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Bible study on the book of James

来源: 作者: 时间:2010-09-25 点击:

The first time study for chapter 1 verses1-12

Brothers and sisters, thanks God for giving us more time to continue to study his words of truth.

This afternoon we will study the book of James.   Now let’s pray.

 

Dear heavenly father trinity God, we again thank you for calling us to meet together in your sanctuary to worship you by studying your words.

Indeed your words are the bread of life; your holy spirit is given to us to drink of. Now we welcome your presence to be with us and may your glorious face shine upon us.

 Give us wisdom and understanding so that we may totally know your will at this very moment for us. Please sustain your servant-girl by working through her to explain your words and commandments correctly.

In Jesus holy name pray.

Amen.

Today we just study chapter1verses1-12.

Before we start, I’ll give you the background of this epistle. Now let’s read these verses. I read odd number verses and you read even number verses. Ok let’s start.

Background

Chapter 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ

The author identifies himself as James.

This James was not the son of Zebedee; for he was put to death by Herod.

So he was probably the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Jerusalem council; four men in the NT (New Testament) had this name.  The other two men named James had neither the stature nor the influence that the writer of this epistle had.

Do you still remember that at first James didn’t believe in Jesus and spoke violently against him with his other brothers? He even misunderstood his mission.

Let’s open our Bibles and turn to John chapter 7 verses 2-5

Thanks God!

 It was amazing that later after the resurrection of Jesus, he became very prominent in the church. I give you 5 evidences.

1)     He was one of the selected individuals whom Christ appeared to. (see 1co15:7)----- Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

2)     Paul called him a “pillar” of the church (Gal 2:9)---James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship  when they recognized the grace given to me.

3)     Paul, on his first post-conversion visit to Jerusalem saw James. (Gal1:19)----but I did not see any other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.

4)     Paul did the same on his last visit to Jerusalem (Acts21:18) ---The next day Paul went with us to visit James. And all the elders were present.

5)     When Peter was rescued from prison, he told his friends to tell James. (Acts12:17) ----Tell this to James and to the believers.

6)     James was a leader in the important council of Jerusalem.(Acts15:13)----After they finished speaking, James replied “Brothers, listen to me”

 

Who can tell us the background of this talking?

Ok, let’s turn our bibles to the book of Acts chapter 15.  Let’s read it together.

So we can see that indeed James was an important leader in the council of Jerusalem. It was he who drew a conclusion to end this quarrelling.

Glory be to God, it’s God’s mighty power to change James from a non –believer to a true believer, and he stood a very shinning position after the Lord‘s departure.

 

You may be surprised why I spend so much time to talk about James’ identification.

I bet later you will know why I give you so many reasons to prove that James was an important leader in the council of Jerusalem.

Being one of the Lord’s brothers, he was so humble and just called himself a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus instead of boasting his relationship with the Lord Jesus.

It was his precious characters that are worthy of us to learn from.

Think about that if you were James, would you be like him humbly calling himself the servant of God?

The book of James is called a general epistle, because as some people think that it was not directed to any particular person or church, but such a one as we call a circular letter. The time when this epistle was written is uncertain.

The design of this epistle is to reprove Christians for their great degeneracy both in faith and manners. It was also a special intention to awaken the Jewish nation to a sense of the greatness and nearness of those judgments which were coming upon them; and to support all true Christians in the way of their duty, under the calamities and persecutions they might meet with.

 The audience of this epistle:

Jewish Christians, perhaps Jerusalem believers, scattered after Stephan’s death.

 

I divide chapter 1 into 4 parts.    

Part. The inscription and salutation (ver.1)

Part. Christians are taught how to conduct themselves when under the cross (2-12).

Part. Sins are by no means to be imputed to God----the author of all good (13-18).

Part. Be a doer of the word of God, not merely a listener (19-27). 

Let’s study in details.                    

 

Verse1

There are 3 meanings in verse 1.

1. The inscription of this epistle.

The author desires his character to be known:  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was called the brother of our Lord by the evangelist, yet it was his glory to serve Christ in the spirit, rather than to boast of his akin according to the flesh.

Let’s learn to prize this precious character, we can not acceptably serve the Father, unless we are also servants of the Son.

 

2. The twelve tribes which were scattered abroad.

They were dispersed in mercy. Even good people who had embraced the Christian faith among them shared in the common calamity.

When under the outward calamities, we should not think ourselves rejected or discouraged. See God’s tribes, though they were scattered by God’s wrath, he would send to look after them. Here is an apostle writing to the scattered, an epistle from God to them. God will also remember you and send comfort to you when you are in distress.

 

3. James here shows the respect he had even for the dispersed: greeting.

It was the desire of this apostle’s heart that those who were scattered might be comforted.

Now I have some questions. I cut you into 3 groups.  Each group has one question to discuss. Please discuss your question according to James’ humility, his loving & respectful heart for the dispersed that might be weak in their spiritual journey. 30minutes later each group selects a representative to tell us your answers.

Questions:

1.      Are you one of the scattered by God’s mercy? Or are you in trials? To which side do you belong ----good people who have embraced the Christian faith or weak ones who think themselves rejected when God seems at a distance? If you are in your weakness, do you still believe God’s unchangeable love? Do you praise his name?  Do you try to comfort those who are in their weakness? And how or what have you done to show your respect and concern for them?

