The General Epistle of James (Part 2)

III. James has much to say against the deceitfulness and corrupting influence of riches. JAM 1:9-10; 2:1-6; 4:13-16; 5:1-6. A. An indicator of genuine conversion and faith for the Jewish believers was abandoning their traditional notions of redemption with money. 1PE 1:18-19. B. James essentially continues the historic teaching of the Jewish prophets which set in contrast vain trust in riches with vital trust in a Redeemer. PSA 49:6-17. C. The gospel of wealth versus the gospel of grace was the cause of much grief amongst them. JAM 4:1-2 c/w 5:6. D. Similar instruction and warnings against covetousness were given to the churches of the Gentiles. 1TI 6:17; REV 3:17. IV. An emphasis is given throughout the epistle on the need for patience, particularly in trials. JAM 1:3-4; 5:7-11 c/w ROM 12:12. A. Many Hebrew believers underwent a great trial in coming to Christ and therefore had need of patience. HEB 10:32-36. B. Unless patience is allowed to do its work in us, we will never come to fullness. JAM 1:4. V. James also warns against vain religion, religion that is of no effect, profit or value. JAM 1:26; 2:14-20. A. Simply saying we believe is not enough. Believers are to maintain good works. TIT 3:8. B. James stresses good works as the proof of genuine, profitable faith. James 8-24-14 Page 2 C. Good works are essential to effective witnessing. 1PE 2:12; MAT 5:16. D. God will not hold guiltless those who take His name in vain. EXO 20:7. E. Ananias and Sapphira tried a pretence of faith and were slain. ACT 5:1-11. F. God is dead serious about church and we had best be likewise. Chapter 1. vs. 1-4. A. James opens his epistle with the purpose and desire of godly ministry, that saints would be brought to perfection (fullness) in Christ. EPH 4:11-13 c/w COL 1:27-29. 1. Mark it well: the perfecting of man comes not by wealth, education, social reform or genetic engineering. It comes by conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Ultimate Man. 2. As James makes plain, God's methods for perfecting men are not the things that the natural man would choose. B. James introduces himself as “...a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ...” (v. 1). 1. Jesus Christ should be honored as the Father is honored. JOH 5:23. 2. Those who serve the Son will the Father honor. JOH 12:26. 3. Those who deny the Son have not the Father. 1JO 2:23. 4. James made it clear to anyone who should read his words that he was in the service of the LORD God Who had said, “Kiss the Son...” (PSA 2:11-12 c/w JOH 5:18). C. James gives greeting to “...the twelve tribes scattered abroad...” (v. 1). 1. This does not bode well for the theory of the “lost ten tribes.” 2. Paul described the twelve tribes in his day as instantly (urgently) serving God. ACT 26:7. 3. That the twelve tribes of Israel were scattered abroad is one thing; that ten of them were lost in the mists of history is another. 4. Moses had warned Israel that God would scatter them abroad if they turned away from Him. DEU 28:63-64. a. A major scattering of ten tribes occurred when the Assyrian empire was given power over them. 2KI 17:6, 22-24. (1) God divorced the ten tribes (Israel) but remained in covenant union with Judah. JER 3:8. (2) God could not take Israel back into covenant with Himself under the Law after she had been put away and had married to another god. DEU 24:1-4; JER 3:1. (3) With the death of “God manifest in the flesh” (Jesus Christ), the dispersed ten tribes could be brought back into covenant with God under a New Testament/Covenant. ROM 7:1-6. b. The nation of Judah was later overcome and the people scattered abroad by the Babylonians. JER 9:16; NEH 1:8. (1) After seventy years captivity, some of the scattered people returned to Jerusalem and Judah. EZR 9:8. (2) Many remained dispersed among the Gentiles. EST 3:8; JOH 7:35. (3) Devout Jews from every nation under heaven came to Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost. ACT 2:5. c. The last scattering of natural Israel occurred in the 1st C. by Rome. LUK 21:24. (1) The first mention in Scripture of a corporate body of people being scattered James 8-24-14 Page 3 is where the men of old Babel were building in defiance of God. GEN 11:8-9. (2) It was for the defiance of the builders that natural Israel would be set at nought and scattered. MAT 21:42-44 c/w 1TH 2:14-16. 5. It was owing to another “scattering abroad” that the gospel reached out into the regions where the scattered tribes of Israel were in the nations. ACT 8:1-4 c/w ACT 11:19-21. 6. Jesus Christ is the great Gatherer of His people. GEN 49:10; JOH 10:15-16; 11:51-52. a. God's purpose was to “...in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things IN Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on the earth; even in him” (EPH 1:9-10). (1) We are living in that dispensation. This is the last age when times are being fulfilled or completed. (2) Since Christ's first coming we have been in the last days (HEB 1:2; ACT 2:16-17), the last time (1JO 2:18) and the end of the world. (HEB 9:26; 1CO 10:11). b. This gathering process was marked by the beginning of Christ's public ministry. GAL 4:4 c/w MAR 1:15. c. Jesus Christ's resurrection was a gathering together of His spirit, soul and body. d. The elect are quickened together with Christ, raised up together, and made to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ. EPH 2:5-6. e. This gathering process includes the assembling of believers as local churches which worship Him and conduct His business. 1CO 5:4 c/w HEB 10:25. f. This process broadened with the gathering in of elect Gentiles while Israel was sifted among the nations, and this is the prophesied raising up of David's fallen tabernacle. AMO 9:9-12 c/w ACT 15:13-17. g. This process is perfected at the Second Coming and general resurrection. MAR 13:26-27 c/w 1TH 4:14-18; 2TH 2:1. (1) Everything IN Christ, which includes God (COL 2:9; JOH 14:11), all the elect (EPH 1:4), all spiritual blessings (EPH 1:3) and our eternal inheritance (EPH 1:11) will be gathered together and never again separated. (2) The heavenly angels will also be part of this gathering. HEB 12:22-23 REV 7:9-12; 19:10 c/w EPH 3:15. (3) The scattering effect of sin will then be completely eliminated. h. All of this gathering together in Christ is owing to His agony and death of the cross. Christ endured the judgment of being separated, broken and scattered that we might be gathered together in one. JOH 11:49-52. (1) His disciples were scattered from Him. MAT 26:31, 56. (2) His body was broken. 1CO 11:23-24. (3) His bones were out of joint. PSA 22:14. (4) His blood was shed, separated from His body. MAT 26:28. (5) His heart was broken. PSA 69:20. (6) He was forsaken of God. MAT 27:46. (7) His soul was poured out unto death. ISA 53:12. (8) His spirit departed from His body. LUK 23:46. i. But Christ came back together in the resurrection and ascended to heaven to be rejoined with His Father. (1) He is the firstfruits of them that sleep and our forerunner to glory. 1CO 15:20; HEB 6:20. James 8-24-14 Page 4 (2) He is the guarantee that all things in Him will be gathered together in one.
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