Key Verse: James 1:26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion isuseless
Today, we will begin a walk through the book of James. This is a powerful book written by the brother of Jesus. It is one of the earliest writings in the New Testament and written by a man who had an interesting history with Jesus. They were brothers and, for a while, James didn’t even believe Jesus was anything but an arrogant older brother. (John 7) But, after James saw Jesus in His resurrected body, everything changed. (1 Cor. 15)
This book is written so we may know how to live according to the words of Christ in times of difficulty and so we may truly make a difference in the world. This is a book desperately needed today.
Quotes: “The articulation of our lips should be matched by the activity of our lives”
1. Feet to the Fire (vss 1-18)
a. The Fire Perfects Us
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
b. Knowing How to Persevere
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
c. The Reward For Doing Right
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
d. The Difference Between The Wrongs of this World and The Rights from Him
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
2. Listening in the Fire (vss 19-20)
a. The Right Steps
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
3. The Action of the Faithful (vss 21-27)
a. Stepping Away From Sin
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
b. The Dangers of Hypocrisy
Vss 23- 25
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
c. The Danger in our Words
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
d. The Safety in our Acts
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Harold Fickett, Jr., An Introduction to James, pg 1255, The Christian Life Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers.