Monday, January 10, 2011

Book of James - Part 1: Faith and Wisdom

The Book of James
Part 1 - Faith and Wisdom
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


The New Testament portion of the Holy Bible is split into six different sections.  The first being the Gospels, then Acts, then the Pauline Epistles to the churches, followed by Paul’s letters to individuals, the Kingdom Epistles and finally Revelation.

The series we are beginning will look at the Book of James, which comes from the Kingdom Epistles.

James is a very important book, helping those who follow Christ, learn how to walk in faith.

Not a walk in faith as simply trusting Jesus, but walking out their faith as in being a doer of the Word they claim.

As we spend the next few weeks going through the book of James, I want you to listen to his words, remember that they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

These are instructions we should take, believe and live.

So let us explore the Book of James, and listen to what the author wants us to learn and understand about Jesus Christ, our God and the lives we are called to live in this present evil age.


For the reading of God’s Holy Word, and for the Holy Spirit to bring understanding to our minds.

I.                   THE BOOK OF JAMES
a.      Book Details
                                                             i.      The author of the book identifies himself as James.
1.      Scholars believe it was the half-brother of Jesus

2.      James was a leader of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:13)

                                                          ii.      Some try to attribute this book to other men, such as the Apostle James, but this is impossible, since the Apostle James died in 44 a.d., and the Book of James was written between 50-60 a.d.

1.      The other two men named James could not be the author either, since neither had the stature or influence that this writer possessed.

b.     Author Information
                                                             i.      James was one of several brothers of Christ, more than likely the oldest of the half-brothers since he is mentioned first in the list in Matthew 13:55.

                                                          ii.      We see at first James did not believe Jesus and even challenged and misunderstood his mission (John 7:2-5)

                                                       iii.      Later, he became very prominent in the church.

c.      Special Details of James, Brother of Jesus
                                                             i.      James was one of the select individuals Christ appeared to after His resurrection (I Corinthians 15:7)

                                                          ii.      Paul called him a “pillar” (refers to Eldership) in the church (Galatians 2:9)

                                                       iii.      When Peter was rescued from prison, he told his friends to tell James (Acts 12:17)

                                                         iv.      James was martyred around 62 a.d.
d.     Authority you can Trust
                                                             i.      The Book of James reflects a simple church order, officers of the church are called “Elders” (5:14) and “Teachers” (3:1)

                                                          ii.      The Greek term “Synagogue” or “meeting” is used to designate the meeting or meeting place of the church (2:2)

                                                       iii.      The Book of James is more than likely the oldest of the New Testament writings, with the exception of Galatians, written between 48-53 a.d.

II.               CONTENTS
a.      Introduction
                                                             i.      The original recipients of this letter from James are identified in 1:1 only, as the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.

1.      It is evident in the writings that James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, addresses Jewish Christians in a Hebrew tone throughout his letter.

2.      He even refers to God as “Kyrios Sabaoth” or Lord Almighty in 5:4, which is a Hebrew Title for God.

James 1:1-8
 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

Trials and Temptations
 2 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. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
b.     Victory
                                                             i.      Throughout this letter, James has many rebukes for the listeners.  However, he also continually calls them brothers, correcting them in brotherly love.

                                                          ii.      The word “trials” here can also be translated “temptations”, we see that followers struggle with difficulties from the outside world.

1.      Trials, such as people and situations rising up against us, and temptations to choose what your flesh may desire over what God has called you to.

                                                       iii.      James tells us to have JOY when we have trials and temptations.

1.      The scriptures here show us that, we should have JOY when facing trials or temptations of ANY kind, because this testing of our spirit will PRODUCE in us perseverance.

a.      The fruit of perseverance can only come through experiencing trials and temptations.

b.     How can you persevere if there is nothing to persevere against?

2.      James also tells us that “perseverance MUST finish its work” in verse 4.

a.      We can cut perseverance short by giving in to temptations and trials.

b.     When we do this, we have lost the battle, but not the war...there will be more opportunities, we are promised that.

3.      Perseverance creates in us spiritual maturity, and spiritual completeness.  We will lack NOTHING.

a.      If you are spiritually immature, it is because you are NOT persevering during your trials and temptations.

                                                                                                                                     i.      In other words, you are giving in to your trials and temptations, and therefore do not develop or mature spiritually.

                                                                                                                                  ii.      This is what the Word of God says...whether you believe it or not, I believe God’s Holy Word.

b.     For those who may struggle with this concept, James explains what takes place for those who do persevere and in turn, mature in spiritual completeness, and for those who give in to their trials and temptations, and remain stagnant in their spiritual growth.

c.      Faith & Wisdom
                                                             i.      James tells us, beginning in verse 5, If any of you lack wisdom...

1.      Refers to the proper knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.

a.      James is saying, simply do what I just said in times of trials and temptations...persevere.

b.     Many “read” God’s Word, but without the Holy Spirit active in their lives, there will be no understanding.

c.      They may as well be reading bedtime stories because God cannot work with someone who is not allowing the Holy Spirit to live and rule in their heart.

                                                          ii.      If you lack wisdom, ask God who gives generously without finding fault and it will be given to you.
1.      Without finding fault refers to the fact that when we approach God with this request for wisdom, He will not scold us for our past conduct.

2.      BUT, when we ask, we must ask in faith, believing without doubt.  Faith IS the criteria for all things pertaining to God.

a.      Hebrews 11:6 “... without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

b.     Are you “earnestly seeking” God in your life?

                                                                                                                                     i.      Remember, it is not the world you have to convince, but God Himself.

3.      Why must we ask without doubting?
a.      Because, the one who doubts is like a wave tossed in the sea, blown whichever way the wind blows.

b.     God’s Holy Word tells us, this person SHOULD NOT EXPECT to receive ANYTHING from the Lord.

                                                                                                                                     i.      One who continuously veers from one course to another only reveals his own instability and lack of a sense of being under divine control.

c.      This person is UNSTABLE in ALL they do.
                                                                                                                                     i.      Are you trying to be a “good Christian”, but find it is not working?

                                                                                                                                  ii.      Are you trying to “do well” but keep failing?

                                                                                                                               iii.      Do you find that the ventures you take on fail?

                                                                                                                                 iv.      How is work?

                                                                                                                                    v.      How is your family?

                                                                                                                                 vi.      How is your personal life?

                                                                                                                              vii.      How is your walk with the Lord?

4.      Instability is a sign of “Double-Mindedness”, which comes from your doubt in God and His Word.

a.      The answer to this is simply to “DO” what James tells us to do.


a.       In the first few verses of James, he gives us instruction of the utmost importance.  If you are experiencing trials or temptation in your life, BE JOYFUL.

b.     We know that these trials and temptations will produce perseverance when we face them in a godly manner, resisting the temptations, and standing on God’s Holy Instruction.

c.       In turn, this perseverance in doing what is right, will create in us, spiritual maturity and completion.  We will be lacking in nothing.


James reveals through the Holy Spirit that we must remain faithful to God, no matter what trial or temptation comes.

When we face these, we must do so with joy, not losing heart, for if we stand faithful, we will receive Spiritual maturity and completeness.

Those lacking stability and maturity, need to seek God for wisdom, and stand firm on His Holy Word against this world and its trials and temptations.


If you would like prayer for wisdom, come forward during our closing song and I will pray with you.