James Chapter One
The Epistle of James is not addressed to the assembly, and does not take the ground of apostolic authority over the persons to whom it is sent. It is a practical exhortation which still recognises the twelve tribes and the connection of the christian Jews with them, as John addressed the Gentiles, although the Jewish people had their place before God. Thus the Spirit of God still acknowledges here the relationship with Israel, as in the other case the relationship with Gentiles, and the rights of God which are unchangeable, whatever may be the special privileges granted to the assembly or to Israel respectively. We know that historically the christian Jews remained Jews to the end of the New Testament history, and were even zealous for the law-to us a strange thing, but which God endured for a time.
The doctrine of Christianity is not the subject of this epistle. It gives God His place in the conscience, and with regard to all that surrounds us. It thus girds up the loins of the Christina, presenting also the near coming of the Lord and His present discipline-a discipline with respect to which the assembly of God ought to possess intelligence, and activity founded thereon. The world also, and all that makes an appearance in it, is judged from God's point of view.
A few remarks on the position of Christians (that is, on the way in which this position is viewed with respect to Israel) will help us to understand this portion of the word.
Israel is still regarded as the people of God. To the faith of James the nation has still the relationship which God had given it towards Himself. The Christians in it are addressed as still forming part of a people whose links with God were not yet judicially broken: but it was only the Christians among them who possessed the faith which the Spirit gave in the true Messiah. These only among the people, with the writer, acknowledged Jesus as the Lord of glory. With the exception of verses 14,15, in chapter 5, this epistle contains no exhortation which, in its spiritual height, goes beyond that which might be addressed to a godly Jew. It supposes indeed that the persons to whom it speaks have faith in the Lord Jesus; but it does not call them to that which is exclusively proper to Christianity and depends on its privileges. The exhortations flow from that higher source and breathe the more heavenly atmosphere, but the effect they aim at producing consists in real proofs of religion here below; they are such as might be heard in the professing church-a vast body like Israel, in the midst of which some Christians existed.
The epistle is not founded on christian relationships here below. It acknowledges them; but only as one fact in the midst of others, which have rights over the conscience of the writer. It supposes those whom it addresses to be in a relationship with God, which is known, unquestioned, and of ancient date; in the midst of which Christianity has been introduced.
It is important to notice the moral measure of the life which this epistle presents. As soon as we apprehend the position in which it views believers, the discernment of the truth on this point is not difficult. It is the same as that which Christ presented when walking in the midst of Israel and setting before His disciples the light, and the relationships with God, which resulted to them from His presence. Now indeed He was absent; but that light and those relationships are retained as the measure of responsibility. And this the Lord's return would vindicate by judgment on those who refused to accept and walk in it. Until that day the faithful were to be patient in the midst of the oppression they were suffering from on the part of the Jews, who still blasphemed the holy name by which they were called.
It is the converse of the Epistle to the Hebrews with regard to their relationship with the Jewish nation; not morally, but because of the nearness of the judgment when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written.
The fundamental principles of the position that we have been speaking of are as follows: the law in its spirituality and perfection, as stated and summed up by Christ; a life imparted, which has the moral principles of the law, itself a divine life; the revelation of the Father's name. All this was true when the Lord was on the earth, and was the ground on which (however poorly they understood it) He then placed His disciples. He told them that they were to be witnesses of it, as of all He had said, after His death, distinguishing this testimony form that of the Holy Ghost.
It is this which James teaches here, with the addition of that which the Lord had also said-that He would come again. It is the doctrine of Christ with regard to walk in the midst of Israel, according to the light and the truths which He had introduced; and-seeing that He was still absent-an exhortation to perseverance and patience in that walk, waiting for the moment when, by judgment on those who oppressed them, He would vindicate the principles on which they walked.
Although the judgment executed on Jerusalem changed the position of the remnant of Israel in this respect, yet the life of Christ remains ever our model: and we have to wait with patience until the Lord come. We have not in this epistle the association of the Christian with Christ exalted on high, nor consequently the thought of going to meet Him in the air, as Paul taught. But that which it contains ever remains true; and he who says that he abides in Him (Christ) ought also to walk even as He walked. The judgment that was coming makes us understand the way in which James speaks of the world, of the rich who rejoice in their portion in the world, and the position of the believing remnant oppressed and suffering in the midst of the unbelieving nation; why he begins with the subject of the tribulations and so often recurs to it: why also he insists on practical evidences of faith. He still sees all Israel together; but some had received faith in the Lord of glory, and these were tempted to value the rich and the great in Israel. All being still Jews, we can easily understand that, while some truly believed and confessed their belief that Jesus was the Christ, yet, as these Christians followed the Jewish ordinances, mere professors might do as much without the least vital change being proved by their works. It is evident that a faith like this has no value whatever. It is precisely the faith of those who clamour for works in the present day-a mere dead profession of the truth of Christianity. To be begotten by the word of truth is as foreign and strange to them as to the Jews of whom James is speaking.
Believers being thus placed in the midst of Israel with some who merely professed faith, we can readily understand the apostle's address to the mass as those who might share in the privileges that existed in their midst; his address to Christians as having a special place in their own; and his warning to those who called themselves believers in Christ. Most easy and perfectly clear is the practical application to all times, and in particular when a mass of persons assume a right by inheritance to thee privileges of the people of God. Besides this, the epistle has peculiar force for the individual conscience; it judges the position one is in, and the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The epistle then begins with an exhortation to rejoice in trial, as a means of producing patience. This subject in the main continues to the end of verse 20, where the idea turns towards the necessity of curbing everything that opposes itself to patience, and towards the true character of one who stands in the presence of God. This address, as a whole, ends with the 1st chapter. The connection of the reasoning is not always easy to find; the key to it is the moral condition with which the apostle's mind is occupied. I will endeavour to make the connection more apparent.
The subject in the main is, that we ought to walk before God to shew the reality of our profession in contrast with union with the world-practical religion. Patience then must have its perfect work; thus self-will is subdued, and the whole of God's will is accepted; consequently nothing is wanting to the practical life of the soul. The believer may suffer; but he patiently waits on the Lord. This Christ did; it was His perfection. He waited for the will of God, and never did His own will: thus obedience was perfect, man thoroughly tested. But in fact we often lack wisdom to know what we ought to do. Here it says the resource is evident: we are to ask wisdom form God. He gives to all liberally; only we must count upon His faithfulness and upon an answer to our prayers. Otherwise the heart is double; there is dependence elsewhere than on God; our desires have another object. If we only seek that which God wills and that which God does, we depend securely on Him to accomplish it; and as to the circumstances of this world, which might make one believe that it was useless to depend on God, they vanish away as the flower of the field. We ought to have the consciousness that our place according to God is not that which is of this world. He who is in a low station should rejoice that Christianity exalts him; the rich, that it humbles him. It is not in riches that we are to rejoice (they pass away), but in the exercises of heart of which the apostle had been speaking; for after having been tried we shall receive the crown of life.
The life of one who is thus tried, and in whom this life develops itself in obedience to the entire will of God, is well worth that of a man who indulges all the desires of his heart in luxury.
Now with regard to temptations of this last character, into which the lusts of the heart cause men to fall, it must not be said that these lusts come from God: the heart of man is their source-its lusts which lead through sin to death. Let no one deceive himself on this point. That which inwardly tempts the heart comes form oneself. All good and perfect gifts come from God, and He never changes, He does nothing but good. Accordingly He has given us a new nature, the fruit of His won will working in us by the word of truth, in order that we should be as it were firstfruits of His creatures. The Father of lights, that which is darkness does not come from Him.
By the word of truth He has begotten us to be the first and most excellent witnesses of that power of good which will shine forth hereafter in the new creation, of which we are the firstfruits. This is the opposite of being the source of corrupt desires. The word of truth is the good seed of life; self-will is the cradle of our lusts-its energy can never produce the fruits of divine nature; nor the wrath of man the righteousness of God. Therefore we are called to be docile, to be ready to hear, slow to speak slow to wrath, to lay aside all filthiness of the flesh, all energy of iniquity, and to receive the word with meekness-a word which, while it is the word of God, identifies itself with the new nature that is in us (it is planted in us) while forming and developing it according to its own perfection; because this nature itself has its origin from God through the word. It is not as a law which is outside us, and which, being opposed to our sinful nature, condemns us. This word saves the soul; it is living and quickening, and it works livingly in a nature that flows from it, and which it forms and enlightens.
