Time to Grow up!Empowered Bible Study MinistriesChanged Lives TodayFollow me on: Facebook, Twitter
Time to Grow up! James 1:1 "James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings." NKJVWelcome to Empowered Bible Study Ministries. Today we are going to belooking at Chapter One of the Book of James. I pray you are blessed by thisstudy as we learn to apply God’s word to our lives.When we receive letters whether they are through the mail, email or texting youalways look to see who is writing you before you read it, right?Well the Ancient letter writers signed their names right at the beginning, soreaders immediately knew who the writer was.The book of James is no different. He starts out saying in verse 1: "James, abondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ".So here we see that James is the author, but the question is James who? Jameswas a very common name then.In fact, two of the Apostles carried the name James:- James, the Son of Zebedee and brother of John (Matthew 4:17-22)- James, the son of Alphaeus (Matthew 10:3)List of Apostles (Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:12-19, Acts 1:13)Then Matthew 13:55 tells us that James is also the name of Jesus half brother.Matthew 13:55: "Is this not the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary?And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? "(NKJV)So as you can see James was a very common name and the Scripture does nottell us which James actually wrote the book of James.However, evidence of the Epistle itself favors the traditional identification as theauthor being Jesus Christs half brother James.They have found that the vocabulary of James speech and letter in Acts 15:13-29 reveals significant similarity to that of the Epistle. The authoritative tone ofthe epistle (all those imperatives) agrees well with the authority exercised byJames.Let’s look at John 7:5 Christs brothers did not believe in Jesus as their Messiah.
John 7:5 "For even His brothers did not believe in Him." (NKJV)You know how that would be between siblings. Even though they saw the sinlesslife Jesus lead, they still didnt believe he was their Messiah. He was their halfbrother.I find family is the hardest to reach for Christ. Even Jesus brothers didnt believein Him and they grew up with Him.So what made the change? How did James go from an unbeliever to writing thebook of James as a Jewish believer, believing in Jesus Christ as his Lord andSavior?1 Corinthians 15:7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.(NKJV)1 Corinthians 15:7 tells us that after Christ was resurrected from the dead heappeared to His brother James.Just imagine it, James saw Jesus in all of His Glory after the resurrection. It isbelieved that it was at this point that James accepted Jesus as His Savior. Hesaw his brother now as God. He saw him resurrected in all of His glory and nowhe believes in him.Think about the transformation that took place in James’ heart.Not only was James transformed but we also see in Acts 1:13-14 that Jesusbrothers were also in the upper room praying. Acts 1:13-14 "And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Mat-thew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." (NKJV)Ladies, they were all there in the upper room praying. When Jesus gets a hold ofyour heart, your life is transformed isnt it.One of the first things we see in the book of James is Humility. James 1:1 "James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings." NKJVJames was not all puffed up! He could have began his letter saying James, thehalf brother of Jesus, or James, the head of the Jerusalem church, but insteadhe humbly said James, A bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He wasnt pointing to who he was in the flesh, but to who he was in Christ Jesus.The Greek word here for Bondservant is doulos. It depicts a slave, a persondeprived of all personal freedom and totally under the control of his master.Remember, James grew up with Jesus. He knew Him as Jesus his half brother.But now he acknowledges His deity by saying a bondservant of God and of theLord Jesus Christ.He uses all three names: Lord Jesus Christ. He knew Him by the name Jesusgrowing up, but now he knows Him as Lord Jesus Christ! His master and Savior,His Messiah.James acknowledges that he is a bondservant, he humbly acknowledges Jesusas his Lord and Savior His Messiah. It was a privilege to be under total control asit is with all of us Christians that we are under total control of our Master, JesusChrist.Tradition says that James had knees like a camels knee - all rough andcalloused from being on his knees in prayer so much.Oh ladies, how are your knees? Can it be said about us that we are on our kneesall the time. As we study the book of James - I am positive we will learn to be onour knees as James was. De-pending on our Lord and Savior to meet our needsand get us through every step of our life.The verse continues to go on to say whom James was writing to. James 1:1"...To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings." NKJVThe term twelve tribes was a title commonly used in the New Testament to referto the Nation of Israel.So first we se that James was writing to the Nation of Israel.And it says they were scattered abroad which is the translation of the Greekword diaspora which we also get the English word dispersion.James was writing to those Jews living outside of the promised land. They havefled due to the persecution of Christians.From the message of the letter itself, as well as from James frequent addressingof his readers as brothers, it is clear that he is writing to Jewish Christians.
