Tuesday, January 19,2010 - James 5:13-20 James concludes his letter by reminding us of the power of prayer, the importance of adhering to the truth and how God identifies every soul as important.
1.13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. 1.1.“Suffering” from the Greek Kakopatheo meaning suffering evil. 1.1.1.There was much affliction among the saints in those days.The cause of affliction may be sin (our own or another's), poor judgment, circumstance, recklessness, chance, or a combination of any of these. 1.2.“Pray” from the Greek proseuchomai meaning let him keep praying 1.2.1.Whatever the cause, prayer is the answer.Prayer may take the form of petition, praise, thanksgiving, deep meditation, or a combination of these. In this admonition, James was doubtless pointing especially to petition. 1.2.2.When we "make our wants and wishes known" in prayer, we present an appeal to the Almighty, and, in doing so, plead His promises. 1.3.Cheerful describes a disposition of being friendly, joyful, pleasant and agreeable. 1.3.1.A frame of mind which is free of anxiety and disturbing problems. 1.4.“Sing praise” is from the Greek psalleto and means to keep singing 1.5.This could be describing the same person. 1.5.1.One who is suffering goes to God in prayer and has their burden lifted.They then celebrate the praises of God in song. 2.14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 2.1.There is a difference of opinion among commentators as to whether this is a physical illness or not. 2.1.1.Some believe the sickness James mentioned is not physical.He wrote of sin-sickness. The oil James mentions is not medicinal oil, but is the anointing of the word of truth. 126.96.36.199.I believe this line of thinking is wrong. 2.1.2.Others believe that this is a physical illness and that the oil is olive oil, which was used for both medicinal and symbolic purposes in the scriptures. 188.8.131.52.There is no proof what kind of oil is used.There are many types of oils that were used in the scriptures. 2.2.“Sick” comes from the Greek astheneo which means to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, powerless.Someone has a physical illness. 2.3.The elders, those who are generally the most spiritually mature in the flock, were to pray on behalf of the one ill.Whether they had any miraculous abilities is unclear, but we certainly can understand the power of God through prayers offered up by men of Faith. 2.4.The assumption is that this is olive oil, which is used repeatedly in the Old Testament, and it appears to be symbolic in nature. 2.4.1.There are those within the church who believe that we should still “anoint” others with oil. 184.108.40.206.For what purpose?The subsequent verses clearly state that it is the Lord who provides the healing. 220.127.116.11.What type of oil would be used?The assumption is the oil is olive oil but there is no proof. 2.5.It was to be done “in the name of the Lord” meaning by the Lord’s authority.Thus the oil was symbolic of the power of Christ on behalf of this sick person when prayers were offered on his behalf by men of faith, the elders. 3.15 and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him. 3.1.The power of Christ shall save this sick person because prayers were offered on his behalf by men of faith, the elders.The credit, praise and glory go to the Lord. 3.2.When one is sick, especially if the illness is serious, it causes one to reflect upon their personal relationship to God and see they have rejected Him and not heeded his word. 3.2.1.Just as prayer can heal one from physical illness, prayer can reconcile a sinful Christian to God. 4.16 Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. 4.1.Basically means to keep confessing your sins one to another and keep praying for one another. 4.2.This is NOT just dealing with public, open sin and making confession before the church, though it does include such. 4.3.Christians need, and should want, other Christians to pray on their behalf. 4.4.We are to confess our sins to a fellow Christian or the one against whom we have sinned.This implies repentance, which is a determination to change.The confession and repentance are to be followed by a joint prayer.The prayer brings healing.The healing is obviously in the realm of the spirit, and not the body. 4.5.“The supplication of a righteous man availeth much…” does not mean that we seek someone out that we believe is especially close to God and have them pray for us. 4.5.1.This is a call for us to live for God, keep his commandments, seek first his kingdom and emphasizes the power of prayer when one is engaged with being obedient to God. 5.17 Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. 5.1.The point James made is that this man, though a prophet, was subject to the ordinary deviations of life.He was just as we are. 5.2.He was not without sin.He had his passions, just as we have ours.He could at one moment tower tall in gaining a great victory for God, and at the next moment cower at the threat of Jezebel.He could become despondent, and forsake his duty. 5.3.We can identify with Elijah because we have one human heart. 5.4.“He prayed fervently” comes from the Greek proseuxato meaning an emphatic prayer, great intensity 6.18 And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 6.1.He prayed earnestly.God answered his prayer.He asked for rain, and the rain came. The answer to his prayer was not miraculous.A cloud formed out in the sea, where clouds normally form.It moved over the land, and brought a torrent of water (1 Kings 18). 7.19 My brethren, if any among you err from the truth, and one convert him; 7.1.The numerous warnings of this letter have shown us the recipients were in danger of forsaking the truth and of falling into sins which were peculiar to and characteristic of their time and situation. 7.2.Why does one sin?Because we err from the truth. 7.2.1.We are begotten by the word of truth (James 1:18). 7.2.2.Our souls are purified by it (1 Pet. 1:22-23). 7.2.3.We are saved by it (1 Cor. 15:1-3). 7.2.4.We are made free by it (John 8:31-32). 8.20 let him know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins. 8.1."Let him know" gnosketo is literally, "Let him keep on knowing ... 8.2.The word "converteth" has the same significance as in James 5:19, and means "to turn." 8.2.1.The word means to "turn someone back" in a religious and spiritual sense.John the Baptist was to turn many to God (Luke 1:16).The conversion is from the error of one's wrong way. 8.3.The "sinner" is from the Greek hamartolon which means to miss the mark, is one who does wrong, and in this context is referring to erring brethren. 8.3.1.The brother in sin is in "the error of his ways" It is the course followed by one who has forsaken the truth. 8.4.The" soul" to be saved from death is the soul of the one turned back from error. 8.4.1.To convert one is to save a soul from death.This is eternal death, the second death of the Bible or eternal punishment.To die and be lost is a horrible thing to contemplate.To save a soul from death is to enable such a one to escape eternal separation from God and Heaven. 8.5.Not only is an erring brother, through the help of another, thus saved from death, but the action involved covers "a multitude of sins." 8.5.1.To cover is to hide, put out of sight.So, by enabling a brother to obtain forgiveness, we bring him back from a situation which must, if permitted to proceed, result in eternal separation from God. His sins are put away, hidden, covered. 8.5.2.To "cover" sins is, therefore, to put them away, cancel them out, forgive them.This is accomplished when a brother is made to see the error of his way, and is prompted to turn to God for the forgiveness which He alone can provide. 8.6.The principle that is here taught, and repeatedly taught in other passages of Scripture, is that we have a responsibility to teach others. We do not live nor die unto ourselves.We sustain a tremendous responsibility to those about us, whether they are saints in error or alien sinners.We must try to help them to Heaven. Friday, January 15, 2010 - James 5:1-12
It is extremely difficult to possess riches and the kingdom at the same time, even as our Lord emphasized (Matt. 19:24).Our Lord spoke of the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life and the killing effect they would have on a man's spiritual life (Luke 8:14). He warned, "Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15).Our Lord knew that an abundance of material possessions tends to lead a person away from God in a way few men can resist.
