The General Epistle of James (Part 3)

D. James begins with how to properly respond to stress, which all believers face. vs. 2-4. 1. Until we are fully delivered from the general curse of Adam, we will groan in pain. ROM 8:22-23 c/w REV 22:3. 2. James speaks of temptations that are to be received with joy and borne patiently. a. Our tendency is to react to such temptations with passion, panic or paralysis. b. Our attitude has much to do with our success or failure as maturing believers. 3. tempt: I. To try, make trial of, put to the test or proof; to try the quality, worth, or truth of. II. To try to attract, to entice (a person) to do evil; to present attractions to the passions or frailties of; to allure or incite to evil with the prospect of some pleasure or advantage. 4. There are three basic categories of temptations: a. enticements to sin through lusts of the flesh. JAM 1:14. b. provocations of God. 1CO 10:9; MAT 4:7. c. trial by testing or afflictions. GEN 22:1 c/w HEB 11:17; DEU 8:2-3; GAL 4:13-14. (1) This kind of temptation may be counted a joy to fall into and is what James is obviously addressing by virtue of v. 3, “...the trying of your faith...” (2) The other two should be counted a fear to fall into. HEB 10:31. 5. Such temptations as James is considering are divers. a. divers: Different or not alike in character or quality; not of the same kind. b. Some of the Jewish Christians were sick. JAM 5:13-14. c. Some had suffered reproach for their faith. HEB 10:33. d. Some had suffered financial loss. HEB 10:34. e. Some had been oppressed. JAM 2:6. f. Some had been defrauded. JAM 5:4 c/w 1CO 6:8. g. Some had suffered legal injustices. JAM 5:6. h. Health issues, money issues, persecution, oppression, fraud, injustices: these remain our divers temptations! i. (Psa 34:19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. 6. Mind the expression, “...fall into...” (v. 2). a. There are temptations we may fall into because of our faith or the everyday course of life in a broken world. ACT 20:19, 22; LUK 10:30; 2KI 13:14. b. There are other temptations we may fall into because of poor judgment on our own part. PRO 19:3; 1TI 6:9. c. Suffice it to say that the only proper rejoicing when poor judgment causes us to fall into temptation is after repentance. 2CO 7:9. d. Mind also that “fall into” is not “dive into.” We are not justified in continually forbidding ourselves that which God has given us to enjoy under color of attaining a higher spirituality and so put ourselves into a temptation by a false affliction. (1) Paul condemns such false religious asceticism. COL 2:20-23. (2) Such unnatural proscriptions are of the wrong spirit! 1TI 4:1-3. (3) Deliberate restrictions of blessed natural pleasures are only to be temporary. 1CO 7:5. 7. Peter likewise refers to these temptations as cause for rejoicing. 1PE 1:5-9. a. They are indeed divers: “...manifold temptations...” (1PE 1:6). b. They may be necessary: “if need be...” (1PE 1:6). James 8-24-14 Page 5 (1) We are not well-suited for unalloyed joy, ease and exaltation in this life. (2) These afflictions save us from undue exaltation and from independence from God and His grace. GEN 32:32 c/w 2CO 12:7-10. c. They do produce heaviness (1PE 1:6) but not a heaviness without hope, purpose or end. (1) They are “...for a season...” and relatively light. 2CO 4:17. (2) The sufferings of hell and the lake of fire are neither temporary nor light. REV 14:11; 20:10, 15. (3) These facts alone are cause for rejoicing! d. We (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) should therefore rejoice in divers temptations because: we deserve eternal torment, not temporary affliction! eternal life is secured for us by God and not imperiled by our present troubles. It is well with our souls. 1PE 1:5. we have opportunity to partake in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. PHIL 3:10. momentary affliction is nothing compared with eternal glory. ROM 8:18. our faith is being tried in order to purify it for Christ's glory. 1PE 1:7. our reward is great in heaven. LUK 6:22-23. it provides opportunity to know our foundation and depth. MAT 7:24-25; LUK 8:13-15. it gives God occasion to reprove Satan. JOB 2:3. it provides opportunity for the encouragement of others' faith. PHIL 1:12-14. “...the trying of your faith worketh patience” (v. 3). (10) e. A faith that collapses under pressure is not a strong faith. PRO 24:10. 8. If we know the purpose for the temptation / trial of faith is to work patience in us to bring us to completion, we can count it all joy. vs. 3-4. a. patience: The suffering or enduring (of pain, trouble, or evil) with calmness and composure; the quality or capacity of so suffering or enduring. b. Mind the phrase, “...knowing this...” (v. 3). This is not speculation. (1) It is known by revelation. God has declared His purpose for such trials. DEU 8:2-3, 16; PSA 119:67, 71, 75; JOH 15:2. (2) It is known by revelation that trials are designed to work patience, experience and hope which “...maketh not ashamed...” (ROM 5:3-5 c/w PHIL 1:20). (3) If we have done good and yet undergo such trials, we need not be asking ourselves, “Why does this have to happen to me?” We should know better. c. The trial works patience by giving us an occasion to continue in our faith despite the pressure to deny it. d. We would never know patience if we had no troubles! e. Patient saints keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus rather than abandoning them under pressure. REV 14:12. f. True patience is continuing in well doing. ROM 2:7. (1) That one is to patiently continue in well doing implies that a trial neither initiates nor terminates the well doing. (2) The trial may indeed be because of well doing. 1PE 2:19. (3) This kind of patience is commendable and stands in opposition to suffering patiently when buffeted for our faults. 1PE 2:20. James 8-24-14 Page 6  g. It is in this patient continuance that we have the assurance that we are the children of God bound for eternal glory. COL 1:21-23; 1JO 2:19. 9. Patience has its perfect (fully accomplished) work when we are “...perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (v. 4). a. We are thus when we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. COL 4:12. (1) We are doing whatsoever the Lord commands without murmuring. PHIL 2:14. (2) We are “...blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke...” (PHIL 2:15). b. Mind that the goal is the perfect man, i.e., the fully formed, mature believer. (1) The perfect man offends not in word. JAM 3:2. (2) How often do we fail by immediately reacting to pressure with offensive words! (3) (JAM 1:19) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (4) If we would let patience have her perfect work, our mouth is a good place to let her start. And this means a reform of the heart. MAT 12:34. c. This work will go until the coming of the Lord. JAM 5:7. d. The man who brings forth fruit with patience is in contrast to the man brings forth no fruit unto perfection. LUK 8:14-15. e. When you emerge from under the pressure with the same faith, only improved, patience is having her perfect work. 10. Thus, our response to stress is to be one of joy and patience. 11. If we respond to trials with bitterness, murmuring, rebellion or desertion, this reveals that faith is very weak or even false. 12. (1PE 5:10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 13. (JOB 23:10) But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 14. (JAM 1:12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
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