Complete Preaching Outline of the Book of James

Note from (1978). Bibliotheca Sacra, 135(539), 224 on theme of James –
“His purpose is practical, to present a series of tests whereby his readers can determine the genuineness of their own faith. “The testing of your faith” (1:3) seems to be the key which James left hanging at the front door, intended to unlock the contents of the book. ”

I. Introduction 1:1

II. Instruction on temptation. 1:2-27

A. Response to temptation. 1:2-12

1. Understand the result. 1:2-4 (What may be achieved through the trial)

a. The Proper attitude. 1:2 The believer’s goal. –

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

With the proper attitude, we will see –

b. The purpose achieved. 1:3,4

1). The ‘trying’ can be good as well as evil.

a). Moses did not believe that he could serve God according to God’s will.

Exodus 3:11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

b). Moses stepped out in fear and he grew in faith.

We see this also in the example of the Bible Institute student. The difficulty of the subject seems overwhelming at the beginning of the semester, but faith and patience exercise one another and in due course the fruit of the Spirit increase in the believer.

2). The trial (whether good or evil) is understood to be not a test of self will, but a submission to God’s will, not stoic endurance but spritual dependence. Refer to –

Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

And so by the knowledge of His might and submission to His will –

a). The believer may exchange the frustration and sorrow of the world for the joy of the Lord encouraging one another.

1 Peter 2:20-21 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

b). The believers may exalt the Lord, united in bringing glory to Him!

Romans 15:5-6 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3). The trial can aid in accomplishing God’s will – “the perfect man”.

Romans 5:2-5 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Faith and patience result in a tension that increase each other Just like physical exercise, temptation will exercise us in areas that nothing else will. In modern vernacular we call this ‘cross training’.

When we carefully consider this exhortation from James, we are overwhelmed – “what do I do, where do I begin”? I do not know how, but I do desire to accomplish God’s purpose in my life.

James directs us in the second step in our response, having the proper attitude, we must –

2. Use the resources that God provides. 1:5-8 How to meet the need!
The believer should be –

a. Convinced – God will instruct him. Go does have the answer. 1:5
b. Confident – have faith, trusting God’s promise. 1:6a
c. Consistent – expect to follow God’s leadership. 1:6b-8 “…help mine unbelief…”
Do not have a contingency plan prepared if things seem to be too difficult. Do not plan to fail!

Understanding the result of temptation – the right result “…growing unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” –
Using the resources that God provides –
Will we look at the trials of our lives with a new perspective –
To increase our faith,
To rejoice in the Lord.

3. Uplifted in spirit. 1:9-12 The right attitude – Refer to Proverbs 30:8,9

a. Our standing before God is not based on social position 1:9-11

1). The poor man – “I do not have anything to offer but myself”.
2). The wealthy man – “I have much to offer, but God does not want me because of my wealth, He wants me”!

“After the wealth is gone, I will continue on. I am glad that it was me that God wanted and not those things that fade away.”

3). The wonderful truth – God is no respector of persons –

Ephesians 6:7-9 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

b. Our standing is based on love and a reward is following. 1:12

Some may say “Ask God? He is the one who put me in this situation”! We must remember that the Lord may try us for good, but He will NEVER tempt us will evil”!
Therefore, we need to know the –

B. Reason for temptation. 1:13-18
Why am I facing these troubles? The often asked question.

1. The reason is sin. 1:13

a. Constant fight for control in the believer’s life.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

We should remember God’s warning to Cain –

Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Sin is described as a beast waiting at the door to overpower, to conquer and control Cain. We should note that Cain was not ignorant of this danger. The results of sin would be evident in the lives of his parents and in the relationship that they had with each other. Adam and Eve entered into a struggle with one another when they disobeyed God and the warning given is similar to this warning Cain received –

Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

The desire of the woman now was to have the rule over the man and the responsibility of the man was to rule over the woman. Sin destroyed the cooperation of the husband and wife and resulted in competition between them.

Cain did not heed God’s warning even though he knew the reality of it, and he was subject to the consequences of sin controlling his life.

We are involved in a battle – an renewed battle every day. We should remember that the Lord Jesus Christ has won the war already and we have the victory in Him, but the individual battles continue until He comes again. There is a constant fight for control.

b. Contentment is like a vapour that disappears quickly.

1). Eve had position, the immediate creation of God who was in partnership with Adam to have dominion over all of the earth. – it was not enough. She desired to be as God and Adam approved of their actions.
2). Lot had possessions – they were not enough, as they kept him separated from the world.
3). David had power – it was not enough. (Bathsheba, I want her and so I will have her)
4). Solomon had respect – it was not enough.
(He could judge every situation except his own)

2. The result is death. 1:14,15
3. The response is submission to the Truth. 1:16-18

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

a. Avoid excuses. 1:13
b. Admit responsibility. 1:14
c. Agree with God and embrace the truth. 1:15-18

1). Reject sin. 1:15,16

1 Peter 2:11-12 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

1 John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

2). Rejoice in Truth. 1:17,18

Are you rejoicing in the truth today?
Have you confessed to the Lord that you are a sinner in need of His forgiveness, asking Him to save you?
Are you saved and obeying that which you know God wants you to do?

C. Readiness to face temptation. 1:19-27

Our hearts and minds are like a simmering cauldron which can be stirred up to a boil and flow over either through the passionate flames of the love and glory of God or the vengeful flames of hatred burning like a furnace in our soul. We are warned against ourselves of this temptation that is seeking a voice to be expressed from the depravity of our hearts – which are so deceitful!

Hosea 7:4-7 They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened. In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners. For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.

Since temptation comes from within, we must prepare our hearts and minds to overcome it. We cannot accomplish this of ourselves.

Psalms 19:12-13 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

If we are going to be prepared to face temptation, we must yield ourselves to God. Note what James instructs us about –

1. Counsel for victory over temptation. 1:19-21
We are to reflect the righteousness of God in our –

a. Reasoning. 1:19a “…swift to hear…”

Psalms 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Ready to hear, desiring to have instruction from God!

b. Response. 1:19b,20 “…slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

This exhortation is not only directed at situations that arise at home or work, but also in church and in the ministry of God. We can destroy spiritual work through our carelessness! People get offended in spiritual matters and, through anger, guilt, or fear strike out at others.

Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Ephesians 4:26-27 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. –
Trying us, tempting us, watching carefully. Remember Job 1:8-11

The exhortation is not only to refrain from sleeping on your wrath, allowing it to grow out of proportion and take control of your emotions, but also this was the beginning of the Jewish day, upon sunset – do not begin a new day in wrath! Sleep in the grace of God and begin the day in the blessings of God –

Psalms 63:3-8 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

Lamentations 3:22-24 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

c. Respect for Him in our testimony. 1:21

1). Reject evil. 1:21a
2). Regard for His Word. 1:21b

To be ready for temptation, we must be –

2. Careful in complete obedience. 1:22-25

a. We are tempted to be –

1). Divided in our loyalty. 1:22a
2). Deceiving ourselves. 1:22b-24

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

But, if we are to glorify God through our temptations –

b. We are trusted to be – 1:25

1). Devoted to God’s Word. “… Looketh into…”
2). Doer’s of God’s work. “…a doer…”

Do you desire to hear the Word of God?
Do you think about what you hear and consider your response?
Can you be trusted to know God’s Word and do God’s will?

3. Consistent in service. 1:26,27 James defines the difference between –

a. Selfishness. 1:26 Being the focus of attention. “…bridleth not his tongue…”

1). Conceited.

3 John 9-10 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

2). Conniving –

Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; (Forgiven and buried)
but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends. (repeated often)

“Spiritual Gossip” such as “Did you hear what she did”? The proper answer is “No, let’s call her and ask her what she did”. That will end a lot of this loose talk. They will wish that they had bridled their tongue!

3). Contradicting the Word of God.

Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Isaiah 1:15-18 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

4). Condemning their own selves. They were self deceived –

John 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

There are those who are just like them today. They need to repent of their sins and turn unto the Lord which will result in –

b. Selflessness. 1:27
The believer needs to be an example to the world –
1 Timothy 4:11-15 These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

1). Caring for others for their good. James 1:27a

a). The connotation of the word “…to visit…”
To visit with a result in mind, a purpose to be achieved.
Note these examples –

Matthew 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Luke 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

Acts 15:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

Not just to go, but to go and make a difference in their lives!

b). The character of the visitor –

Notice the qualifications of those men in the church who will be dealing with members of the church and especially those in need, such as orphans and widows –

Acts 6:1-3 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

2). Caring for our testimony for God’s glory. James 1:27b

John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Understanding the purpose of temptation, we are reminded by Peter that submitting to God and seeking His glory, we bring praise to His name and provoke others to follow God and His purpose for their lives –

1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Are you consistent in your love for God and in your service unto Him? James is encouraging us to have faith in God and look after others – God will look after us!

III. Instructions on Faith. James 2:1-26

A. Empty Faith. James 2:1-7

Our faith in Jesus leads us to have a relationship with believers and especially so as members one of another in church. This relationship involves us in fellowship which is based on our faith. We must protect this fellowship from bias – as the Lord did.
The Lord has given us here a method to measure our faith, and with that evidence, we may know our own hearts and minds. Others may measure our faith from the actions manifested out of our hearts.
Do we have empty faith? Partial faith? Full faith?

There is no doubt that we show partiality at times –
Wives/husbands
Family
Friends/colleagues

But partiality should not be shown based on position, economics, popularity.
Let’s look at the warning this morning – how to measure our faith –

1. The conduct of faith. The pattern of conduct is the Lord Jesus Christ. James 2:1

a. The character of God is declared in His Word –

Acts 10:34-35 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

b. The conduct of the child of God is prescribed in His Word –

1). In judgment.

Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

2). In fellowship –

The Lord taught that believer’s should give of themselves without respect of others or expecting a recompense, an equal return.

Luke 14:12-14 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

3). In service –

Mark 6:7-10 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.

The conduct of the believer serving the Lord is not dependent upon material goods or gain. The conduct of the audience, hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, should not be influenced by material goods or gain! The message is central – what is the message?
Paul set it forth simply –

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

How may we or others described our faith based on our conduct?

2. The conflict between faith and the flesh. James 2:2-5

a. Faith will accept the person – a soul in need of the Saviour.

The sign in front of the church in North Carolina – “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. Underneath that Scripture was this statement “You catch them, God will clean them”!

b. Flesh applauds the presentation –
The personality, the position, the power.

1 Samuel 16:7 “…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

c. Faith delights in the will of God. James 2:5
God is no respecter of persons. A man saying that he is “in Christ” cannot be faithful to the Lord and be a respecter of persons. This is contrary to the character of God.

John 6:38-39 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

3. The condemnation of their actions. James 2:6,7
They did not manifest faith in the Lord through their actions.

Conclusion –

The Lord will reward the faithful – the question is –
Do we have faith in His promise?
Do we trust Him for our future?
We know very little about the actual kind of life we will have with the Lord.
Many would rather have a reward now in order that they control results, generally desiring satisfaction or pleasure.

Is our faith empty? Do we trust the Lord that He truly is sufficient in this life and the life to come?
Do we look at our lives and say that we trust the Lord but a little networking for the future does not hurt?
That is EMPTY FAITH!
We should determine today to see people as the Lord sees them. Will we submit to Him in faith?

B. Examined faith. 2:8-13

Wisdom – do we have the wisdom of God or the wisdom of the world? I believe that today’s message will help us to examine ourselves and come to the right conclusion –

Seeking to find a Godly example to follow and encourage us in this life is a good thing. We should not only follow good examples “…follow me as I follow Christ…” But we should seek to be good examples for others.
We must be careful though, to make a difference between looking for an example to follow and looking for a reason to fail!
Too often, we choose to compare ourselves with the imperfect and judge ourselves by a flawed standard and determine that we are okay because we are better or as good as the other people. We are warned that this is not wise –

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

James is speaking to this issue as directed by the Holy Spirit and gives us instruction and warning in these verses that we should examine our faith, not by man’s standard, but by God’s standard –

John 12:47-48 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

James exhorts believers to consider –

1. The Standard has been revealed. James 2:8,9

This declaration makes clear to the believer both the positive and negative results of our actions. We need to remember also that our attitudes and actions come forth from the heart. Some may say that they display good attitudes and actions, but they are simply play acting. We all need to remember that God knows our hearts –

Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Note the standard stated by God by which we should judge ourselves as believers –

a. The standard of righteousness. 2:8
b. The standard of sinfulness. 2:9

If this standard is not clear to all, or if some will argue with God, trying to justify themselves by saying “I showed favour to this man because he is rich – I did not kill anyone! What is the problem?”, we see that James continues to help us understand God’s will –

2. The Standard has been explained. James 2:10,11

a. The Law, the revealed will of God, is the standard by which we will be judged.
b. The Law defines transgressions and penalties.

