James 5:13-18

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James 5:13-15

The Prayer of Faith

  1. The opposites James mentions are affliction and being merry. In the first instance he tells us to pray and in the second to sing Psalms although he could also have said it the other way round, namely in affliction sing Psalms which are prayers (as Paul and Silas did in Acts 16) and when merry pray thankfully.
  2. The affliction mentioned, we believe, could be physical or spiritual. In the New Testament affliction is used of:
  • Persecution (Matt.24:9, Heb.11:25,37, II Cor. 1:6).
  • Conviction of sin and chastisement for sin (James 4:9 WRETCHED, Psalm 107:17, Psalm 119:67,
  • I Kings 8:35)
  • Famine/destitution (Acts 7:11, James 1:27)
  • Satanic attack or temptation (Job, Paul’s thorn etc).
  • Pain/sickness/bereavement
  • Spiritual weariness

The usual Greek word is THLIPSIS meaning pressure although in this verse it is KAKOPATHEO meaning hardship.

  1. The happy should sing Psalms because God is to be praised at all times, especially for blessings even though we are told to rejoice and praise him at all times (Phil.4:4, Psalm 34:1).
  2. Is any sick? The word sick and the word weak are the same Greek word e.g. I Cor. 11:30, II Cor. 11:30 (AESTHENEO) meaning without strength. The other word for weary and the word sick are the same (KAMNEO Heb. 12:3, James 5:15). The context suggests again both, we are body and soul and often spiritual sickness accompanies physical sickness.
  3. God may use the elders’ prayers and anointing (whether literal or not) to heal the sick (v16) cf Rev.3:18.
  4. Anointing with oil was an Old Testament practice signifying anointing with the Spirit for service as prophet, priest or king. The Spirit heals physically and/or spiritually whether directly or through means but by itself no oil cures anything.
  5. Prayer may cure illness if it is God’s will e.g. Paul’s many miracles, Elisha, Peter (Acts 9:40) where even resurrection from death occurs in answer to prayer.
  6. Again the answer is as above although the New Testament is full of examples where prayer in faith an requests made directly to Christ were all positively answered. Should a person die then they are forever healed!
  7. Healing in the ministry of Christ and the apostles is always a picture of the spiritual healing the gospel brings (John 12:40, I Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5, Luke 4:18) which is basically the forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:9-10). The prayers of the elders offered in faith will bring physical healing AND forgiveness according to this scripture.

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James 5:16-18

The Power of Prayer

1/2     Confessing your sins to one another relates especially to sins committed against another Christian which must be confessed, repented of and forgiven. So as to bring reconciliation and restore harmony. We must also confess all known sin to God. Confession of serious public sin in the church must be publicly confessed. Private besetting sins MAY be shared among caring brethren for help and accountability.

  1. Prayer for our brethren should be modelled on Paul’s prayers for the churches where he prays for their sanctification, which is a cleansing from sin and spiritual healing (Isaiah 1:6, Psalm 41:4, Jer. 3:22, Psalm 107:19-20, Psalm 6:1-3). Leprosy, the most obvious and contagious OT disease, made people unclean as a picture of sin.
  2. Confession and repentance brings healing to the conscience and healing of wounds between saints. Old wounds should not be picked at as we sometimes do with scabs!
  3. James is not teaching that prayer ever changes God’s mind but he is saying that Spirit-inspired prayer is effective and Christ exhorts persistence in his parable of the widow and corrupt judge (Luke 18:1ff).
  4. If the prayer of the righteous is according to God’s will (John 16:24), it will be answered and God will bring the positive outcome asked for, or deliverance e.g. Elijah and the drought and Elisha (II Kings 6:17), also Christ at Lazarus’ tomb. God used Christ’s prayers and will use our prayers in effecting his purposes (John 17).
  5. James uses Elijah as an example because he saw God miraculously answer his prayers despite him being sinful just like us.
  6. This means God uses the prayers of sinners to demonstrate his power, vindicate them and to encourage them. This encourages us to pray fervently despite our sinfulness. But we must remember Psalm 66:18, John 15 and I John 3:22. We can always plead his promises, tell him to fulfil his threats (Deut.28:23), pray using Scripture.

Ultimately Elijah’s prayer was heard because it was in line with God’s will and vindicated himself as the true God.

Next Study Saturday February 25th (Last of James) James 5:19-20 and review of book. Summarise each chapter, perhaps pick a key verse. Think about what we should study next-we are pursuing one idea.

