James Chapter 1
Today we will begin a 6 week study of the Book of James. We should first consider that the Book of James was the very first of the General Epistles to the early church.
It was James who set the standard for all the epistles that would follow from the other writers, including the Apostle Paul.
So let’s begin:
*****Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
Some things we should know about this James.
1) This James was prominent in the early church located in Jerusalem and was called a pillar of the church by the Apostle Paul.
Gal 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
2) This James presided over the the Jerusalem council as referred to by the Apostle Paul.
Act 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
Act 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
3) This James could not have been James the Apostle of Jesus.
Act 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
Act 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
4) It was this James who the Apostle Paul reported to, when Paul was in Jerusalem.
Act 21:18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
Act 21:19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
5) So who was this James? Again the Apostle Paul.
Gal 1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.
Until this time we know that none of the half -brothers of Jesus cared for His ministry and did not believe Jesus was the Messiah.
Mat 13:55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
Joh 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.
So when did this change?
After The Lord Jesus arose from that grave.
Again the Apostle Paul:
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1Co 15:7 After that, “he was seen of James”; then of all the apostles.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
So the first person to write a book of the New Testament to the believers who were scattered by persecution, was the one time unbelieving half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ.
James understood that the Church would need some guidelines and the Holy Spirit inspired James to give us these words.
What we should learn is mainly 2 things.
1) Good works are the main sign of saving faith.
Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
2) Good works by themselves cannot lead to salvation.
Jas 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
It is this James, the half-brother of Jesus, who calls himself a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. This James knows now that he has shared his entire life with the true Messiah.
James had received the Holy Spirit when he was with the Apostles and his mother Mary in the Upper Room.
Act 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, “and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren”.
It is this James who quickly became the leader of the church in Jerusalem.
But there was also another half-brother of Jesus who also had a ministry in the early Church.
His name was Jude.
Jud 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
Both of these became servants of Jesus and the early Church.
James wrote his epistle to his Jewish Christian brethren who had been scattered because of the persecution of the early Church.
It was James who decided that the Gentile believers were not bound to the Laws of Moses but be bound by the laws of Christ.
That word greeting tells us that James did not use a scribe to write this great Book of the Bible but wrote using his own hands.
*****Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
What are temptations? Temptations mean trials or being put to the test.
Temptations are common to all men but only the Christian can understand them.
Dan 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; “but the wise shall understand”.
Any new believer that thinks the Christian life is easy is in for a shock!
Jesus warned us all:
Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
But as believers, we must live in the victory of Jesus.
James says to count it a joy to be tested because God will test our commitment to Him!
A “faith” that is not tested cannot be trusted!
Our goal should be to turn every defeat into a personal victory.
A wise man once wrote “When life hands you a sack of lemons, then make some lemonade”.
We can have joy knowing that we can refuse to yield to all temptation.
Now this is not always going to happen, so we can also have joy knowing we have learned a valuable lesson and come out stronger and better from our failures.
God is not sitting in Heaven with a big stick ready to knock us down when we get back up!
God will always encourage us even in our failures!
God is not going to throw any of His children away!
How does that song go? “He’s still working on me”.
Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Isa 64:9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
That word “count” means to evaluate.
We must evaluate our lives after our test and set new goals and priorities.
Remember test are intended to change our direction and to make us better suited for God’s purpose!
Another lesson we will learn is that thing called “patience”.
This is a terrible word that should have been left out of every book but here it is.
1) God will test us to increase our faith.
2) Testing works for us and not against us when we learn from it.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
3) God wants us all to have the ability to keep going when things get tough.
Rom 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Rom 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
A little patience will make us a better person!
*****Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Patience will take away the complaining every time we are faced with an obstacle.
Patience will allow us to see that all God’s children are facing temptations and we are no different and are not just being picked on or set apart from others.
Patience will mold us into something beautiful and joyful in the eyes of God.
And if we lack in anything God will provide that also.
*****Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
When we pray for the “wisdom” of God we should remember one thing in particular.
Pro 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
No man is wise until he has a fear of the Lord.
Without the fear of the Lord, there can be no “Grace” and it is “Grace” that brings repentance, faith, and love.
The fear of the Lord is our awe and reverence for Him, as a Divine Holy Being.
The fear of the Lord will show in our desire to worship the Lord in the right manner and our desire to serve Him in the things He asks us to do.
In the Old Testament it was called “Trust”.
Today it is called “Faith”!
James says God will generously give us His wisdom in handling all temptations and all test. God never wants us to fail!
God will never upbraid us, which means God will not ever charge us with doing something wrong.
When we repent of our wrong doing and our failures those things are quickly forgotten by God and He will never bring them back up again.
But the wisdom that God will provide will always be according to His Written Word!
We need the wisdom of God’s Word so we do not waste the opportunities that God is giving us to become mature Christians!
But there are some conditions we must meet in obtaining the wisdom of God.
*****Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
What is faith?
