(Most of my posts are simply the notes that I use when I preach with minimal editing afterward. In most cases, the notes alone may leave holes that I flesh out in the message. Make sure you stream or download the sermon to get more than the notes offer.)
james recap (link to audio file for streaming or free download)
Here we are on our last week of studying the book of James. We finished up the textual study last week with the last few verses, and this week we are going to recap the entire book. I hope that the Lord has shown each and every one of you some things about himself and yourself as we have studied this book. I hope you have read it over for yourself several times, and that you are gleaning lots of truths, and most importantly applying them to your life.
Since we have now gone through verse by verse and looked in detail at what the Lord through James was saying, today we are going to look back and see some of the themes of the book that tie together what James is saying.
So, what are the main themes of this book that really matter to us as we live our Christian life? There are so many things asking for our attention these days, so many things we wish we could get to. Who here feels like they don’t have time to get to all the things they want to do? So to many of us, studying a book like James can be very frustrating. It is a book with only 108 verses, but there are 60 commands for us in it. Who has time to get to them all? Well what I want to do this morning is look at two smaller themes in this book, and then the one theme that is kind of an umbrella over the whole book. My point in doing this is that if we get the two minor themes and most importantly the one major theme, all of the commands of this book will be more second nature, and less like hurdles.
Before I get the the first theme, I want to give you a reminder that James gives us in 1:2… All the commands in James are calls into Joy. 1:2
-when James calls us to consider it Joy when we go through trials, he is really setting the tone for the whole book. He here is resetting our understanding of what joy is.
People try to find joy in this world, the problem with that, is that the human race’s track record for producing joy for ourselves is miserable. Most of the time when we in our flesh try and produce joy for ourselves, or others, it falls terribly flat. We just can’t do it. Because, here is the thing, the joy that you are looking for in life, the joy that God created you to dwell in, and be caught up in can only be found in Him! C. S. Lewis says this better than I can.
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis
-joy is not happiness, they are different. Joy is something deep inside that cannot be changed by circumstance, or by adding or removing something tangible for our lives.
So we need to remember that the calls of God, even the ones to action, or sacrifice, or suffering, are ultimately calls to Joy! What that reminds me is that when I read this, I need to trust Him. So what now are the two minor themes of this book?
Faith will be tested to make you steadfast.
-1:2-4 The Process by which our faith is made to be steadfast is trials.
Steadfast faith’s “full effect” is a changed life. All of the commands spelled out for us in this book are all results of genuine faith, and not causes.
- Changed hearts: James 1:1
- Doing the word
- showing no partiality
- visiting orphans and widows
- whatever works we produce
- taming out tongue
- listening to Godly wisdom
- letting God sit on the throne of our hearts
- humbling ourselves before the Lord
- not boasting about tomorrow
- Praying for help
- All of these things are born out of a heart that has found its fullness of Joy in seeking the Glory of God over the glory of self.
- That brings us to the Major theme of this book, and I might say, all of scripture…
True faith pursues God’s glory.
- All the commands of James can be summed up in one phrase, “seek the glory of God above all else”
- When your heart is so wrapped up in making Jesus Look good, you will not care about yourself, and you wont speak evil against others, you wont give people special accommodations, you wont grumble against one another. You will be so fixated on the power and majesty and splendor of God, that you wont even realize you exist. That is true joy. being so caught up in the pleasures of knowing Christ, and being His, that you don’t think to preserve yourself.
- And the great thing about that is that it results in Joy for us!