Summary: James was one of the most influential Church leaders of the early church, lets find out why.
James 1:1-18 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. (2) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be complete, not lacking anything. (5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; (8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
(9) The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. (10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. (11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even as he goes about his business.
(12) Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the Crown of Life that God has promised to those who love him.
(13) When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; (14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
(16) Don’t be deceived my dear brothers. (17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (18) He chose to gives us birth through the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
I want to introduce us this week to one of the most influential people of the bible. When Peter and Paul sought wisdom and guidance in the growth of the early church, they both can to this man. His name is James and he is Jesus’ brother.
Why was James so influential? It was not because he was Jesus’ brother. It was because they knew the depth of James character. While we have many traits that make up a person’s character, I believe the most outstanding attribute of James was confidence. He gained that confidence with perseverance.
James wrote concerning perseverance in verses 3 and 4,"(3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be complete, not lacking anything." James’ letter to the church was written before Paul wrote his letter to the Roman Church and this is what Paul had to say about perseverance. Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; (4) perseverance, character; and character, hope. (5) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
And Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:5-8 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith Goodness; and to Goodness, knowledge, (6) and to knowledge, self-control, and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness, (7) and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love. (8) For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
James told us that perseverance develops our faith. Paul tells us that we can not develop perseverance without trials. Peter tells us that we have to persevere to be effective and productive in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. The common thread among all these is that they all agree that when things in life are going great, we have no need to persevere. In short, we are told that God allows the trouble in our lives and in the life of the church to build them.
We can not know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. When life is running smoothly and we face no trails, we tend to forget the basics of our belief. We slowly stop praying and giving thanks for what we have. That is when we think we are really walking with the Lord. And the truth is, that is when God allows us to be tested just as he allowed Job to be tested. Job persevered and his character was never in question by God.