Nov 26, 2015

'James' Study ~ ...about Faith & Action!

Tonight ...Join the ANVIL Bible Study Group for a new book study ...JAMES.

What does James have to say to me? 
James is practical...
Take problems. James knows nobody's perfect. So he doesn't tell us how to live trouble-free. He tells us how to live when troubles hit. Do I complain? Or do I use difficulties as an opportunity for growth?
Take words. We all talk. And sometimes we say things we wish we hadn't. James helps us use words more carefully, more positively. Do my words hurt others? Do they advance God's kingdom? Are they truthful? Are they loving?
Take money. It flows around us (despite our complaints about tight budgets and taxes). Do I withhold my money when others are in need? Do I put more value on worldly things than on the things of God?
Take time. If we have enough money, we know we never have enough time. We do all we can to get the most out of each hour of each day, filling our calendars with activity. But am I missing God's will and perspective in the midst of schedule making?

James is practical—maybe too practical! So expect these quiet times to be challenging—not because they will be hard to understand but because they will be all too easy to understand.

Chapter 1 

...studying practical FAITH

   James 1    ~Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

New International Version
1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:  Greetings.
Trials and Temptations
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
9Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
12Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Listening and Doing
19My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

The Crown of Life? (v12)

 So what about the Crown of Life? 

(by Jeremy Myers)

There are 5 crowns mentioned in Scripture:
1.       The Eaverlasting Crown (1 Cor 9:25),
2.       The Crown for the One who Wins Souls (Php 4:1; 1 Thess 2:19),
3.       The Crown of Righteousness (2 Tim 4:8),
4.       The Crown of Glory (1 Pet 5:4), and the
5.       The Crown of Life (Jas 1:12; Rev 2:10).
Part of the difficulty with these crowns is that most cultures today do not use crowns, and those that do reserve the crowns for royalty. But the word used for “crown” is stephanos, which can also refer to a “reward” or “laurel wreath.” In the original Greek Olympics, the winner of the sporting contests was awarded the stephanos, a laurel crown.
So each of the crowns mentioned above represents a reward for some particular special act of service or perseverance within the Kingdom of God. By all appearances, the crowns will be some sort of actual reward handed out to believers when Jesus returns again in the future. This will be at the Bema — the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Each of the five crowns deserves its own study, but let me just focus on the Crown of Life.

The Crown of Life is NOT Eternal Life

James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 indicate that the Crown of Life is for those who persevere in faith through temptation, tribulation, and persecution. This is probably what the person meant who told you that you had made it through your tribulation and had received the crown of life.
Some people wrongly teach, however, that if you fail to persevere in faith through temptation, tribulation, or persecution, that you prove you do not have life, or that 
God will take away your life. This is not true. Eternal life is a free gift to everyone and anyone who believes in Jesus
for it. You do not have to work your way to eternal life. Eternal life cannot be earned or kept by good works. The Crown of Life, however, is a reward for special acts of service and perseverance under trial. The Crown of Life is special reward for a special act of service and dedication to the King.
So if you are experiencing severe temptation, trials, or persecution, be encouraged and persevere through them. Just as a runner perseveres through the difficulties of the race so that he might reach the finish line and receive the reward, so also Jesus is waiting to put the Crown of Life upon your head when you reach the finish line after persevering through pain, trials, and persecution. It will probably not be an actual crown or ring of leaves, but will be some sort of special blessing, honor, privilege, or recognition in the future, eternal reign of Jesus.
By offering this Crown, Jesus is encouraging us to stay strong, keep the course, and remain faithful. 

James Intro: 

Who is this fellow James? There are several people in the New Testament called James, including two apostles. Though they have never been completely certain, most church scholars have believed that a third man, James the brother of Jesus (Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3), wrote this letter. While he probably joined the others in Jesus' family in rejecting Jesus during his earthly ministry, James certainly started following Jesus after his resurrection. James presided over the council called to settle the dispute about the Gentile converts (Acts 15:13). In fact, James soon became the head of the church in Jerusalem. He died a martyr in A.D. 62.

Tradition says that he was given the name “Old Camel Knees” because he spent so much time in prayer.

