Life as a slave

How to live as a slave to Christ: Expository look at Epistle of James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:40
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Life as a slave

So, when is being a slave being a freeman? It is when you are a slave of Christ we have our freedom. And, having freedom in Christ we are challenged, encouraged to grow to maturity. As we start this series may we as a slave learn from this Epistle to grow the maturity of Christ, or at least pick up some tools.
Things we will discuss, look at tonight.
Reason/theme (the aim)
Receptivity of Epistle


So who is this James, what can we know, learn about the Epistle and the authorship of it (Jam1:1)?
James 1:1 NASB95
1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
Somethings to consider about authorship:
(insert who is James picture here)
James identified as the author, but what James?
Is the author James the Apostle? surely if it was there would be a claim to apostleship and authority.
Is the author James the brother of Jesus? surely if it was there would be some mention of his kinship to Jesus.
Is it James, the Apostle, son of Zebedee (Mt4:17-22)
Is it James the son of Alphaeus (Mt10:3)?
How about is it James the father of Judas (Lk6:16)?
Either way you look at it., the content of the book is valuable. It was to the Jewish Christians then, and even to Jews, there are great proverbs found throughout the Epistle. challenging the recipients to hear and grow up, to mature.
But the scholars, only by a majority would say it is James the brother of Jesus and who was the head of the Church located in Jerusalem, a Jewish Christian Church.
What James says could be addressed to Jews or Jewish Christians
There are many things found in James that can be addressed both to Christians in the early church in Jerusalem or even to Jews.
The term “the Lord” used again and again can address either Jesus or God (Jm1:7; 4:10)
James 1:7 NASB95
7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
James 4:10 NASB95
10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
The perfect law and the royal law can be Law of love or law of Moses (Jm1:25; 2:8)
James 1:25 NASB95
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
James 2:8 NASB95
8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
Elders can reference elders of Christian church or Jewish elders (Jm5:14)
James 5:14 NASB95
14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
Term “brothers” is primarily used in Christianity, but is found in some Jewish writings too.
Many quotes, references from Sermon on the Mount; delivered to a Jewish audience (Jam2:12-13 Mt6:14-15)
James 2:12–13 NASB95
12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
Matthew 6:14–15 NASB95
14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

The Recipients

While there are questions about what James is the author, more questions come when it comes to the definition of the recipients.
James 1:1 NASB95
1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed
Is this the 12 tribes of Israel that have been disbursed out of Jerusalem due to persecution?
Is this to Jewish Christians from within the 12 tribes who because of their belief have been disbursed.
Is this 12 tribes the ones Paul references in Rom9:24-26 who are the true Israel, the spiritual Israel?
Hebrew word for disbursed is “Diaspora” and that was word used for Jews who were living outside Palestine.
What we can know is that because of James reference to Jesus (1:1; 2:1) and he being a servant, bond-servant, or in some versions it says slave (HCSB, NLT), we know he is writing Jewish Christians who are outside of Palestine.
James 2:1 NASB95
1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.
Another thing we can know is that the recipients are scattered throughout the world (nations). and that is exactly what Jesus commanded to happen in (Mt28:19; Act1:8)
Matthew 28:19 NASB95
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Acts 1:8 NASB95
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Holloway says this about what more we can ascertain just in this one verse.
“Letter is to those who accept Jesus as the Messiah that are scattered among the nations and belong only to the redeemed Israel, the 12 tribes. They are in the world but not of the world (Jn15:18-19) they are looking for a better home as they live as aliens (1Pt1:17; 1Pt2:11; Heb11:8-16; Heb13:14).
James writes to show what it means to morally to live as scattered people who owe allegiance to Christ, and not to the standards of the world.”

Reason/theme (aim)

Every book of the bible has a theme, a reason it was written and an aim, what we are to do with the theme. With James it is made known early on (Jm1:4)
James 1:4 NASB95
4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
So that you may be perfect and complete (Jm1:4; Eph4:13).
We are not perfect outside of Christ and we are being perfected in Christ and through Christ. By His Word, by His Spirit, all to grow us to the fullness of Christ (Eph4:13)
Ephesians 4:13 NASB95
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
So, the reason, the theme, the aim is to help the disbursed Christians to grow in maturity knowing in Christ they are complete and lack in nothing.