Let’s look at some principles of law in Exodus 22:1-4

1). The man found guilty of stealing livestock. Exodus 22:1

a). The oxen. The thief shall restore to the owner five oxen for the one that he stole.

(1). The owner not only lost the present use of the ox, but had to replace it
and train it.
(2). The penalty includes not only his present loss, but also his future loss in time finding a replacement and then training it to do the work necessary.

b). The sheep. The thief shall restore to the owner four sheep for the one that he stole.
The owner lost the present use but does not have to train the replacement.

2). The man found breaking into someone’s house. Exodus 22:2-4
This law has two provisions – stealing and self-defense.

a). Stealing. The thief shall restore double for the one he stole if he is caught with the goods that he stole intact or if an animal, alive. Exodus 22:4
(He must repay the fair market value, what he would have paid if he had bought it. The owner receives the original and a new one)

b). Self defense.

(1). In the night time, the home owner can kill the thief to protect his family
and goods.
(2). In the day time, the home owner cannot kill the thief, because he can call
for help and also identify the thief.

We note here the wisdom in the justice system of God! We see that the punishment fits the crime, but no matter how small the crime may seem –

c. The lawbreaker is guilty before God.
The severity of the crime and the penalty does not change the fact that God’s law has been broken and the lawbreaker stands guilty before God!

James was writing to Jewish believers who knew and understood the law, but were justifying themselves by measuring themselves by man’s standard instead of God’s standard.
He is also writing to you and to me to warn us of this same danger – do not think that we will be excused for doing wrong just because other people do the same thing –
3. The Standard should be obeyed. James 2:12
James exhorts believers to live according to the perfect law of liberty –

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

4. The Standard will be upheld. James 2:13

It is a dangerous thing to measure ourselves by our own thinking or the standards that others follow. We are to measure our lives by God’s Word.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

As we stand here before the Lord today submitting to the examination of our lives in the Light of His Standard, His perfect Word, what judgment will we receive –

Will you have –

Just condemnation?
Joyful commendation? “…ye do well”?

There may be some that will hear or read this message and say “You have got to be kidding me! All of this because I showed favour to a rich man over a poor man”?

The answer is YES, all of this because of that – God cares about people – how they feel and how they are treated. We, as His children, have a responsibility to uphold His testimony in all things and especially in this – He is no respecter of persons!

C. Evidence of faith. 2:14-26
James is dealing with mistaken beliefs about faith. We should begin with defining faith according to the Word of God.

1. The Characteristics of Faith

a. Faith in God –
1). Believes in the existence of God
Genesis 3:1-5; Acts 26:27
2). Believes in the power of God
Job 1:7-12
3). Believes in the person of God, the Lord Jesus Christ
Mark 5:7; Luke 4:41; James 2:19
4). Believes in the judgment of God
Luke 16:27-31

This faith is good but as it is, it is just knowledge of which is shared by the unsaved!

b. Faith in God –
1). Believe the testimony of the Word of God – Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.
John 1:29, John 5:22-24
2). Believe the testimony of the Word of God – I am condemned and in need of salvation
John 3:16-18, 36
3). Believe the Word of God – I will confess Him as Saviour and be saved.
Romans 10:9-13; John 1:12,13

This too is not saving faith unless it is applied – we must act upon the truth that we know!

c. Faith in God –
1). Belief – I am a new creation in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:17
2). Belief – I am indwelt and sealed by God the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 1:13,14
3). Belief – I have been saved from death to life, darkness to light
Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9
4). Belief – I have new life in Christ which leads to living a new life for Christ
2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Hebrews 11:1

This is knowledge of the truth that has been mixed with faith bringing forth salvation!

d. Faith in self –

Exodus 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.
2 Chronicles 32:15-16 Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand? And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah.

Titus 1:15-16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

This is faith in self, self serving and self deceiving leading to judgment and eternal punishment.

No matter which characteristic of faith you hold, you are identified with it by your actions. Your faith will manifest itself in your conduct!

2. The Consideration of faith. 2:14-17 What is the true relationship of faith and works?

James is asking us to consider specifically the characteristics of saving faith.

a. Is saving faith a living faith? 2:14

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

b. Is saving faith manifested in good works? 2:15,16

1). Faith is not revealed by good intentions. Good intentions do not always produce good actions.
2). Faith produces action!

c. Is saving faith dead? Can a dead man help you: feed you, clothe you, house you?

Some had faith – they believed that Jesus is who He claimed to be, but they did not confess Him as their Saviour. They had faith that he was the Son of God but they did not have saving faith that would change their lives. They did not want their lives to change!

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

There were others, that in the life time of Jesus that had saving faith in Him, but they kept it secret – they did not let people know they were believers because they were afraid.

John 19:38-39 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

We note that they had saving faith though, because the love of God for them led them to love Him and that love overcame their fear and they confessed Him as their Lord – by doing good works. Their works revealed their faith!

3. The Challenge of faith. 2:18,19

The challenge to truth may be brought forth by one that says “I am a Christian, I have faith in God”. The reply is simple – “Where is the evidence of your faith”?
Your earnest belief is good, but if that is all that it is, your belief is no different than that of Satan or the demons. They know and believe in God with all of their being, but they are not saved! The have not submitted to Him or obeyed Him.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

4. The Conclusion 2:20

Faith without works is not saving faith! It is simply belief that something is true.

This brings us to the evidence of the case being presented –

5. The Cooperation of faith and works. 2:21-26 Faith and works

Works grow out of faith, revealing the faith to the world. Do you have faith? How do you know? Do those around you know that you have faith?

