James the Just
Introduction – In this Session we will complete our verse by verse study through James, Chapter One. We will look at the following 5 movements in the text:
1 – The 3 keys to overcoming the spirit of anger and offense.
2 – Living aligned with God brings breakthroughs.
3 – Doing the word of God releases the supernatural power of the word of God.
4 – Living in our identities in Christ releases the blessing of God.
5 – The true expression of Christianity is other focused and morally pure.
a) “My dear brothers and sisters” – Greek – agapētos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love, object of love – adelphos – a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection. Verse 19 describes the type of love that God has for His children who are in covenant with Him. Verse 19 also describes the type of love that believers should have toward one another. When we understand that all of us are the object of Christ’s love, then it is easy to see others through the eyes of Christ and extend the love that we have experienced in God to them.
b) The first portion of verse 19 is the set up for James’ exhortation concerning the management of our emotions, especially our anger.
c) James gives us the keys for overcoming the spirit of offense. 1 – Quick to listen. When we are focused on listening to others, we are not listening to the words, but we are hearing their heart. Hearing someone’s heart empowers you to understand their point of view and empowers you to consider them. 2 – Slow to speak. When we are slow to speak, we are in control of our emotions and we speak words that originate from the fruit of the Spirit in us. 3 – Slow to become angry. Our anger revolves around either defending our position, or revolves around selfish motives. Matthew 5:22 – But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ (senseless-empty headed) is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ (mōros- impious, godless) will be in danger of the fire of hell.
d) Our anger does not produce righteousness because it is flows from an un-healed heart. When we are controlled by anger, or have anger stored up in us, then we are allowing another person’s offense to determine the condition of our heart, and we abdicate our authority to be self-controlled. Anger is an open door for demonic oppression because if it is unresolved, it becomes and invitation to agree with the ecosystem of hellish thoughts and actions. Anger is the foundation for murder, violence, and revenge.
a) Holiness, or “being aligned with the heart of Jesus”, is the solution and deliverance from the fruit of anger, offense and other sins of the flesh. James mentions moral sins and evil. Notice that James speaks to his hearers and all Christians, and assumes we have the ability and strength to will ourselves out of agreement with immorality and the resident wickedness that is attached to the flesh. Christians are powerful people. We are not set up to fail, but to overcome and succeed in God.
b) The key to breakthrough over habitual sin, is humility toward God and surrendering to Him.
c) Notice that we need to accept the word (logos) “planted in us”. Greek – planted emphytos – inborn, implanted by nature, implanted by others instruction. Living with regard to the word of God, gives us the assurance of faith and the rewards of walking a life path that agrees with God. The word of God has the ability to empower the effects of God’s salvation in our lives. We must understand that word of God contains spiritual power when it is received.
a) To simply hear the word of God and not respond to it, robs destiny, denies the will of God, and produces a personal spiritual reality that is based in a deception.
b) Doing, or “partnering” with the word of God, proves our faith, and releases the supernatural power of the word of God into our lives.
a) James keys in on our identities in Christ. To only hear the word of God, and not respond to it, is incongruent with those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who children of God, who are disciples, who are the Bride, who are His Body, who are His beloved. When our lives are not congruent with our faith, we are living out of our identity.
b) See Matthew 7:24-27.
a) In verse 25, James gives us some keys to empower the word of God in our lives. 1 – Look intently – Greek – parakyptō – metaph. to look carefully into, inspect curiously, to become acquainted with. Notice that the fruit of gazing into the Scriptures is freedom. It releases freedom because it gives us permission to do it, and it releases freedom in our lives because it aligns our hearts with God’s heart. 2 – Not forgetting – When our minds are focused on the Scriptures, we cultivate heaven’s mindset, and the Holy Spirit speaks louder and clearer to us. One of the primary ways to gain revelation and grow in prophetic insight is to learn to hear His voice in the Scriptures. People ask me. “what does God’s voice sound like?” It sounds like His word. 3 – Doing – Greek – ergon poiētēs – business, employment, that which any one is occupied, any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind, a maker, a producer, author.
b) The net gain of our lives from Gazing, Remembering, and Doing the word of
God, is blessing from God in the things we undertake in life. The Scriptures speak to every subject concerning life and give us applied wisdom to do well in all things. 2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
a) James reiterates that our speech should be congruent to the faith we profess as Christians. Matthew 15:18 – But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. Luke 6:45 – A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
b) The mention of “who consider themselves religious”, is used in the positive sense in the Greek text. Religion is the practice or expression of what we believe to be true about God. Hypocrisy (Greek – stage actor) negates the power of our faith and the testimony of Christ.
a) James gives us a 2-fold definition of the expression of Christian faith. 1 – To be other focused and extend the mercies of Christ to those around us. 2 – To live in moral lives that agree with God’s nature and character.
b) Adam Clarke (British Methodist Theologian/Early Abolitionist – 1760-1832) – “True religion does not merely give something for the relief of the distressed, but it visits them, it takes the oversight of them, it takes them under its care; so episkeptesthai means. It goes to their houses, and speaks to their hearts; it relieves their wants, sympathizes with them in their distresses, instructs them in divine things, and recommends them to God. And all this it does for the Lord’s sake. This is the religion of Christ.”
c) Adam Clarke on slavery – “Let the oppressed go free – How can any nation pretend to fast or worship God at all, or dare to profess that they believe in the existence of such a Being, while they carry on the slave trade, and traffic in the souls, blood, and bodies, of men! O ye most flagitious of knaves, and worst of hypocrites, cast off at once the mask of religion; and deepen not your endless perdition by professing the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, while ye continue in this traffic!”