As we see by James' writing, the Jewish mind had not been trained to think in those terms.It was a common misconception among them that a man's physical wealth was an index to his spirituality.They thought that God was surely demonstrating His favor to a man when he was materially blessed.
Men today seem to advocate that same philosophy.
1.1 Come now, ye rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you. 1.1.The rich are directly addressed though it does NOT appear that they are Christians 1.1.1.There is no exhortation for them to repent 1.1.2.They are not rebuked about getting a better life 1.1.3.There is no promise to them of reconciliation to God 1.2.“To weep and to howl” is in light of their impending retribution and ruin 1.2.1.Although these rich men manipulate people and control institutions they cannot avoid the miseries of this life entirely. 1.2.2.Rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16) 1.3.The lesson is intended for the brethren.It was a time of suffering and hardship for them, often for no other reason than their being Christians (1 Pet. 4:16). 1.3.1.It would be easy for them to yield to the common temptation to give it up to pursue what seemed to be a life of carefree living. 1.3.2.It is easy to envy the rich because of the relief from suffering that money brings, but every form of refuge has its price if God is not in it. 1.4.Inside the church the rich are often courted as though the brethren expected to be remembered in their wills. 1.4.1.In congregations where the wrong kind of men bear the wrong kind of rule a big giver can have his way and live as he pleases.All he has to do is threaten to cut out his contribution and the rulers dance to his tune. 2.2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 2.1.Notice that he says “your” riches are corrupted. 2.1.1.Not all riches are corrupted. 2.1.2.They had the wrong attitude toward what they had. 2.2.Their riches and the “I’ll do anything” approach they had to obtaining their goods is what put them in their desperate state. 2.2.1.The desire of their heart to obtain things which ultimately will perish 2.3.Riches are evil when they impair one’s soul and become thorns which choke out the wheat (Luke 8:14) 3.3 Your gold and your silver are rusted; and their rust shall be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh as fire. Ye have laid up your treasure in the last days. 3.1.These that James is referring to were actually held accountable for their misuse and nonuse of their money.Although they were aliens they were amenable to God's law regarding stewardship. 3.1.1.Even unbelievers are recipients of God's general providence.He sends the sunshine and rain on the unjust too (Matt. 5:45). He expects the ground that receives such blessings to bring forth fruit, not briers and thorns (Heb. 6:7-8). 3.2.These men were hoarding wealth in the expectation that it would protect them from harm even in the Day of Judgment.Such men live for wealth and when it is gone, many take their own lives because they cannot conceive of a quality of life without it. 3.3.This is one of the reasons such a man cannot go to Heaven in that condition: He can't take his wealth with him and so he would not be happy in Heaven separated from it. 3.4.So is everyone who lays up treasures on the earth and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:21). 3.5.God's children had best be using the money God has given them, for we will give account of it (1 Cor. 4:1-2). 3.6.The selfish and covetous person whose life is consumed in hoarding material things will finally be consumed by these things.These things are the rust of the soul. 3.6.1.The sin of covetousness is an excess and there is no such thing as just a little bit of it. 18.104.22.168.Solomon said, "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity" (Eccl. 5:10). 3.7.“Last days” could refer: 3.7.1.To the final days of the Jewish economy 3.7.2.The fact that Christianity is the “last days” 3.7.3.The period immediately preceding the coming of the Lord in judgment 4.4 Behold, the hire of the laborers who mowed your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth out: and the cries of them that reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 4.1.“Behold” comes from the Greek idou which means consider or take notice of.James is directing their attention to this particular matter. 4.2.“Hire” comes from misthos which means wages 4.2.1.The laborers toiled in the fields for the rich and from their labors the rich became even more affluent. 4.3.The rich managed to cheat the poor of their daily wages, thus obtaining not only their labor but the fruits thereof. 4.3.1.The Law of Moses condemned the practice of withholding a laborer's wages even for one day (Lev. 19:13). 4.4.“Which is of you kept back by fraud” is from the Greek meaning “having been held out by you” a very common and vicious practice at this time. 4.5.The fraudulent dealings of the rich “crieth out,” and the wrong done is heard in heaven. 4.5.1.The word “crieth” from the Greek krazo is more than mere weeping, it means to cry out aloud, speak with a loud voice.These people yelled to heaven for vengeance 4.6.“Lord of Sabaoth” identifies the Lord as the Lord of Hosts, a term denoting might, power and glory. 5.5 Ye have lived delicately on the earth, and taken your pleasure; ye have nourished your hearts in a day of slaughter. 5.1.“Delicately” means to live luxuriously, be given to soft and luxurious life.The life described is one of luxury and extravagance and was made possible by depriving the workers in the field of their just wages. 5.2.“Taken your pleasure” means to live uselessly and wastefully.They consumed, in an extravagant fashion, the material blessings of God which they obtained by deceptive and oppressive measures. 5.3.These people were engaged in the fattening business; and what they did not take into account was the fact that they were simply fattening themselves for a day of slaughter – their own! 6.6 Ye have condemned, ye have killed the righteous [one]; he doth not resist you. 6.1.The original Greek does not have “one” in the text.It simply states “just.”Other renditions say “righteous.” 6.1.1.I believe it is a stretch to assume that James is accusing them of killing Christ, though this is the type of persons that were responsible for his death. 6.1.2.“Just” or “righteous” is a kind of person. 6.2.The action, in this verse, is present tense and on-going.It is something the men who were addressed were doing at the time of the writing. 6.3.These wicked rich men were taking poor men to court or at least to the law for the purpose of defrauding them. 7.7 Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and latter rain. 7.1.The "brethren" to whom James was writing needed to exercise patience in their dealings with the heartless money barons mentioned in the first six verses of this chapter.They were creating tremendous hardships for the saints. 7.1.1.This injunction makes patience mandatory. 7.2.The Greek term translated "patience" in this verse is often rendered "longsuffering" in other passages (Rom. 2:4; Eph. 4:2; Col. 1:11; 3:12).This attitude will make it possible to endure delays and bear suffering and never give in. 7.2.1.The use of the term here, as well as in other passages, reflects patience with persons. 7.2.2.This definition gives further credence to the fact that these "brethren" were being victimized by the ruthless rich of the preceding verses. 7.2.3.In such trials the Christian's course of action was not to give up the faith, nor resort to physical violence, but only to endure delay and bear the suffering without giving in "until the coming of the Lord." 7.3.