IV. Accountability of Teachers. James 3:1-18
A. Control (Godly). 3:1-12
To understand the context of these verses, we must remember the foundational truth James stated in chapter one, that trials, when rightly understood and submitted to, will encourage the development of the believer into the perfect man.
Now another characteristic of the perfect man is noted – the ability to control the tongue.
1. The decision to lead must be made in the assurance of God’s will. James 3:1,2
The leader is in a position of blessing –
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

But, we must realize that –

a. The leader is responsible to know God’s will.
b. The leader is responsible to direct in God’s way.
c. The leader is accountable to God.
1 Peter 5:1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
1). He must take his position seriously –
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
2). He must take his preparation seriously –
Matthew 12:36-37 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by they words thou shalt be condemned.
2. The dominion of man. 3:3,4
a. God has given man dominion over the earth, to subdue and control –
Genesis 1:26-28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
b. God has given man the wisdom and ability to fulfill his command.
1). Men have developed ways and means to have dominion over the animals – to train them to serve man. “…we put bits in horses mouths, that they may obey us…”
2). Men have developed ways and means to harness the power of creation itself to accomplish the goals of man. “…yet they are turned about with a very small helm, witheroever the governor listeth.” (desires)
3). Men have developed respect for the limitations involved in each of these endeavors. Sin has reduced man’s ability in the accomplishment of dominion. Creatures and creation may turn on man and destroy him.
Leviticus 26:20-22 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.
4). Men have developed a respect for the person of God through the revelation of His absolute power and authority of both creature and creation.
Luke 8:24-25 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
If we would fulfill the will of God, we must learn to submit to God, then His will shall be accomplished through His working in us and through us.
In order to overcome, we must humble ourselves and submit!
The question is presented forcefully in James 3:3,4 – “Behold….Behold…”, yet we have so little control over the things that we say! The fact is – We are often unconcerned about the condition of our hearts!
3. The danger of lack of control. 3:5-8
Fires of unconcern – in America in the early 1940’s an icon was created to remind people of the danger of forest fires. The destruction caused by major forest and wild fires each year is beyond calculating in monetary value. In 2003 in a forest in southern California, a man who had gotten lost lit a small signal fire, hoping that someone would see the smoke and rescue him. The fire got out of control and eventually destroyed 280,000 acres of forest (twice the size of Singapore). The icon created by the government is Smokey the Bear. His purpose is to constantly remind people of the danger and he has always had one message – “Only you can prevent forest fires”!
This tragedy is an illustration of careless destruction of property, but in reality is no comparison to the emotional and spiritual destruction caused by an untamed heart spewing forth careless words.
4. The difficulty of this control. 3:9-12
Is it possible that while so much effort is invested in dominion over the creatures and creation, we have little desire to control our tongues?
We feel entitled to our opinions and obligated to express them without fear or favour. We must remember that our words can destroy. Our words reflect the condition of our heart?
Are our hearts right with God today?
Are you a child of God, having your faith in Him for salvation through the finished work of His blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again the third day –
Romans 10:9-13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Do you have a bitter heart, one that you cannot seem to control – call upon the Lord for His help – Remember the Israelites as they came out of Egypt and needed pure water –
Exodus 15:23-25 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

God can and will make the bitter heart sweet if you call upon Him!

B. Content (Godly). 3:13-18

James now refers back to his initial statement as given in chapter 3, verses 1 and 2. He gave a warning about the leader’s character as it is revealed in his speaking. Now he turns to the leader’s character as revealed through his conduct. James defines the character of two kinds of leaders – The Counterfeit teacher and the Consecrated teacher.

1. The Counterfeit teacher James 3:14-16

a. He has defective impression of self. 3:14
He is told to “…glory not…”, saying that he is not to have pride in his own wisdom!
His told to “…lie not against the truth.”, saying that he is not to justify himself.

As if he was a spiritual doctor, James diagnosed –

1). The condition of the heart. 3:14a “…bitter envy and strife…”

James prescribed –

2). The confession of the truth. 3:14b
He must admit that his wrong thinking is because –

a. He has a deceitful heart –

Psalm 36:1-3 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.

b. He has defective information. 3:15 Because of defective information –
c. He has defective results. 3:16

A wrong heart readily accepts wrong information which will always result in wrong actions. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for having this attitude –

John 5:41-44 I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

The counterfeit teacher is seeking to be full of self and promote his own image instead of seeking to glorify God and grow into the fulness of the image of His Son Jesus Christ.

We must always endeavour to keep before us the admonition of Paul to the Ephesians –

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

With this exhortation, we turn to –

2. The Consecrated teacher. James 3:13, 17-18

John 17:16-17 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

In chapters one and two, James presented a measure for our faith. Here he is presenting a measure for our motive in our service and conduct – for the glory of the Lord or for the glory of self.

The consecrated teacher –

a. He is consistent in faith and practice. James 3:13

“…let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”

The Lord is telling us through James that we need to be known by our works and that those works should be with “meekness of wisdom”. In order to show “meekness of wisdom”, we must know what it is – we need to define what is being advised.

1). The definition of meekness – ‘humility, submission to God’s will’
2). The definition of wisdom –

a). According to Webster’s dictionary, a concise definition of wisdom is –
“The right use or exercise of knowledge…”
b). According to God’s Word, we are to pursue it –

Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

Roy Zuck in his Theology of the Old Testament lists how we should pursue wisdom –

(1). He is to listen for it. Proverbs 1:33; 2:2
(2). Seek it. Proverbs 8:17.
(3). Acquire it. Proverbs 4:6–7
(4). Love it. Proverbs 4:6; 8:17
(5). Esteem or value it. Proverbs 4:8

c). According to God’s Word, wisdom is to be found in the Lord.

Proverbs 2:4-6 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

The consecrated teacher is to be humble, relying on the Lord (Meekness) and teaching others about the Lord and His will through His Word.

b. He is consistent with the characteristics of Godly faith. James 3:17,18

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1). The fruit of righteousness define his character. James 3:17 Who he is.

a). Pure
b). Peaceable
c). Gentle
d). Easy to be intreated
e). Full of mercy and good fruits
f). Without partiality
g). Without hypocrisy.

2). The fruit of righteousness is manifested in his life. James 3:18 What he does.

Conclusion:

The difference the consecrated teacher makes is bringing people in unity to fulfill the will of God, having a testimony that honours God and glorifies Him through their witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the will of God –

John 17:20-23 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Today – are you saved and living for the Lord, having this testimony – serving Him in the “meekness of wisdom”?
Do you know that you have done all that God wants you to do up to this point in time? Nothing is left undone.
Are you saved? Have you repented of your sin and called upon the Lord for salvation?

V. Instructions on Humility. James 4:1-5:6

A. Covetousness. James 4:1-10

James addresses the recipients as “my brethren” fifteen times throughout this letter. The Holy Spirit kept them before him, making this intensely personal for James.
You might ask “why is it so important to determine that this letter was written to believers”? It is important because it seems that the exhortation in Chapter Four should be written to the unsaved, not the saved! But is is written to Christians and we need to read it carefully and prayerfully! Do we see ourselves condemned by these words?

