NTB-20-JAMES-1 - James: Doers of the Word
Please feel free to download audio and video for personal listening or teaching. Please do not alter any content. All material is copyrighted and intended to be used in its entirety and is free for distribution under these terms. To save, simply click the button and the download will begin.
“James: Lesson 1”
Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
To encourage his disciples on the daily nature of Christianity, Jesus
said “If any man desires to come after me, let him deny himself take up his
cross daily and follow me,” Luke 9:23.
Welcome to our study of the book of James.
James goes hand-in-hand with the words of Jesus encouraging us to
live daily for God. James is all about practical Christianity.
The key verse in the book of James is James 1:22 James says “but
be doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves.”
What was the book of James all about? James is writing to
Christians, some of whom are facing persecution, some of whom are no
doubt struggling by the temptations. He encourages them: ‘Don't just say it.
Do it! Be living your Christianity each and every day.’ James 1:27
complements this idea. “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father
is this to visit the widows and orphans in their affliction and to keep oneself
unspotted from the world,” that's the idea here. Undefiled Christianity is
authentic and pure. The key verse, James 1:22, is the key idea: to be doers
of the word.
Some of said that James and Proverbs go hand-in-hand. They are
each practical books about Christian living and being faithful to God.
James is all about getting our work boots on and getting to work in
the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the keywords that you find in the book of James is the word
faith. Faithful occurs some 12 times. James will illustrate throughout the
book that true faith is not just saying that I believe in Jesus. It is not just
claiming I recognize Him as the son of God. It's doing. ‘Be a doer of the
word.’ You've got to put your faith in action.
Never in the Bible do we see that faith is just merely an acceptance of
a fact. It's that trust that motivates us to live for God each and every day.
You also find the word works mentioned often the book of James. In
fact, it is mentioned 13 times in the book. Faith and works go hand-in-hand.
They are not diametrically opposed. Because I believe in God, I do have
faith in Him as the Almighty.
As we think then about the first chapter in the book of James, James
will illustrate these positive ideas about basic Christianity beginning with
where some of these Christians might be. Some of them are indeed facing
trials. Some of them have come out of Judaism. Others maybe have come
out of paganism, and maybe there are temptations and trials from their
former life. James writes to encourage us along the nature of those trials.
Notice James 1:2. The Scripture reads “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 in nothing.”
It's a fact that that as Christians we’re going to have to face trials.
Those trials, if we will use them in the right way, can actually help us.
“Count it all joy,” Paul said in Acts 14:22 after he'd been stoned and left for
dead. He arose and said “We must through many tribulations, enter the
kingdom of God.” Later he would say in 2 Timothy 3:12 “All who desire to
live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” How is it that we can face
this persecution and these trials? We face it in view of the great example of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:20-22 is a context about the
suffering of Jesus. He didn't come back with some kind of antagonistic
remark, but rather He allowed Himself to suffer for the cause of Christ. And
thus we’re to follow in His footsteps. Christ also suffered for us. He left us
an example that we should follow in His footsteps. And so, James chapter
1 teaches us about being purified by the trials that we face. It shows us that
as Christians, even in the midst of these trials, we need to praise God- the
giver of all good gifts. Look at James 1. What a beautiful thought about
Almighty God! James says in James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift
comes from above from the Father of lights, with whom there is no shadow
or variation of turning.”
James is dealing with the fact that in the midst of this trial and
tribulation, someone might be prone to say ‘Why is God letting this
happen?’ Now wait a minute, let's not say ‘Why did God let this happen?’
Let's look inward first. Then let's look upward and let's realize God's the
giver of every good and perfect gift. “If we seek first the kingdom of God,”
Matthew 6:33, Jesus said “All these things,” food, shelter, clothing “All
these things will be provided for you.”
Remember the words of Psalm 37:25 “I was young and now I'm old.
Yet I've never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
David said that God's going to take care of it. It’s been a track record with
God. You can write it down. God's going to take care of His own. Do you
remember Philippians 4:19? Paul said you can almost hear the overtone of
praising God, “My God shall supply all your need in Christ Jesus.”
So instead of getting angry and saying, ‘Why did God let this
happen?’ we can take our trials and learn from them. Let them purify us,
look at any changes that may need to be made in our life, and praise
God-the giver of all good gifts.
Pure religion also promotes more hearing and less speaking. Notice
James 1:19. The Scripture records “So then my beloved brethren let every
man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath for the wrath of man
does not produce the righteousness of God.” James is encouraging us to
take a minute and stop and praise God. He then reminds us we need to do
more hearing and less speaking. How true that he is! As God's people the
Scripture tells us for every idle word we speak, we’re going to give an
account, Matthew 12:36-37. And thus since God gave us two ears and one
mouth, we ought to do twice as much listening and half as much speaking.
