Summary: In the message James the half brother of Jesus will teach us we CAN turn our trials into triumphs. (Real Faith For The Real World - prt one)
"Turning Trials Into Triumphs"
TEXT: JAMES 1:1-12
Today we begin a study of the book of James. But before we begin our study I think it would be good for us to do a little background about this great book in God’s Word. Now, one thing that often adds a great deal of insight to the meaning of a book is to know a little about the author, the audience and the reason why it was written.
Do you know who wrote the book of James?
"James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes scattered among the nations..."
That short sentence tells us a lot about James, for one thing he was humble. Did you notice how James identifies himself; "James a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ..." He doesn’t even mention that he was Jesus brother, "hey I grew up with Jesus, we worked in the carpenters shop together, we went fishing together..."
I wonder what their relationship was like. Can you imagine having Jesus as your older brother, talk about big shoes to follow.
Now we know from John’s gospel that James and Jesus’ other brothers did not believe in Jesus during his earthly ministry. And Mark tells us that as Jesus began His ministry and as the crowds began to gather around Him, that his family traveled from Nazareth to Capernaum to take charge of Jesus because they believed that he was out of His mind.
Do you know where we find James mentioned next in the bible? In Acts 1 verse 14, "They all joined constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers..."
What happened that caused James who didn’t believe in Jesus, who felt that his older brother had flipped his wig to not only believe in him, but to be in the upper room praying with the disciples, waiting for Pentecost? What happened that caused James to make such a drastic change?
Paul gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7...
And as we look thru the rest of the New Testament, we see that James became one of the key leaders in the early church, it was James who took charge of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15, In Acts 21:18 we see him welcoming Paul back from his 3rd missionary journey, Paul refers to James in the book of Galatians, as a pillar of the church. And from 1 Cor 9:5 we see that James was more than likely married.
And from church tradition we are told that he died a martyrs death, he was thrown from the temple for refusing to reject Christ before the Sanhedrin, and then beaten with clubs...
This is the man who wrote the words of the book we are about to study... A changed man, a humble man, a leader, a husband, a man of action who literally gave his life for the gospel.
Who did James write to? "12 tribes scattered among the nations..." Though the book of James is meant for all Christians, more than likely James specific audience were those Christians who had been members of the Jerusalem church with him, BUT who had been forced to scatter throughout Judea and Samaria because of Saul’s persecution (Acts 8:1).
James initial audience were refugees, scattered among the nations; people who had left homes, jobs..etc