Thursday, April 4, 2013

P1 - The Wonderful Book of James

James 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Who was James?
In today's blog I wanted to begin giving the reader a working outline and introduction to the wonderful book of James.  To begin, James was the half brother of Jesus according to the flesh. (Matthew 13:55; Acts 1:14)  Although he grew up in the same home as Jesus, James did not become a convert and follower during the course of Jesus' earthly ministry. (John 7:5) 

James' Conversion and Ministry
According to what we read in 1 Corinthians 15:7, Jesus made a post-resurrection appearance to James, resulting in James' conversion.  The evidence we have that Jesus' appearance resulted in James' conversion is by His presence in the upper room with the disciples following Jesus' ascension. (Acts 1:14)  James became one of the main spokemen at the Jerusalem council in Acts 15.  Shortly thereafter, the Apostle Paul later identified him (along with Peter and John) as one of the Pillars of the Church. (Galatians 2:9) 

It is believed that James' letter was the first book of the New Testament, preceeding Matthew's Gospel by at least five years and Paul's first letter, Galatians, by the same amount of time.  James' letter is a wonderful book of the Bible.  I have been blessed by the Lord to have both studied and preached through it. I offer the following outline of the first chspter of James to you today, hoping that you will take a second look at the wonderful Book of James.

James: Living Working Faith
Key Verse: James 2:26
I. Traits of a Strong Christian. 1:1
In the above introduction we aimed to lay out the testimony and life of James.  As you study James' background, you gain the following characteristics what makes him to be a model of a strong Christian:
a. Personal Testimony
b. Prioritizes spiritual maturity
c. Passion for Jesus
d. Persists in applying God's Word

II. Consider the Place of Trials. 1:2-12
a. Purpose of trials. 1:2-4
b. Navigating through trials. 1:5-11
c. Rewards of trials. 1:12
III. Understanding & Defeating Temptation. 1:13-17
IV. The New Birth. 1:18
a. The New Birth Brings a change of heart. 1:17-18
b. The New Birth Involves Repentance and Faith. 1:19-20
V. Scripture: The Christian's Strength. 1:21-25
a. It shields the faith-life. 1:21
b. It stabilizes the faith-life. 1:22-24
c. It steers the faith-life. James 1:25
VI. Evaluating your spiritual well-being. 1:26-27
a. Your speech
b. Your compassion
c. your purity
In tomorrow's blog we will continue with our study of the wonderful book of James.  May you, dear reader, have a wonderful and blessed day.