But it is necessary to be doers of the word, not merely to hear it with the ear, but that it should produce the practical fruits which are the proof that it works really and vitally in the heart. Otherwise the word is only as a mirror in which we may perhaps see ourselves for a moment, and then forget what we have seen. He who looks into the perfect law, which is that of liberty, and continues in it, doing the work which it presents, shall be blessed in the real and obedient activity developed in him. The law is perfect; for the word of God, all that the Spirit of God has expressed, is the expression of the nature and the character of God, of that which He is and of that which He wills: for, when fully revealed (and till then man cannot fully know Him), He wills that which He is, and this necessarily.
This law is the law of liberty, because the same word which reveals what God is and what He wills has made us partakers by divine grace of the divine nature; so that not to walk according to that word would be not to walk according to our own new nature. Now to walk according to our own new nature, and that the nature of God, and guided by His word, is true liberty.
The law given on Sinai was the expression in man, written not on the heart but outside man, of what man's conduct and heart ought to be according to the will of God. It represses and condemns all the motions of the natural man, and cannot allow him to have a will, for he ought to do the will of God. But he has another will, and therefore the law is bondage to him, a law of condemnation and death. Now, God having begotten us by the word of truth, the nature that we have, as thus born of God, possesses tastes and desires according to that word; it is of that very word. The word in its own perfection develops this nature, forms it, enlightens it, as we have said; but the nature itself has its liberty in following it. Thus it was with Christ; if His liberty could have been taken away (which was spiritually impossible), it would have been by preventing Him from doing the will of God the Father.
It is the same with the new man in us (which is Christ as life in us) which is created in us according to God in righteousness and true holiness, produced in us by the word, which is the perfect revelation of God-of the whole divine nature in man; of which Christ, the living Word, the image of the invisible God, is the manifestation and the pattern. The liberty of the new man is liberty to do the will of God, to imitate God in character, as being His dear child according as that character was presented in Christ. The law of liberty is this character, as it is revealed in the word, in which the new nature finds its joy and satisfaction; even as it drew its existence from the word which reveals Him, and from the God who is therein revealed.
Such is the "law of liberty"-the character of God Himself in us formed by the operation of a nature, begotten through the word which reveals Him, moulding itself upon the word.
The first and most sifting index of the inner man is the tongue. A man who appears to be in relationship with God and to honour Him, yet who cannot bridle his tongue, deceives himself, and his religion is vain.
Pure religion before God and the Father is to care for those who, reached in the tenderest relationships by the wages of sin, are deprived of their natural supports; and to keep oneself untainted by the world. Instead of striving to exalt oneself and gain reputation in a world of vanity, afar from God, our activities turn, as God does, to the sorrowful, who in their affliction, need succour; and we keep ourselves from a world in which everything is defiling, and contrary to the new nature which is our life, and to the character of God as we know it by the word.
── John Darby《Synopsis of James》
How to apply to God under troubles, and how to behave in prosperous and in adverse circumstances. (1-11) To look upon all evil as proceeding from ourselves, and all good from God. (12-18) The duty of watching against a rash temper, and of receiving the word of God with meekness. (19-21) And of living according thereto. (22-25) The difference between vain pretences and real religion. (26,27)
Commentary on James 1:1-11
(Read James 1:1-11)
Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.
Commentary on James 1:12-18
(Read James 1:12-18)
It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world above, where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and the dealings of his providence, try men's hearts, and show the dispositions which prevail in them. But nothing sinful in the heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of the dross, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the blame of sin, either upon their constitution, or upon their condition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep from sinning, wrong God as if he were the author of sin. Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is in our own hearts. Stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that follow must be wholly charged upon us. God has no pleasure in the death of men, as he has no hand in their sin; but both sin and misery are owing to themselves. As the sun is the same in nature and influences, though the earth and clouds, often coming between, make it seem to us to vary, so God is unchangeable, and our changes and shadows are not from any changes or alterations in him. What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, and glory; and infinitely more. As every good gift is from God, so particularly our being born again, and all its holy, happy consequences come from him. A true Christian becomes as different a person from what he was before the renewing influences of Divine grace, as if he were formed over again. We should devote all our faculties to God's service, that we may be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.
Commentary on James 1:19-21
(Read James 1:19-21)
Instead of blaming God under our trials, let us open our ears and hearts to learn what he teaches by them. And if men would govern their tongues, they must govern their passions. The worst thing we can bring to any dispute, is anger. Here is an exhortation to lay apart, and to cast off as a filthy garment, all sinful practices. This must reach to sins of thought and affection, as well as of speech and practice; to every thing corrupt and sinful. We must yield ourselves to the word of God, with humble and teachable minds. Being willing to hear of our faults, taking it not only patiently, but thankfully. It is the design of the word of God to make us wise to salvation; and those who propose any mean or low ends in attending upon it, dishonour the gospel, and disappoint their own souls.
Commentary on James 1:22-25
(Read James 1:22-25)
If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing only, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots the law discovers: Christ's blood is the laver the gospel shows. But in vain do we hear God's word, and look into the gospel glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washing them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This is the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought. In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction, and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those who keep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in all their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would be connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not talking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ will become more precious to the believer's soul, which by his grace will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light.
Commentary on James 1:26,27
(Read James 1:26,27)
When men take more pains to seem religious than really to be so, it is a sign their religion is in vain. The not bridling the tongue, readiness to speak of the faults of others, or to lessen their wisdom and piety, are signs of a vain religion. The man who has a slandering tongue, cannot have a truly humble, gracious heart. False religious may be known by their impurity and uncharitableness. True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God. An unspotted life must go with unfeigned love and charity. Our true religion is equal to the measure in which these things have place in our hearts and conduct. And let us remember, that nothing avails in Christ Jesus, but faith that worketh by love, purifies the heart, subdues carnal lusts, and obeys God's commands.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on James》
 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
My brethren, count it all joy — Which is the highest degree of patience, and contains all the rest.
When ye fall into divers temptations — That is, trials.
 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Let patience have its perfect work — Give it full scope, under whatever trials befal you.
That ye may be perfect and entire — Adorned with every Christian grace.
And wanting nothing — Which God requires in you.
 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
If any want — The connexion between the first and following verses, both here and in the fourth chapter, will be easily discerned by him who reads them, while he is suffering wrongfully. He will then readily perceive, why the apostle mentions all those various affections of the mind.
Wisdom — To understand, whence and why temptations come, and how they are to be improved. Patience is in every pious man already. Let him exercise this, and ask for wisdom. The sum of wisdom, both in the temptation of poverty and of riches, is described in the ninth and tenth verses.
Who giveth to all — That ask aright.
And upbraideth not — Either with their past wickedness, or present unworthiness.
 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
But let him ask in faith — A firm confidence in God. St. James also both begins and ends with faith, James 5:15; the hinderances of which he removes in the middle part of his epistle.
He that doubteth is like a wave of the sea — Yea, such are all who have not asked and obtained wisdom.
Driven with the wind — From without.
And tossed — From within, by his own unstableness.
 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
A doubleminded man — Who has, as it were, two souls; whose heart is not simply given up to God.
Is unstable — Being without the true wisdom; perpetually disagrees both with himself and others, James 3:16.
 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
Let the brother — St James does not give this appellation to the rich.
Of low degree — Poor and tempted.
Rejoice — The most effectual remedy against doublemindedness.
In that he is exalted — To be a child of God, and an heir of glory.
 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
But the rich, in that he is made low — Is humbled by a deep sense of his true condition.
Because as the flower — Beautiful, but transient.
He shall pass away — Into eternity.
 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
For the sun arose and withered the grass — There is an unspeakable beauty and elegance, both in the comparison itself, and in the very manner of expressing it, intimating both the certainty and the suddenness of the event.
So shall the rich fade away in his ways — In the midst of his various pleasures and employments.
 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.
Happy is the man that endureth temptation — Trials of various kinds.
He shall receive the crown — That fadeth not away.
Which the Lord hath promised to them that love him — And his enduring proves his love. For it is love only that "endureth all things."
 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But let no man who is tempted - To sin.
Say, I am tempted of God — God thus tempteth no man.
 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Every man is tempted, when — In the beginning of the temptation.
He is drawn away — Drawn out of God, his strong refuge.
By his own desire — We are therefore to look for the cause of every sin, in, not out of ourselves. Even the injections of the devil cannot hurt before we make them our own. And every one has desires arising from his own constitution, tempers, habits, and way of life.
And enticed — In the progress of the temptation, catching at the bait: so the original word signifies.