Old Testament World
Today's Europe and Mediterranean World 

As I study some of the powerful men of the New Testament, I see a few character similarities.  Timothy, Peter, and Paul.  They were all powerful church leaders, but had a distinct mark of humility and fairness that characterized them.  They seem very wise and are people I’d like to spend time with.  James is like that.
Chapter 1
V1a). Originally, a bond-servant was one so devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interest; to exist only to serve your master;
-James here is declaring himself as a bond-servant of the Lord Jesus Christ; disregarding your own interests/desires and will in all things to lay your life at the cross and follow Christ.
-the idea is “dedication” …not being perfect.
-Jesus is our example of a servant; (Philippians 2:7) says “…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
V1b). “To…”  James addresses his letter to "the twelve tribes scattered among the nations." "Twelve tribes" could refer to Jewish Christians who through exile, enslavement and trade were spread throughout the entire Mediterranean basin. More likely it refers simply to Christians, since the New Testament compares the church to Israel (Gal 6:16 RSV; 1 Pet 2:9-10). In any case, the letter is not addressed to one specific congregation, as Paul's letters were.
V2 to V4). “Consider it pure joy! …”  This is an interesting way of looking at your problems!

  • Perhaps God is allowing problems so that you can help others?
V3).      ὑπομονήν. or hypomonen   =  
         endurance; patience
V5).  Need Wisdom?  …well Just Ask God.
Proverbs 4:5-6 ~ “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. 6Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.”

Matthew 7:7 says “…"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
V6 to 8).  Do you waver between believing and not-believing? Don’t doubt the bible or your salvation!
V8). "Double-minded" man; You shouldn't change your mind so many times!
V1) "12Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom." ~ Psalm 90:12
What is the “Crown of Life” ?
V17).  God is Immutable  ….He doesn’t change!
V18).    John 1:12-13 says “12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

V19) "Swift to hear"   ...Listener's are winners!
We need to obey God’s Word when we hear it.
V26). Tame your tongue!
3Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;

keep watch over the door of my lips.~ Psalm 141
V27).  True religion is evidenced in actions.
…it’s about OTHERS;  …orphans & widows; &  staying away from sin!


James  2
….studying practical FAITH

James 2    ~ V17  “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead!”

James Chapter 2 ~NIV 
Favoritism Forbidden
1My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”a you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”b also said, “You shall not murder.”c If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Faith and Deeds
14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is uselessd ? 21Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”e and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
·    Matthew 7 ~ 
Jesus is teaching …
15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
·         Matthew 25 ~ Jesus is teaching …
The Sheep and the Goats
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

·         Book of Jacov, (Hebrew); Jacovus (Greek); Jacques (French); Diaga (Italian); Diego (Spanish); James (English).
·         Book is attributed to the half-brother of Christ by most scholars.
·         Written apx 62AD. At the time, Paul was doing a lot of writing. Paul emphasises “faith”.
·         James understand faith, but emphasises “deeds” that should come from our faith; Faith is our confidence in God.   Our evangelical denominational emphasis puts its emphasis on Salvation; James put his emphasis on “Deeds” or “…what have you done with your faith?”

A)      Chapter 2 ~V1 to 13 Beware of Favoritism

V2).  You can’t be a Christian and a spiritual SNOB! 
·         Christians poor behaviour can be the biggest deterrent to people accepting Christ. 
·         We can’t be seen as having a closed circle or closed group.  Male/Female, post-trib/pre-trib, or anything that marginalizes each other. 
·         Jesus broke down the walls that divided us. 

Eph 2:14 says ~
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

V7) “Royal” because it was given by our king ~ Love one another
V9) Don’t show “Discrimination” or Partiality
V10). …if you stumble in one point, you are guilty of all.

* I don’t want justice à I want MERCY!

Romans 8:1 ~ There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Rewards at the Judgement Seat of Christ ~ (Rewards for our Works)
 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. ~ 2 Cor. 5: 9-10

Words ~
Our Words will be Judged; (James 2:3 Matt 12:36) 36But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Our Deeds will be Judged. (Col. 3:22-25)
A father drove a nail in the kitchen table when his son sinned badly & pulled out the nail when he repented; BUT the Scars remained…. Scars of sin remain (eg. Venereal disease remains after illicit sex.)

Our Attitudes will be Judged.

B)   V14 to 26 (Faith Without Works is Dead)

 “DEAD” = à Vain, Useless

·         How many here are saved?  (Show of hands please.)
·         What have you done with your Faith?   This question is the theme of James 2.

·       God has invested His Salvation in YOU!  ~
  He expects you to bear fruit!!

Sola Fides is Latin for “faith alone”.

3 Kinds of Faith:

1.       Dead Faith: 
You can have faith, but not be saved. 

 “DEAD” = à Vain, Useless

God has invested His Salvation in YOU!  He expects you to bear fruit!!
>There has to be a life-change!

