Summary: He wants to change our lives heal our hearts and give us the Crown of Life. Do you want this Crown?
James Biographical Info:
• James was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem and was Jewish and this book reflects his Jewish up bring; he is mentioned first as a pillar of the church (Galatians 2:9).
• According to the historian Josephus, James was martyred in approximately A.D. 62, prior to the first council of Jerusalem in A.D. 50.
• This book was written to Hebrew Christians outside of Palestine. It was written around A.D. 46-49. Approximately fifteen years after the resurrection of Christ.
• Even before Paul went on his first missionary Journey.
• It possible that this was the first letter written in the New Testament.
• James 1:1 says "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings." These who James was writing to were Jewish Christians who were under a lot of persecution which started right after the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:54-60; 8:1-3, which describes the scattering of the Christian.
• They had no Bible to speak of except the Old Testament. The only thing they had to hang on too was their faith in Christ. Then after ten years of suffering persecution you receive this letter that says.
The Stoning of Stephen
The death of Stephen and the scattering of the believer happen around 35 to 37 A.D. Have been scattered for about ten or twelve years.
54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. 8 1On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Perseverance Of The Saints
Key Center (1:12)
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.
Persevere With Joy (1:2-4)
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 mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Exegesis: Trials strengthen your faith that is already present! You attitude towards trials and temptation, Peter speaks of suffering as testing the genuineness of your faith (1 Peter 1:6-7). Perseverance means steadfastness, it that staying power, the stick-to-itiveness. Much like the word Peter uses “deeply.”
Illustration: The purifying of gold is through fire Illustration. "The Christian is like an athlete. The heavier the course of training he undergoes, the more he is glad, because he knows that it is fitting him all the better for victorious effort." An athlete can not give up. (kick boxing illustration). When I was kick-boxer we worked out all the time. In fact, we did 200 jumping jacks, 200 crunches and 100 push-ups and after that we warmed up for our work out for the day. I got through the jumping jack, and the crunches but when I got to the push-ups there was that point that my muscles were straining and I didn’t think I could do anymore, but somehow I managed to do one more and then another. It was at that point of straining is when I wanted to give up, it that same point in life that James is talking about spiritually. It’s like two rocks thrown in a blender they smash and crash against one another until it dust then God pours His living water and makes clay; then He molds him/her as He desires and in the end he "lacks nothing." The smashing and crashing are like the trials.