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THE LETTER OF JAMES (Kent Smith 6/11/23)

A STUDY OF

THE LETTER OF JAMES

JAMES 1:1-11

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WHO WAS JAMES

  • Likely a brother of Jesus, probably the next oldest after jesus: Mt. 13:55

  • A witness to the resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15:7

  • A “pillar” of the church: Galatians 2:9

  • A leader in the church at jerusalem: Acts 15:13

  • So Well-known that Jude identified himself as his brother: Jude 1:1

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OCCASION FOR THE LETTER

  • Written to encourage primarily Jewish Christians who were dispersed after the persecution of Stephen.

  • As a leader in the church at Jerusalem, he wrote this letter as a pastoral encouragement and exhortation to believers in the midst of difficulties.

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James 1:1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.


The letter has similarities to the book of Proverbs, with words of wisdom, encouragement, and exhortation without any direct theme throughout the letter.


Likely written around 60 AD

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ON ENDURING TRIALS

  • Everyone will face trials, it is just a matter of “when.”

  • Face your trials with joy.

    • Knowing that the trial will test your faith

    • Knowing that the testing will produce endurance

    • Knowing that the endurance of trials produces good results.

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James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


The good results:

  • That you may be perfected

  • That you may be made complete

  • That you may lack nothing.

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ON THE TRIALS OF UNANSWERED PRAYER

  • God hears the “asking” prayer.

  • God is generous and wants to give us what is best.

  • However:

    • When you are asking in prayer, you must ask in faith.

    • You must trust God’s ability to answer.

    • You must trust God’s willingness to answer.

    • You must trust God’s wisdom to answer for your best.

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James 1: 5-8

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.


God's ability – Trusting His power to do anything

God's willingness -- Trusting that God truly wants to give you what is best

God's wisdom – His judgment to answer your prayer in the manner that He knows is best.


When you pray to God to do something or give something, DO NOT have a back-up plan. "In case God doesn't come through!"

Trust that if He says "no" to your request, then it is a word from Him that this is not something you need, or it is not the right timing.

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ON THE TRIALS OF WORLDLY WEALTH

  • Some will face the trial of poverty.

    • Give God glory if this is you.

  • The rich will also face the trial of losing their riches.

    • Give God glory if this is you.

    • For worldly riches are always temporary!

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James 1:9-11


In poverty you have a better chance to give God glory,

You have less decisions

You have less distractions

You have more opportunity to express faith in God's provision.

If you have riches give God glory.

Your riches are not a reflection of your wisdom or pursuits

Your riches ARE NOT YOURS!


If you are in between:

Give God the glory if this is you.

Knowing all you have has been given to you by God -- FOR HIS GLORY

And that all you have is also temporary too!

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ON THE REFINEMENT AND REWARD OF TRIALS

  • The course we are to take in trials is to PERSEVERE.

  • Through trials we are refined, tested, and approved.

  • Our motivation to persevere is:


To receive His promised reward, the crown of life, given to those who love Him.

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James 1:12

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.


Perseverance is persistence in spite of circumstances.

It is to keep on doing God's will despite any hindrance, opposition, or negative consequences.

Our perseverance is the outward reflection of our love and devotion to God.


NO MATTER WHAT MAY HAPPEN!

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