Summary: Introductory message of a series on the book of James. Who he was, and his spiritual journey, from sinner to saint, to bondservant.
James Sinner Saint Servant
Today we are beginning a new series on the book of James
James is believed to be the first written of all the New Testament books. That probably comes as a shock to some of you to find out the New Testament is not chronological, and that the gospels weren't written first.
The New Testament is not chronological, but it is logical.
It begins with the beginning, the story of Jesus, and it ends with the end, the book of Revelation.
In between is all the practical stuff you need for now.
I have entitled this series: James: seeing things from the right angle. Because the book of James is a very practical book on how we should see our trials, our fellow man, and the role of faith and works in proper perspective.
I have enjoyed researching this series and I want to quickly show some slides that show how other churches have approached and laid out their series on the book of James.
PPT 2 - 7 series titles
I especially liked the church that called their series, "Life App's", isnt that the kind of app you really need?
So today we are going to look at only one verse in this book and that is chapter 1, vs. one and we will talk about the man who wrote this book. I have entitled this message: James, sinner, saint, servant.
James 1:1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad, greetings. (NAS)
First I want to point out that there is a clue in this verse that shows it was one of if not the earliest books of the new testament written. Do you see where it says that he is writing to the twelve tribes who dispersed abroad? That makes it very clear he is writing to Jewish believers. Actually he is writing to all believers as this is part of our bible, but in the 1st ten years of Christianity there are no known gentile believers. (Excepting for Gentiles who were first Jewish proselytes.) Anyone who was a Christian prior to the murder of the Apostle James and the scattering of the early church as a consequence of the ensuing persecution was a Jewish person who became a follower of Jesus.
The fact that James is writing to Jewish Christians shows that it is a very early work.
Now the next issue we have to deal with is who is this James?
There are three guys named James in the NT.
James the brother of the Apostle John, and the son of guy named Zebedee. He was the first martyr, killed very early in the church life by Herod to appease the Jews. Because of that fact it could not have been him.
The second James, is the Apostle James the son of Alphaeus. He is often called James the less, to distinguish him from the other two guys with that name. He is called the less because He is rarely mentioned in the bible and in church history.
The third person named James is the one most likely to have written this book. He is James the half-brother of Jesus.
Ga 1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
In this text Paul is telling the story of his spiritual journey. After he became a Christian he went to Jerusalem to submit to the church leaders and to be sure that he was following the Lord correctly.
We know from the book of Acts that Paul became a Christian after the death of James the brother of John. So the James he speaks of as an Apostle, was the one who was the leader of the early church.
Paul describes him with two interesting words:
First he calls him an apostle. I thought there were only 12. Peter gives his criteria for Apostles in Acts 1. James didn't meet them.
Secondly he calls him the brother of the Lord.
If you didn't know Jesus had 4 brothers and at least two sisters.
This is the part were we talk about James the sinner.
No I am not going to come up with some long laundry list of evil things this man did, because though God may have one, there is no such list. James is a sinner just like everyone else who ever lived, including his mother Mary.
First let me show you him as an unbelieving brother.
Mr 6:2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man [get] these things, and what is [this] wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?