 

 

Truth

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“To err doctrinally from the truth is serious. God is himself the truth. He has revealed his truth in Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. The confession of the truth by the church and its members is the measuring stick by which the saints’ love for God can be measured. If we are careless about the truth and indifferent toward it, if we overlook aberrations and tolerate untruths about God and Christ, and if we consider the truth to be of so little importance that we never condemn heresy, we do not love God.”

Herman Hanko in “Faith Made Perfect” RFPA  2015

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James 5:10-12

CPRC Men’s  Bible  Study

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James 5:10-11          Examples

  1. The prophets are examples of patience in suffering because most or all of them suffered either personal or family trouble or persecution in the form of abuse, threats, imprisonment even death at the hands of the people. For example; Abel, Job, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zechariah (Matt 23:35-37) and John the Baptist. Jesus depicted this in a parable (Matt 21:33-40). See also II Chron 36:15-16, “ And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”
  2. They suffered because of the antithesis, the battle between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. Godless wicked men hate God and his servants and their message. Cain and Abel are prime examples—self-righteous Cain hated godly righteous-by-faith Abel. Many of the prophets brought specific accusations and condemnation of the people’s behaviour.
  3. They showed patience by not retaliating, by continuing their witness bravely and accepting and enduring their suffering as from God. Their patience was an expression of:
  • Trust in God
  • Waiting for justice
  • Meekness (unjust suffering)
  • Hope for their future

4.Happiness generally is a mood reflecting joy in circumstances but here “happy” (Greek: MAKARIOS) means blessed. The root is MAK meaning either lengthy or beautiful, pointing, I think, to the character traits engendered by patient suffering, i.e. conformity to Christ (Phil 3:8-11). Christ of course suffered terribly yet is ever blessed and his glory and joy are imparted to us (Jas 1:2-4). He said it was blessed to suffer for righteousness sake (Matt.5:10). What enabled the prophets (and Christ) to do this?

  • Love for God
  • Their following Christ (Heb 11:25)
  • For the good of the church
  • Their identity as children of God (John 13:3)
  • Looking to future joy and reward (Heb 12:2)
  • Glad to be counted worthy (Acts 5:41)
  1. Job’s patience was his acceptance of all his loss at God’s hand without complaint and his continuing to praise him. The end of the Lord for him was restoration, God explaining much about his work,  and glory to his name through Job’s perseverance (also indirectly comfort for many believers since).
  2. The examples of the prophets and Job serve to highlight the truth of the fifth point of Calvinism namely the preservation or perseverance of the saints.

 

James 5:12         Swearing

 

1/2. Swearing was apparently a big problem among the Jews and it meant calling upon God, or another witness as proof that someone was telling the truth or would keep their oath. It implies some retribution or calamity if the oath is not kept.

  1. James forbids rash and profane swearing. He cannot be forbidding all oaths because it is lawful to swear in a courtroom, to make marriage or confession of faith church vows and to swear by God. God himself swears (Gen 22:16, Ps 110:4, Heb 7:21).
  1. Swearing was permitted in O.T. law (Num 30:2ff, Deut 6:13, Is 45:23, 95:16) and Paul made a vow. James is backing up Christ’s admonition in Matt 5:33-37 which makes clear that oaths are unnecessary to the man of integrity.
  2. (see 3 above)
  3. Improper oaths often include breaking the third or ninth commandment and will bring guilt and consequences (loss of reputation) and condemnation (Zech 5:3) especially on judgment day.

Next BS (DV) Sat. Feb. 4th 8pm James 5:13-18

 

James 5:4-9

 

