Summary: Part 1 of the study on the book of James
A Life of Works Produced by Faith
“Profiting From Trails”
Date: September 8, 2002 A.M Service
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: James 1: 1-4
This morning I will begin a series of messages on the epistle or book of James. I will do this series a little different then some of the other series I will preach Sunday mornings & Sunday evenings on this series, which will take us through the month of November.
* This letter is a very practical and deals with the topic of ethics rather than the doctrines of Christianity.
The author James, whom we will look at in just a moment, will really bear down and he gets right to the point on these issues.
But we need to understand the major theme of this letter is on a “Life of works which are produced by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Stand for the reading of God’s Holy, inerrant, living Word: Read James 1:1-4.
In verse 1 we are given insight to the author. He identifies himself as James.
Now there are at least 5 men in the Bible we recognize by this name, with at least three having some prominence in the New Testament.
But there is little doubt that this James is the half-brother of Jesus. Raised in the same family and household as the Lord Jesus Christ.
But James was not a believer until after the resurrection.
James was a predominate figure in the early church.
In Acts chapter 15, a controversy arose among believers. The Judaizers claimed that to be truly saved and to be a Christian, one had to adhere to all the O.T rituals and laws.
This controversy lead to what is know as the first Jerusalem Council, which was to determine what was to be accepted as truth.
We believe this James presided over this meeting and made a rendering a verdict on the issue.
Some say this James was the first Bishop or Pastor of the church at Jerusalem.
A man in such a position in the church and also a half-brother of Jesus surly would introduce himself with that respect.
I am James the half-brother of Jesus. Or James the leader of the church at Jerusalem.
Listen to how he introduces himself:
“James a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”
We see his humility that ought to be a characteristic in every Christian’s life.
James simply identifies himself as a man wholly devoted, totally obedient and with absolute loyalty to Jesus Christ.
I like Dr Tony Evans translation of verse 1: My name is James, Jesus is Lord now let’s get to it.
So having said all that let’s look at the Destination of the letter…
I. The Destination
A. “To the twelve tribes”
1. This is a common New Testament title for Jews.
2. When the kingdom was split after Solomon’s reign, 10 tribes constituted the northern kingdom called Israel and the two remaining tribes combined to form the southern kingdom of Judah.
3. We must also remember that James is addressing the early church, which was made up of newly converted Jews. Although he is addressing Jews he is also speaking to the Christian church. Which has application for us today.
B. “Which are scattered abroad.”
1. Because of the great persecution of these early Christians they left Jerusalem and were scattered to many other countries.
2. Here we see that although these Christian Jews were physically apart they were still one in the grace of God.
3. This should encourage us today that nothing happens to us that will ever take us out of the care of God.
4. Nothing removes us from His concern for our lives.
1. This word is literally translated “Rejoice”
2. We truly have much to rejoice over.
3. Here we first see the attitude displayed by this servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
D. “Count it all joy”
1. He is about to tell them how to respond to trails.
a. Now I don’t know about you but my first response to trails is to rejoice.
b. But I always rejoice leaving trails.
2. The natural human response is not to rejoice. So James tells Christians to make a conscious commitment to rejoice.
a. When you know you are not in the storm alone, you can rejoice.
b. When you know the God that is watching over you has the answer, you can rejoice.
c. When you know that there is hope beyond the circumstances, you can rejoice.
Then next we see the…
II. The Discipline
A. “When you fall into trails”
1. Some of your translations may say, “when you fall into temptation”. It is literally translated trails. The Greek word for trails used here implies trouble or something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy and happiness in someone’s life.