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February 22, 2004 PM

JAS 1:1-6

INTRO: The epistle of James is one of the most amazing little books in the New Testament. Yes, I know we probably do not associate amazing with the letter written by the Lords brother. However, if you begin to think of this as a basic statement of conduct for disciples, you soon realize just how extensively James covered the needs of young, questioning disciples. There is not much you can describe as deep philosophical thought. There is not found here the logical arguments of an apostle Paul. The warmth of an apostle John is not heard in this little book. Oh, I do not suggest James was not a loving man ... but he had urgent business on his mind. In suggesting that James is a disciples primer I want to call attention to some primer points which are timeless!

1. He deals with temptation - trial & enticement to sin - 1:2

a. this must have been the initial concern - persecution

b. he encourages them to think of their trials in a positive, joyful way - had they begun to be despairing and despondent? its easy to get there

c. clearly, these trials were the trying of your faith (1:3)

d. but enticements to sin are not from God! (1:13-14)

e. temptation, sin ... death beware

2. He deals with prayer - 1:5

a. prayer for wisdom in trial is an appropriate purpose in prayer

b. however, prayer must be joined with faith (1:6)

c. further, the presence of sin in a disciples life effectively diminishes, negates the power of prayer (4:1-4) - here is a needed lesson

d. intercessory prayers are also appropriate as disciples confess their faults to one another (5:16)

e. he concludes his thoughts on prayer with a great reminder - 5:17,18

3. He deals with patience - 1:3,4

a. a disciples life will have great need of patience

b. struggles of faith (persecution, choices, doubts, illnesses, etc.) are going to come to every single one of us ... no matter how mature, strong, etc.

c. hopeful endurance joined with unwavering faith (1:6) = true maturity

d. after all is said and done, Be patient... (5:7)

e. remember Job ... and how God blessed him - ...the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (5:11)

4. He deals with the incomparable role of the word of God - 1:18

a. a first role of the word? its begetting role ... bringing one into Christ, into his proper relationship with God (1 Pet 1:23)

b. a second role? instructing, teaching, molding a disciple - 1:21

c. so, Col 3:16 - why? simply because it is critical to the saving of our souls

d. still, there could be a problem - forgetful hearing - 1:23-25

e. there is no blessing in an academic knowledge of the word of God!

5. He deals with undue, improper respect of persons - 2:1

a. times have not changed all that much, have they?

b. too often we give undue prominence to a wealthy, powerful person while failing to recognize the worth of one who may simply be poor

c. from v. 3 is indication of serious contempt for poor disciples!

d. vv. 8,9 summarize the matter beautifully ... and pointedly

e. I suggest to you that James is identifying a problem area which, because of our affluence, may be troublesome for us at times

6. He deals with the true nature of faith - 2:17

a. there must have been some who thought just believing was enough

b. their idea was that belief and life actions did not connect

c. but v. 24 makes this matter very plain

d. belief must translate into obedience to God if belief is to save us

e. that is exactly what Abrahams belief did ... it obeyed Gods explicit will

7. He deals with one of the truly serious problems - the tongue - 1:26

a. once again, we could observe that times have not change much

b. chapter 3 expands the subject

c. notice 3:8 - remember, James is writing for Christians - a sober warning

d. in the church it is not unusual for folks to seem very religious, but the damage that is done by their unruly tongues is a tragedy

e. perhaps 3:14 gives us a clue as to the root problem

8. He deals with erring brethren - 5:19,20

a. fact: a Christian in a course of sin can be lost

b. love sends us to one who is erring from the truth

c. Gal 6:1

CLOSE: The Lords brother knew human nature, and he knew the realities of a disciples life. The more I read and study this letter, the more impressed and appreciative I am for it ... a disciples primer.

Cecil A. Hutson

22 February 2004

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)