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James 5:4-6

The Sins of the Rich

  1. The rich addressed here acquire their wealth by fraud, by not paying their workers enough or promptly.
  2. The unpaid wages cry against the rich because God hears/knows about them just as Abel’s blood cried from the ground after his murder. It is possible the injustice also cries in the conscience of the rich as in the case of Zacchaeus.
  3. The Lord Sabaoth means Lord of hosts, Lord of the army of angels and his church, sovereign King, Saviour and Protector of all of them. See Psalm 46:7, 24:10.
  4. Pleasure is something in God’s creation that pleases people but in this case it refers to pure hedonism, pleasure for its own sake, wallowing in excess wine, food, sex and luxury without any reference to God (in thankfulness). See also I Tim.6:6-8, 17, Amos 6:4-6, Luke 16:19, 25. Wanton means wanting more, discontentedness, inordinate desire (especially sexual). See I Tim.5:6. Wanton may also be an adjective to describe wicked behaviour e.g. wanton cruelty or destruction. E.g. I.S.I.S.
  5. He sees the rich in their greed laying down fat around their heart unaware that at any minute they could be dead like a slaughtered beast. See Isaiah 6:10 and Deut.32:15.
  6. Condemned implies judgment or punishment, in this case unjust just as with Christ. They may be condemned to starve. We believe this portion of Scripture is written to comfort the suffering poor and confront the wicked rich whether believers or hypocrites in the church.
  7. The murder could be both literal or figurative (i.e. hate), the former in the case of Naboth and the latter with Laban and Jacob.
  8. The actions of the rich are made even more sinful by the fact they are given power by God and they actually take advantage of their righteous peaceful compliant Christian workers. But Matthew 25:41-46.

James 5:7-9

Patience

  1. Patience is longsuffering under their corrupt bosses, waiting for justice for themselves and the rich. Similar to the cry from beneath the altar in Rev.6:10. See also Rom.12:19-21, Deut. 32:35 and Ps.73:18.
  2. James admonishes patience because they need to know their trouble is working salvation (character and dependence upon God) and the opposite would be to fight back and rebel.
  3. James speaks of the coming of the Lord as the time of justice being done and all wrongs made right.
  4. James uses the illustration of the farmer with his crops, waiting for the rains (the early was Oct/Nov and late March/April) and then the ripening of his harvest.
  5. Stablish the heart means a settled faith, acceptance of one’s situation and God’s promises as opposed to complaining and fretting.
  6. The second coming is near in God’s time where a thousand years are like a day but also his coming for us (after our short lives) is near. The fact it is near should encourage us to wait and believe the promises.
  7. To grudge means complain or groan to others and we are not to do it because it is sinful. To do so invites God’s chastisement c.f., James 1:2-4. It displays lack of submission and contentment under God’s mighty hand. By the way both verbs “standeth” (at the door) and “draweth” (near) are in the present perfect tense meaning they refer to things that have happened and are on-going. E.g. I Have worked here since I left school. She has been living in Liverpool all her life. The’ve been married for nearly 50 years.

Next study (D.V.) January 14th (Sat.) James 5:10-12.

James 4:13-5:3

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James 4:13-17

The Will of God

  1. James wants to emphatically draw attention to an attitude of pride and worldliness that is prevalent in all unbelievers and even some believers in which life is lived fulfilling all their plans and lusts without any recourse to God.
  2. Those who live independently of God are ignoring his sovereignty. They ought to say, “If the Lord wills” (D.V.=Deo Volente=God-willing in Latin). See Proverbs 27:1 and John 15:5 which is true physically and spiritually. We do not know what tomorrow will bring or how long we will live or what may befall us.
  3. Living like this forgets or denies God’s providence.
  4. James likens our lives to a breath of exhaled water vapour, as you see on a cold day when you breathe out. Both are very fleeting and leave nothing behind. Our lives will have little or no eternal significance unless we are involved in building God’s kingdom by laying up treasure in heaven (good works and giving) and building on the foundation of Christ gold (faith), silver (purity) and precious stones (other believers). Matt.6:20 and I Cor.3:12-14.
  5. The Lord’s will is two things. Firstly, in this context, it is his decree concerning our lives of which God alone knows the future details. Secondly God’s will is our sanctification (I Thess. 4:3), our conformity to Christ in salvation which is the purpose of everything in our lives.
  6. Folk like this boast and presume upon their ability instead of depending upon God and acknowledging him (Prov.3:5-6).
  7. We are responsible for obeying all God’s commands and to not do so is either a sin of commission or omission. Everyone has a conscience. Ignorance is no excuse though it may be a mitigating factor (Acts 17:30, I Tim.1:13, Rom.2:14-15). Teachers will be judged more strictly.         The ultimate self reliance in a whole nation..

James 5:1-3

The Perils of Riches

  1. The rich whom James is addressing are all unbelievers either outside the church or inside (nominal hypocrites). We know this because everything they have is corrupted and they do evil even to the point of persecuting believers (v6).
  2. The three marks of worldly riches are:
  • Unjust corrupt business practices (fraud)vv3-4
  • Heaping up treasure (v3)
  • Hedonistic selfish living (v5)

In probably every country in the world today there are corrupt politicians or leaders in business who are like this.They are to mourn because misery is coming. Note that miser and miserable are from the same Latin root meaning wretched!

