Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Book of James – Part 2: Poverty and Riches

The Book of James – Part 2:
Poverty and Riches
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

This Document is a Sermon Outline, you may hear the full audio of the actual sermon by following the link Online Audio Files located above for this, and other Full Sermon Audios.  For a complete list of Sermon Outlines, visit, or Truth Digest on facebook; for our Official Church website, visit, or find us on facebook at House of Faith Church


Last week we spoke about James writing about the victory over trials and temptations. When we stand against these trials and temptations, they develop in us perseverance.

We also spoke about how God wants to give you wisdom in this area of your life, and that when you face trials and temptations, if you turn to the Lord, He will grant you the wisdom you need to not only understand the situations in your life, but also successfully navigate through them.

The book of James is divided into sections, each with a name describing its content.  This week we will be talking about humility, poverty and riches.

James, who is the half brother of our Lord Jesus, expresses a deep spiritual understanding which we need to remember was truly inspired and authored by the Holy Spirit of God.

Listen today as James instructs both the poor and rich on what grounds to build their joy and comfort.

Part 1 - Faith and Wisdom

Part 2 - Poverty and Riches

James 1:9-11

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.


a.      James is speaking about “believers”
                                                             i.      Originally intended for the Christ believing Jews of the Twelve Tribes, there is much instruction and wisdom in the Book of James.

                                                          ii.      James was not only the half brother of Jesus, but also one of the leaders of the Jerusalem Council, and worked to bring up other Jews to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

                                                       iii.      The verse begins with the word “believers”, telling us that he is speaking to ALL who follow Jesus Christ.

                                                         iv.      This is “key” in scripture, we must always be aware of “who” the scriptures are addressing when trying to understand the meaning.

1.      The basics of good exegesis
a.      Observations
b.     literary form
c.      unit of thought
d.     atmosphere
e.      purpose
f.       outlining
g.      word study
h.     background study
i.       textual analysis
j.       theological implications

                                                            v.      We try to understand the “who, what, where, when, how and why” of scriptures.  Simply reading without forethought can leave you confused about the intention of the scripture.

b.     Who are of “low degree” {KJV} “Humble”
                                                             i.      Out of the “believers”, James first addresses those of “low degree”.

1.      More specifically, James is addressing believers who are the lowly, the societal insignificant, the weak, but more importantly, the poor.

2.      We may consider “poor” in this country someone who only has one TV in his or her house, or one car, or perhaps you rent instead of owning your home.

a.      Poor in James’ time was more likely someone with no home, no income at all, no food or clean water.

b.     Any of us here today would be considered rich Americans in most third world countries, yet most Americans are not satisfied with what they have, nor do they consider themselves rich.

c.      The curse of money is this...the more you have, the more you want.

3.      However, James tells those who have nothing, “Rejoice!”

a.      Because they have the greatest position of all, they are believers in Christ Jesus.

c.      Where is your joy and comfort?
                                                             i.      Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

                                                          ii.      James tells the poor to rejoice, for they are exalted in Christ Jesus! 

                                                       iii.      The poor should find joy and comfort knowing that they are His, and each day they serve Him, they store up for themselves treasures in heaven!

                                                         iv.      Without the worldly riches, one MUST rely on God for their needs, rather than what they have to get them through life.

a.      Still speaking of believers
                                                             i.      James addresses them.

b.     Who are “rich”
                                                             i.      “But the rich should take pride in their humility—since they pass away like a wild flower.

                                                          ii.      First James points out to the poor to rejoice because of their “high position”, now with the rich he reminds them of their mortality.

1.      James tells them to take pride in being humble...removing the pride from their riches, and reminds them that they will one day pass away, regardless of how much they think they have.


I watched a documentary on living forever, first turning there thinking it was a program about the after-life and beliefs in the everlasting spirit of man.  Much to my surprise, it was a program about living forever without dying.

Many scientists believe they have discovered that the human body can actually live much longer than it currently does, perhaps forever.

Really?  I learned that years ago reading Genesis.  That is how we were originally designed after all.

They believe they can isolate the gene which causes aging and eliminate it from the body.

What they do not understand is, that gene was placed there by it is destined for man to die once and face the judgment.

However, what was sad about the program was the fact that there were millionaires, and one was a billionaire, who spends millions and millions a year trying not to age.

