James the Just – James 1:19-27 – Week 4 – Rob Covell

James the Just

James 1:19-27

Week 4

Rob Covell

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.

James 1:19-20

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.

James 1:21

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.

James 1:22

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.

James 1:23-24

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.

James 1:25

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.

James 1:26

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.

James 1:27

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!”

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James the Just – James 1:12-18 – Week 3 – Rob Covell

James the Just

James 1:12-18

Week 3

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session we will explore James 1:12-18. We will see the following movements in the text.

1 – There defeating temptation is a source of blessing in our lives.

2 – James teaches us that God is benevolent and good.

3 – James explains the progression of temptation and gives us keys to overcome.

4 – James defends the goodness of God.

5 – God willingly chooses to love and save humanity and compares His children to the Feast of Ingathering/First Fruits.

James 1:12

a) NKJV – Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – The NKJV translates James 1:12, more correctly than NIV, NASB, or the ESV. The subject of the verses in James 1:12-15 is the subject of temptation. When one compares James 1:12, with the NIV, we might miss that verse 12 is the introduction to verses 13-15.

b) James uses language like the language that Jesus uses in Matthew 5:3-12, in the Sermon on the Mount. We can see these parallels between the book of James and the things that Jesus taught.

c) For clarification, let’s look at the Greek text. Greek – Blessed – makarios – Blessed and happy to the extreme. Greek – Endures – hypomenō – to remain, abide, to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee, to endure. Greek – Temptation – peirasmos – the trial of a person’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances, an internal temptation to sin, of the condition of things, or a mental state, by which we are enticed to sin, or to a lapse from the faith and holiness.

d) It is important to note that James did say, “blessed is the man who is never tempted.” Every person lives with the possibility to be tempted, lapse in faith and lapse their identity in Christ to the point of sinning. James is putting forth the idea that overcoming temptation can be a source of happiness and blessing in our lives.

e) Enduring temptation, or to remain aligned with Christ and overcome the temptation releases the following blessings in the life of the believer. 1 – We reap happiness in excess. 2 – We experience the satisfaction of remaining faithful and true and position ourselves walk in favor from God. Grace is for everybody, favor is experienced by the obedient. The Greek word dokimos (approved) is a banking term that refers to people who only accept and circulate approved, or “full weight” coins, and do not traffic in counterfeit coins. 3 – We live in and experience the assurance of eternal life/crown of life. Jesus in His 7 Letters to the 7 Churches made similar promises to Christians who endured the temptation to leave Christianity because of the trials of persecution, losing their passion for Christ, or submitting to pleasures of the world. 4 – Our love for Christ is proved by our decisions and actions that play out in our lives.

f) 1 Corinthians 10:3 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

g) If we do fall into sin, we can turn to Christ and receive mercy, forgiveness and restoration. Hebrews 4:5 – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 1 John 2:1-2 – My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

James 1:13

a) James keys in on one of the most foundational beliefs that Christians hold concerning God’s nature and character. God is holy, pure, benevolent, completely good and is never the Author of evil. John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 1 John 3:8 – The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

b) In James 1:13, we see the goodness of God being defended. When we are tempted to sin, we can never blame God for our stumbles, or failures. God is never the origin of our temptation to sin or our failures. When we consider the origin of temptation, we are peering into the realm of the condition of our hearts, and spiritual warfare. The battlefield of temptation is waged in our flesh, the world around us and by direct satanic assault on our souls. Often these 3 battlefields are working simultaneously to cause us to error. In James, we see the focus on our ability and responsibility to say no to the flesh in the face of demonic enticement.

James 1:14-15

a) In verses 14-15, James shows us the progression, beginning with temptation, then to sin, then to the full fruit of sin, which is death. The progression is as follows: 1 – The unregenerate places in us, or more accurately, the places in us where Jesus has not conquered us by His love, influence our choices. 2 – Enticement (deleazō – bait) either by the world or the devil/demons. 3 – Agreement with the enemy is like conception in that our will and desire merge with the enemies and we progress to the point of no return. 4 – Now sin is manifest. Notice in verse 15, that there is even a progression to the degree or amount of sin and its effects in our lives. In other words, small compromises, lead to bigger compromises until we experience a death. This death can be the death of innocence, the death of peace, the death of relationships, or any other place
where loss in us occurs in our lives. Ultimately the fruit of habitual sin can be physical death in case of disease from lifestyle choices, and other things that harm our physical bodies because of habitual practice.

b) The good news is that Christians are equipped to overcome. We overcome temptation of the flesh because of the following: 1 – We have a new nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 – We are filled with the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-17 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 3 – We have spiritual authority over the devil and demons. Luke 10:19 – I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 4 – God shows us a way out of temptation – 1 Corinthians 10:3 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 5 – We have the power of the word of God and we can use it as a defensive and offensive weapon. Ephesians 6:17 – Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

James 1:16-17

a) All deception in our lives revolves around what we believe to be true about God. To live in freedom is to live in truth about God. James 1:17 teaches us that God is the origin of good and perfect gifts directed towards us.

b) The immutability of God’s nature and character is one of the most comforting truths we can believe about God. It is the truth that God does not change and that He is totally trustworthy and consistent in His ways towards us. Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

James 1:18

a) Notice that salvation comes from God and is His choice to give salvation to humanity. See John 3:16. “He chose”, is a very powerful statement concerning God’s willingness to reach out and save humanity through the Word of Truth, which is the truth about Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the One who dies on a cross for sin, was raised on the third day, and rules and reigns from heaven as our Lord.

b) James compares believers to first fruits offerings Feast of the Harvest/Weeks/Ingathering) in the Law. First fruits offering were celebratory freewill offerings to the Lord that pointed to the promise of a full harvest, and the recognition that God is faithful and true to His word to His people. See Exodus 23:16 & Numbers 18:13. First fruits offering were forward looking and carried a faith expectation that God would fully carry out His promises.

c) It is amazing to consider that God sees the Church, as the fulfillment of the Feast of Ingathering that points to the fullness of salvation that is to come when Jesus returns. Romans 8:22-23 – For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

James the Just – James 1:5-11 – Week 2 – Rob Covell

James the Just

James 1:5-11

Week 2

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session we will continue in James chapter 1, and exegete verses 5-11. In these verses we see the following movements in the text.