 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Then desire having conceived — By our own will joining therewith. Bringeth forth actual sin - It doth not follow that the desire itself is not sin. He that begets a man is himself a man.
And sin being perfected — Grown up to maturity, which it quickly does.
Bringeth forth death — Sin is born big with death.
 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Do not err — It is a grievous error to ascribe the evil and not the good which we receive to God.
 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
No evil, but every good gift - Whatever tends to holiness.
And every perfect gift — Whatever tends to glory.
Descendeth from the Father of lights — The appellation of Father is here used with peculiar propriety. It follows, "he begat us." He is the Father of all light, material or spiritual, in the kingdom of grace and of glory.
With whom is no variableness — No change in his understanding.
Or shadow of turning — in his will. He infallibly discerns all good and evil; and invariably loves one, and hates the other. There is, in both the Greek words, a metaphor taken from the stars, particularly proper where the Father of lights is mentioned. Both are applicable to any celestial body, which has a daily vicissitude of day and night, and sometimes longer days, sometimes longer nights. In God is nothing of this kind. He is mere light. If there Is any such vicissitude, it is in ourselves, not in him.
 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Of his own will — Most loving, most free, most pure, just opposite to our evil desire, James 1:15.
Begat he us — Who believe.
By the word of truth — The true word, emphatically so termed; the gospel.
That we might be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures — Christians are the chief and most excellent of his visible creatures; and sanctify the rest. Yet he says, A kind of - For Christ alone is absolutely the first - fruits.
 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
Let every man be swift to hear — This is treated of from James 1:21 to the end of the next chapter.
Slow to speak — Which is treated of in he third chapter.
Slow to wrath — Neither murmuring at God, nor angry at his neighbour. This is treated of in the third, and throughout the fourth and fifth chapters.
 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
The righteousness of God here includes all duties prescribed by him, and pleasing to him.
 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Therefore laying aside — As a dirty garment.
All the filthiness and superfluity of wickedness — For however specious or necessary it may appear to worldly wisdom, all wickedness is both vile, hateful, contemptible, and really superfluous. Every reasonable end may be effectually answered without any kind or degree of it. Lay this, every known sin, aside, or all your hearing is vain.
With meekness — Constant evenness and serenity of mind.
Receive — Into your ears, your heart, your life.
The word — Of the gospel.
Which is able to save your souls — The hope of salvation nourishes meekness.
 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Beholding his face in a glass — How exactly does the scripture glass show a man the face of his soul!
 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
He beheld himself, and went away — To other business.
And forgot — But such forgetting does not excuse.
 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
But he that looketh diligently — Not with a transient glance, but bending down, fixing his eyes, and searching all to the bottom.
Into the perfect law — Of love as established by faith. St. James here guards us against misunderstanding what St. Paul says concerning the "yoke and bondage of the law." He who keeps the law of love is free, John 8:31, etc. He that does not, is not free, but a slave to sin, and a criminal before God, James 2:10.
And continueth therein — Not like him who forgot it, and went away.
This man — There is a peculiar force in the repetition of the word.
Shall be happy — Not barely in hearing, but doing the will of God.
 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
If any one be ever so religious — Exact in the outward offices of religion.
And bridleth not his tongue — From backbiting, talebearing, evilspeaking, he only deceiveth his own heart, if he fancies he has any true religion at all.
 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The only true religion in the sight of God, is this, to visit - With counsel, comfort, and relief.
The fatherless and widows — Those who need it most.
In their affliction — In their most helpless and hopeless state.
And to keep himself unspotted from the world — From the maxims, tempers, and customs of it. But this cannot be done, till we have given our hearts to God, and love our neighbour as ourselves.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on James》
Chapter 1. Listening and Doing
Trials of Many
I. Trails from God
II. Temptations from the Devil
III. Not merely Listening But Doing
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter One General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THE CHAPTER
1) To appreciate the value of enduring trials
2) To understand how sin develops, from temptation to death (separation
3) To note the importance of being doers of the Word, and practitioners
of religion that is pure and undefiled before God
Following a simple and humble salutation (1), James begins his epistle
with a call to view trials as occasions to rejoice, understanding they
can produce patience which leads to maturity (2-5). If wisdom is
needed, he counsels his readers to ask God with faith and no doubting
(5-8). In the meantime, the poor are encouraged to rejoice in their
exaltation, while the rich are to be thankful for their humiliation
Motivation to endure temptation is given, along with an explanation as
to the true source of temptations and the development of sin which
leads to spiritual death (12-15). Let no one be deceived, God is not
the source of temptation, but the Father of every good and perfect gift
which comes down from above, who has brought us forth that we might be
the firstfruits of His creation (16-18).
With admonitions to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath,
James then expounds upon a major theme of this epistle: to be doers of
the word and not hearers only. Illustrating the folly of being a
hearer only, he contrasts the difference between religion that is
useless and that which is pure and undefiled before God (19-27).
I. TRUE RELIGION ENDURES TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS (2-18)
A. WITH JOY AND PATIENCE (2-4)
1. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience
2. Letting patience produce its perfect work
a. That you may be perfect and complete
b. That you may lack nothing
B. WITH WISDOM FROM GOD (5-8)
1. If you lack wisdom, ask God
a. Who gives to all liberally and without reproach
b. It will be given to you
2. But ask in faith, with no doubting; for he who doubts...
a. Is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind
b. Should not suppose that he will receive anything from the
c. Is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways
C. WITH A PROPER PERSPECTIVE (9-11)
1. If a lowly brother, glory in your exaltation
2. If rich, glory in your humiliation
a. For as the flower of the field you will pass away, as the
grass withers with the burning heat of the rising sun
b. So the rich man will fade away in his pursuits
D. WITH AN UNDERSTANDING OF TEMPTATION (12-15)
1. The man who endures temptation will be blessed
a. For he will receive the crown of life when he is proven
b. Which the Lord has promised to those who love Him
2. Temptations do not come from God
a. God cannot be tempted by evil
b. He does not tempt anyone
3. The source of temptations
a. One is tempted when drawn away by his own desires and is
b. When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin
c. Sin, when full-grown, brings forth death
E. WITH AN AWARENESS OF THE FATHER'S GOODNESS (16-18)
1. Do not be deceived, beloved brethren
2. Every good and perfect gift is from above
a. Coming down from the Father of lights
b. With whom there is no variation or shadow of turning
3. Of His own will He brought us forth
a. By the word of truth
b. That we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures
II. TRUE RELIGION CONSISTS OF DOING, NOT JUST HEARING (19-27)
A. ONE SHOULD BE SWIFT TO HEAR (19-20)
1. Let every one be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath
2. For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God
B. ONE SHOULD NOT BE HEARERS ONLY, BUT DOERS (21-27)
1. What to lay aside, and what to receive
a. Lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness
b. Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to
save your souls
2. Be doers of the word, and not hearers only
a. Otherwise you deceive yourselves
b. You are like a man who after looking in mirror soon forgets
what he looked like
3. One who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in
a. Is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work
b. Will be blessed in what he does
4. Your religion is useless...
a. If you think you're religious, but do not bridle your
b. You deceive only your heart
5. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is
a. To visit orphans and widows in their trouble
b. To keep oneself unspotted from the world
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- True religion endures trials and temptations (1-18)
- True religion consists of doing, not just hearing (19-27)
2) How should Christians view trials in their life? Why? (2-3)
- An occasion in which to rejoice
- Knowing that testing one's faith produces patience
3) What is the value of developing patience? (4)
- It helps to make one perfect and complete, lacking nothing
4) If we lack wisdom, what should we do? Why? How? (5-6)
- Ask of God
- He gives to all liberally and without reproach
- In faith, with no doubting
5) What is one who doubts like? What can he expect? Why? (6-8)
- Like the wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind
- To receive nothing from the Lord
- He is double-minded, and unstable in all his ways
6) In what should the lowly brother glory? The rich man? (9-10)
- His exaltation
- His humiliation
7) What is the rich man like in his pursuits? (10-11)
- A flower of the field that soon withers with the heat of the
8) When is the man who endures temptation blessed? How will he be
- When he is proved
- By receiving the crown of life the Lord has promised to those who
9) What should no one say when they are tempted? Why? (13)
- "I am tempted by God"
- God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone
10) Then how is one tempted? (14)
- When drawn away by his own desires and enticed
11) When is sin born? What does sin produce when full-grown? (15)
- When desire has conceived and given birth
12) What is the source of every good gift and every perfect gift? (17)
- From above, coming down from the Father of lights
13) How has God brought us forth (given us birth)? Why did He do this?