1. Revealed the problem. James 4:1a
“Whence come wars and whence come fightings among you”?

We should review these questions as we begin –
Are there times that there is –
Dissension in the church?
Division in the church?
Disturbance in the church?

The answer is certain – yes to each.
Does God condemn this activity in His church? The answer is again – yes!

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obeyeth not our word by this epistle, note that man, that ye have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed.

What do we do if we are that person? or to put it more personally – “What do I do if I am that person”?
We need to identify the cause and then provide the solution. This is what James has done –

2. Recognized the cause. James 4:1-5

James uses two words that are translated ‘lust’ in these five verses. We need to understand that these words can be used in a good as well as bad way depending on the context. ‘Lust’ is also translated ‘desire’ and we see the good use of the word in James 4:5 and in the following verses –

Matthew 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

The word used in its evil context is ‘lust’ translated from the word ‘hedone’ (hay doe nay) which means pleasure or pleasures. Men seeking to please the flesh. The word is used in this connection in James 4:1 and 4:3.

James deals with the cause of the sinful actions of men by revealing –

a. Their Covetousness. 4:1b

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

2 Timothy 4:10 “…For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…”

b. Their Conflict. 4:1c,2

James rebukes this rebellion against the will of God. Note the contrast between the perfect will of God and the perverted will of man –

1). The perfect will of God.

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

2 Corinthians 9:8-11 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

2). The perverted will of man. 4:1c,2

a). They fight among themselves –
“…war in your members…”, “…ye kill and desire to have…”, “…ye fight and war…”

b). They forget the Lord who has purchased them with His own blood.
“…yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

At times they will remember God’s promise of provision and blessing and their actions in the flesh will simply increase –

c. Their Confusion. 4:3

James charges them that in their frustration and desire to have, they even call upon the Lord in prayer to get what they want! The seek God’s assistance to gain power and prosperity to enhance their own standing, seeking to glorify self. Prayer is –

1). In the name of Jesus according to the will of God –

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Or –

2). In the name of Jabez?

1 Chronicles 4:10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

About fifteen years ago a man wrote a book instructing people in how to control God. He promised that if one read his book once each week and prayed this prayer each day, God would give the desires of the person.
The truth is that this prayer was a spontaneous prayer from Jabez to God, not a model prayer for all. Jesus taught the disciples and us how to pray and He did not refer us to Jabez!
People became excited and took up this prayer to enable them to get what they wanted from God, not thinking about what God wanted for them. James is speaking of this kind of prayer – “… Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

d. Their Condemnation. 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses…” Unfaithful to God!
e. Their Conviction. 4:5

The struggle in the believer between the flesh and the Spirit.

1). The believer should be convinced that he is a child of God.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

2). The believer should be convicted that God’s will is right for his life.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

3). The believer should be consistent in his submission to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18-21 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Are you saved? Are you sure?

3. Recommended the solution. James 4:6-10

a. Repent unto the Lord. James 4:6
b. Resist the devil. James 4:7

1). The exhortation to the believer. “…Resist the devil…”

a). The devil is the originator of pride –

Isaiah 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

b). The devil is the propagator of pride.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2). The example of the Lord. “…God resisteth the proud…”

God resists the Devil and He resists all those that are lifted up with pride. We have already been commanded by the Lord through James in chapter one that “the double minded man is unstable in all his ways” Jesus warned allegiance must be given to one master –

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Now we must consider the practical issue – how in the world can I resist the devil? He is more powerful and knowledgeable that I am!
God will always provide that which we need to accomplish His will in our lives!

3). The enabling of the Lord.
We are commanded to ‘…resist the devil…” How? Refer to Ephesians 6:1-18

A positive action must accompany this resistance of the devil –
c. Return to the Lord. James 4:8,9

Proverbs 8:17-18 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

1). Confession. 4:8

King David, through pride in privilege and position, sinned against God. He was an easy prey for Satan to attack –

2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

David resisted God in his pride and acknowledged his suffering –

Psalm 32:3-4 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.

He finally sought the Lord, submitted himself to God and confessed his sin –

Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.

2). Contrition. 4:9

When we repent and return, we know the sadness of a broken heart – not only that of our own heart, but of the one that we hurt by our actions. We return in grief of mind and heart. We prepare ourselves to meet the one that we have offended.
Remember the attitude of the prodigal son as recorded in Luke chapter 15, returning home, not as a son, but a servant. His fear of rejection was turned to rejoicing because of the love of his father who was praying for his son to repent and return. This is an illustration of the Lord’s love and mercy for His children to come to Him –

d. Rejoice in the Lord. James 4:10

When we, believers, acknowledge the truth of God that James has stated and act accordingly by humbling ourselves, He will forgive us and restore us to fellowship with Himself.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is a wonderful promise of God and will bring forth rejoicing in our lives!

This promise of protection and provision of forgiveness is for the saved, those that have trusted in the Lord for salvation.
There is a promise for the unsaved, those lost and held in the bondage of sin –

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

James again helps us to understand humility by warning of the dangers of –
B. Criticism of the brethren. 4:11,12

As we look at this we must remember that discernment and action are responsibilities that God has given to His children. The issue is this – who sets the standard by which judgment is made?

1. The exhortation – 4:11a

Leviticus 19:16-18 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Illustrate – Miriam and Aaron speaking evil of Moses. They must have spoken to each other about Moses and invented a reason to challenge his leadership.

Numbers 12:1-2 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.

The one, whether Miriam or Aaron, who brought up the issue should have been rebuked by the other and both been in submission to the leadership that God established!

2. The explanation – 4:11b,12

a. God instituted the Law and revealed it through His Word.

1). He revealed it through His Word.
2). He judges all things according to His Word.

John 12:47-48 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

b. God instructs man to submit to His Word.

1). We are to judge ourselves according to His Word.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

2). We are to judge others according to His Word.
Speak to them, not about them! Refer to Matthew 18:15-17

a). The command to Pastors

(1). To judge themselves –

1 Peter 5:2-3 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

(2). To judge the church –

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

b). The command to people –

(1). Caring for them –

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

(2). Correcting them. Refer to how Acquila and Priscilla helped Apollos.

Acts 18:25-27 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

(a). They did not cast him out, they called him in.
(b). They did not teach him as his masters, they explained to him as his mentors.
(c). They did not restrict him, they recommended him. They trusted the Holy Spirit would lead him and that he would follow that leadership!