4/5. Their miseries may well be the loss of their riches in this life and certainly their loss at death (Luke 12:21, 16:23, I Tim.6:9-10,17) and bad conscience and retribution in hell.

  1. The corrosion of their riches we think, is more the corrosion of their souls and the more they have, the more responsible they are to be thankful, and their condemnation will be greater for their misuse of all they had.

7.The last days are the age from Christ’s first to his second coming which we are in now. The rich are ignorant of the judgments coming and the end of the world.

Next Study (D.V.) Friday* December 23rd 8pm James 5:4-9.

James 4:7-12

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James 4:7-10

The Remedy for Worldliness

1&2. To live life submitted to God means submission to his word, knowing his laws, submitting to all in authority (parents, government, elders, boss) and denying self. It also includes acceptance of affliction, chastisement and discipline from his hand.

  1. We resist the devil by having fellowship with God in dependent prayer and watchfulness (Matt.26:41, Ps.16:8). This includes relying upon his word and claiming his promises (Matt.4, I Cor.10:31). We also must be ruthless with our old man of flesh and sin and kill him by cutting off the sinful thought (Matt.5:28-30). If we do this the temptation will be overcome and Satan will flee, otherwise he gets a foothold (James 1:14-15). Remembering the cross and being able and willing to testify of Christ also brings victory especially against Satan’s accusations (Rev.12:11). By Christ’s strength we overcome him.
  2. We believe God initiates everything in the Christian life from our initially being drawn irresistibly to him (John 6:44) and all on-going conversion, spiritual activity and good works thereafter. He causes us by grace to approach him (Song of Solomon 1:4, Psalm 73:28, Heb.10:22) this we do by coming to him in the fellowship of the word, prayer and public worship and there he draws near to us.
  3. The washing of our hands reminds us of the initial whole body wash that the priests needed (Ex.40:12,31, 30:19-20, Lev.8:6, 16:4) and their regular hand and feet washing as they started their duties in the tabernacle. The New Testament equivalent was and is Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet in John 13:10. This represents our on-going confession and cleansing of sin (I John 1:9). The heart is the motivational centre of our being and we are told to cleanse ours by making God’s glory our only aim and abandoning all sinful ambition and desire.
  4. Double-mindedness is the condition of clinging on to un-confessed sin or worldliness while purporting to follow Christ. Confession and true repentance is the only remedy (Ps.66:18).
  5. The mourning and weeping mentioned by James must be that for sin because it is the sole Biblical reason for it (apart from a death of someone near and dear). Matt.5:4, Ps.30:5, 38:6, II Cor.7:9.
  6. Why should our laughter be changed? Because if it is light-hearted banter concealing sin it needs to change into true sorrow for sin.
  7. True humility is borne of recognising our creature hood, depending upon God for everything, our sinfulness needing continual forgiveness and our gracious sainthood and adoption. These will lead to our contentment in all circumstances.
  8. The result of humility is God’s gracious uplifting which may be earthly and providential e.g. Joseph or spiritual joy and sense of privilege e.g. Daniel (10:10-11), Ps.3:3, 30:1, 102:10.

Next study (DV) December 3rd James 4:13-5:3.

 

 

 

James 4:11-12

Judging the Brother

  1. To slander means to tell lies or spread rumours about a brother who is absent. It may even be telling the truth that should be kept private and brought up with the individual concerned. It is not the righteous judgment of false doctrine or serious sin which ought to be admonished.
  2. This admonition is to all church members who may well have been guilty of this alongside their partiality.
  3. It means passing judgment falsely without proof or hypocritically (Matt.7:1-2) or condemning them, even doubting their salvation. The law is the moral law of God, the Ten Commandments and their exposition by Christ and in the New Testament.
  4. By judging the law is meant hypocritically breaking it by bearing false witness or setting yourself above it by adding to it like the uncharitable brother in Romans 14:3ff, both of which sins the Pharisees were guilty.
  5. God saves and condemns by his effectual call and irresistible grace on the one hand and his causing sickness, death and eternal judgment on the other (Is.66:24, Mark 9:44-45, I Cor.5:5).
  6. Ultimately God alone is fit to judge. Slander is the sin of bearing false witness (9th commandment). Hanko brings out the fact that Satan slanders God in many ways e.g. denying creation, lies about his character (Eve), convincing men that happiness is in things etc.

