by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: James 1:1-27
I. The book of James is written to Jewish Christians who were scattered by persecution - Acts 8:1-4
A. This is one indication that James is one of the first books written
B. It is that persecution that sets up the theme for the first part of the book
II. Joy in trials
A. Life is filled with various trials. Trials are not fun, but we don’t have to be depressed when life gets difficult - James 1:2-4
B. The trials are not fun, but we can take joy in knowing the outcome - Hebrews 12:11-13
1. Trials tests our faith, but when we hang on, we learn endurance - Romans 5:3
2. Endurance then perfects us - Luke 8:15
3. Salvation is the ultimate goal - Matthew 10:21-22
III. Ask for wisdom - James 1:5-8
A. But wisdom comes from experience.
B. God will generously give you plenty of experiences from with to grow as you learn to overcome problems.
C. But you have to realize that you want the results - Matthew 7:7-8
1. Time has to be put in to gain it - Proverbs 8:34
D. If you ask, but you aren’t willing to go through trials to get it, you are being double-minded - Proverbs 2:3-6
E. It is that faith that has to held onto - Mark 11:22-24
IV. Wealth - James 1:9-11
A. Your economic situation can become a trial
B. If you are poor, glory that you have salvation. There is that joy again in the outcome
C. But being rich is also a trial! - Proverbs 30:7-9
1. Being rich makes it more difficult to reach heaven - Matthew 19:24-26
2. The love of money can lead to many temptations - I Timothy 6:6-10
3. The rich need to remember that life is temporary and that they are going to die
4. It is too easy to become comfortable with your success - Deuteronomy 32:15
V. God wants you to succeed
A. There is eternal life waiting - James 1:12
1. God always keeps His promises! - Hebrews 6:9-19
B. The source of trials, particularly the temptation to sin is not God - James 1:13
1. God is not trying to make people sin, that is against His nature
2. God is allowing trials to improve us, not destroy us
C. Trials come from our own desires - James 1:14-15
1. We all have desires, given to us by God so that we can survive in this world
a. Those desires have good purposes, but they can be twisted to push us to sin
2. Using the illustration of a man’s life
a. Conception is when the temptation takes root and causes us to want to sin, to excuse it in our mind and to think about sinning
b. Birth is when we actually act and commit the sin
c. Growth is fact that sin doesn’t stop with one sin. We repeat it.
d. Adulthood is when we get to the point that we think we have a right to sin
e. Death is then the ultimate end
3. Where do we battle sin?
a. You can’t stop your desires. You need them to survive and they have good purpose.
b. You can’t stop temptation because we have no control over Satan.
c. But we can practice contraceptive. We work to stop lust - Mark 7:21-23
D. But people deceive themselves - James 1:16
1. People tend to blame anyone or anything else, but themselves for their inability to stay out of sin
E. God gives good gifts to help us succeed - James 1:17-18
1. All the good in our life
2. The Bible is given to us a guide toward success
3. So that we will be dedicated to God - Romans 12:1-2
VI. So give up anger - James 1:19-20
A. Getting mad at the trials are not going to get you to heaven
B. Anger doesn’t achieve righteousness
C. Instead, be quick to listen, slow to speak your mind, and slow to get angry
VII. Therefore ...
A. Remove sin from your life - James 1:21
B. Put God’s word, that gift He gave us, into practice - James 1:22-25
1. If you don’t, it won’t stay with you
2. It isn’t a faith you talk about. It is a faith that you do.
C. That means you have to control your mouth - James 1:26
D. You have to be concerned about the less fortunate - James 1:27
1. Those who are enduring trials of their own
2. Love your neighbor as yourself - James 2:8
E. You have to keep yourself unstained by the sinful world