Faithlife Sermons

James (1)


Introduction to James

Have you noticed its choppy style. No logical progression. We may find its writing style reminds us of Proverbs. Both James and Proverbs are placed in a category called Wisdom literature. So the Book of James is a New Testament Book of Wisdom. One of the characteristics of this kind of literature is the choppiness , which is created by extensive use of proverbs, parables, and other memorable forms that can stand independently.
Characteristics of Wisdom Literature:
There are link words that are used to link verses of thought. -Patience- vs 3-4. ---Lack- vs 4-5. -Conceived- links 16-18 The poetry , even rhyme, and link words are more easily seen in the Greek language.
It’s concern for telling us how to live. James considers himself a teacher. (James 3:1) He is concerned about imparting wisdom. (James 1:5; 3:13-18)
James has high number of ethical imperatives for its size. These are contained through out and not just grouped together at the end as in some of Paul’s writings, setting James apart as Wisdom literature.
The unifying theme of James is maturity. (James 1:4; 2:22; 3:2)
Getting to know the author:
James, of course, is Jewish. We see numerous OT quotes and allusions. The whole passage of of James 5:1-6 sounds very much like an OT prophet.
The Book of James and James himself is in Greek. (Culture) References are drawn for the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament. James knows Greek well,
James-Jude: Unlocking the Scriptures for You Introduction: Getting Acquainted with James

He uses a large number of words (sixty-three) not used elsewhere in the New Testament, many words found otherwise only in Greek literature that came after James (thirteen), and even a few words he appears to have coined himself. He employs alliteration (purposely using words together that begin with the same letter). He plays off of words and even uses rhyme occasionally. Some of his metaphors in chapter 3, like those involving horses and ships, are common in Greek literature. The device of a hypothetical speaker, used in James 2:18 and 3:13, is also Greek.

Third, James was written by an accomplished speaker. Many of the Greek features of the writing just mentioned would make James enjoyable listening. It would keep the attention of an audience. The frequent reference to his readers as “brothers,” “my brothers,” or “my dear brothers” (James 1:2, 16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:1; 4:11; 5:7, 12) would also work well to keep an audience involved in a speech or, for that matter, a congregation to a sermon. Because of these features in James, it is possible that James was originally a sermon or that it brings together main points of some sermons previously delivered by the author.

James-Jude: Unlocking the Scriptures for You Introduction: Getting Acquainted with James

This is one of the reasons we enjoy James so much. We feel as if he is speaking to us.

The author is almost certainly James the brother of Jesus. There are more than one James in New Testament. James the son of Zebedee and brother of John was martyred in Acts 12:1 and James the son of Alphaeus is mentioned in lists of the Twelve (Matthew 10:3; Acts 1:13), but that is all the New Testament tells us about him. James in Acts 1: 3 could be translated as brother or son of James… The name James the less is believed to be one of the listed. From those listed in the NT, James the brother of Jesus is prominent in the New Testament and lived until at least A.D. 61, when he was martyred.
James may chronologically be one of the first if not the first New Testament Book written. Its ignoring of Gentiles. It’s difficult to reconcile this after AD 49. James himself presided over the conference in Jerusalem in Acts 15. James was likely written around AD 46 or 47. The only other NT Books suggested near this times is Galatians at AD 49 and Matthew at AD 45. James written within the first 20 years of the Church.

Deity of Christ

James 1:1 KJV 1900
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
The word and is the Greek word “kai” and can be translated “even”.
James-Jude: Unlocking the Scriptures for You The Author Addresses the Recipients (1:1)

James incorporates Jesus’ messiahship with His name much as we do today, as if Christ were His last name. Although this is a common practice of New Testament writers, it must have seemed strange for James to refer to his older brother as Jesus Christ. Since James grew up with Jesus, his testimony in this regard is daunting. Further, he calls Jesus “Lord,” a term used by Jews to refer to Jahweh. Its purpose here is to accent Jesus’ divinity but also to complement the servant status of James.

