defending myself. I stop listening and think of how I can get my point across. I usually regret it later when I have time to think it through.
When we are angry we tend to be slow listeners … we tend to be quick to shout our points out to the other.
JAMES TURNS THIS ON HIS HEAD … listen quickly and be slow to speak!!
Something is going on with the people he is writing to … he must have either heard about things they are doing or maybe he’s been written to and is responding. But something is going on here … look how he addresses their behaviour in verse 21:
All moral filth and evil that he says is PREVELENT amongst them.
THERE NEEDS TO BE A CHANGE … Ephesians 4:22 tells us of the need to put off our old self and to be made new.
JAMES tells us to humbly accept the word (planted inside us) God has put it there!!! And it is that which can save you.
Message bible puts it this way: In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
ii. We need to ... do more than Listen - James 1:22-25
Do not merely listen … but ACT (do what it says!!!)
We have talked about this a lot this year … we need to act on our faith not just talk about it.
Words are easy and do nothing to prove our faith. The depth of our faith is only proven with action. Otherwise we deserve the worlds title of hypocrite.
He says we are deceiving ourselves … fooling ourselves. We see the truth in the mirror then go away and forget the truth.
Listening to the word or the sermon and nodding our heads in agreement and then walking away and doing the exact opposite!!!
He goes on in 25 to say the benefits of acting upon the ‘perfect law’ of God which it says gives freedom!!!! … wait a minute, law stops us doing things surely it certainly doesn;t give us freedom. So freedom from what? … sin and the consequences of it!
3. We need to stop giving God worthless religion. James 1:26-27
God doesn’t want our worthless religion … it isn’t enough to just turn up at church every meeting … we should be changed through our knowing Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord and that should show in our actions. When we have truly accepted Jesus into our lives we should be transformed.