2. Demonic Faith:
V19). ~ Remember even the Demons believe!

28When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,c two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” ~ Matthew 8:28

3.      Dynamic Faith: 
~ Faith & Works “…are inseparable
-Are you saved?  If you are, how do you know? 
-But is there evidence in your life that you are saved?  (Toughly question!) 
-Is it necessary to do good works to be saved?

V21). Abraham was justified by his faith; he demonstrated his works through obedience.  à offered his son Issac.

V25). Joshua 2 ~ Joshua defeated Jericho with Rahab’s help; Rahab was spared.  She was an immoral person, but became saved; she is in the “red-line” lineage of Christ.  She risked her life hiding the 2 spies.  Incl. in Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith.

….studying practical FAITH

James 3   ~ Guard your tongue!
                    ~ Ask God for Wisedom!

James Chapter 3 ~NIV Version
1Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

·         Background:  Interestingly, different languages each name “James” differently;  Book of Jacov, (Hebrew); Jacovus (Greek); Jacques (French); Diaga (Italian); Diego (Spanish); James (English).
·         Book is attributed to the half-brother of Christ by most scholars.
·         Emphasis: Written apx 62AD. At the time of writing this book, James’s contemporary was Paul; Paul was doing a lot of writing. However, Paul writings emphasize “faith”.
·         James understand faith, but emphasises “deeds” that should come from our faith; Faith is our confidence in God.   Our evangelical denominational emphasis puts its emphasis on Salvation; James put his emphasis on “Deeds” or “…what have you done with your faith?”
Chapter 3:
A). Taming the Tongue

(AKA How to Win Friends and Influence People OR Preventing Forest Fires)

Ø  (v.1) Not all should become teachers.  There is a lot of responsibility that you take on when you are a teacher.
Ø  One of the most distressing crises is a fire out of control. The pain of seeing the destruction can be almost unbearable. Personal belongings going up in smoke. The beauty of nature destroyed. Even loss of life itself.

Ø  (v.5) In this passage James compares the destructive power of the tongue to that of a forest fire.
Ø  We can use our tongues to build people up to encourage them…or we can destroy people with our tongue.
Ø  Our tongues can control our whole lives
Ø  Jesus said:  “…What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them." ~ Matthew 15:11
Ø  A man reveals what is in his heart through his tongue
Ø  (v.10) Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing.
Ø  Guard your tongue!
  • So we've started the ENGINE; now let's get this car in gear and get CRUISING!


Question:  ... BUT!  Let's say you've blown it with your tongue (as we often do,) what do we do then?


  • I believe the answer to making things right lies in Matthew 5 
  • (These are Jesus words in the Sermon On the Mount Teaching).  
  • Here Jesus tells us what to do FIRST  (Remember, nothing comes before FIRST!).

 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sisterb c will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’d is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. FIRST go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. ~ Matthew 5

* Raca: vain, empty, worthless, only found in Matt. 5:22. The Jews used it as a word of contempt. It is derived from a root meaning "to spit."

Before you put money in the offering, before you have your devotions, before you do anything,

  • ...FIRST go and be reconciled to them;
  • Ask forgiveness to the one you offended by your tongue (or any other way for that matter).

  • Sample: “God has convicted me of how wrong I have been in ___________________(state my attitude and actions).  I know I have wronged you in this, and I’ve come to ask, will you forgive me?”


B). Wisdom:

·                     We need to ask God for Wisdom!
·                     The fear of the Lord (reverence) is the beginning of Wisdom ~ Proverbs 9:10
·                     Your commands (God's Word) are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies ~ Ps. 119:98

·         Biblically, we learn that the great men of the bible  have always asked God for wisdom.   While there are many examples, the Old Testament introduces us to Solomon, who although famously wise enough already, is recorded asking God for wisdom.  Amazingly, we actually get to listen in on this intimate conversation in 1 Kings 3. 

4-5 The king (Solomon) went to Gibeon, the most prestigious of the local shrines, to worship. He sacrificed a thousand Whole-Burnt-Offerings on that altar. That night, there in Gibeon, God appeared to Solomon in a dream: God said, “What can I give you? Ask.”
Solomon said, “You were extravagantly generous in love with David my father, and he lived faithfully in your presence, his relationships were just and his heart right. And you have persisted in this great and generous love by giving him—and this very day!—a son to sit on his throne.
7-8 “And now here I am: God, my God, you have made me, your servant, ruler of the kingdom in place of David my father. I’m too young for this, a mere child! I don’t know the ropes, hardly know the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of this job. And here I am, set down in the middle of the people you’ve chosen, a great people—far too many to ever count.
“Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?”
God, the Master, was delighted with Solomon’s response. And God said to him, “Because you have asked for this and haven’t grasped after a long life, or riches, or the doom of your enemies, but you have asked for the ability to lead and govern well, I’ll give you what you’ve asked for—
I’m giving you a wise and mature heart. There’s never been one like you before; and there’ll be no one after. As a bonus, I’m giving you both the wealth and glory you didn’t ask for—there’s not a king anywhere who will come up to your mark. And if you stay on course, keeping your eye on the life-map and the God-signs as your father David did, I’ll also give you a long life.” 