“The coming of the Lord” is referred to in the New Testament, either directly or indirectly, over 300 times. 7.3.1.Believers throughout the Christian dispensation are taught to “watch for the coming of the Lord” and to be prepared for that event. 7.3.2.The certainty of his coming and the uncertainty of the time of his coming, taken together, operate to keep our faith, our hope, and our patience ever alive and alert. 7.3.3.The day in which Jesus will return, the faithful in Christ will experience that blessed reward for which he has been striving (Jo n 5:28-29; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). 7.3.4.In due season the patient saint will reap a glorious reward of eternal life (Gal. 6:9; Rev. 2:10). 7.3.5.Our Lord said, "In your patience ye shall win your souls" (Luke 21:19). 7.3.6.Paul echoed, "if we endure, we shall also reign with him" (2 Tim. 2:12). 7.4.The key factor in obtaining the goal (an eternal reign with Christ) is patience. 8.8 Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 8.1.Disciples are to wait patiently for deliverance from our trials and tribulations and for the certain triumph of justice in our cases. 8.2.“Establish” means to strengthen your heart; so that you are able to endure the persecution, and not fall by the wayside and be lost. 8.3.The child of God cannot allow a situation of instability to occur in their life "for the coming of the Lord is at hand." An established heart that is capable of enduring such testing is essential. 8.4.The return of Christ is so real, so certain, so sure of fulfillment, that he is always regarded as near at hand. 8.4.1.James is not inferring that there is evidence that Christ is coming at that exact moment.Christ himself said only the Father knows the time of his return (Matt. 24:36-39). 9.9 Murmur not, brethren, one against another, that ye be not judged: behold, the judge standeth before the doors. 9.1.Murmuring means to groan or to sigh.Murmuring against a brother is best described as an unjust griping (grumbling, criticizing, fault-finding, and complaining) which seems to be selfishly motivated. 9.1.1.Judas murmured against Mary when she kindly and lovingly anointed the body of Jesus with costly ointment (Mark 14:4-5; John 12:4).A self-centered attitude on the part of Judas initiated his contentious charge. 9.2.Murmuring is a sin that Christians must avoid.Patience and murmuring are incompatible. 9.2.1.Murmuring is an attitude of unthankfulness. Characteristically, it is not concerned with pleasing God; rather it seeks to satisfy self 9.2.2.The pleasurable unity, which is such a blessing among brethren (Ps. 133:1), is disrupted by the aggravated grumbler. 9.2.3.The history of God's people teaches that rebellion, division, and ultimately lost souls are the horrible result of the sin of murmuring. 9.3.To murmur is to pass judgment of an unfavorable nature upon others and those who do such shall be judged themselves. 9.4.“The judge standeth before the doors” reiterates the point of Christ’s coming being near at hand. 9.4.1.Not that there was evidence Christ is coming at that exact moment, but that the day of retribution for the evil is certain and that Christ will stand in judgment 10.10 Take, brethren, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spake in the name of the Lord. 10.1.In the Greek this reads, “For an example of affliction and longsuffering, take, my brethren, the prophets…” 10.1.1.These Godly men suffered persecution; we may therefore expect it. 10.1.2.These men faithfully endured the trials of life; so should we. 10.1.3.They suffered with patience and are an example of how we are to live. 10.2.“Brethren, for the proper way to endure affliction, follow the example of the prophets.” 11.11 Behold, we call them blessed that endured: ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful. 11.1.James introduced the wise of patience, Job. He is memorialized and esteemed for his patience in suffering. 11.1.1.James intended that we see two main facts: Job's faithful patience and God's pity and mercy that responded to it. 22.214.171.124.The Greek word rendered "patience" in James 5:7 and James 5:8 differs slightly from this word (patience) applied to Job. 126.96.36.199.1.The former expresses longsuffering in trials brought about by people, thus patience with man. 188.8.131.52.2.The latter word is indicative of bearing up under or being patient with the general adversities of life. 11.1.2.Job epitomizes what it means to bear up under life's greatest calamities. 11.2.Job suffered misery, wretchedness, and despair, and yet he shouldered that incredibly horrible set of circumstances with unshakable patience.In the midst of his swift and catastrophic losses Job worshiped God, faithfully!!! 11.3.God's response to Job's patience is deliberately added for the express purpose of showing the reward of bearing up under the difficulties which Christians will invariably face. 11.3.1.Remembrance of God's pity and mercy would encourage others also to hope that whatever their sufferings the "end of the Lord" would prove similar in their case. 11.3.2.When Job's faith endured under the most severe tests imaginable, Jehovah reciprocated because of His great kindness and compassion (Ps. 136), showing that, truly, God cares (1 Pet. 5:7). 12.12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by the heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath: but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; that ye fall not under judgment. 12.1.This type of swearing and profane oath taking is strongly forbidden, as is indicated by the phrase, "but above all things ...” Whatever must be done, the Christian is obligated to abstain from this sin. 12.1.1.Jesus condemned it in His extraordinary sermon on the mount (Matt. 5:33-37). 184.108.40.206.To take an oath means to limit or restrain oneself, that which has been pledged or promised with an oath.To swear means to affirm or deny by an oath, to call a person or thing as witness, to invoke, swear by.The idea is that an oath is the invocation of a curse upon one if he breaks his word (1 Sam. 19:6), or if he is not speaking the truth. 220.127.116.11.Thus, in swearing with an oath the person is restrained from doing something other than what he has confirmed.It was meant as a guarantee, a removal of all doubt, an end of all strife (Heb. 6:16).The intent was to give assurance that the person would keep his word. 12.2.However, a system emerged which, according to the traditions of the Jews, legalized perjury (Matt. 23:16-22).Our Lord exposed this wicked practice and revealed that it was based upon a confused concept of what was truly sacred and what was not. 12.2.1.Jesus also taught that oaths made by Heaven or by earth implicated God because they were His throne and footstool respectively (Matt. 5:34-35).Though God was not mentioned directly, still it profaned His name by association. 12.3.Christians must say "yes" when they mean "yes" and then stand behind their word to make it good.Saints must keep their word even if it is not convenient or profitable.Lying and deceitful speech is condemned (Eph. 4:29, 31; Col. 3:6,8-9; Rev. 21:8). 12.4.In a broader sense, profanity and blatant swearing are becoming more common even among Christians.To use the holiness of God or Christ in a flippant way is to desecrate the personage of Deity.Such exclamations as, "Oh, my God," "good Lord," or "for God's sake," and others are not exalting, praising, or showing favor toward our Creator, but rather are demeaning of Him. Never should reference be made to God after this fashion.