3. The encouragement
a. Maintain the right relationship –

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

When we have the right relationship with God and our brethren, we can –

b. Minister with God’s Word

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

We want to consider you in love today and provoke you for your good –
Are you saved? Have you trusted in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for your salvation?

Pride can raise our estimation of ourselves and our abilities, while we look down on others, we raise our –

C. Confidence in self. 4:13-17

We should be aware that men have the potential to accomplish great things on their own –

Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

But James warns us of this self confidence that leads to –

1. Predictions of success in our own strength. 4:13

Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

2. Presumptuous attitudes. 4:14,15

a. Man has little control over any of that which he is dependent on for success! 4:14
(health, natural elements, demand for product, public acceptance)
b. Man should rely on the leadership and blessing of God. 4:15 “…ought to say…”

3. Pride. 4:16 “…rejoice in your boastings…”

a. The evil inclination of man-

The religious and government leaders in Israel –

Isaiah 56:10-12 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

They had no fear of God and no expectation of judgment! Even after God’s judgment fell on them and they were carried away to a strange land by the Chaldeans, many of them refused to repent –

Jeremiah 6:17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.

It is amazing how pride can lead one into the depths of depravity “I am worthy to make my own decisions and what right do you have to judge me?”

God has always rebuked man’s pride –

b. Examples from Scripture –

1). Refer to Luke 12 (this man’s greatest failure was his appraisal of his greatest success)

Luke 12:15-20 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

We have examples from two men who loved God which reminds us that any of us are capable of this sin of pride –

2). Hezekiah boasted of God’s blessings on his life and set himself up to fail –

2 Chronicles 32:24-25 In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

3). Josiah boasted (by his actions) of God’s favour and paid with the loss of his life.

c. Examples from history. Men boast of their achievements

1). The Titanic – the ship that could not sink!
2). The British R101 dirigible disaster in 1930. Flying from England to India, made it to France and crashed with the loss of 48 lives. The R101 was a government project with the intention of impressing the world with British innovation and power.

d. Exhortations to humility.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Through these instruction on humility dealing with covetousness, criticism, and confidence in self, James brings us to the –

4. Practical application. James 4:17

a. Seek the Lord’s guidance.
b. Submit to the Lord’s guidance.

Remember the consequences that the Israelites endured in their disobedience to God’s will.
Numbers chapter 14

God instructed Israel to cross the Jordan River and claim the land promised to them through the promise to Abraham. The people rebelled against the command of God and were judged accordingly. The people then changed their minds and determined to go in and claim the land but it was too late for them. They would have to suffer the consequences of their rebellion. God leads us for our own good. We need to seek His guidance and submit to it. Our pride can destroy our future – for various reasons we might say that we know better than God. We do not! Trust Him and follow Him through His Word.
James’ warning of these characteristics – covetousness, criticism, confidence in self, concludes with the –

D. Condemnation of the ungodly rich. 5:1-6 (trust in riches) –

Which we will see next week. Today we need to examine ourselves and use the measure provided by James to determine whether we are trusting in God or trusting in self!

Trusting in God – have you trusted in Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His accomplished work at Calvary in satisfying the justice of God through His death on the cross?

Are you saved and yet have not obeyed the Lord in baptism? Baptism does not save us but it is the first step in obedience to God after salvation.

Are you seeking God’s will and serving as He directs you?

James’ warning of these characteristics – covetousness, criticism, confidence in self, concludes with the –

D. Condemnation of the ungodly rich. 5:1-6 (trust in riches)

1. The exhortation to them. James 5:1

We need to know that James is not rebuking church members in particular, but all men in general, including believers, making them aware of the dangers and warning them of the judgment appointed to those who turn from the love of God and their neighbors to the love of power, position, and possessions.
In writing Psalm 73, the psalmist has accurately described the feelings that many of us have had or are having as we consider the prosperity of others, especially the prosperity of those that do not confess faith in God. Read Psalm 73
The Lord is reminding us here again of the danger that the love of wealth can bring into our lives. Even believers can become like unto the lost in the pursuit of wealth and power. As Paul so plainly wrote –

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Note the testimony of Achan. The men of Israel had been given clear instructions not to take any of the property they came across in battle for the city of Jericho. Achan did not obey the command of God and his sin effected the army of Israel. When brought to trial, he gave this excuse –

Joshua 7:20-21 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

This is the attitude that James is condemning in this portion of his letter. Even though the wealthy people he is speaking to may not have stolen outright, they are robbing God and man through their attitudes and actions.
The pattern is always the same – seeing, coveting, taking.

2. The evidence against them. James 5:2-3b
a). Worthless in the sight of God. 5:2,3a
“…are corrupted…are moth eaten…is cankered…”

b). Evidence of their unrighteousness. 5:3b
“…shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.”

3. The explanation of their actions. James 5:3c-6

These live a life in the realm of negative behaviour – ‘Never’ being the guiding principle –

a. Never enough! “…heaped treasure together…” 5:3b

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

b. Never trusting! “…kept back by fraud…” 5:4 The thought –

“If I give it away, how will I regain it.”
“My employees can afford to wait to get paid.”
“If I give my money away and then have a need, they cannot afford to give back to me.” “I will keep what I have for myself and will pay them when I can!”

c. Never in peace! “…lived in pleasure …being wanton…” 5:5

Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

d. Never satisfied! “…condemned and killed the just…” 5:6

People are simply a resource to them to provide what they need and what they want. The people are as expendable as their stock animals in the time of slaughter or the products of the earth.

1). King David disposed of Urijah in order to have his wife.
2). Jezebel killed Naboth in order to give his vineyard to Ahab for a present.
Both of these just men were considered to simply be nuisances to be dealt with.

Conclusion:
James speaks of their ownership which they will not be able to deny as they stand before the Righteous Judge –
“Your riches”
“Your garments”
“Your gold” and being understood –
“Your silver”.
As much as they owned these things, they must accept ownership of the consequences –
“Your miseries”!
What could have been a blessing has become a curse because they rejected humility and embraced pride looking only to the exaltation of self!

We are not a repository of God’s wealth, we are agents of God’s wealth. We are to use and disperse it at His direction. God’s blessings are to flow through us to others!

VI. Instruction on the Coming of the Lord James 5:7-11 God reveals His –

A. Grace – patience to wait on Him. James 5:7,8

Do not be distracted from what is most important!

These believers had grown up under the teaching of the Scriptures. They understood that God’s faithful people looked at the former rain as a promise of the latter rain.

Deuteronomy 11:13-15 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.

