Summary: This lesson introduces a study in the book of James. This study will focus on how to "Be Prepared" for living in our current world.
1. Author Jack London made some observations from his adventures in the Canadian Yukon. One thing he observed was that beginners on the Yukon trail attempted to carry with them all of their conveniences which belonged to their old way of life. Packs would begin to get too heavy and the trail would be strewn with abandoned utensils. Those who refused to give up anything usually did not make it to the end of the trail. Christians must realize that in order to make it to our goal, we must abandon much from our old way of life.
2. A debate among scholars over the years has been: Study or Act, which is greater? The answer to the issue is to study in order to act. One without the other is ineffective.
3. The book of James is a great practical guide to prepare us for our walk with God.
4. James 1.1
I. The Man, James (Jacob)
A. A reminder of Isaac’s Son
1. Heel Grabber/Supplanter/His deceptions, etc. – Yet God chose and used him – “The elder (Esau) shall serve the younger.
2. Trouble between brothers – John 7.3-8
3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him. 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”
B. Several James in the NT
2. Son of Alpheus Matthew 10.3 (brother of Matthew?)
3. Lord’s Brother
a. Witnessed the resurrection – 1 Corinthians 15.7
Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
b. Among the 120 – Acts 1.14
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
c. Leader in Jerusalem Congregation – Acts 12.17 (Peter’s release)
But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.
i. President of Council in Acts 15
ii. “Pillar” (with John and Peter) – Galatians 2.9-10
9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
iii. Paul reported his ministry to James & Elders – Acts 21.18-20a
18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God.
d. Familiar with Words of Yeshua (Jesus) and Hebrew Scriptures – 20 quotes from Sermon on the Mount
One of the great paradoxes of the Christian life is that God can take seemingly hopeless individuals and turn them into superbly useful people. Paul was violent towards the church and became a successful apostle; John Mark deserted but became a key servant.
In 1944, during WWII, Admiral “Bull” Halsey received word regarding the route of an enemy submarine. He planned to send Destroyers to intercept and sink it. His aides begged him not to send the ship, “The England.” The ship and crew had a dismal record. Shortly after being commissioned, it ran into a buoy in San Francisco harbor; destroyed a dock on her check out cruise; the crew was a joke and had the worst firing record of all the Destroyers in its class. Additionally, the crew was a bunch of brawlers. Six of them were currently in the brig for breaking up two bars in Honolulu.
Halsey laughed, ordered the six men released, and sent the England out on the mission. Twenty-four hours later the England chased down and sunk its first sub. The crew experienced a transformation. Over the next eleven days they sank five more Japanese subs. Every sub the England encountered she sank. The Japanese were stunned and assumed these subs were encountering the main body of the US Navy.