Saturday, January 2, 2010 - James 4:13-17
1.Verse 1-12 can be broken down into the following categories 1.1.The people to whom James is writing chose the world in preference to God 1.2.They consistently showed their contempt for the law of God 1.3.We now begin to see the arrogant confidence about the future; a future which did not include God or his way 2.13 Come now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: 2.1.Come now is designed gain attention or a hearing 2.2.James is telling them something is seriously wrong and they need to take heed of what he about to tell them. 2.3.Their plans were made without regard to God and the realization that all plans are dependent on His will for success. 2.3.1.Their assumption is that the whole matter of life is in their hands; and in their favor! 18.104.22.168.Proverbs 27:1 - Boast not thyself of tomorrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. 2.4.We are without assurance the we will be living the assurance that we will be living the next minute, much less the next day, the next week or next year. 3.14 whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little ime, and then vanisheth away. 3.1.James was writing to those who were making plans for “years of tomorrows.”Consider the contingencies of the future they took for granted: 3.1.1.Whether they would be alive 3.1.2.Whether there would be a tomorrow 3.1.3.Whether they would be able to make a planned trip 3.1.4.Whether circumstances would allow them to enter the city 3.1.5.Would they be able to pursue their business 3.1.6.Would their business prove profitable 3.2.Pretending to know what tomorrow holds is either the sin of "fortune telling" or that of forgetting that God alone "declareth the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa. 46:10). 3.3.“What is your life” was designed to remind them that they who assume the permanence of life are flawed in their thinking. 4.15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that. 4.1.The child of God must ALWAYS makes plans with God in mind and the understanding that he is in charge. 4.2.Paul shows this attitude multiple times: 4.2.1.Return to Ephesus – “If God will” (Acts 18:21) 4.2.2.To visit Corinth – “If the Lord will” (1 Cor. 4:19) 4.2.3.And to spend time there – “If the Lord permit” (1 Cor. 16:7) 4.3.A faithful disciple of the Lord will always take God into consideration in everything that they do and desire that God’s will always take precedence over our own. 4.3.1.We love God and respect his will thus we always want to be pleasing to him 4.3.2.We desire that God’s will always overrules our own in all aspects of life. 5.16 But now ye glory in your vauntings: all such glorying is evil. 5.1.Vauntings – from the Greek Kauchaomai (kow-khah'-om-ahee) means to boast and the attitude is one of arrogance and insolence 5.2.This attitude is in direct contrast to the attitude which James urges in verse 15 5.3.The etymologyof the word translated “vauntings” suggests a calculated effort on their part to claim sufficiency without God 5.4.James was not saying all glorying is evil, but all "such" glorying: any boasting that elevates self above God and His will.Thus, evil glorying would include such things as worldliness, seen as "sophistication" (1 Cor. 5:1-2, 6), and the pride which purposefully omits God (our text). 6.17 To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 6.1.James is NOT allowing each person to define sin for himself.Such is the mistake made by religionists because of the words "to him it is sin." 6.1.1.James was not suggesting that sin is a matter of subjective definition.Sin, within this context, has been clearly defined.It is the hypocritical attempt to live as though God is not involved, which also transgresses what God has decreed (1 John 3:4). 6.2.It appears that James is driving home the point that those who were arrogant and insolent in their expressions of self sufficiency and who refused to acknowledge God’s providence in their affairs were those who were in best position to know what was right and were compounding their guilt by refusing to do what was good and right. 6.3.We have this problem in the church today in that many know what is the right thing to do but is wholly inactive. 7.The right and good thing to do is to: 7.1.Cease being arrogant in our vain-glory of life (James 4:16) 7.2.Remain mindful of God in all our undertakings (James 4:15) 7.3.Recognize the brevity of life (James 4:14) 7.4.In this we will be better equipped to resist pride (James 4:6-10) and follow after true and pure wisdom (James 3:13-17).Be a practitioner of saving faith (James 2:14) by being a doer of the word of truth (James 1:22), and together we shall stand approved before God (James 1:12; 2 Tim. 2:15) and receive the blessed reward. 8.As we "Practice Pure Christianity" by doing good, we will be like our Lord (Acts 10:38), following in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21), hating the evil and loving the good (Amos 5:15)!May we all learn not to count on tomorrow, for "man, that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1).
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - James 4:1-12
1.After discussing, in James 3, heavenly wisdom and contrasting it with earthly wisdom, and closing with the marvelous picture of peace as the "fruit of righteousness," James then turned back to the reality of the situation that occurs when one follows worldly wisdom.. 2.1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2.1.The lives of the Christians to whom he was writing (at least some of them) were not characterized by peace or Heavenly wisdom, but apparently were instead more like those described in James 3:14.Here we see "the effect of faith on character," or at least the effect our faith ought to have. 2.2.It appears that the situation under consideration is strife, dissension and warfare within the church, and in and between individuals.The words wars and fight or fightings is to be interpreted figuratively. 2.2.1.I eliminate that literal interpretation for these reasons, namely: first, the language and context of the book of James does not demand this assumption; second, in later Greek `fightings' was used of philosophical contests and in disputes about words. 2.2.2.“Wars” comes form the Greek polemos and means a war, a fight, a battle, a dispute, strife, quarrel 2.3.“Whence” comes from the Greek pothen and means “from what source” 2.4.“Pleasure” comes from the Greek hedone (hay-don-ay' ) which means desire or lust 2.5.James really has gone to the root of the problem in establishing that troubles in the church, yea problems among men in general, can be traced to the fleshly desires of man 3.2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3.1.“Lust” comes from the Greek Epithumeo (ep-ee-thoo-meh'-o) and, as an active indicative, denotes the deep intensity of the passion one has for the things he does not possess. 3.2.James is writing of unfulfilled desire and the result of such. 3.2.1.Everyone knows the feeling of having a strong desire for something and then not getting it. 3.2.2.If the desire is evil and involves lust, jealousy, and covetousness, then the result will be just as James has written. 3.3.“Ye kill” literally means “you engage in killing” 3.3.1.James appears to mean here is that the motive which urged them on was murderous in its nature, and the disposition which leads men to murder. 3.3.2.Killing was a constant practice of these people but yet it did NOT secure for them what they so passionately wanted. 