Friday, February 24, 2012
James 1:1-8 So last time we looked at who wrote the book. It was James. And just to review, what do we know about James? Test yourself. The brother of Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, cousin of john the Baptist, a pillar of the NT church, Probably the senior pastor of the first Christian church in history, and he wrote the first book in the NT around 45AD. So we know this book was written by James the brother of Jesus only about 14 years after Jesus was crucified There are no other NT books yet. Paul has not taken his first Missions trip. These are the first words of the NT. Tonight we are going to begin our study on the book of James chapter one. And we are going to be trying to do what is called an Inductive Bible Study. And what is important in Inductive studies is to try first to figure out what this passage meant to the original readers. Once we figure out what it meant to them, then we find out what lessons we can draw on for our own lives? Now read James 1:1. How does James describe himself? “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” In some translations it reads…James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ does anyone know what it means to be a bond servant? Greek word δοῦλος (doulos) . It means bond servant or slave. It’s also used in Matt. 18:21-33 there is a servant and a master. James saw himself as a servant and the master is Jesus. What is your spiritual identity? Do you see yourself as a servant or a master? Now we want to know who was James writing to? To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. I wanted to know why these readers were scattered? So I asked Paul if he would give us a 5 minute history lesson. He is going to tell us what was going on in the early church. Paul…. So we know this book was written by James the brother of Jesus only about 14 years after Jesus was crucified to a church of believers that started in Jerusalem but are now scattered around because of persecution. They are all Jewish believers who have been raised in the synagogue. They put their faith in Christ and now they are facing trials. Keep this audience in mind as we read what James wrote to them. Read verse 2-8 Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by he wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:2-8). (James 1: 3-5 ) before we look at what our attitude should be when we face a trial …Is there a difference between a trail and a temptation? What was a trial to one of James readers? What kind of temptations did they face? But James uses the words trials of many kinds. So does the advise he give only count for the big trials, or can this advise also apply to our small trials and temptations? From verse 3 how should be respond to a trail and why? God allows circumstances that can teach us something. Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1: 3). What are some other words for perseverance? Why is perseverance so important in our lives and our walk of faith? Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:4). so this process of spiritual maturity is not instant…sadly! You grow up in your faith, and one of the reasons God allows us to go through trials is to help us mature. Does anyone have a story about how a trial helped them grow? What do you think James means by joy here? Does he actually mean we should be happy to go through trials? I think our joy should not be in the trial, but the results the trial will bring once we go through the trial. Do you ever wonder if we have the wrong set of goals? I’m praying to sell our house in Leimen, but God doesn’t care so much about the house. He seems more interested in teaching us to have perseverance and faith. He cares about making us more mature. I can see this so easy when I watch my kids do their home work. Their goal is to finish it so they can go play. I care that they learn something, not just finish fast. God cares about the process, we only care about the end of a trial…get it over with! Let’s look at what James writes about how we can get through a trial. verse 5-8 . If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by he wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does” God doesn’t expect us to go through the test by our selves. He says he will help us by giving us wisdom when we ask for it. What kind of comfort is that to you? What does doubt do to this whole process? Can a person doubt for a moment, and manage to get back to a place of believing? I think the answer is yes. It’s all a process of growth. A trial helps us grow. And we don’t always go through a trial perfectly…but we can get better with practice. And life will give us all practice.