The General Epistle of James (Part 19)

vs. 11-12. A. Instruction is given again about speech. Brethren are commanded to not speak evil of one another. 1. Evil speaking consists of such things as false witness, false accusation, slander, whispering, backbiting, talebearing, cursing, deceit (which were noted previously). 2. Given the ambitious materialism and envy which was afoot, it is likely that defamatory speech had been a major issue in the exploitation of their own brethren. JAM 5:6. 3. Such evil speaking is commensurate with the earthly, sensual devilish wisdom which directs the natural course of our tongues. JAM 3:1-16. 4. Such evil speaking must be laid aside if one is to acquire the heavenly wisdom he lacks. JAM 1:5 c/w 1PE 2:1-2. 5. (EPH 4:31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 6. The good life, again, is to be attained by godly means. 1PE 3:10-11. 7. A church of Jesus Christ should be a virtuous woman in speech. PRO 31:26. B. Behind evil speaking against brethren (and other ungodly conduct) is sometimes a warped picture ofGod. PSA50:20-21. 1. When one forms a false conclusion of God and God's will, he automatically empowers himself to do according to his “God” for his thoughts and conduct have divine authority. 2. This is why it is so important to have a correct understanding of God. One cannot truly do the will of the true God if he does not understand the true God and His will. EPH 5:17. 3. Jesus Christ is the only way to truly know God. 1JO 5:20 c/w MAT 11:27. a. All attempts to know God without knowing the pure, peaceable, gentle, lowly, submissive, loving Son of God will produce a false picture of God. b. He is “...the wisdom of God...” (1CO 1:24), “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (COL 2:3) Who is declared in the Scripture. JOH 5:39. c. If you have any doubts as to how one should live to accord with God's will, the James 8-24-14 Page 47 Jesus Christ of the Bible is the supreme model. d. Jesus' words and conduct were sometimes “less holy” than some professed Christians consider to be proper. (1) In other words, they have crafted a false God through a false view of Jesus Christ and measure others by this. (2) Scripture speaks of “another Jesus” (2CO 11:4) and “false Christs” (MAT 24:24) which would be advanced as rivals to the true One. (3) The meek, lowly Jesus of Scripture could be blunt, frank, rebuking, authoritative, could curse, get angry for a good reason, and physically purge God's house of materialistic hypocrites. He would be no more appreciated and welcomed in many modern churches than He was among the religious hypocrites at His first coming. (4) It is appropriate that 1JO 5:21 says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” C. Speaking evil of a brother is not the same as speaking the truth to or about a wayward brother. 1. James is being painfully truthful to his brethren in this epistle! 2. He also instructs them in privately bringing truth to bear against erring brethren. JAM 5:19-20. 3. Where sinners persist in sin and bring judgment upon themselves, the truth about them must be spoken openly. 2TH 3:14. 4. The truth is to be spoken in love (EPH 4:15), not in imperious high-mindedness. GAL 6:1; 1CO 10:12. 5. “In reasoning with others, we should use soft words and hard arguments.” (Matthew Henry) D. “...He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law...” (v. 11) and “...who art thou that judgest another?” (v. 12). 1. judge: To sit in judgment upon. Specifically, to pronounce against; to condemn. 2. James is not forbidding all sitting in judgment of brethren or JAM 5:19-20 would be impossible, as would 1CO 5:9-13. 3. James is condemning unrighteous or hypocritical judgment (JOH 7:24; MAT 7:1-5), judgment with false motive or by a false standard. c/w MAR 7:1-3; 1TI 4:1-3. 4. In matters of liberty, we are not to speak evil of / judge brethren who differ. ROM 14:1-14; 1CO 8:8. 5. Neither should any be judged for discarded requirements of Moses' law. COL 2:16-17. 6. To judge others for something where God's law does not judge them is to put oneself in company with the king of Moab who wanted Balaam to curse those whom God would not curse. NUM 23:8. 7. Such a judge is finding fault with the law of God and thus judging the law. He is “...not a doer of the law, but a judge” (v. 11), a judge legislating from the bench! a. Against this, James says, “There is one lawgiver...”, i.e., God. ISA 33:22. b. God is the only person suited to flawlessly and simultaneously be three branches of government: judicial, legislative and executive. c. A system of human government with three equal but separate branches of power follows a good model. 8. We must avoid man-made laws in judging brethren. COL 2:20-23. 9. We must respect the right of private judgment in matters of liberty and personal responsibility. MAT 20:15; GAL 6:5. 10. There is no transgression where there is no law from God. ROM 4:15. James 8-24-14 Page 48 vs. 13-17. 11. Those who ignore this are playing God the Lawgiver. Remember 1JO 5:21. 12. Only God the Lawgiver is vested with saving and destroying power. v. 12 c/w MAT 10:28. a. God is able to save or destroy temporally as well as eternally by His law. 1CO 3:17; 5:4-5. b. It should be no surprise that unbiblical Christianity with a false doctrine of God imposed upon its adherents assumes to have both of those powers! c. The ultimate Lawgiver is the ultimate Judge Who is able to save or destroy. (1) It is before this judge that we must all stand and by His law that we must all be judged. 2CO 5:10. (2) This judge is able to make the man stand that misguided thinking would condemn. ROM 14:4. (3) Therefore, God's judgment should be our chief concern and His commandments our chief pursuit. ECC 12:12-14. A. James here admonishes the brethren to give place to God's providence rather than audaciously plow ahead in life as if nothing could stop them. c/w GEN 11:3-4. B. go to: To go about one's work, to get to work. Chiefly in imperative as an exhortation = Come on! C. They were confident to a fault in what they would certainly accomplish and acquire. They had a perfect strategy and a will to implement it. But their earthly ambition and rewards gave no consideration to heavenly rewards or heavenly interruption. D. They were rejoicing in their boastings about future gain. 1. Not all rejoicing is good. ACT 7:41; 1CO 4:6-8; 5:6. 2. We are warned against boasting in riches. PSA 49:6-7. 3. We are not to boast about tomorrow. PRO 27:1. 4. (LAM 3:37) Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? E. Jesus preached against the man who sets his heart on what he will accomplish in this world without due consideration of God. LUK 12:16-21. F. Our life in this world is a vapor: fleeting, frail, evanescent. v. 14. 1. It is brief (JOB 14:1-2). In the words of a grandmother who penned her own obituary: “I was born, I blinked, and now it's over.” 2. The uncertainty and brevity of life should keep us from setting our hearts too much on what we can acquire in this world. PSA 39:4-7. 3. This should also provoke us to apply our hearts to the true wisdom. PSA 90:1-12. 4. We don't want to appear naked before God for lack of the true riches. REV 3:17. G. Whether we live or do should be reconciled to the providence of God. v. 15. 1. Mind that there is a permissive will of God. ACT 18:21; HEB 6:3. 2. God's will may not concur with our plans. ACT 16:6-7. 3. Yet we do well to plan godly (ACT 19:21; PRO 22:3; HEB 11:7). He who fails to plan plans to fail. H. This chapter closes with a general warning about omission of known duty. v. 17. 1. It is sin and will meet with greater punishment than sins of ignorance. LUK 12:47-48. 2. In its context here, it certainly applies to his exhortations about humility; submission to God; avoiding worldliness, evil speaking and false judgment; and acknowledging God's providence in all things.
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