PRAYER. What are you tempted to do when you get into trouble? Many people go to the courts (the domain of oaths and swearing). James tells us we should seek help through prayer. Prayer is a dynamic and powerful activity in the life of the believer. James begins his letter by encouraging the readers to pray (1:5-6) and he ends the letter with a call to prayer. If we confess our sins to others and pray for others we will become a righteous person and be healed (5:16). James gives us the example of Elijah as a true believer who prays. Prayer is talking with Jesus. In this passage, if replace the word “prayer” with “talk with Jesus”; it will help us understand our relationship with Jesus.
PATIENCE. We need to be patient about getting money. The acquisition of wealth can blind us to the life God wants us to have. Jesus taught that our riches are stored in heaven. James gives three examples of patient people: a farmer, a prophet, and Job. We need to be able to patiently wait for the Lord’s eternal blessing, which will come when Jesus returns. Jesus will set straight all injustice. We need to patiently wait upon the Lord.
HUMILITY. We can convince ourselves that we control our lives. James lets us know that we try to control and build up our lives by slandering and judging others, and by making plans for our life (without consulting Jesus). Pride will have us put our will ahead of God’s will. A prideful life will judge others and seek to set our own destiny. James challenges us to take on a spirit of humility; we know this is what Jesus wants. It’s a sin if we don’t do what we know we should do.
PEACE. How do you react and speak when a conflict arises? It’s been said that “you reap what you sow.” We should never underestimate the power of a seed. James gives a sad picture of church life (4:1-4), but tells us that God’s peace-loving wisdom will help us. Verses 7-10 are full of God’s wisdom in living the Christian life.
Sermon - 02/26/12 - "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires"
2/26/2012Pastor Steve Crane James 3:1-12
SELF-CONTROL. Our speech is an indicator of what we believe. James tells us that we need to tame the tongue. The text gives three examples to help us understand self control: a bit in the horse’s mouth, the rudder on a ship, and a spark in a forest. James asks the believer to control their tongue. A believer without self control can get out of control and cause a lot of damage. To live life in Christ, we need to ask Jesus to help us show restraint, and to think (of Jesus) before we speak.
FAITH. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. As a believer matures, their faith will become evident to others by the things they do. Good deeds are living proof of our faith in Jesus. “Easier said than done” is a phrase that should not be applied to Christians. James shows us how faith works.
MERCY. Showing favoritism goes against everything Jesus taught. Favoritism is a form of judgment. To discriminate and place labels on people is not what God wants us to do. If we have received mercy from God, we should show mercy to others. This is God’s law of love. The only real distinction important in the church is that of believer and non-believer. Regardless of a person’s social, economic, or cultural position, we are to bring them to Christ and disciple them as believers.
GOD’S WORD. We are called to both talk the talk and walk the walk. The challenge is to put God’s Word into practice in our lives. Our life and lifestyle need to reflect our Christian faith. When God speaks, we need to be good listeners and good doers.