James 4:1-6

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James 4:1-3

Wars and Fightings

  1. James has in mind conflict within churches between individuals and factions. They would be the result of strife for position, slander and doctrinal factions. In context this would be commonplace among those of dead faith who used their tongue for evil and strove for earthly things.
  2. Lusts are inordinate desires for things, people or position, strong desire for what you may not have or what is contrary to the word of God. Lust of eyes is the desire to possess. Lust of the flesh is the desire to indulge. Pride of life is desire to impress, get self-glory, position or power (I John 2:15-16). The opposite of lusts is contentment and the assurance God will supply all our NEEDS (Phil. 4:19).
  3. Members means our physical body which is morally neutral but within which mind and body, the battle between flesh (old man) and Spirit (new man) rages (Rom.7:23, Gal.5:17).
  4. The lusts he is talking about are sinful because he says people pray wrongly to indulge them and they are not answered because they are to fulfil lust. It is surprising people pray so selfishly at all e.g. “health and wealth” charismatics. But even when we ask for things lawful God may say “no” e.g. Paul’s thorn. Praying wrongly or not praying at all belies not living in conscious dependence upon God and not asking according to his will (in Christ’s name).
  5. We looked at Hanko’s statement that the desire for pleasure is selfishness and concluded that this was true when the desire was to satisfy a lust BUT as believers God gives us many things, physical and spiritual to enjoy and find pleasure in e.g. marriage, food, sport, reading, and all spiritual blessings (Psalm 16:11).
  6. The killing in verse 2 is figurative and means hating because to hate in God’s eyes is murder.
  7. Coveting is wanting badly something or someone that belongs to someone else (Col. 3:5, Ex. 20:17). It is idolatry. It is usually something valuable e.g. wife, house, car, job, jewels.
  8. Those who ask do not receive because they ask for wrong motives, to consume it on their lust.
  9. They do not receive because God knows it would be destructive to them. Examples of wrong asking are Jonah and Elijah both asking to die and James and John asking for positions in heaven.
  10. Consuming something upon lusts means that even the getting of the desired thing does not profit the person, it is a fleeting pleasure (Heb.11:25). It does not satisfy (John 7:37-38) but rather brings guilt. Consume means squander or spend with nothing to show e.g. Prodigal Son, woman with issue (Mark.5:26). “Solid joys and lasting treasures none but Zion’s children know”—John Newton .John 4:4-6

    Friendship with the World

     

    1. Spiritual adultery is whoring after an idol in the place of God c.f. Book of Hosea. This was characteristic of O.T. Israel who not only broke the first commandment but also violated the unbreakable marriage bond with God their true husband.
    2. “World“ here means the godless world of men and government apart from God that reigns on planet earth.
    3. Friendship with the world means wanting what Satan and men want and making them your favoured companions contrary to Psalm 1:1.    4/5. Enmity with God is inbuilt in all men who by nature will not have God rule over them and who love something else first and foremost (Eph.2:3, Rom.5:10). All men are by nature enemies of God and if they are not reconciled will perish everlastingly (Col.1:21).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6. The only possible quotation that fits the bill is Paul’s in Gal. 5:17 (see II Pet. 3:16) where Peter mentions Paul’s writings as Scripture that he must have read, and it is possible James had read Paul.                                                                                                                                                 7/8. This is difficult. It could mean the spirit in the old man which lusts to envy (Gen.6:4, Eph.4:22, Jude 16, 18) even wanting what God has (Gen.3), but we came down in favour of it being the Holy Spirit who is said to dwell in us and whom we know desires strongly (lusts) to subdue and kill the old nature (Gal.5:17).                                                                                                                                                                               9/10. God giving grace is from Psalm 138:6 and Prov.3:34 repeated in I Peter 5:5 meaning he gives the desire and ability to obey and please him (Phil.2:13) by mortifying the deeds of the old man.                                                                                                                                                          11. Pride is typical of a man who sets himself above others and even God, determining what is right and wrong. It is sinful self-sufficiency and living without any acknowledgment of God’s existence or right to rule. God resists and frustrates such people e.g. Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 12. Grace is God’s beauty, favour and power to overcome sin and lead a godly life and the humble are those made so by God in regeneration (Matt.18:3,4).