3.4."Ye fight and war." "Fight" here is used of those who engage in a war of words."War" is a form of the first use of this word in James 4:1.This is the result of unsatisfied lust and desire; the certain consequences of choosing pleasure to the neglect of God. 3.5.James pointed out that even after all this desire, lust, coveting, jealousy, and such like, they still "have not" because they "ask not." 3.5.1."Ask" here refers to prayer, and is in the middle voice which means to ask for oneself.But they were not asking, so why should they expect anything from the Lord? 3.5.2.There is "no hint here that if they had prayed for the ability to gratify their lustful pleasures God would have given it 22.214.171.124.We must, of course: 126.96.36.199.1.Desire the right things 188.8.131.52.2.We must ask God for the things which he graciously has for us (James 1:5) 184.108.40.206.3.We must have confidence that he will hear and answer our petitions (1 John 4:14-15). 220.127.116.11.4.God will answer the prayer of the penitent (Luke 18:14), the cry of the righteous (Ps. 34:15), and those who keep on asking for their needs (Matt. 7:7). 18.104.22.168.5.They would not pray for legitimate needs; therefore, God would not given them such; and they could not obtain them in other ways. 4.3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4.1.Men can be lustful, covetous, murderers (at heart),and, at the same time, be given to prayer. 4.2.James knew that some of his readers would object that they had prayed and still did not receive.He countered that in this verse."Ask" here means to request or beg, from one inferior to one superior (Matt. 7:9; Acts 12:20; 1 John 3:22). 4.3.Even though some did ask, their prayers went unanswered.James charged that they asked amiss, which means evilly, wickedly, or corruptly. 4.3.1.Literally the word means "in an evil manner, that is, with wrong or wicked motives 4.4.To ask amiss is, therefore, to be influenced by low, mean, selfish considerations. 4.4.1.The evidence to prove this accusation is that they wanted to "spend it in your pleasures" or" consume it upon your lusts."The word "consume" is translated "indulge." The significance of this word is "to consume wastefully, to squander 4.4.2.Where selfishness is involved in petitions to God, they are useless 4.5.The word "lusts" is the same as in James 4:1, and the reference is to sensual gratifications; the word would include all that comes under the name of sensual pleasure, or carnal appetite. 5.4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5.1.This verse brings together the thoughts expressed in the preceding three verses.The type of action described in those verses -- fighting, quarrelling, being controlled by fleshly lusts and covetousness -- is now exposed for what it really is: worldliness. 5.1.1.Here is the great battle for every Christian, and every human being: Who will control me, whom will I serve? 5.2.Adulterers and adulteresses are unfaithful to their spouses thus a Christian who is a friend to the world is unfaithful to God. 5.3.“Friendship of the world” means to embrace the order of evil (with all it’s lusts pleasures, etc.) as opposed to the realm of good over which Christ reigns. 5.4.“Is enmity with God” literally means a state of hostility, war, hatred with God. 5.5.Romans 5:8-9 5.6.The word "whosoever" in the next sentence means "anybody, everybody, all of us. 5.7.The words "will be" ("would be," ASV) mean that the person is "resolved" or "determined" or "bent on being" a friend of the world.It is not "mere will, but will with premeditation. 5.8.The word "enemy" means "an adversary," and is used of 5.8.1.The devil (Matt. 13:39; Luke 10:19) 5.8.2.Of death (1 Cor. 15:26) 5.8.3.Of a professed believer (James 4:4) 5.8.4.Of men who are opposed to Christ (Matt. 13:25,28; 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 19:27; Acts 2:35; Phil. 3:18; et al.) 5.8.5.Of the alienated in their attitude toward God (Col. 1:21) 5.8.6.Of believers in their former state (2 Thess. 3:15) 5.8.7.Of foes (Matt. 5:43-44; 10:36; Luke 6:27, 35), and so forth. 5.8.8.The meaning is: Whosoever, although a Christian, giving himself up to the pursuits of the world, will live in friendship with it, and thus will not be despised but esteemed and loved by it, has directed to it his wish ...he (thereby) is constituted an enemy of God. 5.9.The specific form of worldliness condemned in this context in James 4 involves our relationship with our brethren in Christ.Those to whom James wrote were having trouble treating each other the way God commands. 5.9.1.John wrote, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16). 5.9.2.You have to wonder about members of the body of Christ who will claim that they love their brethren, and would lay down their lives for them, but then they "fight and war" (usually over matters of opinion or judgment), exhibit a "murderous disposition" against their brethren, and would not give them the time of day! 5.9.3.How many congregations of the Lord's church have been decimated and split because of worldly ambition, jealousy, and unloving attitudes among the members. 6.5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? 6.1."Do ye think" ("or think ye," ASV) means "does it seem to you ...are you of the opinion of ... do you suppose." 6.2.The word for "scripture" is used over fifty times in the New Testament, almost always in the quotation of some Old Testament passage (Matt. 21:42; 22:29; 26:54, 56; John 2:22; 5:39; 7:38, 42). 6.2.1.However there is no OT verse which deals specifically with what James is asserting here. 22.214.171.124.One solution is to "interpret James as meaning that, if man can love God and the world together, then what the Scriptures as a whole teach is untrue." 6.2.2.The question being asked by James is, “Do you suppose that the general teaching of the scriptures is without significance in this matter?” 6.3.What is the spirit mentioned? 6.3.1.The translators of the ASV indicate that this is the Holy Spirit that God puts in us but this does not make sense based on: 126.96.36.199.How the original Greek reads 188.8.131.52.1.Or ye are supposing that emptily the writing is saying toward envy is longing the spirit which dwells in us 184.108.40.206.2.No HE as translated in the ASV and NASB 220.127.116.11.It is my opinion that the phrase "lusteth to envy," when properly understood, will rule out the "Holy Spirit" interpretation. 18.104.22.168.1.Yes, God is a jealous God (Exo. 20:5), but the word for "envy" here is never applied to God; it is always used in an evil sense.Some think James said that God is yearning for our spirits as we engage in worldliness; then the yearning or envying would be applied to God. This is rejected on the same basis as before.The "spirit" in the text is doing the yearning or envying.So, the message here is, "The spirit which is in you is a covetous and envious one. 22.214.171.124.2.To counteract that fleshly inclination, God gives "greater grace" 7.6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." 7.1.God is love and love is of God (1 John 4:7-8).He loved man first and He loved man enough to send His only begotten Son to die for man (1 John 4:8-10; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). 7.1.1.Thus, God, who loves man so, is supremely just in His dealings with man and is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35). 