Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book of James - Part 4: Christian Living

The Book of James
Part 4 - Christian Living
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


James 1:19-27
 19Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:  20For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

 26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.


The Apostle James, brother of Jesus, and leader of the Jerusalem council, writes to us, and the Twelve Tribes in the Book of James, a description of what it looks like to be a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ.

We have already spoke about victory over temptations, receiving blessings from God for our endurance, faith and being humble as well as God’s goodness, all within the first 18 verses of James!

Now James has a question for you in today’s verses...

Are you living like a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ?

a.      Swift to hear...what? (James is speaking of the Word of God)

                                                             i.      Verses 2-8 “Victory over temptation through knowledge of the Word of God”

                                                          ii.      Verses 17-18 “Every good and perfect gift is from above” speaking of Jesus, the Word that came down.

                                                       iii.      Previous verses are speaking of the Word of God, and following verses are also speaking of being “doers” of the Word of God, so we can know that James is speaking about the Word of God.

b.     Slow to speak (control of the tongue)
                                                             i.      James tells us that a follower of Jesus Christ minds his tongue and what he says.

1.      This includes filthy or immoral speech, gossip, slander, lying, bragging or prideful boasting, empty words about yourself, etc...

a.      Scripture tells us to “build up” and “edify” others...not ourselves!

b.     When you brag and boast, you are sinning.

c.      When you “tear down” and “slander” you are doing the exact opposite of what the Word tells us to do!

c.      Slow to wrath (be led by the Spirit instead)
                                                             i.      James tells us not to fall prey to wrath, because man’s wrath does not produce righteousness!

1.       Furthermore, we are to be “led” by the Spirit of God, not our feelings and emotions.

2.      Wrath, anger or irritation from your natural heart will not produce ANYTHING God accepts as righteous!

3.      Do not be led around like a dog on a leash by your emotions and feelings!

a.      If you do, you will appear as a double-minded, wishy-washy, indecisive, unstable mess...because that is what our feelings and emotions usually are.

d.     What saves your soul? (the Word)
                                                             i.      James goes on to tell us what saves our souls...

1.      21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”

a.      rid your life of moral filth
b.     receive the engrafted Word
c.      with meekness (humility)
d.     This is what is able to save your souls!

a.      Be not just sit there listening to it!

                                                             i.      To many think that surrounding themselves with the Word is as good as having it “grafted into our hearts”

                                                          ii.      Reading, memorizing, listening to the Word, are all good things if followed by ACTION!

                                                       iii.      You can listen to instruction all day long, but if you do not follow has been rendered useless, and you are deceiving yourself into thinking it has done you good.

b.     If you are deceiving yourselves!

                                                             i.      When complaining that others have lied,
It’s important to look deep inside
And ask if you knew
All along it was you
Who had taken yourself for a ride.

c.      One, who hears, sees only himself...

d.     However, those who see the perfect law of liberty and continues in that direction, NOT forgetting what he heard, but doing it...his deeds will be blessed!

                                                             i.      If you are missing blessings in your life, the Word says it is because you are not being a “doer”.

1.      Far too many listeners “expect” to receive from God...

a.      Over spiritualized, religious people

                                                             i.      Those who consider themselves “religious”...

1.      This falls under the category James just spoke of, being slow to NOT boast about yourself!

2.      Scripture makes it plain, unless we consider ourselves “nothing” without Christ, we will be nothing!

3.      Those who consider themselves religious (or spiritual), are either the type who “over-spiritualize” everything, or as James is speaking of, simply hear the Truth, but never apply it or live it in their lives.

b.     They are deceiving themselves; and are not spiritual at all.

c.      This type of behavior is defiled and unacceptable before God.

                                                             i.      How do we know this?  Scripture says so in the next verse!

                                                          ii.      The Pharisees fell into this trap...and so so many today!

d.     Pure spirituality which is not defiled before God is this:

                                                             i.      Visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (suffering, difficulties, burdens, hardships, pain, trouble, misery)

1.      Pure and acceptable behavior of a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ is someone who aids the fatherless and widows when he sees them in any affliction!

2.      Jesus had love and compassion on those imprisoned in sin, as well as those who faced afflictions in life...and so must we!

                                                          ii.       and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

1.      Are you truly separate from the world?
a.      or do you look like the world?

b.     act like the world?

c.      talk like the world?

d.     live in sin like the world?

e.      live life like someone who has never heard the Word?

                                                       iii.      James 4:3-4
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

                                                         iv.      Are you an enemy of God?


