James 1: True Religion

James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:00
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James is practical adviced

Probably written around 40 AD
-Before the Jerusalem Council
-Probably about the same time as Paul began his ministry
Written by Jesus’ brother James
-leader of the Jerusalem Church
-Even the Apostles seem to answer to him in some regards
The Jerusalem Church is in an odd spot
-oppressed by “the rich”
-pressured by the zealots
The atmosphere in Jerusalem is revolt
James 1:1 ESV
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
He is writing to Jews outside of Jerusalem
The “Diaspora”

Trials produce endurance and endurance perfects faith

James 1:2–4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Trials is probably not persecution here
trials should be understood as hardships
The hardships of life brings about maturity
The mark of a Christian is not to avoid hardship, but to live a faithful life
Every believer will always lack one element in navigating hardships

Wisdom is God’s gift for endurance

James 1:5 ESV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
God does not want you to just suffer
He wants us to understand how our trials promote growth
But we have to be willing to trust His wisdom
James 1:6–8 ESV
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Doubt causes confusion
there no hope of assurance
there is no comfort and stability
Because doubt in God means trust in the world
Faithful Christians do not trust in the world

Christians do not boast in their earthly situation

James 1:9–11 ESV
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
The afflicted boast in their future exaltation
The “rich” boast in their unity with the “lowly”
The pursuit of worldly gain has no lasting effect compared to humility
Neither will take their earthly status into the Kingdom!

Endurance in holiness will have eternal results

James 1:12 ESV
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
God rewards us for our faithfulness
but God does not cause people to sin
James 1:13–15 ESV
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Sin is born from unrestrained desire
God cannot be blamed for others abuse
God cannot be blamed for our own failures
Instead, in His greatness, He uses both to increase our faith
And He gives us good gifts
James 1:16–18 ESV
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Not only has He given us an imperishable inheritance
But also the gift of His unfailing Gospel and truth
With this gift, we can know and live a faithful life in Christ

God has given us what we need for holiness

James 1:19–21 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Though we face trials and abuse, anger is a worldly response
We put away the things of the world
Instead, the word must be recieved by us to have any effect
The word is recieved by living it out
James 1:22–25 ESV
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
The word of God motivates action
It reveals the truth of who we are
if we do not apply it, then we live in deception
But we will be blessed if we persevere in the truth

True religion is manifested in obedience

This is the introduction to James’ message
James 1:26–27 ESV
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James goes in depth of each of these subjects later in his letter
controlling the tongue
caring for the poor
avoiding worldliness
But before going into detail, the Christian must understand the basics
Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Pure religion focuses on bringing the good news to the afflicted
Not the extremes of the world

Where is your focus?

A sinful world produces trials
do you trust the wisdom of God?
or do you trust the world?
If you trust in God:
then trials will be taken with joy
status will have no impact
and the word of God will be trusted and applied
Everything else is futile religion
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