- Of His own will, by the word of truth
- That we might a kind of firstfruits of His creatures
14) What does James desire of his "beloved brethren"? (19)
- To be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath
15) Why should one be "slow to wrath"? (20)
- The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God
16) What needs to be laid aside? (21)
- All filthiness and overflow of wickedness
17) What needs to be received with meekness? Why? (21)
- The implanted word
- It is able to save your souls
18) To avoid deceiving ourselves, what must we be? (22)
- Doers of the word, and not hearers only
19) What is one like who hears the word but does not do it? (23-24)
- One who looks at himself in a mirror, only to go away and soon
forget what he looked like
20) Who will be truly blessed in what they do? (25)
- He who looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it
- He who is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work
21) Whose religion is useless? (26)
- The one who thinks he is religious, but does not bridle his tongue
and deceives his own heart
22) What is pure and undefiled religion before God? (27)
- To visit orphans and widows in their trouble
- To keep oneself unspotted from the world
A Servant Of God And The Lord Jesus Christ (1:1)
1. In our introductory study, we concluded that James, the Lord's
brother, was most likely the author
2. If this is so, then it is interesting that James does not identify
himself as such, but rather as simply "a servant of God and of the
Lord Jesus Christ" (1:1)
3. Perhaps it was a case of humility; yet, calling himself a "servant"
was not peculiar to James
a. Paul described himself as such as well - Ro 1:1; Ph 1:1
b. So did Peter (2 Pe 1:1) and Jude (Ju 1)
4. Why did these men refer to themselves as "servants"?
a. The Greek term (DOULOS) literally means "a slave"
b. Why use such a term to describe themselves?
c. And why should WE think of ourselves as "servants"?
5. In this lesson, I shall explain why, and make some other observations
concerning the idea of being a servant
[First of all...]
I. BEING A SERVANT IS "WHAT A DISCIPLE OF JESUS IS CALLED TO BE"
A. JESUS STRESSED THIS TRUTH ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS...
1. While pointing out the faults of the scribes and Pharisees
- Mt 23:8-12
2. During the Last Supper, with a vivid demonstration of servitude
- Jn 13:12-17
3. Even by His own example, as He came to serve - Mt 20:25-28;
B. SPECIFICALLY, WE ARE CALLED TO SERVE...
1. God - Ja 1:1; He 9:14
2. Jesus Christ - Ja 1:1; 2 Co 4:1
3. Righteousness - Ro 6:17-18
4. Each other - Ga 5:13; 1 Co 9:19-23
[The early Christians called themselves "servants", because that is what
But what is so good about being a "servant"? For one thing...]
II. BEING A SERVANT IS "A MARK OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY"
A. AN IMMATURE PERSON IS USUALLY VERY SELFISH...
1. For example, newborn babies are very ego-centrical
2. Normally, as people grow older, they begin to concern themselves
with the needs of others
a. If they do, they are becoming mature
b. If they remain selfish, it is an indication of immaturity
B. A PERSON WHO SERVES OTHERS...
1. Is certainly not selfish, but concerned with the needs of others
2. And thereby demonstrates mature behavior
C. JAMES' DESCRIPTION OF HIMSELF FITS IN VERY WELL WITH THE "THEME"
OF HIS EPISTLE...
1. Remember, the theme is: MARKS OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY
2. By being a servant, James is demonstrating his own spiritual
3. And we can make the point that one of the marks of spiritual
maturity is truly being "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus
[Are we trying to be servants of God, and of His Son, the Lord Jesus
Christ? If so, then we are on the road to spiritual maturity!
But before we answer too hastily, let's consider that...]
III. BEING A SERVANT HAS SEVERAL "IMPLICATIONS"
A. IT IMPLIES "ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE"...
1. In a slave-master relationship...
a. The slave knows no law but his master's word
b. He has no rights of his own
c. He is the absolute possession of his master
d. He is bound to give his master unquestioning obedience
2. Does this describe our relationship to Christ?
a. It should, especially in light of 1 Co 6:19-20
b. We have to come to Jesus on HIS terms, not our own - Lk
6:46; Mt 7:21
B. IT IMPLIES "ABSOLUTE HUMILITY"...
1. Otherwise, absolute obedience is not possible
a. When we have a humble opinion of ourselves, we are receptive
to the idea of complete obedience
b. For example, consider Paul's self-estimation - 1 Co 15:9-10;
Ep 3:8; 1 Ti 1:15
2. Does this describe our relationship to Christ and His Will?
a. Jesus said it should! - Lk 17:10
b. But if we murmur or complain about what Jesus tells us to do,
can we really be considered "servants"?
C. IT IMPLIES "ABSOLUTE LOYALTY"...
1. Since we become servants FREELY, it should be expected that we:
a. Are to be loyal to Him first - cf. Ga 1:10
b. Do not consider our own profit or preference important, but
that of the One we freely serve!
2. But it is amazing how anyone can claim to be servants of the
Lord Jesus Christ, while:
a. Complaining about having to do the will of God, OR...
b. Being negligent or slothful in carrying out His will
3. But some act as though they are being forced against their own
a. They don't "have to" serve the Lord Jesus...
1) Of course, the alternative is not very inviting
2) If we don't serve Jesus, by default we serve Satan, and
are destined for hell!
b. But God by His grace has offered salvation, and how dare we
ever grumble or complain that He calls us to life of service
in grateful appreciation!
[These are some of the implications of being called a "servant". It
is costly in terms of service, pride, and allegiance.
But consider also that...]
IV. BEING A SERVANT IS "A GREAT HONOR"
A. FAR FROM BEING A TITLE OF DISHONOR, IT WAS THE TITLE BY WHICH THE
GREATEST MEN OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WERE KNOWN...
1. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - Deu 9:27 ("Thy servants")
2. Moses - 1 Kin 8:53 ("Thy servant")
3. Joshua - Josh 24:29 ("Servant of the Lord")
4. Caleb - Num 14:24 ("My servant")
5. Job - Job 1:8 ("My servant")
6. Isaiah - Isa 20:3 ("My servant")
7. The prophets - Jer 7:25 ("My servants")
B. HOW WONDERFUL IT WOULD BE IF GOD LOOKED UPON US AS COMPANIONS OF
THESE GREAT MEN...
1. Who found freedom, peace, and glory!
2. Who found it in perfect submission to the Will of God!
1. He will, IF we are willing to accept the call to serve Him and His
Son Jesus Christ with...
a. Absolute obedience
b. Absolute humility
c. Absolute loyalty
2. And when we are serving God, His Son Jesus Christ, and even each other
in this manner, we are making great strides towards SPIRITUAL
"...a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" - can this be said
Turning Trials Into Triumph (1:2-8)
1. Perhaps you have seen the bumper sticker: "When life hands you a
lemon, make lemonade!"
2. It is easier to smile at that statement than to practice it, but the
basic philosophy is sound
a. In fact, it is Biblical
b. Throughout the Bible are people who turned defeat into victory and
trials into triumph
c. Instead of being VICTIMS, they became VICTORS
3. The Epistle of James tells us that we can have this same experience
a. Whether we are dealing with trials on the outside
b. Or temptations on the inside
-- Through faith in God and Jesus Christ we CAN experience victory!
4. The KEY to turning trials into triumph is to obey four imperatives:
a. COUNT - 1:2
b. KNOW - 1:3
c. LET - 1:4
d. ASK - 1:5-8
[Starting with verse two, then, let's look at the first imperative...]
I."COUNT IT ALL JOY WHEN YOU FALL INTO VARIOUS TRIALS" (1:2)
A. NOTICE THAT JAMES ASSUMES THAT WE WILL EXPERIENCE TRIALS...
1. He doesn't say "if" but "when"
2. This is because Christians must expect trials
a. So said Jesus - Jn 16:33
b. Paul also - Ac 14:22
3. The nature of these trials are "various"
a. Some trials come simply because we are human
1) Sickness, accidents
2) Disappointments, death
b. Other trials come because we are Christians - 1 Pe 4:12;
2 Ti 3:12
4. But because Satan fights us, and the world opposes us, we can
B. WHAT IS TO BE THE CHRISTIAN'S RESPONSE? - "COUNT IT ALL JOY!"
1. This was the attitude of:
a. The apostles - Ac 5:41
b. Paul - Ro 5:3; Ph 2:17-18
c. The Christians - 1 Pe 1:6-8; 4:12-14
2. So the first step to turning trials into triumph is to:
IMMEDIATELY THANK GOD AND ADOPT A JOYFUL ATTITUDE!