7.2.Man responds to God's love by accepting or rejecting God's grace and by choosing to submit or not to submit to God's will. 7.3.God responds to man based upon the needs, attitudes, and actions of man. 7.4.In His response to man, He consistently rewards each man according to that man's true heart and life. 7.4.1."For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10) 7.5.The proud, wicked in the sight of the Lord, surrender God's blessings reserved for the faithful. 7.6.The humble, submissive to His will, rejoice in God's bountiful grace.Upon them He freely keeps on giving His grace that they may be fortified to resist sin and Satan (Rom. 5:20). 8.7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8.1.God resists arrogant men and gives grace to humble men, so one should submit himself to God. 8.2.That means giving up running one's own life to place oneself under God. 8.2.1.Wise men will, but conceited men, thinking themselves above others, will not. 8.2.2.In their foolish pride they do not submit 126.96.36.199.to the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:3) 188.8.131.52.to one another in the fear of God (Eph. 5:21) 184.108.40.206.unto their own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord (Col. 3:18) 220.127.116.11.to those (elders) that have the rule over the local congregation (Heb. 13:17) 18.104.22.168.to laws of civil government (1 Pet. 2:13) 22.214.171.124.to those older than themselves (1 Pet. 5:5). 126.96.36.199.God's Word rings out: "... be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (1 Pet. 5:5). 8.3.Christians must hate and actively oppose sin. Those who submit to God naturally, as a consequence of their submission, resist Satan. 8.4.Why? 8.4.1.He is the enemy of God and His children, the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning, and the adversary of man who "... as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). 8.4.2.Many believe the Devil has such power that men cannot resist him.The real problem is not that men cannot resist the Devil, but that men do not want to resist him so long as they desire the pleasures of sin which he offers. 8.4.3.Such offerings are deceitful, for Satan presents sin as beautiful, pleasurable, desirable, and even good for man. 188.8.131.52.His greatest tool for temptation is the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13), but we must not be ignorant of his craftiness (2 Cor. 2:11). 184.108.40.206.Should men look beyond the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb. 11:25), they would see the horrible end of debilitating, destroying, and damning sin. 8.5.No man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24) 9.8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9.1.Draw nigh to God means get close to God 9.2.Proud self-sufficient men see no need to draw close to God.To seek closeness with God would be, to them, a sign of weakness, a symbol of dependency, and a indication of flawed manhood. 9.3.Purified through obeying the truth, the Christian so lives that the acts evident outwardly (hands) and the thoughts held inwardly (hearts) are clean and pure. 9.4.To maintain one's pride (to "save face"), some go to great lengths to avoid repentance and a public confession of sin. 9.4.1.Some seek to draw attention away from their misdeeds by accusing others.They seem to think muddying the water will justify them. 9.4.2.Such ones are double-minded; that is, they want to have God and hold to their sin. 9.4.3.One of the hard facts is that oftentimes those guilty of sin react angrily toward the preacher. They seek to find fault with him when his lesson condemns their pet sin and endeavor to destroy his influence 10.9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10.1. James is encouraging those to whom he is writing to become aware of the heavy burden of sin which they are carrying. 10.2.People who are aware of their rebellion of God will experience and exhibit grief for their sins. 10.3.We must NOT brush off a sinful life as if it is no big deal.It will keep you away from God ETERNALLY! 11.10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 11.1.Humility is the voluntary acceptance of a place of lowliness in order to be pleasing to God. 11.1.1.The prodigal, one such as this must first come to himself and then seek his Father, saying: "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants" (Luke 15:18-19). 220.127.116.11.The one genuinely penitent has no room for pride in his heart. 11.2.Christ came to serve.Haughty men have no interest in serving; they desire men to serve them. 11.3.God's promise is true.He will lift up those who humble themselves. He replaces tears with rejoicing, sorrow with gladness, darkness with light, and separation with His loving presence. 11.4.Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:4). 11.5.“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt.6:33) 12.11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12.1.Stop speaking evil of each other. 12.1.1.Not just the harsh words but the desire and thoughts concerning them. 12.1.2.Not only is evil speaking condemned but evil listening is condemned 12.1.3.Judging – this means to form unfavorable opinions regarding one without being able to or willing to know the real character of the act or the motives which led to it’s commission 18.104.22.168.It means to attribute unworthy motives to others as to put the worst possible interpretation on their words or actions 12.2.The fact that we have had our sins washed away does not allow Christians to set themselves up as the "critics" of the brotherhood. 12.3.Certainly we are to speak out against sin and the sinner (and admittedly there is a fine line between that obligation and the prohibition in James 4:11), but Christians are never to act out of suspicion, hearsay, appearance, or personal vindication. 12.3.1.Let us remember the loving words of Paul, "Love suffereth long and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up; doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil" (1 Cor. 13:4-5, ASV). 12.3.2.Jude wrote similar thoughts when he said, "And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 1:22-23) 13.12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? 13.1.An acknowledgment of God's law is an acknowledgment of God Himself, further adding credence to James' emphatic statement, "There is one lawgiver." 13.1.1.There is one lawgiver and that is Jesus, the only begotten of the Most High God. "And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:18-20). 13.1.2.Acts 17:31 reaffirms this by saying, "Because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained: whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." 13.1.3.In Rom. 13:1 Paul wrote: "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." 13.1.4.Jesus in His meekness boldly proclaimed to Pilate, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11).No man or group of men has the right to challenge God's authority by designing spiritual law.We simply do not have the authority to add to God's law, take away from it, or substitute our thinking in any way. 13.1.5.In Jesus' day some were "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9) and that sinful practice remains among us.Just as Peter and the other apostles answered, so say we, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29, ASV) 13.2.Judging which is wrong has nothing to do with saving a brother from his sins, but a brother who can see and help another over the obstacles of a sinful situation must not judge from guessing, but from correct facts. 13.2.1.Far too often we are tempted to judge a brother from what we "think" he did or thought rather than approaching him with a Christian desire to help.