God is reminding them again that His blessing of salvation will come to completion – He has saved them and just as sure as the latter rain followed the former, He is coming for them. His working in them is toward one purpose – He has saved them from the penalty of sin and His coming will save them from the power of sin which will lead to being saved from the presence of sin.

Revelation 21:23-25 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

James instructs the believers to –

1. Present themselves – 5:7a Give your life with all that it involves to the Lord –

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

We are not sitting like patience in a waiting room to be called in to see the doctor – we are serving “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” Therefore we are to –

2. Patiently serve – 5:7b

The Lord again illustrates this truth with the example of the farmer who works out God’s plan in his life: prepares the ground, plants the seed, following the rain he tends the plants, after the latter rains the plants mature and the harvest is prepared.
There are times that this work is difficult and slow.

Jeremiah 4:3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
God told the Jews to break up the hard ground so that the seed could be sown. It takes work, patience, and trust in the Lord.

3. Prepare for His coming. James 5:8 “…for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh…”

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

They need to be prepared because in His –

B. Mercy – judgment is waiting. James 5:9
“…lest ye be condemned, the judge standeth befor the door.”

Mercy is God not giving us that which we deserve – He witholds judgment, but He will not forget judgment – He is at hand! He is at the door! The imminent return of the Lord.
We are to remember that the Lord is Judge and that we as believers are to walk worthy of His calling –

Romans 12:19-21 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

C. Justice – Judgment is sure. James 5:10,11

1. The Trial of Job. James 5:11
Remember that this was the earliest book and Job’s testimony was known.

a. His righteousness “Ye have heard of the patience of Job…”

1). The condemnation of the accusers.
2). The confession of Job.

b. His reward. “…Have seen the end of the Lord…”

1). The responsibility of Job to pray for his friends.
2). The restoration to Job of that which he lost.

2. The trust of the prophets. James 5:10 “…and having not seen…”
Their trust was steadfast through their trust and by the example of others.

James encouraged the believers “…be ye patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord…”. The Lord is coming! Many trials are going to be faced. Much forgiveness is going to be needed – in our own lives through repentence and for others through offenses.
Our faith is tested –
Our conduct is tested –
Our humility is tested –
How do we measure up to the standard that God has set?

Psalm 65:10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

I pray today that God will make our hearts soft and ready to receive His Word, the good seed, and that it will be mixed with faith unto salvation.

He has given us His grace, His mercy, and His justice. He has taught that we should trust Him and serve Him faithfully. Have you trusted Him today?

VII. Instruction on integrity. James 5:12

A. Integrity is required of believers. Refer to Matthew 5:33-37.

We are following Paul’s outline as given to Timothy in to examine the instruction of the Lord as recorded by Matthew

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.

1. The reproof. Matthew 5:33

a. The tradition practiced.

1). Do not perjure yourself (swear falsely)
2). Do that which you have sworn unto the Lord to do.

b. The truth – swearing was legitimate only as proscribed by God.

Leviticus 19:12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

The Pharisees and Scribes had turned the practice of swearing into that which would be to their advantage. If they swore to anything other than by the Lord, they were not constrained to keep the promise. The Lord exposed this practice to all in the presence of the Pharisees and then continued with –

2. The rebuke. Matthew 5:34-36 Refrain from this practice of swearing.
The practice of swearing in daily life led to the practice of swearing in anger – note the response of the High Priest as he interrogate the Lord Jesus –

Matthew 26:63-65 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

Both of these emotional outburst were forbidden by the Law of God but common practice led to contempt for the principles of God!

3. The exhortation Matthew 5:37 – be honest and dependable.
Swearing is not necessary at all. The believer’s word should be enough!

B. Integrity is required of believers at all times in every circumstance. James 5:12
The reinforcement of the truth taught by the Lord.

We should remember that from the beginning of this letter, James had had one purpose –
To instill in the believer this goal. –

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

This man is identified by his faith, he is identified by his conduct, he is identified by his humility, he is identified by his patient service unto the Lord. To all of this is added –
He is identified by his integrity – “… : but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay;…”.
Is it possible that James was listening as Jesus gave these same instructions in Matthew 5:33-37.
I believe that it is also possible that the Lord brought the words of Hosea to James’ mind to help him understand this admonition to his readers –

Their words –

Hosea 6:3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
And then their actions as noted by the Lord –

Hosea 6:4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.

As we noted last week, they were instructed to serve the Lord in patience, knowing the early rains and waiting for the latter rains.

We note from Hosea 6:3 that the spirit was willing, but from Hosea 6:4 the flesh was weak!

James is instructing them to not rely on vows and promises to be trusted of others. He is instructing them to be people of integrity and they would be trusted of others!

Notice the action of Joshua in keeping his word even though he had been tricked by the Gibeonites. He did not say “They deceived me and I am not obligated to keep my word”. He was responsible to seek the Lord’s guidance before giving his word, which he did not do. He was obliged to keep his word in order to keep his integrity.
Joshua 9:16-19

The message is to believers – the children of God and speaks of God’s desire that we reflect Him in our lives through integrity – in every circumstance! We, as Christians individually and as Ipoh Bible Baptist Church corporately need to have the testimony of truth and faithfulness. Is that our testimony today? James has again given us a measure of our lives – how to we measure up to God’s expectations. Are we growing unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ?
The message for unbelievers is that you have an opportunity to come to the Lord for salvation today? Will you give your life to Him?

VII. Instruction on prayer. James 5:13-18 Today we will be looking at verses 13 – 15.

As an introduction to the purpose of this portion of James’ letter we should read Paul’s statement to the church in Ephesus as to their responsibilities to one another –

Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Personal spiritual growth is to enhance the corporate spiritual growth of the church. We are to grow strong individually that we may grow strong corporately- “edifying of the body of Christ”.
The believer who is applying the truths that James has presented in his letter will grow strong spiritually. We will be fulfilling Peter’s admonition to begin our spiritual growth nourished in the milk of the Word as an infant and a young child,

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

And Paul’s exhortation to grow strong life through the truths of God’s Word.

Hebrews 5:13-14 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

With spiritual growth comes wisdom and understanding. We know that we do not live unto ourselves – we must rely on God, we must respond to the needs of others and we must restore those that have erred. Let’s look at these three subjects today –

A. The Reliance. James 5:13-15

1. In times of trouble. James 5:13a “… Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.”

Psalm 91:14-15 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

Paul and Silas illustrated the work of God in the lives of His children as they went from prayer to praise –

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

2. In times of rejoicing. James 5:13b “… . Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”
Being thankful for God’s blessings!