~ The Message (MSG) version of 1 Kings 3

 This perceptive man immediately in his writing begins to teach us of God's ability to impart wisdom by asking Him in prayer.  God stands by, only too happy to oblige our wisdom requests.  I find that I remember back to my youthful days seeking God for my life's work and  subsequently encourage my children to seek God for direction and 'generous amounts' of wisdom that is their's; ....just for the asking.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you ~ James 1:5

Ø  It has been said that there are two significant times in a person's life; the day you were born, and the day you discover WHY you were born.  Perhaps then we should spend our time as wisely as we can in the ways God has gifted us;
·                     doing the things that we discover God has created us for; 
·                     doing the things that are building God's kingdom; including our Character, and being a Godly and positive influence in the lives of people around us.
·                     I know I can be more like that this year than I was last year.  What about you?

What Will Matter?
Ready or not, someday, it will all come to an end.
All the things you collected whether treasure or tinsel will pass to someone else.
There will be no more surprises, no minutes, no hours or days.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on, at the end.
I won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you BUILT;
…not what you got, but what you GAVE.
What will matter is not your success, but your SIGNIFICANCE.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you TAUGHT.
What will matter is every act of INTEGRITY, COMPASSION, or SACRIFICE that enriched,
Empowered or encouraged others to emulate your EXAMPLE.
What will matter is not your competence, but your CHARACTER!
What will matter is not how many people you knew,
…but how may people will feel a lasting loss, because you made a DIFFERENCE!
When you’re gone, What will matter is the CLARITY and CARE at which you have loved others, …and have been a POSITIVE INFLUENCE in their lives.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how LONG you will be remembered by WHOM and for WHAT.
Living a life that matters, doesn’t happen by accident.  
It’s not a matter of circumstances but of CHOICE.
~Michael Josephson

James 4: 
~ The WORLD; The FLESH & the DEVIL!
James 4 ~ New International Version
Submit Yourselves to God
1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4You adulterous people,a don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in usb ?

 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”c

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 

10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

11Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sisterd or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Boasting About Tomorrow
13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Chapter 4 ~ James addressed some problems he experienced in his Jerusalem church.

Desires and divisions 4:1-10
·         This passage is talking about fighting within a church body; 1).People at war with each other; 2).People at war with themselves and 3).at war with God.
·         People need to be taken into account for their actions, but it often doesn’t happen within fellowships
·         (Selfishness; Self-centeredness is the root problem) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; ~ Isaiah 53:6
(V.4) “friendship with the WORLD means enmity against God”

·         Lot was a friend of the world; he separated from Abraham & camped ever closer to Sodom and his family suffered the consequences.
·         If I asked for a show of hands as to who here in this room has committed adultery, I’d get some dirty looks from you all.  But the bible says, that if you have “Friendship with the world”, that makes you an adulterer! ;  As Christians we are “married” (figuratively) with Christ;
·         Romans 7:4 “4Likewise, (as in marriage) my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 
·         This idea (concept) of the believer being married to Christ is found throughout the bible: Jeremiah 3:1-5; Ezekiel 23; and in the first several chapters of Hosea.
·         We need to be faithful to Christ! …not to the world and the world systems.

·         Another enemy of God is “the FLESH” Not the body, but the old nature that keeps coming back and needs to be dealt with frequently.
·         “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”~ Romans 8:6 &7
(V.6)“God opposes the proud; but shows favor to the humble.”
·         The antidote to pride is humility
·         We get humility through God’s grace.