["But how," we may ask, "is it possible to rejoice in the midst of
trials?" The second imperative in verse 3 explains how...]
II. "KNOWING THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH PRODUCES PATIENCE" (1:3)
A. THE RIGHT KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING THE VALUE OF TRIALS MAKES IT
POSSIBLE TO HAVE A JOYFUL ATTITUDE...
1. We are to understand that:
a. Trials test our faith
b. Faith tested can bring out the best in us!
1) Just as fire purifies gold - 1 Pe 1:7
2) Just as training makes the athlete stronger
2. With this understanding, we can have joy in trials because we
a. Testing works FOR us, not AGAINST us - cf. 2 Co 4:17
b. Trials rightly used help us to mature
B. SPECIFICALLY, FAITH TESTED PRODUCES "PATIENCE"...
1. Notice Ro 5:3-4
2. In the BIBLE...
a. "Patience" is NOT a passive acceptance of circumstances
b. The GREEK word is HUPOMONE
1) From the preposition HUPO (under), and MENO (to remain,
2) It denotes the ability to exhibit stedfastness and
constancy in the face of the most formidable difficulty!
c. It is a courageous perseverance in the face of suffering!
d. It is the continuing on even when it is rough, despite the
3. Such a quality of stedfastness can come only through
4. The value of developing PATIENCE will be seen shortly...
[Having this understanding about what trials can accomplish enables us to
have a joyful attitude toward such trials.
But to really benefit from our trials, we must also obey the third
imperative found in verse four...]
III. "LET PATIENCE HAVE ITS PERFECT WORK" (1:4)
A. TO TRULY TURN TRIALS INTO TRIUMPH, WE MUST LET "PATIENCE" DO ITS
1. Too often, we want to get our trials or difficulties over with
2. But there are times when the best course is to bear up under
the trial patiently
a. Instead of grumbling and complaining...
b. ...patiently endure the trial, doing good despite the trial
B. FOR WHEN PATIENCE HAS HAD AN
OPPORTUNITYTO WORK, IT PRODUCES
1. The word PERFECT does not mean sinlessness, but "completeness,
2. In the New Testament, it is used of those who:
a. Have attained to spiritual manhood in Christ
b. Have reached full maturity and understanding in spiritual
c. Are no longer "babes" and immature persons in Christ
3. Such maturity comes only when patience has had time to work!
a. Consider, for example, an endurance runner in his training
1) To be a mature runner requires letting patience do its
2) That is, patiently running mile after mile in training
b. If we wish to run the race well spiritually speaking, we
need to develop patience
1) Which comes only through a form of spiritual "resistance
2) That is, trials in which our faith is put to the test!
[Letting patience have its perfect work is not easy. It certainly
requires wisdom which enables us to see the value of our trials.
This brings us to the fourth imperative necessary to turn trials into
triumph, found in verses five to eight...]
IV. "LET HIM ASK OF GOD" (1:5-8)
A. IF WE LACK WISDOM, ASK FOR IT FROM GOD!
1. He has promised to give it liberally
2. And He will not reproach us for making such a request
3. Even as Solomon's request for wisdom was well-pleasing to God
- 1 Kings 3:7-12
B. WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS "WISDOM"?
1. We should be careful to distinguish "wisdom" from "knowledge"
a. Knowledge involves information, facts, etc.
b. Wisdom is the ability or insight to properly use those facts
in the most expeditious way
2. Failure to understand this distinction has led many into error!
a. Many believe that this passage (Ja 1:5-8) teaches that God
will give knowledge concerning His Will in answer to prayer
b. But knowledge comes only through His Word; we must carefully
study it if we would know the Will of God!
c. However, the WISDOM to properly use His Word can be received
C. THE WISDOM TO PROPERLY USE TRIALS AND TURN THEM INTO TRIUMPH CAN
LIKEWISE COME THROUGH "PROPER" PRAYER...
1. Proper prayer is that asked in faith and with no doubt
2. Otherwise, the prayer will not be answered by God
1. So here is the key to turning trials into triumph:
a. Having the knowledge and perspective that adversity can accomplish
b. Letting the patient enduring of adversity acommplish its work
c. All the while using the wisdom God gives in answer to prayer to
help put it all together
2. When this is done, even trials can be a source of joy for the
Have we learned to make lemonade out of our lemons in life?
Note: Much of the material for this outline was adapted heavily
from The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume 2, by Warren W. Wiersbe,
Trials Of Poverty & Wealth (1:9-11)
1. James has already discussed how we can turn trials into triumph,
dealing with trials in general (1:2-8)
2. In verses 9-11, he discusses specifically the trials of being poor
and being rich, and the attitudes we should have
3. In this lesson, we shall concentrate our attention on verses 9-11
and passages elsewhere which deal with the subject of poverty and
[Let's begin by noticing that both wealth and poverty can be a
I. THE TRIALS OF POVERTY AND WEALTH (cf. Prov 30:7-9)
A. IN "POVERTY", WE MAY BE TEMPTED TO CURSE GOD...
1. Like Job's wife wanted her husband to do, when they had lost
everything - Job 2:9
2. And as many do today when things don't go well
B. IN "WEALTH", WE MAY BE TEMPTED TO FORGET GOD...
1. As God warned
that it might happen to them - Deu 8:10- Israel
2. And as it did in fact happen to them - Hos 13:5-6
[Having seen that both poverty and wealth have their own potential for
causing problems, let's now consider...]
II. THE REASONS FOR JOY IN POVERTY OR WEALTH (Ja 1:9-11)
A. IF WE ARE "POOR", THEN WE CAN REJOICE THAT WE HAVE BEEN "EXALTED"!
1. God has chosen the "poor" to be rich in faith - Is 66:1-2;
a. It is the poor who first had the gospel preached to them
- Lk 4:18
b. It is the poor slave who becomes Christ's "freedman" - 1
2. So even if poor, we can still be "spiritually rich" and on
equal par with all Christians - cf. Re 2:8-9
B. IF WE ARE "RICH", THEN WE CAN REJOICE THAT WE HAVE BEEN "HUMBLED"!
1. The rich are "humbled" by their:
a. Becoming Christ's "slave" - 1 Co 7:21-22
b. Being placed on an equal par with all Christians...in which
riches mean nothing - cf. Re 3:11-19
2. Why it is good that the rich be so "humbled"...
a. Riches are temporary - Ja 1:10-11; Prov 23:1-5; 1 Ti 6:17
b. Riches are unable to redeem our souls - Ps 49:6-9,13-20
c. The love of money is a "quagmire" and a source of "self-
inflicted injuries" - 1 Ti 6:9-10
3. In other words, it is good that in coming to Jesus Christ we
find these things out...
a. Or we might have made the same mistake many make today
b. Thinking that money provides true security (remember the
rich fool? - Lk 12:13-21)
1. Even in the trials of poverty or wealth, there can be a cause for
2. For Jesus is "The Great Equalizer"
a. Exalting the poor who are rich in faith
b. Humbling the wealthy by basing their salvation not on wealth, but
on that which cannot be bought: the blood of Jesus and the
obedience of a humble and contrite spirit
3. Keeping these thoughts in mind will help us learn to be content in
whatever financial conditions we may find ourselves; as Paul wrote:
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. 12 I know both
how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all
things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to
abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ
which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4)
The important question is not "How rich are you?" but "How rich IN FAITH
The Christian & Temptations (1:12-18)
1. One of the greatest challenges of living the Christian life is dealing
2. This is especially true for new Christians:
a. For it can be frustrating to know that your sins have been
b. ...only to immediately find yourself bombarded by temptations to
continue in your sins
3. In Ja 1:12-18, we find helpful words for the Christian in the form
a. A PROMISE to those who endure temptations
b. A CAUTION not to wrongfully impugn the source of those
c. AN UNDERSTANDING of how sin develops
[As we begin with verse 12, we notice...]
I. THE PROMISE (12)
A. THE MAN WHO ENDURES TEMPTATION WILL BE "BLESSED"...
1. The Greek word for "blessed" is "makarios"
2. Which means "happy, blessed"
3. The nature of the happiness enjoyed is described as the verse
B. FOR AFTER HE HAS BEEN "PROVED" HE WILL RECEIVE "THE CROWN OF
1. The promise is that of "eternal life"
2. The promise is given by Him Who cannot lie - cf. Ti 1:2
3. The promise is given to those who "demonstrate" (prove) their
love for God by their endurance of the temptations
[And so, to Christians facing temptations, first we have an ENCOURAGING
word. As we read on, though, we notice a word of CAUTION...]
