Friday, September 16, 2011

Digging Deeper (James 1:1-4)

Digging Deeper 2

James 1:1-4 (The 1st shovel full)

Digging deeper is an effort to expose scripture and to understand the character of God and God’s salvation plan for man. In a day full of Church entertainment and self-help guides this is an attempt to understand God’s Word and to simply believe its truths.

The book of James was written by the oldest half brother of Jesus, what a unique perspective he would have had. James was a prominent leader in the Jerusalem church; tradition says that James spent so much time on his knees that his knees became “callous as the knees of camels”.
But James was only the half brother of Jesus, Mary was their mother but they had different fathers. James understood that and that gives his writing a very clear prospective.
Now let’s dig a little deeper into the text and see how the writings of James the half brother of Jesus, inspired by God, fit into God’s plan of His glory and the salvation of man.
Verse 1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
This opening verse is a simple salutation but there is also some depth. In the opening we introduced James as the half brother of Jesus, but James introduces himself in a much different light. Before James ever records a single remark he approaches the reader, or listener, not as a relative of Jesus therefore I have authority to speak to you, rather he identifies himself as a bond-servant. Now here by definition is what he is calling himself a salve “doulos” in the Greek. A “doulos” is someone not serving to pay off a debt but is in permanent relationship of servitude to another. A “doulos” is one that is completely consumed in the will of the one to whom he is enslaved. A good example of this is the slave of the centurion in Matthew 8:9 For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” In this introduction of himself James makes it clear that he is devoted and committed to service and as we will see in his writing works are a prominent part of his teaching.
          James is a servant and clearly he is a servant of God “Theos” the one true God and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is interesting here that James mentions both God and Jesus. By saying that he is a slave to both, gives a very clear picture that James is not just a believer in God but also that he believes that Jesus is the Christ. James is writing that he is in an eternal committed relationship with God through God’s Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
          In the second half of this verse James indentifies his audience “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad.” Where Paul for example was clearly a messenger to the gentiles, the heart of James’ ministry is delivering the message to the Jews, this does not negate the precepts in James’ writing from applying to the gentiles or anyone else for that matter, the words of God are for all II Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; this merely gives us context for his writing.
          Now James waste no time getting to the meat of the message. Verse 2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, now to see this verse clearly we need to understand these two words: joy and trials. To our natural thought process these seem to be terms that do not fit together. The word joy does not mean happy rather in context it means to rejoice for a reason, or there is a reason for rejoicing but again it seems strange that the reason for the rejoicing is because of a trial. So what is the term trial referring to?  This word can have two different connotations depending on who is doing the trying. If God is doing the trying then the purpose is to strengthen but if it is Satan doing the trying then of course the purpose is to cause failure. It is obvious that this testing is from God verse 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Satan would not attack and send us through a trial in order to increase our faith. This trial that we are to consider joy is a testing by God with the purpose to increase our spiritual endurance. Because it is from God and He is increasing our faith that should cause the believer joy to know that God would consider us to increase our faith, it is a reason to rejoice!
          Verse 3 pulls all this idea together And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. What is this endurance? “hupomone” it is to have patience and be longsuffering. And the desired result of that patience and long suffering is to be perfect and complete. Perfect to have reached the goal, complete to have all the parts everything that is needed. James ties it together “lacking in nothing”.
          Now having dug a little deeper what do we believe?
What do we believe about God? :
1.     God can only be accessed through Christ.
2.    God’s message is for all his people.
3.    God will test His children with the purpose of increasing endurance so that the believer will lack nothing.
What do we believe about ourselves? :
1.     We are not special because we are related to someone who walks with God we only have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
2.    We are to be bondservant totally consumed in the will of God.
3.    The trials that we face are by Divine design to give us everything we need to carry out our purpose to glorify God and live in the joy of His love.

n  We can truly find joy in our trials if we understand that our God does not give us trials to punish us but to give us strength to do what we were created to do, Glorify Him with joy unspeakable.
Pastor Jim

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