1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad, greetings/be cheerful. 2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various temptations; 3 knowing this, that the testing of your faith works patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be complete and whole, lacking nothing.
- Colossians 2:10 And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men bountifully, with no reproach; and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For he that doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed with the wind. 7 Don’t let that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
- Doubt freezes faith. It pulls the plug from the power source of the Holy Spirit and plunges the soul into darkness.
- Doubt is a blasphemy because it says, God can’t do it or God won’t do it.
- Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from those that walk uprightly.
- Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy
The Lord has promised a crown of life to those who love Him
9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10 but the rich, in that he is made low: because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with scorching wind and withers the grass, and its flower falls, and the grace of its appearance perishes: this is how the rich man fades away in his ways. 12 Blessed is the man that endures testing: for when he is approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those that love him.
- Testing is the more than just testing to see what someone will do in a given circumstance.
- It is teaching us His word and putting us through experiences that cause us to trust Him rather than ourselves, or the world, or the devil.
- It is removing from our lives the things that we do that are harmful to ourselves and to others.
- Job 23:10 he knows the way that I take: when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
- John 15:3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Our Father of lights cannot be tempted with evil
He does not tempt us with evil
13 Let no man say when he is tested, I am tempted by God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does he tempt any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. 16 Do not wander/be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness or shadow of turning.
- God doesn’t change.
- He is, and always has been infinitely perfect.
- Our pride entices us to put ourselves above God and His clearly stated word.
- Our lusts convince us that some wrong thing will make us happy.
He fathered us by His word
He has planted His message in our hearts that delivers our souls
18 Of his own will he fathered us with the word of truth for us to be a certain first fruits of his creatures. 19 So my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. 21 So get rid of all the filthiness and overflowing of evil in your lives, and meekly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is able to deliver/protect your souls. 22 Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror: 24 For he sees himself, and then goes his way, and immediately forgets what sort of man he was. 25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in his doings.
- Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night. 3 And he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf will not wither; and whatever he does will prosper.
26 If any man among you seems to be religious, and does not control his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Pure 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 Lord of glory is impartial
1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect to persons. 2 For if a man with a gold ring in fancy clothing comes to your assembly, and also a poor man in shabby clothing comes in; 3 And you respect him that wears the fancy clothing and say to him, You sit here in a good place; and say to the poor, You stand there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Did you not make a distinction among yourselves, and become judges of evil thoughts?
- 1Samuel 16:7 for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.
- Acts 10:34 …I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.
He has chosen the poor to inherit His kingdom
5 Listen, my beloved brothers, Has not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those that love him? 6 But you have despised the poor. Is it not rich men that oppress you, and drag you into court? 7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by which you are called? 8 If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, You will love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well: 9 But if you have respect to persons, you sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.
- “The most devastating effect of sin is that you’re blinded by it.” Billy Graham
10 For whoever keeps the whole law, but offends in one point, he is guilty of all. 11For he that said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not kill. Now if you do not commit adultery, but do kill, you become a transgressor of the law. 12 So whenever you speak, or whatever you do, do it as those that will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he will have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; and mercy exults over judgment.
- 1John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
14 What does it profit, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, and not works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you says to them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled; and you do not give them the things that the body needs; what good is that? 17 In the same way faith, if it has no works, is dead by itself.
- Matthew 7:20 …you will know them by their fruits.
18 But someone will say, You have faith, and I have works: Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But are you willing to recognize, O empty man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see how faith worked with his works and by works faith was completed; 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Wasn’t Rahab the harlot justified by works in the same way when she had received the messengers and had sent them out another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
- Hebrews 11 is a chapter of great works of faith: Abraham receiving a son, Rahab hiding the spies, and many others.
- The works that God counted worthy to be recorded in His word are not what we usually think of as being works. But they glorified God mightily.
- Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations will not be able to abide his indignation.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
1 My brothers, do not be many teachers, knowing that we will receive the greater judgment. 2 For in many things we all stumble. If any man does not stumble in word, that one is a complete man, and able also to control the whole body. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Look at the ships also, which though they are so large, and are driven of fierce winds, yet they are turned around with a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the one steering purposes. 5 Just like that the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold, how a small fire sets ablaze a great forest! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so the tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
- Matthew 5:22 But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause will be in danger of the judgment: and whoever says to his brother, worthless one, will be in danger of the council: but whoever says, You stupid/dull one, will be in danger of hell fire.
He made us in His likeness
7 For every kind of beasts, of birds, of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind: 8 But no man can tame the tongue; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless God the Father; and with it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things should not to be. 11 Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olive berries? Or a vine bear figs? So no fountain yields both salt water and fresh.
- Only God can tame the tongue.
- Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
- Galatians 5:16 Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
13 Who is a wise and knowing man among you? Let him show his works by good behavior with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, do not exult and do not lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, beastly, and devilish. 16 For where there is envying and strife there is confusion/tumult and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, yielding, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those that make peace.
- Evil spirits try to upset people before scriptures are read or messages are preached so that the fruit of righteousness cannot be sown.
- If something upsets you, then the ground of your heart is not fertile for planting.
1 Where do wars and fights among you come from? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your members? 2 You lust, and you do not have: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war and still do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask, and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may consume it upon your lusts.
- This is the source and solution of all wars.
- God is always available and listening.
- He will give any legitimate desire that we have.
- Anything you want badly enough to fight and kill for is an idol that cannot make you happy.
- Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you
- Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from those that walk uprightly.
The Lord gives grace to the humble
4 You adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do you think that the scripture says for nothing, The spirit that dwells in us lusts enviously? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore he says, God sets himself against the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 7 Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.
- When you love someone you want to be close to them. No one loves us more than God.
- John 15:13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
He makes the rules
He is able to save and destroy
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up. 11 Do not speak evil of one another, brother. He that speaks evil of his brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who are you that judges another?
- God gave us His law through Moses at Mt. Sinai. He is always the same. His laws do not change. “When you can make a universe then you can make the rules.” (Dr. McGee).
- John 5:22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son
- Psalm 96:13 (rejoice) Before the LORD: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
13 Come now those saying, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city, and continue there a year and trade and make a profit: 14 who do not know of tomorrow. For what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. 15 You ought to say, If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. 16 But now you rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17 Therefore to him that knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
- Matthew 6:34 Therefore take no thought for the morrow: for tomorrow will take thought for the things of itself. Each day has enough evil.
The Lord of the armies of heaven hears the cries of those cheated
1 Come now you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted, and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver has rusted over; and their poison will be a witness against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the workmen who have reaped your fields that you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of armies. 5 You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed the just; and he doesn’t resist you.
- God calls it fraud to underpay or withhold wages.
- God sees all the evil that men do and He will repay.
- Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.
7 Be patient, brothers until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and being patient for it, until he receives the early and latter rain. 8 Be patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near.
- 1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first: 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and in this way we will always be with the Lord.
The Lord, the judge stands at the door ready to return
9 Do not murmur against one another, brothers, so that you not be condemned: behold, the judge stands before the door. 10 My brothers, take the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you saw the end of the Lord; that the Lord is full of compassion and tender mercy. 12 But above all things, my brothers, do not swear, neither by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath: but let your yes be yes; and your no, no; so that you not fall into hypocrisy/an answering. 13 Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
- Psalm 103:3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; 4 who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies
He forgives and heals
15 And the prayer of faith will cure the sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 19 Brothers, if any of you errs from the truth, and one converts him; 20 Let him know, that he who converts the sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will hide a multitude of sins.
- Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.
- Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, that far he has removed our transgressions from us.
SUMMARY: James 1-5
- The Lord has promised a crown of life to those who love Him
- Our Father of lights cannot be tempted with evil
- He does not tempt us with evil
- He fathered us by His word
- He has planted His message in our hearts that delivers our souls
- The Lord of glory is impartial
- He has chosen the poor to inherit His kingdom
- He made us in His likeness
- The Lord gives grace to the humble
- He makes the rules
- He is able to save and destroy
- God hears the cries of those cheated
- The Lord, the judge stands at the door ready to return
- He forgives and heals