II. THE CAUTION (13, 16-18)
A. LET NO ONE SAY THEY ARE TEMPTED BY GOD! (13)
1. That is, to blame God for their temptations
2. For God is so HOLY:
a. He cannot be tempted by evil
b. Nor does He tempt anyone to do evil
B. SO DON'T BE DECEIVED INTO SUCH THINKING (16-18)
1. God is the source of GOOD, not evil!
2. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him!
3. As an example, it was of His Own Will that He brought us forth
a. Which He did by the "word of truth" (the gospel) - cf. 1 Pe
b. So we might be a kind of "firstfruits" (the "cream of the
crop") of His creatures
[This being true, certainly God would not tempt us with evil! In fact,
through the words of James God gives us insight into the development of
sin which can help us to overcome sin...]
III. THE UNDERSTANDING (14-15)
A. HOW SIN DEVELOPS...
1. The first stage is TEMPTATION (14)
a. This stage involves two things:
1) LUST (desires, NKJV) - a strong desire for something
2) ENTICEMENT - an opportunity and encouragement to satisfy
b. Put into a mathematical formula:
Temptation = Desire +
c. E.g., a small boy is TEMPTED to steal some cookies when he
WANTS them (desire) and has a good chance to get them and
not be seen (opportunity)
d. But remember, it is NOT a sin to be TEMPTED - cf. the example
of Jesus, He 4:15
2. The second stage in the development of sin is SIN ITSELF (15)
a. Temptation leads to sin only when you yield and ACT upon it
b. Sin therefore requires the added step of ACTION
c. Putting it again in mathematical terms:
Sin = Desire +
3. The final stage is the consequence of unforgiven sin: DEATH
a. This refers to spiritual separation from God, which is the
"wages of sin" - Ro 6:23
b. Ultimately such "death" involves eternal punishment - Re
c. Putting it once more in the form of an equation:
Opportunity+ Action + No Forgiveness = Punishment!
[Sin and Satan will have overcome if we receive this final punishment.
But with this understanding of how sin develops, we are in a better
position to overcome sin...]
B. HOW TO OVERCOME SIN...
1. CHANGE OUR "DESIRES"
a. Since this is where the process of sin begins, it is the best
place for us to begin
b. Bear in mind that it is a part of Christian growth to change
our desires - Ro 12:1-2; Ga 5:24
c. How do we change our desires?
1) Notice that the WORD OF GOD has always been instrumental
in helping people overcome sin - Ps 119:11; Mt 4:3-10
2) To see how the Word of God can change our desires...
a) As we read of God's love, longsuffering and mercy, we
desire to serve Him - Ps 116:12-14
b) As we read of sin and its damnable consequences, we
come to hate it! - Ps 119:104
d. So the more we study God's Word, the less likely we will have
the DESIRE to sin, thereby beginning to overcome sin by
"nipping it in the bud"!
[But changing our desires takes time; while engaged in the process
of changing our desires, what else can we do?]
2. LIMIT OUR "OPPORTUNITIES"
a. Remember, we are tempted only when there is BOTH desire and
b. So while we work on changing our desires, we should limit the
opportunities to fulfill wrongful desires
c. This can be done by ASKING FOR GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL HELP, as
Jesus taught - Mt 6:13; 26:41
d. We can cooperate with God by:
1) Purposely avoiding situations that might excite wrongful
a) Following the example of David - Ps 101:3-4
b) And the example of Job - Job 31:1
2) Avoiding those whose evil behavior encourages us to sin
a) Again, David sets a good example - Ps 101:6-7
b) Paul also adds his warning - 1 Co 15:33
[But we will unlikely remove EVERY desire and opportunity to sin in
this life, what then?]
3. EXERCISE "SELF-CONTROL"
a. Remember, it becomes sin when we yield to ACTION in
fulfilling our sinful desires
b. If we can control ourselves so as to not yield, then we can
c. How does the Christian exercise self-control?
1) Self-control is but one aspect of the "fruit of the
Spirit" - Ga 5:22-23
2) When we become Christians, we receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit in our lives - Ac 2:38; 5:32
3) The Spirit is God's instrumental agent by which He imparts
strength to us - Ep 3:16
4) Strengthened by the Spirit, we are able to "put to death
the deeds of the body" - Ro 8:12-13
5) As Paul said: "I can do all things through Him who
strengthens me." - Ph 4:13
d. It is through faith in God's Word that the Christian believes
that he has this divine help - Ep 3:20
1) It is certainly proper to pray for it, as Paul did in
behalf of the Ephesians - Ep 3:16
2) But equally important, to act upon it, trusting that you
are not alone as you try to do God's will - Ph 2:12-13
3) As an exercise commercial once said: JUST DO IT!
e. The Christian, then, has no excuse for yielding to a
temptation - 1 Co 10:13
[But there may be times when we don't take advantage of the
strength God provides through His Spirit, and we sin; what then?]
4. OBTAIN "FORGIVENESS"
a. Remember that sin is victorious when it results in punishment
b. But if we obtain forgiveness through the blood of Christ, we
can avoid that punishment and thereby still overcome sin!
- 1 Jn 2:1-2
c. Yes, Christ is truly the "propitiation" for our sins!
1) By His blood, we were forgiven of past sins when united
with Him in BAPTISM - Ac 2:38; 22:16; Re 1:5
2) By His blood, we can be forgiven of present sins when we
REPENT, PRAY, and CONFESS our sins to God - Ac 8:22;
1 Jn 1:9
d. At any time the Christian can overcome sins that were
committed, by repenting and confessing them to God!
1. Indeed, we can overcome sin by stopping its development at ANY one
of the four stages leading to the final punishment!
2. If you noticed carefully, you should have seen that at each of the
four points in the development of sin, God is able and willing to help
us overcome sin!
a. God helps us to "control our desires" by providing His WORD to
renew our minds
b. God helps us to "limit the opportunities" through His PROVIDENCE
as we pray for such
c. God helps us to "exercise self-control" over our actions through
His SPIRIT strengthening the inner man
d. God helps us to "obtain forgiveness" through THE BLOOD OF HIS SON
as we repent and pray
3. So how could anyone say that God would tempt us to sin?
a. Certainly He is the giver of every good and perfect gift! - Ja 1:17
b. Even as Paul wrote, in 2 Th 3:3; 1 Co 10:13
4. Have you taken advantage of God's way of escape for the sins you have
If not, why not do so by obeying the gospel, the Word of Truth, and
become one of the "firstfruits of His creatures"?
Slow To Wrath (1:19-20)
1. In Ja 1:19-20 we find a trio of graces:
a. "swift to hear"
b. "slow to speak"
c. "slow to wrath"
2. From the context, it appears that these admonitions are given in
regards to our reception of the Word of God - cf. Ja 1:18, 21
a. Therefore, they are qualities needed especially in times of trial
when we need most the Word of God
b. In other words, we need to humbly and calmly be receptive to what
the Word of God has to say
3. In this lesson, I wish to concentrate our attention on the third
admonition: "slow to wrath"
a. Especially in view of verse 20: "For the wrath of man worketh not
the righteousness of God."
