November 21, 2020
WHO DO YOU CALL WHEN YOU’RE SICK? Today, when someone complains of an illness or pain. The first question they are asked is: “Have you called the doctor?” Yet, when James was writing his epistle, the first question would’ve been: “Have you called the elders of the church?” Having available modern medicine, we forget
November 20, 2020
WILL WE EVER HAVE PEACE ON EARTH? We may blame conflict on external circumstances caused by others, but James said that war actually originates within each of us. How long in human history did man exist before his first war? Not long. Just long enough for two brothers to be born. Yet God saw the
November 17, 2020
ONLY GOD CAN HELP US WITH OUR OVER-DESIRE The Greek word translated “desire” is “epithumia,” which literally means “over-desire,” or “over-heated desire.” It might also be translated as “lust.” Desire itself is not evil. God created us with desire. No one has to teach a baby to cry for its mother’s milk. It is
November 21, 2019
REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR THE SICK An often overlooked resource in the modern church. Having available modern medicine, we forget the benefit of prayer and laying on of hands. Yet, the Bible says that having the elders in the church pray for you and anoint you is the proper response when you are sick. In
November 18, 2019
FAVORITISM HAS NO PLACE AMONG THE FAITHFUL The apostle James wrote that believers should not show favoritism to some over others. He especially had in mind those who were favoring the rich over the poor. He said that showing favoritism exposed not only their evil motives, it was actually committing sin. This instruction continues
November 17, 2019
MOVING TRIALS FROM THE SAD COLUMN TO THE GLAD COLUMN James described the spiritual mindset that the Christian should have when facing trials. What is this mindset? “Great joy.” Not happiness, which is based on external happenings, but “great joy,” which comes from within and is the fruit of the Spirit for the believer that
November 20, 2018
THE SIN OF OMISSION
There are sins of commission and sins of omission. The first is to commit a sin by breaking a law, and the second is to omit to do the good thing that was within your power to do. The word “know” has serious implications. For although ignorance of the law is no excuse, there might be some leniency for the one without knowledge. Yet, for the one who “knows,” there is greater condemnation. For to whom much is given, much is required.
There is the sin of doing what you ought not to do. And there is the sin of not doing what you ought to do. Both are sin. Although most of the commands are “thou shalt not,” some are “thou shalt.” In the case of the latter, such examples being, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” and “Honor thy father and mother,” they have at least equal, if not greater weight than the former.
I suppose we always know more than we do. This is the problem of the heart bent by the Fall. Yet, to the one who would know and believe in Christ, the righteousness of God is imputed unto him.
November 19, 2018
WORKS EVIDENCE NOT PRECEDENCE OF SAVING FAITH
At first glance, this statement about faith seems to contradict Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians, which clearly uphold that faith alone pleases God. Yet, James and Paul are not in conflict. Paul is concerned that some would make works and law-keeping the means for justification. He rightly proclaims that faith in Christ’s finished work is the only means for our justification. While James is concerned that those who claim to be followers of Jesus, might bear the fruit of salvation, which is good works.
Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is Paul’s clear teaching. But if Paul corrects those who think that good works will be sufficient for salvation, James corrects those who would offer mere lip service to their faith without any fruit verifying its authenticity. Paul is concerned with what true faith believes, while James is concerned with what true faith does after it believes. Good works are the evidence, not the the precedence of saving faith.
November 21, 2017
James encouraged a mutual accountability among believers in prayer. This level of fellowship is rare in the church today, but is much needed. Healing in body, soul and relationships is experienced when believers are honest about their needs, weaknesses, and sins in prayers together.
Do you have one or two close friends of the same gender that you share mutual accountability and prayers with? Do you meet regularly? Gathering together regularly and authentically is “effective.” And doing so fervently “avails much.”
November 20, 2017
Who did James accuse of adultery? Wasn’t it those who claimed to be Christians and therefore members of the Bride of Christ? Yet, they had not broken off “friendship with the world.” James used the same imagery that the Old Testament prophets used when accusing Israel of committing adultery against God because of their idolatry. The Lord was their husband, yet they were giving themselves to other gods of this world in worship.
What was this “friendship with the world” that James called adultery against Christ? Wasn’t it their tendency to covet and lust after the temporal things of this world, attempting to get them by any means? Even trying to use religion to gain worldly things (i.e. “you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures”).
The one who has truly become a member of the Bride of Christ will declare as Paul did, that the “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6:14). The believer’s love of God leaves no room for any other love, especially that of the world system, which is in rebellion against God. As the apostle John wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
Let us bring our desires before the Lord today that they may be purified by His Word. What is causing anxiety in your soul? What are you over-desiring for, yet not getting, so that you are tempted to take shortcuts? Have you asked the Father to test your desires to see whether they are true? Or are you asking “amiss?” Let us break off our “friendship with the world” and focus all our desire on the Lord Jesus. For in Him all our needs are fully met.