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
When we believe the promises of God are true and real, they become present realities. With these things firm in our mind then it can be said that we are seeing through the mind of our soul and not with our physical eyes.
To fully believe that you are a child of God and know your salvation is to be secure is the results of that faith!
When we doubt our salvation, we are doubting in the power of God and we will be like that ocean wave just moving around wherever the wind blows and foam out to nothingness, if we can even make it to the shore line.
A wandering ocean wave is up one minute and down the next minute and you can never turn your back on a wave, because you will certainly get wet!
*****Jas 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Jas 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Just as it takes faith to be saved, it takes that same faith to open the ears of Our Father in Heaven.
When faith says yes and doubt says no, a response from God will not come.
Remember Peter as he was walking on the Sea of Galilee, he sank when doubt entered his mind.
What were the words of Jesus, “oh thou of little faith”.
A double-minded man, or woman, can never honor God!
The entire Laodicean Church Age is about double-minded men.
We must make a clear choice!
We must go the way of God and not choose the ways of this world!
“America stands on this threshold today and sadly is choosing the ways of this world”.
What are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
In a double-minded world we must stand on the Rock of Jesus Christ and we will not be moved by the temptations this world lays out before us.
To be unstable is to stagger like a drunk man.
So what is the remedy for double-mindedness?
*****Jas 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
Jas 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
Jas 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
If we are to rejoice in all temptation then there must be a reason.
Even the poorest of believers are the children of God, birthed into a new life, with new principles, new affections, new desires, and a new path to glory.
Changed from the image of Satan to the image of God!
The poor who could never enter the rich man’s house, now owns a mansion and is rich in all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus.
It is that poor man who is called the “brother” of Our Lord!
That one who thinks of himself as rich, and trusts in his own wealth and have forgotten God can also rejoice in that he is made low as the poor man and can then know true riches.
He has been stripped of his goods for Christ sake. He no longer oppresses the poor but becomes like him, who is also on that new path to glory.
What is the story of the grass?
Isa 40:6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
Isa 40:7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Without the Lord Jesus Christ we are all like the grass.
All the years we live are but a breath of time when compared to eternity. Sometimes it is not until we get old that we realize that we have not lived very long.
The future to the believer is such a marvelous event that truly the life we have lived in this flesh has been vain in it’s meaning.
Our past them becomes humiliating because we have not been the servant of the Lord we know we could have been.
Some people ask what tears will God wipe away in Heaven.
I believe it will be those tears that come when we realize we could have done so much more for the Lord and simply refused to do so!
When we yield to the Word of God and take our stand with the Lord Jesus Christ we can know the true meaning of life.
*****Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
When we yield to the Word of God and apply that wisdom that comes from God we can endure all temptation.
Blessed means, a man who God has chosen. This chosen man of God man can then endure temptation.
God will test us by allowing temptation to come our way!
This why it is so important to know who controls this world we live in.
What did God tell Satan?
Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; “only upon himself put not forth thine hand”. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
Satan can only go so far in his temptation!
In other words God knows all things that we can endure and knows how much we can take and allows Satan to take us up this point.
What is the “crown of life”?
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”.
The crown of life is the reward of eternal life given to all those that remain faithful until the death of this flesh.
*****Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
It is a foolish man who could believe that a Holy God would tempt His own children to do evil.
From way back in the Book of Genesis we know that temptation came from the “Serpent”. All temptation comes through Satan!
Satan was crafty in deceiving Eve and he is even more crafty today.
What will Satan do that we already know?
1) Satan will raise doubt concerning the Word of God.
2) Satan will lie to us, saying there is no Hell and no Second death and therefore no Heaven and eternal life.
3) Satan will convince all who listen to him that we all can be gods which is the same teaching of evolution that we will all evolve to be gods.
If temptation does not come from God, the problem then is our own lust!
That word “finished” implies an ultimate and final consummation.
In other words, if sin is allowed to continue without repentance and redemption, it will result in eternal and irrevocable spiritual death!
Therefore we need to give serious thought to the Word of God!
*****Jas 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, “neither shadow of turning”.
The very first recorded words out of the mouth of God are these:
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Our God is the “Father of lights”. God did not have to create light because God is light.
1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that “God is light”, and in him is no darkness at all.
God dwells in light.
1Ti 6:16 Who only hath immortality, “dwelling in the light” which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
God had to create darkness, but God only had to form the light!
Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
All matter is energy in motion and light is the most basic form of energy in God’s physical creation!
God has no variableness!
The most basic and the most universal law of science is “the law of conservation of energy”.
In physics, “the law of conservation of energy” states, that the total energy of an isolated system cannot change—it is said to be conserved over time.
God has formed the light into many forms of energy but the quantity of energy remains the same.
The Light of God cannot be added to by creation and it cannot be decreased by time or any other means.
What God does is forever!
Ecc 3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
This is why “the law of of conservation of energy” is a scientific fact!
This is why there can be no shadow of turning.