(V.7b) ~ “Resist the DEVIL, and he will flee from you.”
·         Devil introduced PRIDE; and it caused him to fall; He is the father of lies & deceit
·         Isaiah 14 & Ezekiel 28 chronicle the history of Satan & we find that sin starts in   the heart “I will ascend into heaven; I will be like the Most High; I will, I will, I will …” Satan's use of "I" is sickening!
-Sometimes we come under satanic attack and it perhaps is sometimes hard to identify; Recognize who is attacking You and …RESIST!  
·         Sometimes satan will continually accuse us; deceive us …these are his trademarks!
·         Recognize/Resist/Rejoice through victory in Jesus Christ
(V.8) ~Come near to God and he will come near to you.
·         How do you program your minds?
·         Psalm 22:3 “He inhabits the praise of His people” ; Praise is his address.  You can change your situation by praising and inviting His prescence.
·         Technology brings filth into our homes & minds….be careful with access to all kinds of media.
(V.10) ~ Humble YOURSELVES before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
You don't really need to pray for Humility; ...James says to just "HUMBLE Yourself!"

· How Spiritual are YOU?   

Hmmm …perhaps a better question is …how much do you hate sin?  

(Psst...That’s how spiritual you REALLY are!)

Speaking evil and *judging 4:11-12

(V.11) 11Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.
  • ~ Romans 8:1 1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Planning without God 4:13-17
(v.15) ~"15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that."

(v.17) If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
·        Be Aware of your sins of omission & Sins of commission (The things you DO and the things you DON'T DO!)

James 5:
       Jesus is our Great       
James 5: NIV Version
Warning to Rich Oppressors
1Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.a 6You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
Patience in Suffering
7Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 

8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
12Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

The Prayer of Faith
13Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
19My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back,20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Review: Currently we are touring JAMES a very practical book, where we find that our FAITH needs to be put “into gear”; We can’t discriminate; We need to guard our Tongues; We need to address “the WORLD, the FLESH and the DEVIL”; take great care with our wealth; ’ and that Jesus is the object of our Faith and our Great Physician!
James 5: Warning to Rich Oppressors
·         -(v.1) The bible is not against wealth; Abraham was extremely wealthy in his day. He raised up an army among his servants and was involved in local conflicts; Job was wealthy; Lydia a seller of purple, was wealthy; Personal property & personal gain is ‘OK’;
·         -Bible is against gain by dishonest ways and misuse of wealth
·         -it’s the love of money that is the root of all evil.
·         -worry about your investments?  Gold/Silver etc.
-Bible says that “a bag of gold will buy a piece of bread”; …real true value is in spiritual things
·         (v.2) it was their hearts that were “rotting”. (Gold doesn’t corrupt;
·         (v.3) these guys were finding their “security’ in wealth instead of in Christ; thus they hoarded their wealth; they didn’t pay their bills!  They owed money to the workers; but with low sense of honor and integrity, they didn’t pay their bills.
…we need to be diligent towards our obligations to others.
-James speaks out against mistreating poor people
·         Leviticus 19:13 ~ 13Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.“Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight. (or in today’s language, bi-weekly).
·         Prov. 3:27&28 ~27Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
·         28Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you.
·         Jeremiah 22:13 ~ 13“Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.
·         Stewardship:  Psalm 50:10 ~ for the world is mine, and all that is in it. (Remember, God is the owner and we are stewards of what He has entrusted us with).
·         The Quakers used to say, “Tell me what you need and I’ll tell you how to get along without it”
·         About a decade after James wrote this epistle,  1,350,000 (1.3 million) people lost their lives when the Romans sacked Jerusalem.  Most likely, these same people that James is writing about lost their lives.
·         (v8.) The doctrine of immanency; Jesus could come at any moment.
·         (v8.) Patience ~

·         (V.11) Persecution ~ 2 Tim. 3:13 ~”In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”
·         Hebrews 11:32 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were put to death by stoning;e they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
·         (v.12) -let your Yes be a person of your word
The Prayer of Faith
·         (v13) Prayer for the afflicted; When you are in trouble, the first thing you should do is PRAY! 
-afflictions are used by God at times to get our attention
-PS 92- I will guide you with my eye...God doesn't want to use painful ways to guide us...but he will if he has to ...he wants to guide us with his eye...with his holy spirit!
·         (v.14) Prayer for the sick; It is wrong to think that God intends to heal everybody; So called Word-Faith people teach this, but many people in the bible were healed, however many in the the bible were not healed after prayer. (eg. Paul)
·         James 5:14 ~Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord
·         The bible here instructs us that God’s intention is that the elders should pray for the sick (not one individual that can wrongfully claim healing power).
·         (V.15) -prayer of faith will heal sick

·         (v.16) Confess your faults one to another. (But…confess your sin to God)
·         -be fervant in your prayers
·         (v.17) -Elijah controlled weather with his prayers

OTHER ANVIL Route 66 Studies:

No comments:

Post a Comment