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:…
Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance:…
You can influence those around you.

3. In times of sickness James 5:14-15

The believer that is ailing is instructed to seek healing from God through this three fold plan He has set forth here –

a. The Pastors “… let him call for the elders of the church…”
The Pastor has been given the responsibility by God for –

1). Counseling in God’s Word.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

2). Caring for God’s people.
3). Correcting misconceptions and wrong thinking.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

b. The Prayers. “… and let them pray over him…”

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

c. The Prescription. “… anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord…”

Anointing with oil. In this case, the oil prescribed is olive oil. This is not what is promoted today as a miraculous healing oil. It is simply God’s medicinal oil! God’s Word reveals the history of the use of oils and salves for medicinal purposes –

1). 4,000 years ago –

Genesis 37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

2). 2,500 years ago –

Isaiah 1:6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

3). 2,000 years ago.

Mark 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

4). The present time. A medical website lists some of the medicinal uses of olive oil.

Olive oil is used to prevent heart attack and stroke (cardiovascular disease), breast cancer, colorectal cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and migraine headache.

Some people use olive oil to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood vessel problems associated with diabetes, and pain associated ear infections, arthritis, and gallbladder disease.

Olive oil is applied to the skin (used topically) ringing ears (tinnitus), pain in the ears, lice, wounds, minor burns, psoriasis, and for protecting the skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage after sun exposure.

Conclusion:
Pastors, Prayers, and Prescriptions – God uses this three fold plan to engage His children in caring and helping one another in times of sickness.
As God has provided through James a measure for our faith, our conduct, and our humility, He has given us a pattern of our fellowship and dependence on one another. Are we prepared to minister to one another in any need in life? Do we fulfill the law of God –

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Let us follow His plan and “edify the body of Christ”.

James presented God’s Word to enable believers to measure their faith, conduct, and humility. He also encourages us in patient service while looking for the imminent return of our Lord. Now, he completes the letter with the test of fellowship through prayer. We have noted the believer’s reliance on God and one another, and this is as it should be. This morning we will finish the messages of the Book of James and complete his thought on the responsibility and opportunity of the brethren to edify one another.

VII. Instruction on prayer. James 5:13-18
A. The Reliance. James 5:13-15
1. In times of trouble. James 5:13a “… Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.”
2. In times of rejoicing. James 5:13b “… . Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”
3. In times of sickness James 5:14-15a

The words used here denote either physical disease or emotional despondency. Either of these conditions can incapacitate a person, leaving them weak, feeling helpless and hopeless. In times like this, the believer is instructed to call for the pastor to come and minister to them as we saw in the last message. This time of compassion being shown, care bestowed, and counsel being given, should be a time of self examination.

B. The Reflection. James 5:15b
“… and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”

The Apostle John repeated the instruction that James gave here in his first letter –

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And Matthew recorded the relationship between sickness and sin –

Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

This man, along with these men, knew that his primary need was of forgiveness. The physical healing was simply an illustration of the spiritual healing!

Matthew 9:6-7 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house.

Upon being restored to good health and especially if one is restored to a right relationship with God, James reminds us that sin against God may have also involved sin against men. Forgiveness needs to be sought from the Lord first, but this should lead to seeking forgiveness from the offended person. Therefore James instructs us in –

C. The Response. James 5:16-18

1. The expectation. James 5:16a
The brother or sister has been shown compassion in the ministry of the church. The pastor has manifested the love of the Lord in his ministry to this person. Now we are instructed to continue in this care for one another through the confession of sins and prayer for one another. We must understand the underlying truth of this instruction – we must have a love for God and for one another that enables, even constrains us to confess our offenses personally and even if necessary, publicly. We do not mind so much to share praises in the congregation or to pray in the congregation, but to confess our faults – that is something different altogether. All of what James has written leads to this point – a necessary component in growing into the stature of the fulness of Christ – being that perfect man. When we have offended – confess it!

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Also, We must be prepared to intercede for the brethren. These verses, speaking of the confession and forgiveness of sin, reveal not only the possibility, but the probability of sin being involved and we must be prepared to forgive and pray for the brethren.

2. The earnest desire. James 5:16b

3. The example. James 17,18
The Prophet Elijah as noted in 1 Kings 17:1 and 1 Kings 18:41-44

a. The person: He was of the same nature as other men.
b. The prayer.

1). He prayed for the rain to be held back by the Lord according to God’s instruction.
2). He prayed for the glory of the Lord to be manifested in accepting his offering.
3). He prayed for the rain to be restored to the land, but notice in this case –

c. The persistence.
He prayed seven times for the rain to be restored. Notice that Elijah prayed earnestly, expecting the Lord’s will to be done. We need to learn to be persistent in prayer in the accomplishment of God’s will. Do not stop until you know that what God wants to be done is done!

Not everyone will be submissive to the Lord’s conviction and they will bring judgment upon themselves, but this judgment belongs to the Lord and while we pray for His correction in their lives, we need to be praying for them to submit, confess, and be restored into fellowship with the Lord and His people –

D. The Restoration. James 5:19, 20

1. The interest shown in the brother’s testimony.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

2. The intercession to save the brother’s life.

1 John 5:15-16 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

When God judged the sin and declared the penalty to be death, His judgment was righteous and there was no point in interceding for these. A few examples are Korah, Achan, and –

Leviticus 10:1-2 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

But the Lord reveals many instances where He has responded in mercy to the intercession of His children. Remember Abraham, Moses for examples.
Upon repentance with confession, the brother is restored in the fellowship of the church. The unity of the church is maintained and the Lord is glorified.

The instruction in prayer leads to unity of the brethren. James gave us a measure of our prayer life. Do we love one another enough to pray and give of ourselves to one another.
James letter reflects the words of our Lord in summary –

Mark 12:29-31 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Today we ask the question – Do you love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and mind? You cannot love Him unless you have responded to His love for you in repentance and faith, trusting Him as your Saviour. Are you saved?
As you measure your life by His Word that He has led James to write, how do you measure up? How is your faith, your conduct, your humility, your expectation of His return, your fellowship? If there is something that is not right this morning, then settle it with the Lord and if necessary, with one another.

Remember the words of Paul –
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

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About sjbjburke

I am an evangelist that enjoys Bible study and I look forward to posting outlines and receiving helpful comments. My wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in 2010 and we enjoy serving the Lord together.
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