James is a Jew and his primary audience was to Jewish Christians who werefleeing because of persecution. Acts 8:1-4 shows us what was happening at thattime with Saul of Tarsus persecuting the church. Let’s read Acts 8:1-4.So here we have Saul of Tarsus persecuting the Christians, they had just stonedStephen and so you have Christians fleeing and this is who James is writing to.This is not to be confused with the Diaspora we learned about in our last studyon End Time Events. There we looked at the history of the Jews and saw inDeuteronomy 28:64-65 that God had scattered the Jews to the four corners ofthe earth because of their disobedience and rejection of God. This is a differentdispersion.Here in the book of James, they are fleeing because of the persecution ofChristians.When the Jewish believers were scattered due to the persecution as we see inActs 8:1-4, they didnt just flee and do nothing - as we see in verse 4 theycontinued to preach the word of God as they scattered. They continued tospread the Gospel, sowing seeds as they fled from place to place.It would be so easy to say I am being persecuted; therefore, I am going to leavehere but I am going to be quiet the rest of the time because I don’t want to bepersecuted. But they didn’t do that, they continued to spread the Word of God.Ladies, the Jewish Christians at this time were having some problems in theirpersonal lives and in their church fellowship.We are going to learn so much from reading the book of James, whether youhave read it before or not, there is always something new that jumps off thepages. La-dies, this is the living Word of God. If we are going to be prepared forthose times of persecution, trials and temptations we need to be in a closerelationship with God. We need to be in the word daily so that we can hear whatHe wants to tell us. We need to be in prayer, as James was, asking the Lord toguide us and sustain us in every aspect of our lives.One of the major problems they had was the failure of living what they professedto believe. They were not walking the talk.Ladies, how many times to we have to say, actions speak louder than words! Ifwe are not living what we are saying, how are we going to win others to Christ. Itcomes across hypocritical.They also had a serious problem with their tongue to the point of creating warsand divisions in the assembly. We will talk more on the tongue in chapter three.
Worldliness was another problem. Disobeying Gods word and straying awayfrom the Lord and the church.Things havent changed much between James’ day and now has it. It seems as ifJames is dealing with very up-to-date issues doesnt it.We still see today churches members who talk one way and live another. Or theylive one way on Sunday and a totally different way during the week. They dontwalk the talk.There is still a huge problem with the tongue today; there are just some peoplewho cannot control their tongue.We see in many churches today where worldliness has crept in and they areturning away from the Lord, away from sound doctrine, away from the Bible.The most common cause of all these problems is Spiritual Immaturity.The problems James was facing then are still a problem today. People just dontgrow up.But it is a serious problem in the Christian world, that we do still have Christianswho act like babes in Christ instead of maturing in their Christian walk.Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you needsomeone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and youhave come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only ofmilk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid foodbelongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use havetheir senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (NKJV)Ladies, as you grow in your Christian walk, you will change from milk to solidfood. In order to do this, we need to be in the Word of God, we need to belearning to Trust God in Every Aspect of our Lives. We need to make Him Lord ofour Lives.When you are a new Christian, you are a babe in Christ. But God wants us togrow in our relationship with Him, He doesnt want us to stay babes. Just like ababy infant grows from being a baby and matures, God wants us to grow frombeing a babe in Christ to mature Christians.James uses the word perfect several times in this epistle. You will see it inJames 1:4,17, 25; 2:22; 3:2.In the Greek, this word means: Mature, Complete.
