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Janet's Corner

Home | 2006-2007 | 2005-2006 | 2004-2005

Lesson 1: Introduction to James

September 22, 2004 

Last week I challenged you to study the word of God because of its profit to you - spiritual life, spiritual growth/maturity and spiritual blessing. As we look intently into the Word of God those are three profitable results for each of us.

Object Lesson for the year: The Bible with a pair of BIG glasses

Maybe we need the larger glasses - Great big "clown" glasses to emphasize the truth of looking intently into the word of God and needing some extra helps to do that at times. We must look intently into the Word of God, allowing it to reflect into our hearts and change us, so that we become doers of the Word - Real Faith Shows.

Question: Is there a difference between what you say or believe and what you do?

Can others tell that you believe in Jesus, by the way that you behave?

As we study the book of James this year it shows us what real faith in a real world looks like. How true faith behaves. Our works reveal our faith. The book of James is not a book through which you would share the gospel. James is not a book that you would use to argue doctrine. It is a letter to believers that is like a primary reader would be for a student learning to read. If you long to know how true faith works – if you long to know what faith looks like in a real world – in your world – look intently into the book of James.

There is one thing assumed when you read this portion of scripture – that you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, based on the work of Christ, not your own works. Salvation comes by God’s grace through faith.

Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that very clearly, but also point us to the "works that God has prepared for us to do." James is not about becoming a child of God. This is instruction to us after we have made that commitment of faith.

James is calling us to a higher ground. To go deeper in Him by showing us through some very practical topics, how faith works in a real world – in your world, through your life. He gives us instructions or makes a statement and then gives an example or explanation, showing us that faith is based on truth that can be walked out in the real world - the real world that includes trials, doubting, temptation, bridling the tongue, riches, poverty, lack of direction and wisdom, or even conflict. There comes a time in any child’s growth and development that they just can’t be told what to do anymore, they must be given an explanation - a reason, a purpose for what they are doing.

Same with us as children of God. We need understanding of the purpose behind what God wants us to do. This explanation will motivate us to do what we are told to do in the Word – thus becoming doers of the word, not just hearers.

Our theme this year:


Key verse: James 1:22 -Don’t merely listen to the Word…Do what it says.

James is the brother of Jesus who is now a believer in Christ and is writing to Jewish Believers.

The author: James – The brother of Jesus.

Look at James journey of faith as revealed to us in the scriptures:

John 2:12 - As Jesus goes to Capernaum after the wedding at Galilee, it is noted that he goes with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples.

Mark 6:2-4 – When Jesus went to his home town he was recognized as Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon…

John 7:5 – Even his own brothers did not believe in Him

Acts 1:14 – finds his brothers in the upper room waiting after the resurrection

I Corinthians 15:7 – Paul notes particularly that Jesus appears to his brother James after the resurrection***Acts 15:13 - About 44 AD - we see him as a leader in the church at Jerusalem - bringing peace in a conflict.

So James is now a believer, a leader in the church as he writes this letter between 50-60 AD to other Jews who are scattered throughout the known world.

Who are the 12 tribes scattered among the nations?

The 12 tribes represent the nation of Israel and in this case those who were Jewish believers, those Jews who had come to know Jesus as the Messiah.

Let’s see how they got scattered from Jerusalem.

Acts 8:1-5 - a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

The word "scattered" is the picture of sowing seeds in many places. What die they sow when they were scattered?

Acts 8:4 - those who were scattered preached the word wherever they went

That was the Lord’s commission - to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth….Acts:1:8

So it is to the Jewish Christians scattered throughout the known world to whom James writes.

What were they like?

Spiritual: People who had a wealth of knowledge about the Law. Learning to walk in the light of God’s grace. The Jews had looked at the law as a burden to keep, but James says the it is the law of liberty!(1:25)

Experience: Lives were filled with trials, some were being oppressed by the rich, having trouble with their tongues, disobeying the word, sick, straying from the truth…last verse in James 5:20.

Problem: Failing to live out what they believed.

Will this book be relevant to us today? Is it any different in our society today?

Aren’t there people speaking one way and living another? How many times do we hear the Phrase or say it to ourselves – "What a hypocrite".

People who can’t control their tongue? People who are having conflicts with one another? People who are sick? People wandering from the truth?

People who study the Word and know it, but don’t let it change their hearts. They just walk away learning, but never living in the freedom of God’s grace.

We need to be doers of the word.

Question: As we look intently into the Word to gain spiritual life, maturity and blessing, we must ask ourselves…

Is there a difference between what I say or believe and what I do?

Can others tell that I believe in Jesus, by the way that I behave?

Our goal: Don’t merely listen to the Word…Do what it says.

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