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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

July 27, 2011

Minister Joseph Williams

Vs.1: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

James begins by first establishing his servitude to God and to The Lord Jesus Christ. James is not seeking to make a separation here between God the Father and Jesus the Son, but is only acknowledging that he is servant to them both. Jesus taught that “no man can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24). In the statement by James here, he is expressing to us that he serves two masters, but that the two are one and the same. He also seizes the opportunity here to affirm the very nature (deity) of Jesus as God. James does this by the descriptive manner in which he acknowledges Jesus as Lord and as Christ. As Lord, as it is used in the New Testament, James denotes His deity and as Christ James proclaims He is the foretold Messiah; come to save the souls of mankind. James is writing to the Jewish Christians of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Vs. 2-4: 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.

Here, the Apostle takes on the roles of encourager and instructor. The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family. In this passage he reminds us of a statement made by Christ. “Blessed are you when people persecute you, rejoice and be glad” (Mathew 5:11, 12 paraphrased). James informs us that there will always be trials, hardships and temptations, but we must stay the course, remaining steadfast in our faith and call to Christ. James in no way intends for us to be naive in our faith, believing that because we are called to rejoice and be glad, that our trials will not come with any discomfort. Surely they will, but we can be encouraged in knowing that Abraham also suffered trials but because he persevered, continued trusting in the Lord, he was called righteous by God and given victory over his trials. The thought here is not to pretend that we are not discomforted by our trials, because that would not be a sincere reaction; but that we would view our trials as an opportunity for God to intercede on our behalf strengthening our faith in Him and His desire that we would be overcomers, enduring until the end. The lack that is spoken of here is in reference to falling short of or missing the mark that leads to perfection in encompassing the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5: 22).

Vs. 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 the 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 has His means of giving additional wisdom; it is by His Divine Word. As it was in the teachings of the Apostle Paul to Timothy; Study to show yourself approved unto God a workman that does not need to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15 kjv par). Wisdom does not simply fall out of the sky, nor is found under a rock. God‘s Gracious Spirit instructs us, enlightens us, and makes us wise by means of the study of the divine truths that are only found in His word. The belief that James speaks of here is not merely belief in God, but in the Lord Jesus Christ. James is undoubtedly drawing from the words as spoken by Jesus in Mark 11:23, 24 when Jesus tells the disciples; I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself’ into the sea, ’and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. It is from the heart that a man truly believes. In contrast the double-minded person is uncertain of what they want, where they are going or even why. They are in the midst of constant confusion. It is as if they have two souls that wrestling, jostling for the top position in their lives. Because of this they will not receive or be successful in anything to which they put their hands.

Vs. 9-11: The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

These statements that the Apostle makes are in contradiction to worldly expectations, but in their spiritual context they render much truth. This speaks of the spiritual mindset that we should have. It is as the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:12, I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. The person that finds themselves in a humble/poor state or the person that is outwardly well off/rich, who trusts and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, has a reason to rejoice. The humble/poor should rejoice in that they are exalted in the spirit realm, by being accounted a child of God and an heir. The rich should rejoice in that they are blessed with the gift of humility, by being humble in spirit and not thinking more highly of themselves than they ought. The rich as well as the poor need to be mindful that the things of this world are only temporary and will soon be gone, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Vs. 12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James informs us that to he who endures, who perseveres, who holds fast to the faith in the face of trial, be they persecutions even to the point of death, God promises an eternal reward. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life (Revelations 2:10).

Vs. 13-I5: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

The purpose of this verse is to take away any excuse for yielding to sin. Since the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden, where he attempted to blame woman and even insinuate God himself mankind has always looked to place the blame for manifested sin on someone other than self. The actual truth is that sin is in and of itself a selfish act. We only have ourselves and our inability to or our non-desire to resist the temptations of sin to blame. God does allow us to be tempted because in our testing and perseverance we are made stronger in Him. We are given warning to put away the desires of the flesh so as to avoid those desires becoming sin. It further warns that to continue in sin the sentence is death.

Vs. 16-18: Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

James gives another warning to the believers. The great temptation in all sin is to be deceived into thinking that the result of it will not prove to be as bad as God declared it to be. When Eve was tempted in Eden the serpent convinced her in this very manner. Genesis 3:4 "You will not surely die, " the serpent said to the woman.” Eve found to the sorrow of herself and her posterity forever that it was altogether as evil and disastrous as God promised. James further informs the believers that the best gifts that we can receive are spiritual gifts that are given along with Christ. Every such gift is better than those that only relate to the present life: These are perfect gifts such as the gifts of righteousness, remission of sins, adoption, regeneration, and eternal life. These are all gifts given by the grace of God; gifts that no man has the power or authority to give. They are given by promise of God, the creator of the universe; He is the Light, who does not change. James acknowledges that we the believers were chosen by God. As we heard the Word of truth and accepted its worth for our salvation, we were given new life in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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