The letter of James concludes with a fitting focus on what genuine faith does: genuine faith prays and pursues. James, concise to a fault, leaves his readers with an exhortation that as followers of Jesus we are to move towards those who are in need. We pursue others in faith that God wants to heal and restore as we make our needs known to him in prayer.
How does James tell us to suffer? With patience. But let’s be honest, that’s much easier said than done. James 5:7-12 tells us not only how we are to engage with suffering, but gives us hope in reminding us that through it, Jesus is making us more like him. It doesn’t make things go away, but what more could we ask for than to be more like Jesus?
James has harsh words to say for the arrogant and the proud. Why would James speak so bluntly to these people? James cares deeply about these things because God has revealed that throughout all of scripture that he cares greatly about us looking to him in all things and loving others, especially the most vulnerable. Join us as we grapple with these strong words from James 4:16-5:6
“God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble”. In chapter 4:1-12, James like an expert surgeon cuts through our selfish desires to reveal that our true problem is a heart that desires other things more than God. Then graciously he points us to the cure: the grace of God. James will not let us know the sweetness of grace until we have tasted the bitterness of our own sin. In all of this James shows us that true faith is marked by humility.
When the entire world seems to say that self-interest, getting ahead, and carnivorous ambition is what wisdom is all about, James comes with a radically different picture of wisdom. Echoing the call of wisdom from the book of Proverbs, James boldy claims that true wisdom is radically other focused. True wisdom cannot be found by looking inward, but only by looking upward to Jesus, the embodiment of true wisdom.
In James 3:1-12, James makes the point, faith that works is a faith that tames the tongue. Our speech and words are powerful and often destructive, so how are we supposed to do that? Jump in and listen as we discuss that together this week.
In this sermon we see James introduce topics that that are hard and perplexing for many of us: faith, trials, and temptation. In James 1:2-18 we will see that our faith will be tested, that trials actually come from God, and yet temptation never does.