1 – James exhorts his hearers to pursue God and trust in His kind and generous character. James 1:5

2 – James gives us a graphic description of the person who lives between faith and unbelief. James 1:6-8

3 – James gives us the keys for receiving from God. James 1:6

4 – James put forth a contrast between living in humble trust in God, contrasted to those who live in the pride of life and trust in riches. James 1:9-11

James 1:5

a) When we consider the audience that James is writing to, the persecuted Church of Judea, Samaria and Syria, it makes sense that James would exhort them to ask God for wisdom in the trials they were facing. Many times, the trials of life are opportunities for acquiring wisdom from God so that we can persevere in faith. The Jewish Church was severely persecuted by the unbelieving Jews and the Roman authorities. See Acts 7-8, Acts 12, and Hebrews 10:34 describes the persecution that Messianic believers endured, “You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”

b) Wisdom – Greek – sophia – wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters – The Greek word for wisdom carries a very broad definition. The definition ranges from natural wisdom to supernatural wisdom that comes from God. Given the context of the verse, if one is asking for wisdom from God, then he is asking for God’s supernatural understanding concerning a matter. Knowing the wisdom of God, is knowing how God thinks or feels about a matter. Having heaven’s perspective in the forefront of minds can heal our thought life, align our lives to His heart, and move us forward in our faith journey.

c) Notice that God is generous to all who ask. The words, “without finding fault” encourages us that we can never ask too often or too much from God. Knowing this breaks the lie, that God makes it difficult for us to know Him, or that God does runs out of patience with us in our requests. This verse teaches us the exact opposite, that God is willing to and generous towards His children.

d) “it will be given” – This is a promise.

James 1:6

a) If we look at the Greek words and the sentence structure in the Greek, we would see James using very emphatic and descriptive language describing the inner turmoil of the person who lives in the valley between faith and unbelief. Faith is believing it to be true, and relying on the character of the One (God) we have
faith in.

b) Greek – Doubt – diakrinō – to separate one’s self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend, to be at variance with one’s self, hesitate, doubt. This Greek word describes the war in the mind of person who doubts God’s abilities, as well as doubting His nature and character.

c) The descriptive is a wave of the sea – the Greek word describes this wave as a violent agitation of the sea. The descriptive of the Greek word for being blown and tossed, literally means to blow a wind that fuels a fire, and is a metaphor in the Greek language of being a state of mind between fear and hope.

d) Paul gives us the strategy to defeat the compromised mind in 2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

James 1:7

a) Keeping ourselves in the posture of faith expectation from God positions us to receive our requests from God, and insulates us from unbelief and doubt. It is living with the expectation that God will be true to His word in all things.

b) God does not respond to faithlessness. Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:1 – NKJV – Now faith is the substance (hypostasis – that which has actual existence, a substance, real being) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

c) Heaven’s resources are always attracted to faith, and faith is the magnet that pulls the supernatural reality into the natural reality.

James 1:8

a) James continues and provides us with another shocking description of the person who is living between fear and hope, or faith and unbelief. The word for doubleminded in the Greek literally means, double-souled – dipsychos. This is a very graphic description of living a life with no emotional foundation. Without Jesus being the anchor of our soul, and our sure foundation; then we are living without a foundation and therefore we cannot build ourselves up in Him. See Mathew 7:42-27.

James 1:9

a) In verse 9, we see James suddenly shift topics from wisdom and faith to a contrast between the humility and the pride of life. This is typical Hebrew thought and the didactic teaching style that we see in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Before we exegete this verse, we need to understand the context of the culture that James is writing to regarding his contrast between riches and wealth. In Jewish culture riches were regarded as ill-gotten gain, contrasted to wealth that was the result of godly covenant living and obedience to God.

b) Riches – See Psalm 62:10 – Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. Proverbs 23:5 – Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

c) Wealth/Prosperity – See Deuteronomy 8:18 – But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. In context to obedience to the LORD – “And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.”

d) Poverty was considered a curse in the Law and was the result of faithless and rebellious living in the Law, either personally or corporately. James, being an observant Jew would have never equated poverty with godliness. The contrast that James is putting forth is the contrast between being humble and reverent toward God, contrasted to those who trust in riches and live in the pride of life. This thought mirrors Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

e) Humility before God gives us access to His Person. Numbers 12:3 – (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) Proverbs 3:34 – He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. James is using these themes to encourage his readers who were suffering persecution and encouraging them to endure.

James 1:10-11

a) James gives a warning to those who live in the pride of life and for the pleasure of the world. Our lives do not have fulfillment in the mere pursuit of things. A person’s legacy is not money, it is the impact of one’s life on the people around them. James uses the form of Hebrew poetic prose to describe the futility of living for the accumulation of riches, without regard for God.

b) Notice that James is writing to Christians. Jesus gave a similar warning in the arable of the Sower. Matthew 13:22 – “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”