James 2:1 KJV 1900
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
James did not believe in Jesus’ Messiah-ship until after His resurrection. (John 7:1-5; Acts 1:14; Acts12;7; Acts 15; 1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19; 2:9)
James instructs us not to be a respecter of persons in his epistle, so his elevation of Christ in his writing is proof of Jesus’ deity and Lordship.


James 2:7 KJV 1900
7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
Many New Testament scholars of all backgrounds are now acknowledging that in the early church’s view, the name Jesus expresses both Christ’s deity and His purpose for taking on flesh. There are many non-Apostolic affirmations today, such as Robert Sloan’s The Christology of James, in which he comments that James, referencing Amos 9:12 in James 2:7, is the same theology of baptism reflected in Acts 15:17. This clear allusion to the name of Jesus being called over people in baptism is seen throughout the New Testament. Coffman, in his commentaries on the Bible, states, “The obvious reference here is to the name of Jesus Christ, in the name of whom all Christians were baptized (Acts 2:38).” Plummer says the same thing in The Biblical Illustrator (1954). Theodore Beza in the 1599 Geneva Study Bible says this is the name “which is called upon of you.” Vincent’s Word Studies says the name called upon you is “the name of Christ, invoked in baptism.” He then adds, “The phrase is an Old-Testament one.” This cloud of witnesses that James, who sees Jesus as the one Old Testament God incarnate and whom the Old Testament people called upon, also says He is the only Christ or means of salvation. Calling the name Jesus over you in baptism is a Christological confession of faith that He is both the One God and the Lord who has become the Savior!
Chapter 2 ends with a faith that brings works. Action. Obedience...
James-Jude: Unlocking the Scriptures for You True Hearing of the Word Results in Doing (1:22–25)

Most parents have learned not to expect positive results from requests made of their children while the children are watching television. That placid “Yes, Dad” means their brains have put their mouths on automatic in order to keep the parents happy while their conscious beings are focused on the television program. They will not remember or even acknowledge a commitment made under such duress.

Our ears are marvelous instruments. They are built to receive all the sounds that go on around us. Like satellite dishes, they must be directed and tuned to be effective. Our minds adjust our ears to hear what we want to hear. Unlike a radio or television, we can accommodate background noises. We can hear many more than two things at once; but, in order to hear well, we must focus on one dominant sound at a time. James is trying to convince us to do something similar with our spiritual ears in James 1:22–25. He wants us to tune our ears exclusively to the word implanted by God in us and, even more importantly, to allow that word to govern the way we live.

Be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Not to deceive ourselves. Decieve ourselves of what? Salvation.
James 1:21–22 KJV 1900
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Salvation is the topic.
James’ message is clear. God-given faith is a faith that works in loving response to salvation. James’ purpose is to help believers wisely live out their faith. He warns those who wander and stray from truth. He encourages stronger believers to return these strays to the fold (3). James calls all believers to see life as a series of tests. Each test offers the choice to faithfully trust the Spirit and obey God with the love of Christ (4). 


James: Simply the Gospel Lesson 6: “Show Me Your Faith”

Today, we are faced with the same problems that James dealt with nearly two millennia ago: During the “seeker” movement, droves of people accepted Christ, but many did not accept His lordship over their lives. This problem is what James combats in 2:18—it’s ancient and common. It’s the unfortunate side of good, convincing preaching, when that preaching is not coupled with discipleship.

We need to reject the convenience store faith that has become rampant in many of our churches. Christ didn’t intend following Him to be easy; He intended for Christ followers to change the world. We have an opportunity. What we do with that opportunity is our decision, but our world will be a morose place if we ignore Christ’s call.

Going out of our way for others is how we follow Christ. Making difficult decisions is part of walking with Christ. When we sacrifice ourselves, we respect the God who sacrificed His son. Faith is about action, not consumption. When we as Christians turn our attention to self-sacrifice, we will finally have a faith worth marketing. Simply the gospel could change everything.

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