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JAMES 1:1-11


Introduction: I want to study the Book of James with you.  James deals with problems in the church and problems that individual Christians have.  The letter (if it can be called a letter) is very relevant to our church and our age.  Introduction  vs. 1:  Date:  45 - 62, possibly the first NT book to be written; Author:  James, brother of Jesus, Only James who was well known enough, Only real problem is the Greek is too good for a Palestinian peasant; Written to Jews all over.

I. Facing troubles    vs. 2-4

   A. peirasmoV, period or process of testing, trial, test; temptation, enticement; outward trials and/or inward temptation

   B. cara -  joy, gladness; the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

   C. Why joy?

      1. Your perspective should look beyond the present life to eternal reward.

      2. It tests your faith and proves it real    

      3. It leads to endurance

          a. ὑπομονήν -  (1) as a basic attitude or frame of mind - patience,                                steadfastness; (2) as steadfast adherence to a course of action in spite of                    difficulties and testings - perseverance, endurance,   fortitude; (3) with a                component of hope and confidence - expectation, patient waiting

          b. Never give up!

      4. Which leads to maturity - the kind of character that God wants of  you

   D. Parallels

      1. Romans 5:3-5

      2. I Peter 1:6-7

      3. The wisdom literature from the non-prophetic years, the 400 years from       Malachi to Matthew, is full of similar ideas.  These writings were well known by the Jews and often quoted.

III. Asking for wisdom to face these problems   vs. 5-8

   A. What is wisdom?

      1. Insight, intelligence, knowledge; skill in the management of affairs

      2. The ability to see beyond the problem to the solution or to our eternal reward

      3. For the Jewish mind wisdom meant practical righteousness in everyday living. And it is God’s gift, not a native human disposition.  Hence the verbs here, “let such a person (ti") ask (aijteivtw) from God … and he will give it,” lit., “it will be given” (doqhvsetai aujtw`/), are part of the grammatical construction of the divine   passive, i.e., the use of the   passive voice to denote the hidden agency   of God.

   B. Two things are required for asking:

      1. A God who will listen

            a. Generous

            b. He doesn’t make us feel stupid for asking (without reproach,                                      ungrudgingly)

      2. Faith

            a. Who do we believe in?  God or ourselves?

            b. We believe God can give us wisdom and patience

            c. Some of our doubts come from trying to do it ourselves

            d. Doubter = split-minded, one who spends so much time thinking about                         the problems that he never sees God’s answers

IV. We think it is the poor who have problems, but it is really the rich                 vs. 9-11

   A. The writer may be thinking that poverty provides an arena for the testing of one’s faith in God. This is especially true if the ungodly rich are the ones who oppress and oppose the poor (2:1–13), while all the time seeming to flourish despite their evil ways.   WBC

   B. The humble & poor will be exalted

      1. I Peter 5:5-6

      2. Luke 6:20, 24

      3. Their present troubles are nothing compared to their future exaltation

   C. The rich, however, will be brought low

      1. They have nothing in their lives except for the present

      2. The present passes quickly and is gone forever

   D. Role reversal

Conclusion:  What should be our response to problems?  Church problems, personal problems, poor health, financial crises, interpersonal relationship stresses?  Look beyond the problems to see God and never lose you faith in Him?  The only real joy in life comes from knowing God now and into eternity!

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