Friday, December 18, 2009 - James 3:12-18
1.James 3:1 emphasized to teachers the great care and responsibility they have to be true to the Word. 2.James 3:2-12 deals directly with the evils of the tongue and the evil effects associated with it. 3.13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 3.1.Wise – Greek word sophos (so-fos) meaning skilled, expert 3.1.1.How do we show that we are skilled or an expert?In words or in actions, deed, works 3.1.2.The word "wise" is from the technical term for "teacher" in Jewish nomenclature.There may have been those in the church to whom James was writing that claimed to have "understanding," (i.e., to have "professional knowledge"). 3.1.3.James was challenging the reader to examine himself (2 Cor. 13:5).The proof of wisdom and understanding is found not in words, but in one's works of righteousness (i.e., works based upon the proper motivation and authority.) 3.2.Understanding – Greek word epistemon (ep-ee-stay'-mone) meaning intelligent, experienced, one having the knowledge of an expert 3.2.1.True wisdom begins with a proper knowledge of the will of Jehovah (Prov. 1:7-8) 3.2.2.Surrendering to that wisdom by obedience from the heart (Eccl. 12:13). 3.2.3.The really wise teacher is the one who speaks as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11). 3.2.4.The godly teacher does not seek to exalt himself, but rather to exalt the Father through the Son (Matt. 5:16) 3.3.The question becomes, “Who is really a skilled teacher?” 3.3.1.Wisdom is demonstrated by one's life.A godly life adorned with good deeds. 3.3.2.Wisdom is demonstrated by one's works.Knowledge of Jehovah will cause the teacher to do, not only say (James 1:19-22). 3.3.3.Wisdom is demonstrated in meekness.Meekness is power under control. It is not weakness, no, not at all.Rather, it is strength under the control of Jehovah. 22.214.171.124.Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, was the meekest man every to walk the earth (Heb. 5:2) and we are told to follow His example (1 Pet. 2:21). 4.14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 4.1.Bitter jealousy – from the Greek zelon pikron and it is translated from two words of significance 4.1.1.Jealousy is from zelos which is used in both a good sense and bad sense in the New Testament (John 2:17; Acts 5:17). 126.96.36.199.When good, it denotes the desire to emulate another whose attainments are of a righteous order. 188.8.131.52.When bad, the envy and jealousy one experiences in the contemplation of another’s possessions or accomplishments. 184.108.40.206.The two ideas are closely related.There is one difference and it is described as a disposition of bitterness. 4.1.2.Bitter is from the Greek word pikron in that it leaves the heart with an unpleasant sensation.The Hebrew writer warns against this in Heb. 12:15. 4.2.1 Kings 21 presents a classic example of envy, displaying the ends to which it will carry a person. 4.3.The teacher whose "zeal" is misdirected (Rom. 10:2) has a fierce desire to promote his or her own opinion to the exclusion of others. 4.4.The tongue is indeed an unruly member and it can leave a bitter taste in the accusations and falsehoods it promotes. 4.5.These individuals will create division out of their desire to promote self (3 John 1:9-10). 5.15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 5.1.Worldly wisdom does not descend from Deity and will not earn Heaven's favor. 5.2.The inspired writer is speaking of pride in this context.Pride is a killer!It is a conceited sense of one's superiority (Prov. 16:18). 5.3.Worldly wisdom is evil, and the evil in this wisdom pinpoints its source.It is "earthly," meaning it is opposed to Heavenly wisdom. 5.4.This is the wisdom of which Jude wrote in Jude 1:5-17 concerning the ungodly. 5.5.This wisdom is one that puts a person in service to Satan (Matt. 12:30). 6.16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 6.1.Confusion – from the Greek akatastsia designates a state of disorder, disturbance and mental conflict which leads to confusion and turmoil in the church. 6.2.This type of situation does NOT develop from the exercise of true widom, but results from a wisdom which is earthly, sensual and devilish. 6.3.This situation occurs when a person cares more about self and mine regardless of the price involved 6.4.Those teachers who are led by worldly wisdom trouble the church by demanding that their views and rights be promoted while they exercise a party spirit.The apostle Paul addressed this problem in the saints at Corinth (1 Cor. 1-3). 6.5.Those that are thus motivated remind us of Romans 16:18 which reads, “For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.” 7.17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
WORLDLY WISDOMWISDOM FROM ABOVE 1. Bitter envy1. Pure 2. Self-seeking2. Peaceable 3. Factious/Confusion3. Gentle 4. Every evil deed4. Willing to yield 5. Earthly5. Full of mercy, good fruits 6. Sensual6. Without partiality 7. Demonic7. Without hypocrisy
7.1.Pure 7.1.1.Conveys being Godlike in one's thinking, unmixed with the evil qualities of the world (Rom. 12:1-2). 220.127.116.11.This would take into account all knowledge from Jehovah and discount knowledge that is contrary to the expressed will of Deity as revealed in the inspired text (Prov. 1:7-8; 2 Tim. 3:14-17). 7.1.2.Wisdom that is first pure is motivated by God's kind of love ([@agape]). 7.1.3.Wisdom that is pure is single in its nature as opposed to the double-minded of James 1:8. 7.1.4.Wisdom that is pure is established and grounded upon God's knowledge as revealed in Scripture. 18.104.22.168.The church needs more people who are trained in the Bible and are wise according to God's standards than teachers who are wise with the wisdom of the world! 22.214.171.124.We should not put our trust in the limited knowledge of man (Jer. 10:23).Note carefully what the Psalmist declared in Ps. 119:97 and the verses following.Purity is never to be sacrificed, even at the price of so-called "peace" (Prov. 23:23). 7.2.Peaceable 7.2.1.The desire for harmony and unity and suggests no room for pleasure in division.It is the quality of living in harmony (within our ability) or without strife (Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18; 1 Tim. 2:2; Heb. 12:14). 126.96.36.199.This attitude is in contrast to the confusion and strife of James 3:15-16. 7.2.2.Contention is to be avoided where it is possible with preservation of purity (Col. 3:15).However, note carefully that the true peacemaker is one who will seek to save a sinner from sin (James 5:19-20).There are times when the Christian undertakes this work and the sinner rebels at this action.It might seem that peace is not the goal, but God's requirements for peace are different from man's. God's peace does not bring about confusion. 7.2.3.Confusion results when men refuse to submit to the revealed will of God and put human wisdom in the seat of Deity.Jehovah's peace is not compromise. 7.2.4.It is obedience to the will of God out of love for Him (John 14:15,21; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Thess. 3:6). 7.3.Gentle 7.3.1.From the Greek epieikes (ep-ee-i-kace') suitable, equitable, fair, mild, gentle, reasonable in judging 7.3.2.The word signifies a humble patience, steadfastness which is able to submit to injustice, disgrace, and maltreatment without hatred and malice, trusting in God in spite of all (Phil. 4:5; 2 Cor. 10:1). 7.3.3.The gentle attitude/disposition does not demand that which would cause harm or hurt to his neighbor, even if his own "right" must be forfeited (2 Cor. 10:1). 7.3.4.This type of attitude is that which brings the Christian to turn the cheek rather than retaliate (Rom. 12:9-14). 7.3.5.The faithful child of Jehovah is "tough" when it comes to purity of doctrine, purity of life, and sanctity of the church, but he is gentle with reference to causing hurt to others. 7.4.Willing to Yield 7.4.1.The word is used of submission to military discipline and for observance of legal and moral standards in ordinary life; e.g., one who willingly submits to a fatherly will. 7.4.2.His attitude was and is that he is always a student of the Word!Compare this with 2 Tim. 2:24-26 and our Lord's teaching in Matt. 5:6. 7.4.3.Teachers we must always be careful not to become so rigid that we are unwilling to study God's Word (or restudy some subject).This does not mean that fundamental axioms are not true, but let us not be afraid to be diligent students of the Word and humble enough to admit it when we are wrong (as Apollos surely did, Acts 18:26-28). 188.8.131.52.See also Gal. 6:1-2 and 1 Cor. 10:12 as further insight into this attitude. 7.4.4.Do not allow someone to misuse this passage to attempt to lay aside those principles and teachings which are true.No matter how much study a man does, if he is honest there are certain conclusions that the Scripture will demand: 184.108.40.206.water immersion is essential to the obtaining of forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:15-16); Jesus is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23); the church of the Bible is not a denomination (Col. 1:18,24); all men are under/subject to the New Testament (covenant) and will perish if they do not obey it (2 Thess. 1:7-9; 2:10-12), etc. 7.5.Full of mercy and good fruits 7.5.1.Based upon the word and context we are to understand that Christians are given a wonderful opportunity to manifest mercy when others who may have treated them with an evil/worldly attitude come for repentance and forgiveness. Also involved in this is the practical side of mercy (James 1:21-27). 7.5.2.The wise teacher not only talks about being a good neighbor, but he lives it! 7.5.3.The wise teacher is not one to put social needs above the spiritual, yet he does not close his eyes to them either, he seeks to be ready to fulfill an opportunity to glorify the Father (Matt. 5:16; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 3:21). 7.6.Without partiality 7.6.1.This teacher is one that does not doubt.The wisdom from above enables you to be firm in your views and have complete confidence in God and in his world. 7.6.2.The wise teacher is stable, not tossed about by the false teaching of men nor the pseudo wisdom of the world. 7.6.3.He is consistent in all his actions for the cause of Christ.Both his disposition and actions are consistent. 7.6.4.This is in sharp contrast to the double minded man in James 1. 7.7.Without hypocrisy 7.7.1.From the Greek word hypokrites meaning a play actor; one who plays a part and does not reflect their true situation 7.7.2.Christianity is to be real, without deceit.The discrepancy between what a person says and really thinks or between evil intentions and genuine good deeds cannot long be hidden, even from men (see Rom. 2:16). 7.7.3.Hypocrisy is dishonest; it deceives and misleads others for selfish ends. 8.18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 8.1.The construction of this sentence in the original language supports the following translations: "And righteousness is the harvest that is produced from seeds the peacemaker planted in peace" 8.2.The truly wise person is led not to sow seeds of discord, but seeks to bring true peace between God and man and then between men -- never compromising the truth, but with reverence and fear seeking the lost (Gal. 6:7-8). 8.2.1.Only the gospel of Christ can accomplish this peace. 8.3.The benefits listed in James 3:17-18 are promised to the Christian who seeks to accomplish the will of the Father. 8.4.Thus the sower of discord, the follower of worldly wisdom, cannot reap such wonderful benefits from Jehovah (1 Pet. 3:8-13).