2.      Are you a humble person? Give your reasons to prove that. If not, what should you do from now on? Think about James’s humility. Or if you were James, what would you do?

3.      Would you like to invite God to examine your heart whether you have something to boast of, your outward appearance? Your excellent schooling’s scores? Or even in our English bible study fellowship, you think your English is better than other Christian bodies and etc (et cetera)?

 Please bow down your knees tonight before the Lord

Let’s observe James’ humility to be God’s servant.

.

 

Verses 2-12

There are also 4 parts within these verses.

Let’s read these verses.

Let’s start.

 

Part. The suffering state of Christians in this world is represented.

 It is implied that troubles and afflictions may be the lots of things that the best Christians will go through. Such as having a title to the greatest joy may yet endure very grievous afflictions.

Part. Graces and duties of a state of trail and affliction.  I explain them in details.

1. (V2) One Christian grace to be practiced is joy.

 We should not sink into a sad and disconsolate frame of mind, which would make us faint under our trials. Philosophy may instruct us to be calm under our troubles; but Christianity teaches us to be joyful.

Our trials will brighten our graces now and our crown at last.

2. The second grace and duty of a state of trial and affliction is faith.

(v. 3v.6) Please read them.

There must be a sound believing of great truths of Christianity, and a resolute cleaving to them in time of trail. When you are in distress, God will open a way out for you so that you may endure it to fulfill his holy purpose for you.

 

3. The third grace and duty of a state of trial and affliction is patience

The trying of one grace produces another.

Stoical apathy and Christian patience are very different; one becomes insensible of their afflictions; but the other becomes triumphant in and over them.

When we bear all that God appoints, and as long as God appoints, and when we not only bear troubles, but rejoice in them, then patience has its perfect work. When it is completed, the Christian is entire, and nothing will be wanted.

4.      The fourth grace and duty of a state of trail and affliction is prayer.

What we ought more especially to pray for—wisdom.

We should not pray so much for the removal of an affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. There is one thing necessary to be observed in our asking.

See (v.6). Please read it.

There must be no waver, no staggering at the promise of God through unbelief.

5.      The fifth grace and duty of a state of trail and affliction is sincerity of intention and a steadiness of mind.

6.      See (v.7), please read it.

 Sometimes we are lifted up by faith and then thrown down against by distrust—this is very fitly compared to a wave of the sea that rises and falls, swells and sinks, just as the wind tosses it higher or lower, that way or this. Such a distrustful shifting, unsettled person is not likely to value a favor from God as he should do, and therefore cannot expect to receive it.

See v.8. A wavering faith and spirit has a bad influence upon our conversations and our actions. There will be a great unsteadiness in all our conversations and actions. He that is unstable as water shall not excel.

 

Part See V9-11.

Both poor and rich are to build their joy and comfort

Those of low degrees are to be looked as brothers.

Good Christians are to be rich in the world .Grace and wealth is not wholly inconsistent.

Both these are allowed to rejoice.

In God, no condition gives us a space not to rejoice. All who are brought low, and made lowly by grace, may rejoice in the prospect of their exaltation at last in heaven.

What reason rich people have to be humble: Because he and his wealth are as a flower which will pass away. Please read (v.11).

As a flower fades before the heat of the scorching sun, so shall the rich man fade away in his ways. For this reason let him who is rich rejoices, as in the grace of God that makes and keeps him humble.    

Part See V12. It is not the man who suffers only be blessed, but he who endures. Afflictions cannot make us miserable.

A blessing may rise from them.

Sufferings and temptations are the ways to eternal blessedness. 

The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. We only bear the cross for a while, but we shall wear the crown to eternity. Our enduring temptations must be from a principle of love to God and to the Lord Jesus Christ. The crown of life is promised to all those who have the love of God governing in their hearts.

 

Questions:

1.      Are you suffering in God’s holy will for you nowWhat are they? Have you tasted the joy that the Lord’s is good?

2.      Are you sure of the graces and duties of a state of trial and affliction? And what have you done? Rejoice or complain against God?

3.      What are the most things of yours to pray for? Wisdom, wealth or big house and etc. (et cetera)?  Do you ask God to remove the affliction of yours?

4.      Do you have a steadiness of mind to totally trust in God by not wavering, no staggering at his promises?

Please discuss all these questions within your groups.

Ok, let’s pray.

Father, thank you for guiding us to walk in your holy hands and study you words. May you give everyone of us a spirit to study your words in quietness.  May you protect our hearts not to be polluted by this world’s filth.  Be with us.       In Jesus’ beautiful name. Amen.

 

Verses13-18

V.13 God is not the author of any man’s sin. Many Christians may fall in the hour of temptation. The blame of their misconduct must lie entirely upon themselves. It’s bad to sin, but it is much worse, when we have done evil, to charge it upon God, and say it was owing to him. As God cannot be tempted by evil himself, so neither can he be a tempter of others. Afflictions are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions.

v.14 Where the true cause of evil lies, where the blame ought to be laid. Because the original of evil and temptation is in our own hearts, though the blame may be blown up by some outward causes.

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