The English word “turning” is translated from the Greek word “trope”. We also get the English word “entropy” from this same Greek word.
Entropy means “in-turning”.
In science, any system that turns in on itself, without drawing from outside sources, will become disorganized and fail.
In humans this called “confusion”.
God allowed this scientific fact to come about when God cursed His creation!
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
All things are conserved in quantity by the power of God, but all God’s creation is deteriorating in quality, running down to eventual death.
This began with the sin of Adam and the lie of Satan.
Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
God has imposed these scientific laws, on His creation but God, Himself, is not bound by any of these laws.
There is “not even a shadow of turning” in Our God!
God’s Word is true in all ways!
*****Jas 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
God’s Word is incorruptible.
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
We can be saved from the curse, because we can washed by God’s Word.
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
It was God’s own will that He has begotten those that believe into His own family.
God loves us and it is a deliberate love!
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Jewish land was consecrated to the Lord when the firstfruits were brought to the Lord.
The Jewish people were consecrated to the Lord by the first born child.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the first begotten Son of God and the first-fruit of the dead.
1Co 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
It is because Jesus Christ was the first-fruit and that perfect gift and that perfect light, that all those that believe on Him and follow in His ways and God’s Word are then also firstfruits.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
And because there are firstfruits there will be second fruits but only after the Rapture of the Church.
Rom 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
Wherefore means because all this is true, there are things we should be doing now.
*****Jas 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
Jas 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Because we have been begotten by the Word of God and are already sons and daughters and brethren and heirs.
1) We need to be swift to hear. God gave us two ears.
We must be teachable and ready to learn. We need to listen to what the Word of God says. We must give deep consideration to what is said in the Word of God.
2) We must be slow to speak. God gave us only one mouth.
We must be slow giving our own opinions and expressing our own feelings giving time to consider what the Word of God has taught us.
3) We must be slow to wrath. God says:
Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Wherefore because of all these things.
*****Jas 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
We must lay apart or take off the filthy garments of the world and wear the Robe of Righteousness.
We must put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
We must lay apart or take off the robe of wickedness and receive the Gospel of the sinless, Lord Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1Pe 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
*****Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Jas 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Jas 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Those that say they know God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ but are not obedient in their lifestyle to the Word of God according to this verse are deceiving their own selves.
The goal of the believer is to please God.
We must abandon our old way of thinking and all the thinking of the world!
We must abandon our old desires and the desires of this world.
Engrafted Word is to follow the pattern of the scriptures, the Word of God.
Tit 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Tit 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
When we look in the mirror and all we can see is that same old face we were born with and not that “Born Again” child of God, then we are looking at a foolish man.
The Word of God is our measuring stick, to gage the life we now have after salvation.
How do you measure up?
The Word of God is that true mirror which enables us to see ourselves as we really are!
2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
But if we can see the Word of God then we can see “the perfect law of liberty”.
*****Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Verse 18 said, “the Word of Truth”
Verse 21 said, “the engrafted Word”, which is inserting the Heavenly Word into our body of flesh.
Now our verse 25 says, “the perfect law of liberty”, the Gospel’s rules for true and eternal life.
Jesus Christ said:
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
1) First comes salvation.
2) Next comes following the Word of God, and becoming a disciple of the Lord Jesus
3) Then the knowing of the Truth of God
4) To be made free.
Notice not set free.
“Set” would be to be put or to be placed place into freedom, this could then change.
“Make” is being molded by God into a new creature never to be in bondage again. “The perfect law of liberty”.
5) Then continuing in that freedom, becoming a doer of that Word of God, that brings such freedom and not having become a hearer only!
*****Jas 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
It can be said that everyone on the face of this Earth has religion.
Religion is a system of rules of conduct and laws of action based upon a belief.
Even the Atheist have their own set of rules they live by.
To most all others, to be religious is to worship and reverence a power that is not of this Earth.
A bridle and bit is used on a horse to lead him in a direction of the rider’s choice and not allow the animal to go in his own direction.
This verse states that if we see those that seem to follow a set of rules, yet cannot control their own tongues, or their own ways, then they practice a vain religion.
Vane means an empty and a worthless religion.
Religion is a ceremonial worship!
God does not allow for religion in Christianity!
God does not allow for ceremonial worship but a worship that comes from the heart of the believer!
There can be no outward show that can replace the inward man!
The Christian cannot seem to be religious and please God!
Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
Eph 6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
To be pure, is to be free from all external things of this world and be a genuine child of God!
“Undefiled’, is to be unpolluted from the things of this world.
Those that are fatherless in this world will be all those that know that their True Father is in Heaven!
True widows in the time of Christ had no one to provide their needs. “They had no Savior”.
These “widows in their affliction”, would be those that have found the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Savior.
Those that are now “unspotted from the world” are now the children of the Living God.
These three groups are the Church, which is based based on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We can only live victoriously by knowing the Lord Jesus Christ!
Jud 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Jud 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.