Thursday, December 10, 2009 - What's Important
If you were to line up 100 people side by side and ask them what was most important to them, you might get 60-80 different answers. That is understandable because what people consider important is based on criteria specific to them, such as their age, their income level, their family situation, etc. What they consider as important has special significance to them.
For millions of people around the world, this holiday season means religion will become important to them for the first or maybe second time all year. They will view the Sunday closest to December 25th as some sort of ceremony that will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There are two very serious flaws with this type of thinking. First, there is absolutely no indication that Jesus was born in the month of December. In fact, most evidence points to a birth somewhere in the August to October timeframe, though that is not exact. Second, and most importantly, we are NEVER instructed to celebrate or commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Please do NOT misunderstand me, the birth of Jesus Christ is important. It is the miraculous fulfillment of prophecy regarding the earthly birth of God's only son. However, do you realize that if he hadn't been sinless in his earthly life, that is all it would mean? There would have been no sacrifice to be offered on our behalf, no method of reconciliation with God.
For Christians, what is important comes as we read about the events surrounding his life. Two passages give us hope that we can make it through this life, regardless of the circumstances that Satan will throw in our way to try to keep us attached to the world.
1 Peter 2:21-25 - For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
The footsteps that Jesus left us are those of a man who devoted his entire earthly life in service to God. A life that displayed unquestioned obedience to our heavenly father; obedience that culminated in the shedding of his blood. Notice how Paul described it in Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." The father's love for his creation required the sacrifice of his only begotten son so we could be washed in his blood for the foregiveness of our sins.
The footsteps of Jesus show us a Saviour that:
1) Suffered betrayal at the hands of one of his disciples, abandoned by many others and denied three times by another 2) Suffered the agony of waiting in the Garden of Gethsemane as soldiers made there way to take him to his death 3) Suffered the horrific pain and trauma of scourging. Sharp metal or bone attached to the end of leather straps designed to rip the flesh, muscle, ligaments; repeated strikes with the purpose of causing extreme blood loss even to the point of ripping all the way to the bone 4) Suffered the most horrendous death known to man while surrounded by common thieves 5) Suffered the fact that God could no longer look upon Him and thus turned away from Him (Matthew 27:46) because the Lord bore the sins of all humanity for all time (Isa. 53:4-5,8,11-12). The sins of others which He bore did not make Him a sinner, but He was nonetheless laden with those sins on the cross. Jesus' cry shows that God allowed the suffering and death of His Son, which Jesus was willing to endure.
Why was it important that Jesus endured? So that we might have a chance at redemption; so that we might have a hope of heaven.
As we examine what is important in our lives, let's us never forget that the sacrifice Christ made were for you and for me. Also, remember that he is coming again, to collect those in his kingdom.
What's important is ARE YOU READY?
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - James 3:1-12
1.The ability to speak is a great talent.When one has such a talent, they take upon themselves the responsibility of the use of that talent.One must and will suffer the consequences of a misuse of the ability to speak. People today must come to realize the power contained in the tongue and channel it to the saving of mankind rather than using it to destroy, defame, and demean. 1.1.Some have estimated that the average person speaks some 4,800 words per day.The prayer of each speaker should be that of David: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer" (Ps. 19:141).Each of the estimated 4,800 words spoken by man each day is powerful and must be handled carefully. 1.2.Solomon reminded us that "death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21). 1.3.James wrote more about the proper and improper use of the tongue than any other inspired writer except Solomon.In James 3 he focuses his words, regarding the tongue. 2.1 Be not many [of you] teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment. 2.1.It is a most serious matter for a man to preach the gospel.Paul said, "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:16). 2.2.A heavy responsibility rests upon any teacher.Paul wrote to Timothy and said, "Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching.Continue in these things; for in doing these thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee" (1 Tim. 4:16). 2.3.Not all disciples can be public teachers of the word and not all should try to be. 220.127.116.11 Cor. 12 talks about all the pieces to the body and how they are all important. 2.4.A teacher must be studious.Every teacher should "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). 2.4.1.It appears that some were aspiring to be teachers yet were not putting in the work to know the word, thus they would revert to their “own knowledge.” 18.104.22.168.Matt. 15:9 - And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" 22.214.171.124.Mark 12:38 - And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces… 2.4.2.All hearers should imitate the noble Bereans."Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the scriptures daily, whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). 2.4.3.Paul told Timothy to "give heed to reading" (1 Tim. 4:13). 2.4.4.A teacher must know his Bible. 2.5.Teacher needs to know he will face a heavier (greater) judgment if he fails in carrying out the call to teach THE WORD. 2.5.1.Meizon - of greater degree, even more 2.5.2.Krima - a decree, judgment condemnation of wrong 2.5.3.Too many teachers desire the attention or influence that goes with being a teacher and does not prepare themselves to abide in God’s word. 2.5.4.Paul said, "Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:16). 3.2 For in many things we all stumble. If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, a