James –  The Call to Maturity


Pastor Jonathan Falwell

This short but meaningful book was written by James, the brother of Jesus. While James was not always a believer that his half-brother was the Son of God, the Messiah, James did come to believe after he saw the miracle of His resurrection. This book, one of the first written in the New Testament, is directed toward Jewish believers who were scattered everywhere to encourage them to put their faith into action.

James 1:16-18 (CSB) Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

1. A mature believer has a calm spirit

Vss 19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.

  • Our reactions to the actions of others displays our spiritual depth
  • We must respond to the injustices of the world with the kind of spirit which reflects the love of Christ
  • The pull toward evil we feel when tested—a pull toward anger, striking out, or surrender to passion—does not “come from” God. That is, temptation is not located in the test but in our sin nature’s response to the test. If we realize God intends the test as a “good and perfect gift,” our perspective changes.”[1] – Lawrence Richards

[1] Lawrence O. Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, electronic ed. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991), 871.

2. A mature believer is in a constant state of resetting

Vss 21-25 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

  • “ridding” (apotithēmi) – laying aside or taking off
  • This is a continual process in the life of the believer
  • Too often Christians view a sermon as an interesting moral or theological lecture. We need to do something other than sitting and listening.”[1] – Thomas Lea

[1] Thomas D. Lea, Hebrews, James, vol. 10, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 265.

  • Luke 11:28 He said, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”

3. A mature believer speaks wisely

Vs 26 If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself.

  • James had a keen understanding of the power of the tongue. This may have had to do with his critical spirit towards Jesus in John 7.
  • It is vital that believers understand how the tongue can either be a force for good or force of destruction
  • Matthew 12:34 Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.
  • Matthew 12:37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

4. A mature believer cares for others

Vs 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

  • Two clear markers of the life of the believer: Love others and Love God