They do not want to die.

One said, in fact, “I do not have any heirs, and I want to enjoy my fortune.”

The riches have corrupted their thinking.  They have become self-serving, self-centered and selfish old men who, despite all of their wealth they have worked so hard to accumulate, will still pass away, dying just as a flower in a field.

James contrasts the thinking of worldly riches and power, with the frailty of a wild flower passing away.

c.      Where is your joy and comfort?
                                                             i.      If you are rich, are you humble?
1.      On the other hand, do you constantly have to tell everyone about what you have, how much you have, and what it is worth?

2.      Funny thing about the rich, they seem to think others are as interested in their wealth as they are.

                                                          ii.      James tells those who are rich, find your joy and comfort in one place, humility, there is joy, comfort and peace in being humble.

                                                       iii.      For those who did not catch the contrast, James continues;

1.      “The sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant.”
a.      In the same way, the Lord will put all of our works to fire, and all that is straw and stubble will be burned away, leaving only the things we did for righteousness sake.

2.      “Its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed.”
a.      Nothing that is, will remain.  In the end, everything will be destroyed, and nothing but the Word will remain.

3.      “In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.”
a.      No matter how much you have, how much you store up for yourselves in warehouses, how much you buy, build or is appointed for each man to die once and face the judgment.

a.      Both poor and rich should have joy and comfort
                                                             i.      James shows both the poor and the rich where they are to find comfort in this life.

1.      Poor find joy and comfort in knowing they are in a high position with Christ.

a.      Luke 6:20 “Looking at his disciples, Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

2.      The Rich will find joy and comfort only in being humble.

a.      Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”

b.     Those who are rich must never look to their riches for joy or comfort, and riches must never be the focus in life.

b.     Economic status should not prevent you from living a humble life
                                                             i.      Riches kept the young rich man from being able to follow Christ, we must never allow anything to come between us and a relationship with God.

c.      There are many warnings in scripture about riches...none for being poor.

                                                             i.      Ecclesiastes 4:13 “Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.”

                                                          ii.      Matthew 19:23-24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

1.      How many who are rich will barely get in to heaven, only to find no treasure awaiting them?


Rich or poor, we must keep ourselves and our lives in perspective with the Lord.

We must not allow what we “don’t have” to steal our Joy and Comfort from what we do have, and that is a high position in Christ.

We also, must not allow what we “do have” to steal our true joy and comfort which can only be achieved through living humbly.

Next week we will look at what the Book of James says about Endurance.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?   

Want to hear the audio to this sermon?   

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The 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 | |

This Document is a Sermon Outline, you may hear the full audio of the actual sermon by following the link Online Audio Files located above for this, and other Full Sermon Audios.  For a complete list of Sermon Outlines, visit, or Truth Digest on facebook; for our Official Church website, visit, or find us on facebook at 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 to live by.

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.

Part 1 - Faith and Wisdom
James 1:1
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

I.                   THE BOOK OF JAMES
a.      Book Details
                                                             i.      The author of the book identifies himself as James.
1.      Most scholars agree it was James, 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 AD and the Book of James was written between 50-60 AD

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

1.      John 7:1-5 Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”

                                                       iii.      To which Jesus Answered him, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”
                                                         iv.      Later, James 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 James a “pillar” (referring 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 AD

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

                                                          ii.      The Greek term “Synagogue” or “meeting” is used to designate the meeting or meeting place of the church (James 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 AD

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 Council, addresses Jewish Christians in a Hebrew tone throughout his letter.

2.      He even refers to God as “Kyrios Sabaoth” or Lord Almighty in James 5:4, which is a Hebrew Title for God.
 James 1:2-8

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 in your life.

                                                                                                                                     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 application 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, it is overlooked because we are coming to Him, which shows we acknowledge our way was wrong, and we see that.

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 of this, 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.

Unforgiveness, anger, fear, hate, lust, adultery, fornication, whatever sin or unrighteous behavior, or temptation arises against you, remember this is a spiritual matter to cause you to live in unrighteousness, to live in sin, and thus cut you off from relationship with the Lord!

Next week we will look at what the Book of James says about Poverty and Riches.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?   

Want to hear the audio to this sermon?   

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