    Next Bible Study on James 4: 7-12 is scheduled for Saturday November 12th 8pm.

     

     

Our Good Covenant God

“In his love for us (God’s people), God delights in us, rejoices in fellowship with us, and reveals to us all the secrets of his counsel and will (Gen. 18:17-18; Psalm 25:14), tells us all that is in his heart, and never does anything but the greatest good to us. We are thus the friends of God who are called to walk as God’s friends in the world, to love him with our whole being, to rejoice in him, to bring to him all our needs, our cares, our sorrows, and to find in him all blessedness for time and eternity.” This is the essence of the covenant-JK

Herman Hanko in Faith Made Perfect.faithmadeperfect

Available here

James 3:13-18

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James 3:13-16

Earthly Wisdom

  1. Wisdom is knowing how best to act in all circumstances. It is adapting to situations choosing the best course of action to reach the goal. It begins with the fear of God. Christ is wisdom and understanding incarnate (Prov. 8:14). Understanding (knowledge) underlies wisdom. One who understands God, people and circumstances will act wisely. Prov.4:5,7 is a command to get understanding.

More on understanding:

  • Some ought to understand the times (politics) I Chron.12:32.
  • Solomon asked for it (I Kings 3:9).
  • We can pray for it (Ps.119:34, Jas.1:5).
  • It means departing from evil (Job.28:28).
  • It comes from Scripture (Ps.119:104).
  • God’s is infinite (Ps.147:5).
  • Don’t trust your own (Prov.3:5,6).
  • Knowing God (Prov.9:10).
  • Understanding leads to a wise walk (Jas.3:13).
  • Understanding is the job of pastors/elders (Jer.3:15).
  • It is divinely imparted (Luke 24:45).
  • It is something we ought to pray for others (Col.1:9, II Tim.2:7).
  • It is something to glory in (Boast about) (Jer.9:24,25).
  • Unsaved have their understanding darkened (Rom.1:31).
  • It leads to repentance (John 12:40).
  • It is a source of teaching (Dan.11:33).

 

2. “Conversation” means manner of life (Ps.37:14, 50:23, Phil.1:27, I Pet.1:18,3:1). “Good” (Greek KALOS means beautiful, serving its purpose. Something that should be our aim in life, namely to know God’s purpose for us and fulfil it faithfully.

3. Meekness and humility are very closely related. Meekness is a godly response when aggravated (like Moses) whereas humility is right knowledge of oneself (Rom.12:3). Excellent book called HUMILITY by Andrew Murray (available on line) in which he says it stems from:

  • Knowledge we are creatures
  • Knowledge we are sinners
  • Knowledge we are saintsPride, the opposite inevitably reveals itself in being soon angry, unrighteous anger, derogatory speech about others, parading knowledge, acting independently of God and others, unwilling to listen to others/be corrected. Pride is self-assertive, draws attention to itself, steals glory from God and leads to disobedience (as with our first parents).

4. Earthly wisdom is carnal leading to bitter envy because it is selfish, wanting attention, position or goods, and to fulfil lusts/coveting. The envying is wanting what someone else has and being willing to go to wicked lengths to get it e.g. Simon Magus (Acts 8:18), Diotrephes (III John 9), King Saul, Absalom. Bitterness implies hatred and desire for revenge (Heb.12:15).

5. Strife means conflict and disagreement that might lead to violence and murder. Usually the result of coveting (Ahab) or selfish ambition (Herodias, Athaliah). True wisdom obeys God, it is holy, keeps relationships, does no violence and is willing to wait patiently (David, Christ).

6. Lying against the truth is hypocrisy, saying one thing and doing another, saying you believe God and his truth but despising him and disobeying by our attitude or actions e.g. I John 1:6, 4:20). Peter was an example. We lie not when we are true to our confession.

7. Earthly means worldly, earthly goals of power, position, wealth. All the “isms” communism, humanism, evolutionism, pragmatism (if it works do it). See Luke 16:8.Devilish means originating with Satan or mimicking him-pride, ambitious, lying, destroying/murdering, hating God.Sensual means gratifying the senses, mind and body together (evil thoughts/actions as Gen.6:4), worldly entertainment, porn etc.

8. Confusion occurs among church members if they are unsure whom to listen to. Who is speaking truth among the factions? And every evil work includes backbiting, gossip, slander, taking brethren to court, schism and immorality. Evil (Greek PHAULOS) means nothing worthwhile comes from it.