The Apostle James, brother of Jesus, and leader of the Jerusalem council, writes to us, and the Twelve Tribes in the Book of James, a description of what it looks like to be a true spiritual follower of Jesus Christ.

This Word is a measuring stick, a plumb line for us to take, and measure ourselves here today.

A True Spiritual Follower of Jesus Christ;

         Is swift to hear the Word of God

         Slow to speak, controlling his tongue about himself as well as others

         Slow to wrath, allowing the Holy Spirit, NOT his emotions and feelings to guide and lead him

         He not only is swift to hear the Word, but is a DOER of that Word!

         He is not prideful in consideration of his own spirituality, but receives the Word of God humbly.

          Finally, are you a light in this world...or has the world and what it offers become your friend?

         If you live in the will also die with not make yourself an enemy of God by living in the world.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book of James - Part 3: Endurance

The Book of James
Part 3 - Endurance
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


We have been looking at the book of James over the last few weeks, and today we are going to talk about Endurance.

Paul speaks of endurance, and running the race which has a great prize at the end.  The prize is called the Crown of Life!  In addition, ALL who finish the race will receive it!

Today I ask, are you qualified to receive it?  If so, are you running the race?

You will never reach your destination standing still.


James 1:12-18
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

I.                   THE CROWN OF LIFE
a.      How to be Blessed
                                                             i.      Persevere under trial

                                                          ii.      James 1:2-42 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

1.      How many are tested in their faith, and surrender?

2.      How many give in before allowing perseverance to finish its work?
3.      This is why so many remain immature and incomplete and lack so much in their Christian walk.

                                                       iii.      When our faith is tested, we must endure this temptation.  The result is a perseverance that builds in us maturity, and completeness so that we will lack nothing in our faith...IF we allow perseverance to continue its work in us.

1.      How do we allow it to finish its work?  Like verse 12 says, enduring temptation.

b.     How to Receive the Crown of Life
                                                             i.      When our faith is tested, we persevere, standing strong against it, creating perseverance in those who let it finish its work.

                                                          ii.      A pot of noodles continuously removed from the burner will never boil, and the result you are working for (cooked noodles), will take a very, very long time, if it happens at all!

c.      Who is Qualified to Receive
                                                             i.      Not everyone who perseveres in life receives the Crown of Life from our Father in Heaven.

1.      Verse 12 states the Lord has promised this crown to those who love Him.

2.      Remember that love has nothing to do with feelings or emotions. God is talking about ACTION.

3.      Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.”
a.      Commands such as; “love your neighbor, love your brother in Christ, love your enemy.”

a.      God cannot be Tempted by Evil
                                                             i.      Temptation is an offer of something that you do not have, or cannot obtain in a timely manner.  What does God lack?  Nothing, therefore, there is nothing you can tempt or bargain with God for.

b.     God does not Tempt Anyone
                                                             i.      Some have said God is tempting them, but this is not true.  According to scripture, God cannot be tempted, nor does He tempt anyone!

                                                          ii.      God may test you, but that is different that temptation.

1.      Temptations goal is for you to sin against God.

2.      The goal of testing is for you to recognize God in your life.


God tested Abraham’s faith when He commanded him to sacrifice his son Isaac.

This was NOT because God wanted to know if Abraham would obey...God already knew that, that is why He had a ram waiting to be a substitution for Abraham’s son.

God did this for a couple reasons.

1.  God wanted to give us foreshadowing of the coming Christ, God’s only begotten, who would be sacrificed for our sin.

2.  God wanted Abraham to see that his faith in God was complete, and he would do anything God asked of him.

So, God does NOT tempt you with sin, but He may test your faith for your own benefit.  This is to grow you, and strengthen you for things in your life, and to make you whole and complete so that you may better serve Him!

So if God is not testing you, where is this temptation coming from?

Satan gets FAR TOO MUCH credit...

Verses 13-15 explain the life cycle of sin in our lives.

a.      When is a Person Tempted?
                                                             i.      “...each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”

1.      Many times the temptations and trials in our lives are not the testing of God or the temptations of Satan, but we are dragged away from faith by our OWN evil desire.

2.      You see, we tempt ourselves with sin!
a.      You may ask, “How can this be?”

b.     However, it is simple...

c.      If you have a tiger kitten, and you want it to grow, you feed it.  What are you feeding in your life?

3.      If you want to know what you are feeding in your life, here is a simple test.
a.      Matthew 12:33-3533 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

b.     Jesus tells us that what we say is coming from what is stored in our hearts.

