Read: James 2:18 |
“He is a mad-man!”, they thought. The four brothers loved their oldest half-brother but he was – well “different”. After he left home, he was always making outrageous claims and statements. He was not trying to “fit” in and conform to society. Sadly, it was not until their half-brother Jesus died and rose again did his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, realize and then believe that Jesus is the Messiah (John 7:3-5).
Even though they lived with Jesus through all those silent years of which we have no record; even though they had watched Him launch His ministry and heard of His miracles, their faith did not form until He arose.
Theme: Faith = (Belief + Action + Confidence)
The theme of the Book of James is “Faith”. Faith is at the heart of Christianity for one can only become a Christian if they have faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is the confident assurance in the character and nature of God without tangible proof. Faith is what pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).
Faith is the result of Belief and Action and Confidence . Belief’s change when by faith, we accept Christ. Our actions and confidence also change because of our faith. We are to actively learn, proactively practice and confidently apply what the Bible teaches because “faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
In five short chapters, he energetically exposes the common hypocrisies of Believers behavior everywhere.
|1||Confident Stand||What a Believer has|
|2||Compassion and Service||What a Believer does|
|3||Careful Speech||What a Believer says|
|4||Contrite Submission||What a Believer feels|
|5||Concerned Sharing||What a Believer gives|
Source: Life Application Study Bible
In Chapter 1, he begins by addressing the differences between Trial and Temptation and then advises us to not only listen but also “do” what the Word of God says. In Chapter 2, he notes favoritism is a forbidden fruit and points out that genuine faith produces deeds. In Chapter 3, he notes the importance of training and taming the tongue and the importance of applying heavenly wisdom in our daily living. In Chapter 4, he highlights that true submission avoids the sins of commission and omission. In the last chapter, he concludes by warning the rich, exhorting patience in suffering and reminding us of the importance of prayer.
I recall a story about a man who had to cross a wide river on the ice. He was afraid it might be too thin, so he began to crawl on his hand and knees in great terror. He decided to evenly distribute his weight on the ice as a logical precaution of falling through the ice. Just as he neared the opposite shore, exhausted from the crawling and worrying, another man glided past him nonchalantly sitting on a horse-drawn sled loaded with iron.
The ice “is” like our faith. We are to have faith; apply faith; stand on faith; walk in faith and run ahead in faith. The Book of James challenges us to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ and not like the man crawling fearfully on the ice with our faith. We need to “talk the talk” and we need to “walk the walk.” Our talking should broaden beyond our Christian friends and regularly include non-Christians. Our faith walk includes Quiet Time, Prayer and Bible Study to grow our knowledge about the Word.
In these, 108 verses, James challenges us with 60 obligations [The Book of James, S. Michael Houdmann]. Using the imagery language and the truths from the Sermon on the Mount, James encourages us to act upon what He taught. James, “the Just”, was not only his nickname. It also indicated that faith and works was not merely something he talked about, his life was a demonstration of the Epistle in action.
 Belief (Definition) – A belief is an opinion or judgment in which a person is fully persuaded
[The Difference Between Faith and Belief – Purposely Different]
A. When did you accept Christ?
B. How has your faith grown?
A. In what areas do you have the most faith and least faith?
A. Cite 5 examples that demonstrate an “active” application of your faith.
B. Was it difficult to think of things that demonstrated your faith? If so, why?
C. Does wearing a What-would-Jesus-Do or a “Jesus saves” T-Shirt demonstrate your faith? Why or Why not?