Receptivity of Epistle

James as you can already see has lot’s of questions, but again, the content is what really matters. There were more questions raised over the centuries, even over the content, and origin.
Book of James was not circulated at early date as were other books of New Testament
Book of James was not accepted by all as “inspired” scripture or even worthy to be in the canon of scripture
Even as late as the 16th Century it was challenged by some scholars
First compilation of New Testament - 170; Murtorian Canon; James not mentioned
Writings of Tertullian; 3rd century; no quote from James (7258 other quotes)
First appearance of James AD350; Codex Corbeiensis; claims James Son of Zebedee is author
AD357 first version of James appears in Latin and quoted by Hilary of Poitiers
First printing in Biblical canon was in Vulgate version of New Testament as noted by Jerome; reason accepted was because of Constantine's belief and faith in the writings of James as the brother of the Lord.
AD 1546 - Council of Trent - added it to the Roman Catholic Bible
The Roman Catholic church had two forms of scripture;
Proto-canonical - unquestionably accepted from the beginning
Deutero-canonical - those writing which only gradually won way into the New Testament
Martin Luther and Epistle of James
Luther challenged the canonicity of James for the following reasons
Challenged due to lack of reference to Jesus
Challenged due to no mention of the resurrection
Challenged due to no reference to Jesus as the Messiah
Luther’s conclusion; He wrote in his German version of the New Testament he noted James, Jude, Hebrews and Revelation to be held in second behind any and all other scripture.
Listen to his concluding paragraph taken from Preface to the New Testament.
“In sum: the gospel and the first epistle of St John, St Paul’s epistles especially those to the Romans, Galatians and Ephesians; and St. Peter’s first epistle, are the books which show Christ to you and teach everything you need to know for your salvation, even if you were never to see or hear any other book or hear any other teachings. In comparison with these the epistle of James is an epistle full of straw,because it contains nothing evangelical. But more about this in other prefaces.”
He believes because of the heavy delving into Old Testament Law that the writing was intended for Hebrews not for Christians and yes can learn some principles, but you can learn principles outside of scripture too.
So, there you go the troubled, questionable past of this great epistle that we are going to look at. But what can we know from the writing of the Epistle and the man James?

What can we know, for sure?

He identifies himself as a servant (slave) of God and the Lord Jesus Christ (Jm1:1)
We can know that Jesus had a brother named James (Mt13:55); who was not a believer at first (Jn7:5); He became a disciple of Jesus (1Cor15:7; ACt1:14) and became leader of church in Jerusalem (Gal2:9)
Matthew 13:55 NASB95
55 “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
He was not always a believer
John 7:5 NASB95
5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him.
But after the death, burial and resurrection became a disciple
Acts 1:14 NASB95
14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
and a leader in the church of Jerusalem
Galatians 2:9 NASB95
9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
He was a vital participant at Jerusalem conference (Act15:13-33)
It is a long passage, but let me give you a few verses
Acts 15:13–14 NASB95
13 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. 14 “Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.
Acts 15:15–16 NASB95
15 “With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, 16 After these things I will return, And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, And I will rebuild its ruins, And I will restore it,
Acts 15:17–18 NASB95
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ 18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.
Paul visited him as one of the leaders of the church (Act21:18-19)
Acts 21:18–19 NASB95
18 And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
He is a man of prayer as much reference to pray in the epistle
There is no doubt as we study this Epistle that there were some problems within the church, there were maturity problems, unity problems so problems that we still see today James addresses several topics along the way to help us to learn to be a good slave of Christ.
Impatience in difficulties, loosing our joy (Jm1:1-4)
Talking the talk, but not walking the walk (Jm2:14ff)
Poor tongue control (Jm3:1ff)
Fighting, bickering and coveting (Jm4:1ff)
Coveting worldly things (Jm5:1ff)

How to glean the most from this series

Know where you stand with Christ, for there is no spiritual maturity without spiritual birth (Jm1:18) - rebirth through obedience (1Pt1:22-23); rebirth by water and Spirit (Jm3:5) through baptism (Mk16:16; Tit3:5)
James 1:18 NASB95
18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
1 Peter 1:22–23 NASB95
22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
Titus 3:5 NASB95
5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Be ready, be willing to look in the mirror and in the light of God’s Word (Jm1:22ff)
James 1:23–24 NASB95
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
Be obedient to God and don’t deceive yourself (Jm1:22)
James 1:22 NASB95
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
Be ready, be sober, be alert, ready for extra trials, tribulations (Jm1:3; Jm1:12)
James 1:3 NASB95
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
WE know when we are trying to do the things that please the Lord or things that help us grow Satan does not want that and wants to oppose us. When we stand the course we will have our reward
James 1:12 NASB95
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.
Now, having said all that, do not measure yourself, your growth by comparing yourself to others,
Measure yourself by the Word of God (2Cor10:12)
2 Corinthians 10:12 NASB95
12 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
(Encouragement slide -1)
So may we come together and enjoy this journey through Epistle of James and may we learn to be a good slave of Christ through the words of wisdom found here.
(Encouragement slide -2) prayer (exit slide)
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