- This James is believed to be the brother of Jesus. It is believed that James, the brother of John, was already dead (Acts 12:2).
- This James was a disbeliever, making no obvious confession of Christ until after the cross. Jesus’ “this is your son” statment
- Something happened. He carried great weight in the early church.
- Council of Jerusalem, pronounced the final verdict and suggested letters and delegates be sent to the churches pronouncing salvation by faith alone (Acts 15).
- Paul reported to James after 3rd missionary journey (Acts 21).
- At the council of Jerusalem, we read James saying, “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” – Acts 15:19-20
- This is why Martin Luther, Erasmus, and other preachers of the reformation suggested doubt with its canonicity.
- It will seem at times that James stands in great contrast with Paul.
- So why was it written? The blend of Christianity with Jewish piety created a strange looking Christianity. So James is concerned about true religion.
- “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this…” (1:27) and so he sets out to set Christianity straight.
- 7 clarifications of real Christianity (see James Outline)
- How do we view God in light of problems in the Christian life?
- Is God not sovereign? Can He not spare us from problems? Why would God allow us, the obedient faithful, to suffer? “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad…” – 1:1
- How do you handle your problems? The way you handle your problems reveals how you deal with God in valleys.
- PURPOSE: Learn to worship while in the valley.
I) Enjoying Difficulty
(v.2 – “My brethren, count it all joy…”)
A) The Fruit of Our Problems
(v.3 – “the trying of your faith worketh patience”)
“…but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope…” – Romans 5:3-4
Heard people actually grateful for problems!
B) The Focus of Our Problems
(v.3 – “Knowing this”)
Not how we feel
C) The Finish of Our Problems
(v.4 – “perfect work … perfect and entire, wanting nothing”)
People with great contentment and great grace
Not all who go through problems are developed this way
Only those who allow patience (v.4 – “But let patience”)
II) Embracing Difficulty
(v.5 – “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…”)
Now that we’re not trying to get out of trials … what to do?
A) Insincerity of Our Motive
(v.6 – “But let him ask in faith…”)
Everyone thinks this is the golden ticket to what we want
FAITH IS NOT BELIEVING GOD WILL
FAITH IS BELIEVING GOD regardless of the outcome
B) Insecurity of Our Mind
(v.8 – “A double minded man is unstable…”)
Sell out to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ in your life
C) Insignificance of Our Means
(v.9-11 – There is a change in both the rich and poor)
James is not advocating poverty. The poor rejoices in the delivery from difficulty, the rich rejoices in the delivery to it.
III) Enduring Difficulty
(v.12 – “Blessed is the man that endureth [bears up] temptation”)
A) Our Promise Delights Us
(v.12 – “he shall receive the crown of life”)
Phillips checkers illustration: No player minds losing a few pieces as long as he is heading for king territory.
B) Our Passion Defines Us
(v.12 – “to them that love him”)
Love will compel us in much that we do.