Friday, October 14, 2011

Digging Deeper (James 1:17)

Digging Deeper 6          James 1:17 (Another shovel full)

            Before we dig deeper into the text this week I want to take a moment to encourage you in the importance of knowing why you believe what you believe, which is the ultimate goal of digging deeper. We want to delve into the depths of God’s Word so that we can believe the truth of God rather than a tradition of men.  Our actions are a reflection of what we believe which makes it so important to believe the truth and we can only know the truth by God’s Word. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 The only excuse for not handling the word of truth accurately is not knowing the word of truth. There are far too many believers trying to live the Christian life without reading the instructions. Devotionals are good, listening to and singing worship music is great, quiet time in prayer is invaluable but none of these are a substitute for spending time digging deeper into the Word of God. Now let’s dig a little deeper into the first chapter of James.
            In  James 1:17 James makes a declarative statement:  Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17 There are two things coming down from the Father of lights, who we will look at in a moment, good things and perfect gifts. So what are good things? The word good is the Greek word “agathos” which is defined as useful or profitable. The word things here is a little tricky because how can you define things wouldn’t that include every “thing”. But this word thing here is referring to the giving itself, look at this verse from Phillpians 4:15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; The word translated here giving is the same word in the original language “dosis” as thing in James 1:17 and it means the the act of giving. Now what about the perfect gift? Perfect, which means to complete, gift  which is something that is given freely. Everything that is useful that is given and everything that is complete and given freely is from above. Notice that the instruction here is not a description of materiel things. Look back at verse 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. The connecting verse 16 says do not be the deceived, what looks good can simply be lust that gives birth to sin which brings forth death. Death comes from sin but every useful and complete thing that is given comes from God see verse 12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. The good and perfect things that come from God are not always in the form of a check or new car. The good things and perfect gifts that come from the Father are things that are complete and useful to bring glory to Him and good to our lives.
            Just a couple of things we need to know about this last phrase “from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow”. The word light here describes a light that is never kindled and therefore is never extinguished. Describing God as the Father of lights simply means that there is no darkness in God, and of course no variation means that God is true or never changing and no shifting shadow means that the light does not move.
            James makes this great contrast the results of the lustful eye of man generated by man’s pride that leads to death verses all things given freely and are complete that come from God resulting in the crown of life.

Having dug a little deeper what do we believe?

What do we believe about God?
1.      Anything useful is given by God.
2.      God’s gifts are complete.
3.      God’s gifts are not always materiel things but are always perfect and good.
4.      All light comes from God!
5.      God is true and never changes.

What do we believe about ourselves?
1.      If we have anything useful it comes from God.
2.      What we have in God is complete.
3.      We are either following the lust of our eye that leads to death or we are walking in the free gift of a crown of life given by the Father of lights!

Pastor Jim


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