James 3:17,18.

True Wisdom

  1. Wisdom originates in the Triune God, is founded on the truth of Scripture and the first lessons (leading to conversion) are the Heidelberg headings! i.e. our misery, the remedy, and how to live thankfully.
  2. Pure-holy, not immoral. Peace-loving-avoids strife and keeps peace whenever possible (Rom.12:18) but not always possible because of the sword Christ brings (the antithesis). Considerate-considers others. Submissive-relates to brethren and elders submissively. Full of mercy and good fruit-charitable, forgiving, results in blessing others. Impartial-no respecting persons. Sincere- honest/truthful.
  3. Blessed are the peace-makers (Matt. 5:9) who are believers who mediate between others and preserve unity.
  4. The fruit of righteousness is the end result of peace in a church where there is unity, reconciliation, love and joy i.e. the fruit of the Spirit, the result of good seed sown.

Think of a vineyard or orchard. If a storm comes fruit is destroyed and lost but in tranquil good warm weather, much fruit!

Next Study (DV) Saturday October 22nd 8pm looking at James 4:1-6

James 3:3-12

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James 3:3-8

The Disproportionate Tongue

  1. James compares the power of the tongue to a) a ship’s rudder, b) a horse’s bit, and c) a fire.
  2. The former two are small but control a large object out of proportion to their size and a fire may start small but soon grows. The tongue has power out of proportion to its size and it can start destructive hurtful fire(s).
  3. The tongue can boast about family, achievements, self-righteousness, exaggerate, and lie about accomplishments (Psalm 12:3 and 73:8). Note that Satan does not have a literal tongue but boasted proudly (Isaiah14:12-14). Others who boasted and were destroyed or humbled were Haman (Esther), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan.4:30), Herod (Acts 12:23), Simon Magus (Acts 8:9) and Antichrist (II Thess.2).
  4. The tongue is like a fire when it is used to destroy another’s reputation or character wrongly (Psalm 31:13, 52:4, 64:3, Prov. 18:20-21, Jer.9:3, Gal.5:15, I Tim.3:11). A fire when under control is useful to warm us (edifying, pure, God-centred witness, praise and speech).
  5. A “world of iniquity” shows the breadth of subject and sin the tongue is capable of e.g. lies, boasting, slander, gossip, backbiting, sinful anger, obscene filthy talk and jesting, blasphemy, swearing, cursing, flatteries, whisperings. These sins break many commandments e.g. third, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth.
  6. The tongue corrupts or defiles the whole person because acting from the flesh (old man) it reveals that sinful nature. As Scripture says, “out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Prov.13:3, 21:23, Mark 7:20 and Matthew 12:34).
  7. The course of nature or wheel of existence is our lives turning through time and affecting every aspect of our lives and that of others around us either for good or evil.
  8. Gehenna was the rubbish dump outside Jerusalem in the valley of Hinnom where human sacrifices were offered (Jer.7:31). It is the N.T word for eternal hell into which God has power to cast sinners which was initially created for the devil and his angels.
  9. Humanity is able to tame animals including birds, many mammals (land and sea), and reptiles.
  10. The tongue, unlike tamed beasts is not consistently controlled and can break out with poison of outbursts to hurt, immobilise or kill when under stress e.g. Moses, Doeg, Saul.

James 3:9-12

Praising and Cursing–An Oxymoron

  1. Believers praise God by the nature of the Spirit within them out of thankfulness and because of revelation, because God is worthy, it is our purpose and our duty to glorify him. We do this in private and public worship by his grace.
  2. Blessing and cursing are connected coming from the same mouth. It is interesting that we sin in this, but God is able by his word to sovereignly bless his elect and curse the reprobate (Deut.30:1) without sin.
  3. It is a great sin to curse men with our tongue because initially all men were made in the image of God and our believing brethren are remade in that image. We are commanded to bless even our enemies and especially our brethren. Christ and the apostles had divine prerogative to curse false teachers.
  4. A fountain which brings forth sweet and bitter water and a fig tree that bears olives are used as examples of this apparent contradiction.
  5. These examples show that there should only be one kind of fruit of the tongue, that is blessing from a renewed heart. To bless is to speak well of and with divine power blesses by doing good eternally in salvation. In our relationships we judge righteously and go to the one who has sinned in the first place.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Next study (DV) Saturday October 1st to look at James 3:13-18.