b. And also because "wrath" (and its close cousin "anger") are too
often excused as "minor" sins
I. AN "OVERALL LOOK" AT ANGER AND WRATH
A. DEFINING "ANGER" AND "WRATH"...
1. ANGER - (Greek, "orge")
a. "Indignation which has arisen gradually and become more
settled" - THAYER
b. "ORGE suggests a more settled or abiding condition of mind,
frequently with a view to taking revenge" - VINE
c. Anger, then, is a lingering, seething emotion
2. WRATH - (Greek, "thumos")
a. "The sudden outburst of passionate anger" - ZONDERVAN
PICTORIAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE BIBLE
b. "The blaze of temper which flares into violent words and
deeds, and just as quickly dies" - BARCLAY
c. Today we would call this "blowing off steam"
B. THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS OF WISDOM SAY MUCH ABOUT ANGER AND WRATH
1. In the Psalms: Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not
thyself in any wise to do evil. (Psa 37:8)
2. In the book of Proverbs:
a. [He that is] soon angry dealeth foolishly (Pro 14:17)
b. [He that is] slow to wrath [is] of great understanding: but
[he that is] hasty of spirit exalteth folly. (Pro 14:29)
c. A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to
anger appeaseth strife. (Pro 15:18)
d. [He that is] slow to anger [is] better than the mighty; and
he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
e. A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou
deliver [him], yet thou must do it again. (Pro 19:19)
f. [It is] better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a
contentious and an angry woman. (Pro 21:19)
g. Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious
man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get
a snare to thy soul. (Pro 22:24-25)
3. In the book of Ecclesiastes: Be not hasty in thy spirit to be
angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. (Ecc 7:9)
C. THE NEW TESTAMENT ALSO SAYS MUCH AGAINST ANGER AND WRATH
1. To the brethren in
, Paul wrote: Dearly beloved, avenge Rome
not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is
written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
2. It is included with those things Paul lists as the "works of
the flesh" in Ga 5:19-21
3. To the Ephesians Paul writes: Let all bitterness, and wrath,
and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from
you, with all malice: (Eph 4:31)
4. In a similar vein to the Colossians: But now ye also put off
all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication
out of your mouth. (Co 3:8)
D. HAVING SAID ALL THAT, WE MUST ALSO NOTE THAT...
1. Paul seems to concede that there is a place for a certain kind
of anger: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down
upon your wrath: (Ep 4:26)
2. On several occasions Jesus expressed anger
a. Towards the money changers in the temple - Jn 2:13-17
b. Towards the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees - Mt 23:13-
3. In both testaments, God is presented as a God of anger as well
as a God of love
a. In the Old Testament:
1) He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath,
and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels
[among them]. He made a way to his anger; he spared
not their soul from death, but gave their life over to
the pestilence; And smote all the firstborn in
the chief of [their] strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
2) For they provoked him to anger with their high places,
and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
When God heard [this], he was wroth, and greatly abhorred
Israel: So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh,
the tent [which] he placed among men; And delivered his
strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's
hand. (Psa 78:58-61)
3) Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his
people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them,
and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and
their carcases [were] torn in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand
[is] stretched out still. (Isa 5:25)
b. In the New Testament:
1) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth
in unrighteousness; (Ro 1:18)
2) Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and
forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the
goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after
thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto
thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of
the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every
man according to his deeds: To them who by patient
continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and
immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are
contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey
unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and
anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the
Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour,
and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew
first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no
respect of persons with God. (Ro 2:4-11)
[How do we then reconcile those passages which demand that anger and
wrath is folly and something to be put away, with those that speak of
anger on the part of God, Christ and even the Christian?
A closer look may help provide the answer...]
II. A "CLOSER LOOK" AT ANGER AND WRATH
A. CONCERNING THE ANGER OF GOD...
1. God's anger is ALWAYS A JUST REACTION TO EVIL (as clearly
pointed out in Ro 1:18-2:11
a. Being Divine, and all-knowing, His wrath is NEVER MISGUIDED
b. He is therefore capable of properly directing anger and wrath
2. Man, with his imperfections, is not so capable!
a. His anger is often misguided (through ignorance, misunder-
b. Haven't we ever been angry about something, later regretting
it when we realize we were in error?
3. Therefore, just because God may display wrath and anger, this
does not necessarily justify man doing so!
B. CONCERNING THE ANGER OF CHRIST...
1. What has already been said of God could also be said of Christ
a. Especially in light of His ability to read the hearts of
men - Jn 2:24-25
b. With such divine knowledge, He could not mistakenly direct
wrath and anger
2. Also, in the examples of His anger...
a. There is nothing of self-interest
b. Only HOLY ANGER against unrighteousness which is abhorrent
3. He was angry, but only for God's honor!
a. When personally abused, He said nothing - 1 Pe 2:21-23
b. But when it was against God, He displayed "righteous anger"
4. Again, man with his imperfections often uses anger improperly
a. For example...
1) We remain silent when sin is exalted and GOD is dishonored
2) But then get angry when someone offends US personally!
b. Too often, therefore, what we justify as "righteous
indignation" is really "SELF-righteous indignation"!
C. CONCERNING THE ANGER IN EPHESIANS 4:26...
1. Whatever our interpretation, it needs to be in harmony with the
2. Especially with what Paul writes just a few verses later: Let
all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil
speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (Ep 4:31)
3. I understand this passage, rather than justifying anger, to be
directing us how to deal with it when it arises in our heart:
a. First, "DO NOT SIN"
1) The emotion must be CONTROLLED
2) Don't allow it to manifest itself in a sinful way
3) Such as saying or doing something that is wrong
b. Then, "DO NOT LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON YOUR WRATH"
1) The emotion must be DISPELLED BEFORE NIGHTFALL
2) Otherwise, we may be giving Satan ample opportunity to
tempt us to sin - cf. Ep 4:27
4. In view of what Paul actually says in Ep 4:26 and then later
in Ep 4:31, it seems highly unlikely that he is justifying
anger and wrath
1. Concerning the subject of anger and wrath, we would do well to take
James' admonition to heart and to be "slow to wrath"
2. For though the "wrath of God" may on occasions accomplish the
"righteousness of God, it is clearly stated that the "wrath of man"
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (Ja
3. Following the example of Christ, there may be a place for anger, but
if so, ONLY in things pertaining to the honor and will of God!
4. In all other things, we would do well to remember another admontion:
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto
all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those
that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them
repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they
may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken
captive by him at his will. (2 Ti 2:24-26)
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow
to speak, slow to wrath:" (Ja 1:19)
The Implanted Word (1:21-25)
1. This study is based upon Ja 1:21-25, in which we read concerning
"The Implanted Word" (the KJV uses the word "Engrafted"):
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of
naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is
able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not
hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer
of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his
natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his
way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But
whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth
[therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work,
this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1)
2. Several observations can be made about the Word of God from this
passage, and the first pertains to what the Word is able to do in our
I. THE POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD
A. NOTICE THE WORDS OF JAMES HIMSELF...
1. "which is able to save your souls" (1:21)
2. Stated very clearly, the Word of God has the power to SAVE OUR
[To see how, let's consider some other scriptures...]
B. ITS POWER TO SAVE IS FOUND IN ITS ABILITY TO...
1. CREATE ANEW
a. I.e., to cause us to be born again - 1 Pe 1:22-25; Ja 1:18
b. This is because of what the Word of God contains: God's
way of salvation through Jesus Christ!
a. The word "sanctify" means to "set apart for a holy purpose"
b. David sang of the Word's ability to sanctify God's people
- Ps 19:7-11
c. In His prayer, Jesus spoke of the sanctifying influence of
God's Word - Jn 17:15-17
d. Thus the Word of God can serve to set us apart for His
a. The young were told to preserve their way by the Word of
God - Ps 119:9,11
b. The elders were admonished to keep the church pure by
the same Word - Ac 20:28-32
[When we take the time to consider the POWER of the Word of God, it
becomes evident that the Word is very important to the Christian!
But the value of "The Implanted Word" can only be realized when
certain conditions are met. We find those conditions mentioned in our
II. BENEFITING FROM THE POWERFUL WORD OF GOD
A. THERE ARE THINGS WE MUST LAY ASIDE! (
1. James mentions such things as "all filthiness and overflow of
wickedness" (NKJV) - cf. Paul's description of things to
lay aside - Co 3:5-9
2. For the Word of God to bear its fruit in our lives, the "weeds
of sin" must first be uprooted!
a. We cannot hope to benefit from our study of the Word if we
continue to dwell on that which is spiritually filthy and to
engage in wickedness
b. Could this be why many do not get much out of Bible study?
B. WE MUST HAVE A PROPER ATTITUDE! (21b)
1. James says to "receive with meekness" the Word of God
2. A humble and receptive attitude is essential to get the most
out of the Word of God
3. It helps to remain humble if we remember two things:
a. We are sinners too!
b. We can be easily deceived also!
4. We should study, not to learn facts, not to win debates, but to
learn God's truth to save ourselves and those around us!
5. Is this prayer of David our own? "Open thou mine eyes, that I
may behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Psa 119:18)
C. THE WORD MUST BE "IMPLANTED" IN OUR HEARTS! (21b)
1. It is only the "implanted" Word which can truly save our souls
a. Therefore we must be sure to take the words out of the pages
and implant them into our hearts!
b. Otherwise we are no different from the Jews who gave lip
service to their Words written on stone
2. A distinguishing feature of the those under the NEW COVENANT
is that the Word of God is to be WRITTEN IN THEIR HEARTS - He
3. Where is the Word of God today?
a. Is it only in ink inscribed on paper?
b. Or we have we read it often enough, meditated upon it enough,
that it has become IMPLANTED in our hearts as well?
