James 1:1-8, 12– “James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ... Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
1. Framing the Core Lesson
James, the Bondservant
- James could have introduced himself as the younger brother of Jesus, but he didn't .. Gal 1:19
- He also could have introduced himself as the great pastor of the church in Jerusalem
- It's so interesting that he didn't use these facts to pad his reputation, but instead he introduced himself as the lowest of the lowest servant.
- “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.” Proverbs 15:33 NKJV
- A great man never thinks that he is great and a small man never thinks that he is small
- This book was written about 40 years after the death of Jesus amidst the explosion of revival in Jerusalem.
- It correlates very closely with the book of Acts
- Persecution is also exploding around the believers of the time
- “Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.... Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” –Acts 8:1, 4 NKJV
- This verse is aimed at the scattered Christians; those who have been persecuted, lost family members, lost homes.
- Good things do come from the persecution of the saints
- “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” –Philippians 1:12-14 NKJV
- Paul was chained to two Roman sentries. That means that two Roman sentries were always chained to the Apostle Paul!
- One of the reasons that Paul could endure great persecution was because he watched the early church go through impossible hardship. It inspired him and strengthened his new faith.
2. The Problem of Pain
The church has struggled with this problem from its inception.
- V.2- Count it all joy when you fall into trials and afflictions
- Be quite sure that trials are coming.
- The person who tells you that there will be no problems in your salvation is speaking from an empty head and an unread Bible.
- That is not man’s natural reaction to pain.. It must be supernatural!
- Facing piles of trials with smiles
- There is always an abundance of difficulty that we are called to face
- We don't count it all joy because of the pain, but in spite of the pain.
Mark of Spiritual Maturity
- The immature believer allows the trials and difficulty to effect their faith and steal their destiny
- The mature believer understands that God has been faithful before and He will be faithful again
3. How to Count it All Joy
- hypomonē- steadfastness, constancy, endurance .. in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings
- Greater things coming out of your adversity.
Perfect and Complete
- Hebrews 5:8 (NKJV) though He was a Son, [yet] He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
- Suffering and pain is the only thing that can produce the wonderful outcome of spiritual completeness.
- Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.
Asking for Wisdom
- If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask
- This scripture is often misquoted because it is plucked out of context. Trials and tribulations give us the inspiration to gain wisdom.
- How many good trials are wasted because Christians throw themselves a pity-party and run away from their problems?
- Moving away is not the answer to your problems.. It causes you to flunk the test!