Wednesday, October 08, 2008

James 1:1-4- A Foundation of Trust

You'll have noticed that the most recent posts have been sporadic and the material more just personal in nature (though the last post was more just a relating of things heard by other students in an attempt to get some dialogue going), rather than biblical. However, part of the reason for the sporadicness of posting is that I've been preparing for a barrage of posts. I've been working on a series of posts that I hope will truly be a spiritual blessing to all who read, that will encourage and strengthen your faith.

James 1:1-4-Fully Prepared

I. Who wrote this and who it’s written to (v. 1):
A. James, the half-brother of Jesus
  1. He calls himself a bond-servant, even though he is Jesus’ brother.
  2. We see already that James is an incredibly humble servant of God, as he would rather call himself a slave of Christ, then to claim the title of being Christ’s half brother.
B. Written to the 12 tribes of the Jews, who had been scattered abroad, who are Christians.

II. Blessings in the Thorns (vv. 2-4)
A. Some Observations:
  1. Divers-“diverse” or “various”; has the idea of something that can bring you down
  2. Temptations- also can mean “trials,” (and does) so this has applications in other areas besides those temptations that cause us to fall into sin (which is normally what we think of when we see this word in the KJV), including the trials of our faith.
  3. Patience-“endurance” or “steadfastness.” Similar to the idea of a rock, something that can be depended on; Consider the tree with deep roots in Psalm 1 how the wind can blow and buffet it, and yet it still stays strong because it is planted in the streams of living water.
  4. Testing-the verb form of the Greek word where we get the words “trials” and “temptations”.
  5. Perfect work-the idea of a result or completed task; sanctification is the idea here, which means to be set apart from sin AND set apart for God.
  6. “...That you may be made perfect and complete....”-the Greek word for perfect here has the idea of being spiritually mature, complete here means “to be made whole”; there are some verses where it means “finished.”
B. Purpose of the Thorn is to give us a Blessing.
  1. We can have joy because of the patience, endurance, or steadfastness we will have as a result of that trial. To use a modern day cliche, what James is saying is, “That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger.”
  2. We can have joy because the patience that we will gain will help us to be sanctified, set apart from sin and set apart for God, or made holy, in Christ. It will help us to be more like Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
  3. As the perfect result of God is made in our lives through these trials, temptations, and testings of our faith, we are able to love and serve God more.
  4. We can have joy because as we are made perfect in Christ, or grow, or mature in our walk with Him, we will have everything that Christ wants us to have each and every moment of each and every day (“...lacking in nothing.”).
  5. We can trust God because He is faithful and knows what’s best for us (He desires that all trials in life be used for His glory, as well as our growth).

1) Do you trust God?
2) Are you allowing the trials, temptations, and testings of your faith to work patience or endurance in you as you trust in God?
3) Are you being more and more sanctified, or set apart, or made holy, like Christ each and every day as a result of the trials, temptations, and testings of your faith?
4) Are you trusting God to give you what you need each and every moment of each and every day?

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