4. Is this possible without daily reading of the Bible?
D. IT MUST BE APPLIED IN OUR LIVES! (22-25)
1. We must be "doers of the Word and not hearers only"
2. Otherwise, we deceive ourselves (and usually ONLY ourselves)
a. God is not deceived
b. Nor is the devil
c. Most likely our children will see through us
d. And so will many others!
3. Notice that the true blessedness of the Word comes...
a. NOT by "looking into the perfect law of liberty" ALONE
b. BUT by "continuing in it," and being "a doer of the work"
4. Yes, it is not just the READING of the Word which provides JOY,
PEACE and HAPPINESS, but the actual application of the Word in
lives through faithful obedience!
1. Notice that James calls the Word of God the "perfect law of liberty"
- Ja 1:25
a. This is because in its power to:
* CREATE ANEW
b. ...it provides TRUE FREEDOM: LIBERATION FROM THE GUILT AND
DOMINION OF SIN!
2. Of course, what gives the Word this power is the message it contains:
THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST (God's power unto salvation - Ro 1:16)
3. Undoubtedly you have heard it...but hearing it is not enough!
a. You must lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness - that
is, to REPENT - Ac 17:30-31
b. You must receive the message of the gospel with meekness - in other
words, to BELIEVE - Jn 3:16
c. You must also be a "doer of the Word" - for example, to OBEY HIS
COMMAND TO BE BAPTIZED
1) For Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to those who OBEY
Him - He 5:9
2) And in addition to the commands to believe and repent, He calls
us to be baptized! - Mk 16:16; Mt 28:19; Ac 2:38; 22:16
Receive with meekness these very words of Jesus and His apostles, for
that is how the Word of God is able to save your soul!
Pure And Undefiled Religion (1:26-27)
1. What kind of religion do we have? Is it like a...
* SPARE TIRE (used only in the case of an emergency)?
* WHEELBARROW (easily upset and must be pushed)?
* BUS (ridden only when it goes your way)?
2. Whatever kind of religion we have, it is of no value unless it is
pleasing to God in heaven
3. In James 1:27, we find a definition of what constitutes "pure and
undefiled religion before God"
4. To be sure that our own religion is acceptable before God, let's
notice some attributes of "Pure And Undefiled Religion" as indicated
in this verse and its immediate context
[First, "Pure And Undefiled Religion" must be...]
I. A "PRACTICING" RELIGION
A. IT INVOLVES DOING SOMETHING ON OUR PART...
1. This is clearly implied in the phrase "to visit"
2. The context prior to this verse also makes it clear that we must
be "doers" and "not hearers only" - Ja 1:22-25
3. This echoes the teachings of Jesus Himself - Mt 7:21; Lk 6:46
B. IF WE ARE NOT "DOERS", WE ARE DECEIVING OURSELVES (Ja 1:22)
1. And usually, it is ONLY ourselves we are deceiving!
2. We are certainly not deceiving God, nor Satan
3. And it unlikely that we fool others, especially our children
[Having "a practicing religion" must be important, for later in his
epistle James emphasizes again the necessity of our faith working (Ja
In fact, we can conclude that a religion which is not a practicing
religion is a DEAD religion!
Next, "Pure And Undefiled Religion" must also be...]
II. A "PRACTICAL" RELIGION
A. GOD DID NOT INTEND FOR OUR RELIGION TO CONSIST SOLELY OF "GOING
1. Extending OUR HEART TO GOD IN WORSHIP is certainly important
2. But so is extending OUR HAND TO MAN IN SERVICE! - Ja 1:27
B. THROUGHOUT THE N.T., MUCH EMPHASIS IS PLACED UPON DOING GOOD...
1. From the writings of Paul - Ga 6:10; Ti 2:14; 3:8,14
2. From the author of Hebrews - He 13:16
3. From the apostle John - 1 Jn 3:17-18
[Until we apply the Word of God by showing kindness and compassion for
the poor and helpless, all the preaching, teaching, and studying we may
do cannot make our religion "pure and undefiled"!
A further attribute of "Pure And Undefiled Religion" is that it is...]
III. A "PERSONAL" RELIGION
A. IMPLIED BY THE USE OF "SINGULAR PRONOUNS" IN THE TEXT...
1. "anyone" - Ja 1:23
2. "he", "his" - Ja 1:23
3. "himself", "he" - Ja 1:24
4. "he", "this one" - Ja 1:25
5. "anyone", "he", "his", "this one's" - Ja 1:26
6. "oneself" - Ja 1:27
B. NOW, THERE IS A PLACE FOR "CORPORATE" GIVING...
1. That is, where we give in conjunction with others to meet a
2. For example, in helping needy Christians - 1 Co 16:1-2
C. BUT IT WAS NEVER INTENDED TO REPLACE OUR INDIVIDUAL AND PERSONAL
1. Some might think...
a. That their giving on Sunday fulfills their responsibility
to the poor, the widows, and the orphans
b. That it fulfills their obligation to preach the gospel
2. But God intended for "corporate" giving to only meet certain
3. He still expects us to fulfill our "personal" service to the
poor, widows, and orphans as we have the ability and
4. Just as we find in the Old Testament...
a. Though the third year tithe was for the widows and orphans
b. They were to always help them whenever they had the
[To practice "Pure And Undefiled Religion":
* We must make it personal; we can't pay someone else to do our
work for us!
* We cannot excuse ourselves by saying "I gave at the church"!
One last point I wish to make concerning "Pure And Undefiled Religion";
it must be...]
IV. A "PURE" RELIGION
A. THIS SOUNDS REDUNDANT, BUT IN OUR DAY IT MUST BE EMPHASIZED!
1. Our society has become increasingly immoral and materialistic
2. Such is wreaking havoc upon many in the Lord's church
3. What we hear and see may only be the "tip of the iceberg"!
B. OUR RELIGION IS FOR NOTHING, UNLESS IT IS...
1. PURE - without blemish
2. UNDEFILED - untainted
3. Capable of keeping us UNSPOTTED from (by) the world
C. BUT IF WE ARE SINNERS (as affirmed in 1 Jn 1:8), HOW CAN WE EVER
BE PURE, UNDEFILED, AND UNSPOTTED?
1. It is possible, only BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!
a. Which can cleanse us and make us pure if we walk in the
light with God - 1 Jn 1:7
b. This involves keeping the commandments of God - 1 Jn 2:3
1) For example, experiencing the INITIAL CLEANSING of the
blood when we obey the commands to repent and be
baptized for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38
2) And, experiencing the CONTINUOUS CLEANSING of the blood
when we confess our sins to God - 1 Jn 1:9
2. It is possible only BY THE HELP OF GOD!
a. Who not only provides the blood of Christ to cleanse us from
b. But also a way of escape in times of temptation - 1 Co 10:13
3. Yes, with Christ's blood and God's help, it is possible to be
pure, undefiled, and unspotted by the world!
4. And this is what makes the religion of Jesus Christ UNIQUE!
a. Other religions may be "practicing, practical and personal"
b. But only the true religion of Jesus Christ can present one
"pure" in the sight of God! - cf. Jn 14:6
1. What kind of religion do YOU have?
a. Is it a PRACTICING religion?
1) Does it go beyond the walls of a building?
2) Does it go beyond the printed pages of the Bible?
3) Does it go beyond a superficial hearing of the Word?
b. Is it a PRACTICAL religion?
1) Does it consist of more than JUST "going to church, reading,
2) Does it reach out and manifest itself in compassion to those
c. Is it a PERSONAL religion?
1) Going beyond what we may do in conjunction with others?
2) Including our personal involvement apart from what others may
d. And is it a PURE religion?
1) Involving our initial cleansing from sin by the blood of Christ
as we in faith repented and were baptized?
2) Involving our continual cleansing by the blood of Christ as we
confess our sins and repent of them?
3) Does it include a putting away of sin with the help of God so
that we might be "unspotted by the world"?
2. If not, then whatever religion we have is USELESS and we are simply
Let's always encourage one another to be sure and have a "Pure And
Undefiled Religion" before God!
Listening and doing
Trials of many kinds
I. Trial from God
1. Endure suffering
2. Ask by faith
3. Triumph over circumstances
II.Temptations from the devil
1. Dragged away by evil desires
2. Blessing of prevailing over trials
3. Grace under trial
III. Not merely listening but doing
1. Quick to listen, slow to speak
2. Look intently
3. Accept it and do it
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》