                                                                                                                                     i.      Are you feeding the kitten named Sin inside your heart?

                                                                                                                                  ii.      You may think you have it under control...and you may, since it is a mere kitten after all.

c.      Matthew 15:10-1210 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
                                                                                                                                     i.      What are you storing up in your heart?

d.     I have actually been criticized by “Christians” in the past for things I do and do not do in my life.  I am not sure why they find such fascination and concern with the way I live, but they did.

                                                                                                                                     i.      I do not care what others think of me in regards to what I do or do not is not them I have to please, but God alone.

                                                                                                                                  ii.      I also know where temptation and sin are hiding, and waiting to I avoid them at the cost of saving my heart from evil desires.

                                                                                                                               iii.      I am not so naive to think for one minute I am immune to evil desires...this sinful flesh has the exact same desires of all sinful flesh.  BUT, as long as I am feeding the Spirit of God in my life, and starving the evil desires, God’s Spirit will do a work in me.

                                                                                                                                 iv.      Therefore, I avoid certain places and things like the plague, because in essence, that is exactly what they are to our hearts.

                                                          ii.      Verse 14 says, “...every man is tempted, when he is drawn away with his own lust, and enticed.” in the KJV.

b.     Evil Desire Conceives
                                                             i.      If we feed the kitten named Sin in our hearts, it will conceive in us.
1.      This is the beginning of the end!

2.      This is where a man’s evil desires (which are in all flesh) have been fed to a point that it conceives in their heart!
a.      You know when this takes place, because it is there in your heart and in your mind each time you call upon it.

b.     Your thoughts slowly becoming consumed with it.

c.      Moreover, you continue to feed it, and the kitten named sin grows in your heart.

c.      Evil Desire Gives Birth
                                                             i.      If you continue to feed it, it grows until it gives birth!
1.      What does the scripture mean?

2.      The Sin that was once hidden in your heart and mind is now born into the world through you!

3.      Your words and deeds start to reflect the Sin you have allowed ruling your heart and mind!

4.      Like all gestation periods, this process was slow, but encompassing.  You feel helpless and defeated by the kitten named Sin who has birthed and is now a full size tiger in your life.

a.      A tiger who is no longer satisfied with simply thinking about sinful acts, but its evil desires need feeding!

d.     When it is Fully Grown...Brings Death
                                                             i.      James warns, if you feed your sinful flesh, evil desires will grow in your heart, and if you do not repent, they will give birth to sin in your life!

                                                          ii.      In addition, this sin will bring the promise of death with it.  This death is promised in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death...”

                                                       iii.      This “death” is far worse than simply dying to life as many of us think or death.  In fact, many sinners argue, “We’re all going to die anyway, so you may as well live life the way you want!”
1.      However, they do not understand the “death” of which the scriptures are speaking.

2.      If you allow sin to enter your heart;
a.      You are feeding grows, and gives birth in your life...and it will bring forth DEATH

b.     This is spiritual...eternal, everlasting separation from God and heaven!

a.      Every good and perfect gift is from our Father in Heaven
b.     The “Father of Heavenly Lights” does not Change like Shifting Shadows

God chose to give us birth through the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.


When you face temptation in your life, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

a)  Am I feeding evil desires in my heart?

b)  If so, repent and endure the temptations so that you may persevere, and allow the perseverance to FINISH ITS WORK, ENDURE!  So that you may become Spiritually Mature and Complete and lack nothing in your faith!

c) If the temptation is NOT brought by your evil desires, and truly is temptation of Satan, then you must still endure the temptations so that you may persevere, and allow the perseverance to FINISH ITS WORK, ENDURE!  So that you may become Spiritually Mature and Complete and lack nothing in your faith!

James 4:6-8
 “God opposes the proud
   but shows favor to the humble.”
 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

If you are resisting the devil, and it does not seem as if he is may be because he has nothing to do with the temptations you are facing!

It may be because YOU are feeding YOUR OWN evil desires in your life!!!!

The temptations will never leave you as long as you are feeding them!  Repent!!

It is the double minded who cry out to God one minute, and allow sin in their hearts the next minute.

James closes by telling us,

 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

If it is not good or perfect and for your growth, strengthening or building up, it is not from heaven!

Do not be deceived by the shifting shadows!

Do not feed the evil desires of your heart, or give the shifting shadows of Satan ANY ammunition to use against you in your life!

Blessed are those who persevere, they will receive the crown of LIFE which is promise to those who love Him!