Jesus said to the churches in Asia Minor, Revelation 2 and 3 he would say,
in every one of those letters “To him that has ears to hear, let him hear.”
What's the point? God gave us ears for the reason of listening and for
the purpose of listening and hearing. Let's do just that. “Take heed how you
hear,” Luke 8:18. Mark 4:24 “Take heed what you hear.” Ultimately we
need to hear the word of God. “For faith comes by hearing and hearing by
the word of God,” Romans 10:17.
As we turn our attention to the latter part of the book of James
chapter 1, we find in verse 27 that the pure authentic, practical Christianity
is about helping and providing for the needy. I want you notice again James
1:27. Notice what the Scripture records here, “Pure and undefiled religion
before God and the Father is this to visit the orphans and widows in their
trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” You take Christianity
down to some of its most basic elements and what it really all about? It's
about helping the poor and doing well to those are in need. It is helping
those who are sick, hurting, downtrodden, and those who are hungry. Who
should be helping those people? Christians, with an eye towards saving
their soul. Do you remember Galatians 6:10? “Do good unto all men
especially the household of faith.” Does the Christian have the right and the
responsibility help others? You bet he does!
Look at Jesus’ example. He fed the poor. He helped the needy. He
healed those who were sick, breathed, and downtrodden. Jesus loved
those people. He had compassion and strove every day to help them. The
Bible records in Mark 12:37 “The common people heard Him gladly.” Who
were those common people? Those who'd been sick and poor. Those who
Jesus had been there healing and helping. And when Jesus spoke, they
listened carefully at His words, because they knew just how much the
Savior loved and cared for them by His actions.
As we think about really breaking down some of the ideas in James
chapter 1, there are four major words that occur that help us to put our faith
in God and really trust Him.
The first word is the word count. “Count it all joy when you fall into
various trials,” James 1:2. Notice James doesn't just assume that will
experience some trials. He doesn’t say “if” trials come- but when they
come. They're going to come. “Counting it a joy.” Jesus taught us this in
John 16:33. Jesus said, “You have tribulation in the world.” It's something
that is going to happen in my life and in yours. On a daily basis we have
difficulties and struggles that we have to deal with-there may be sickness.
We live in a world where sickness, disease, and death do occur. There may
be accidents and tragedies that happen in this life. I'm going to have to face
disappointments. How do I do it? “Count.” What count? “Count it all joy,”
when we we’re coming to those trials knowing God's going to be there with
us. Yes, Satan is going to oppose us. Satan is going to do all he can. We
need the attitude of the apostle Paul. In Acts 5:40-42 Peter and John- they
counted it joy to be suffering for the cause of Christ. We need the example
of Paul in our lives. Acts 16:25 Paul and Silas are in prison. They’re praying
and singing praises to God. The prisoners were listening to them.
You see my friend, as we think about trials this is one of the things
that make a Christian stand out. Remember 1 Peter 4:16? “If anyone
suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him praise God in that
name.” And so, what’s my first response to difficulties that may come? First
I want to remember: “Count it a joy.” I am privileged to suffer and face
difficulties on behalf of Christ who did so much for me. Remember Hebrews
12:1. The writer takes our attention away from that great cloud of witnesses
who was cheering us on and he now tells us to do this: “Looking unto
Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand
In view of everything Christ did for me- the fact that he went to the
cross counting it a joy to suffer, I need to count a joy as well to suffer and
face those trials which will help me to grow spiritually and bring honor to the
name of God.
The second word that we need remember in James chapter 1 is the
word know. Notice James 1:3, “knowing that the testing of your faith
produces patience.” I need to know that as I'm tried, tested, and face
difficulties that that are what's going to make me stronger as a Christian. Is
God doing this to bring us justice? That’s not what we’re trying to say, and
that’s not what James is saying. Rather-know that these things will work out
for your benefit if you remain true to God. 1 Peter 1:7 “They try us and we
can come out of the fire like gold that's been refined.” Just as training that
athlete may have to go through; the training you face is what makes it
possible for you to win the race.
Study Questions for: “James: Lesson 1”
1. According to Luke 9:23 if we desire Jesus, what will we do?
2. What should we be according to James 1:22?
3. What does James 1:27 say pure and undefiled religion is?
4. When we face trials, how should we respond according to James 1:2?
5. What did Paul say regarding tribulations in Acts 14:22?
6. What does 2 Timothy 3:12 say of people desiring to live Godly?
7. According to Matthew 6:33, what happens if we seek first the Kingdom of
8. What does David say about God in Psalm 37:25?
9. According to Philippians 4:19, where are all our needs met?
10. According to James 1:19, what must we be slow to do? Swift to do?