When James uses the term perfect man in James 3:2 he did not mean a sinlessman, but rather one who is mature, balanced, and grown-up.Spiritual Maturity is one of the greatest needs in the churches today. Weirsbesays "too many churches are playpens for babies instead of workshops foradults." pg24As we continue over the next several weeks we will cover Five Marks of a MatureChristian:We discussed these last week. They are: 1. Patient in Testing (James 1) 2. Practices the Truth (James 2) 3. Power over his Tongue (James 3) 4. Peacemaker, not troublemaker (James 4) 5. Prayerful in Troubles (James 5)The Essential factors to become spiritually mature are:1. We need to be born again.You cannot even begin to be spiritually mature if you havent been spiritual-lyborn.Just as a child is born and slowly matures over time a Christian needs to bespiritually born to spiritually mature.To be born again basically means that you believe in the death, burial andresurrection of Jesus Christ. That you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord andSavior. You ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and once you have done this Heis faithful and just to forgive you.You cannot move to the next essential factor until you have done the 1st.2. Examine our lives in the light of Gods word.I like how Warren Wiersbe describes this. He says:James compares the Bible to a mirror. As we study the Word, we are lookinginto the divine mirror and seeing ourselves as we really are. But James warns usthat we must be honest about what we see and not merely glance at the imageand walk away. pg 26You know when you hold a vessel up into the light it exposes the cracks or theflaws. So too with us, we are the vessel and our lives are exposed to the light ofJesus which exposes our flaws that need to be fixed.
3. Obey what God teaches us, no matter what the cost.We must be doers of the Word and not just hearers only! (James 1:22)It is easy to attend a Bible study, share the lesson, and discuss it, but it is muchmore difficult to go out into our everyday lives and live what we have learned.But this is what we are going to strive to do in order to grow in our maturity.4. Be prepared for some extra trials and testing.Whenever we get serious about spiritual growth, the enemy gets serious aboutop-posing us.As you desire to mature in your Christian walk, Satan will turn up the heat todiscourage you. Dont let Satan win! Continue on the right path. Remember,greater is He that is in me that he that is in the world.Nothing is going to happen to you today that God has not allowed. Rememberthat when you go through those trials or temptations, when you are sufferingpersecution, the more you are being molded into what God wants you to be. Weneed to trust God to know that He is in control and trust Him to complete thework He has started in you.5. We must measure our spiritual growth by the Word of God. We should notmeasure our-selves by other Christians, but by the Word of God.Ephesians 4:13-15 "We all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge ofthe Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness ofChrist; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carriedabout with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunningcraftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up inall things into Him who is the head--Christ--"(NKJV)So ladies, don’t look to somebody else to measure your life by, measure yourSpiritual Growth by the Word of God.Ladies, not everyone who grows old grows up. Age and Maturity are twodifferent things.As we mature in our Christian walk, we will be walking the talk. We will seethings through the eyes of Christ instead of through eyes of immaturity.As we study James together, with Gods help we will learn together and maturetogether.
Ladies, I want you to think about the Essentials to Spiritual Maturity that we hadtalked about and I want you to examine your own life. Each and every one of usare at a different maturity level. Depending where you are in your Christian walkwill depend on the maturity level that you are at. Every time you open the Wordof God, it is the Living Word of God, god will bring out whatever you need at thatparticular time in your life in your Christian walk.Ladies, which one of these essentials to Spiritual Maturity do you need to workon? Ask God to help you in this study. Now there is always room for maturity andno matter where you are in life each one of us can grow in our Christian walkwith God.Thank you for joining me today on Empowered Bible Study Ministries. I lookforward to studying God’s word with you as we continue our study on the bookof James.Until next time,God BlessEmpowered Bible Study MinistriesChanged Lives TodayFollow me on: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, GodTube