James 1-3 Summary
James addressed these thoughts to those who were professing faith in Jesus Christ. And he taught them on multiple subjects, mainly dealing with some things they had wrong and that they needed to get right or on matters pertaining to the Christian walk of faith, either in words of encouragement or in words of correction and even in chastisement. And he dealt much with biblical doctrine, too, letting them know what it means to be a follower of Christ and what should not be involved in the lives of believers in Christ. Sexual immorality, adultery, lying, cheating, etc. should not be in our lives.
He addressed such subjects as the testing of our faith, and what to do when we are lacking in wisdom, and how we need to pray without doubting, and where temptation comes from. He talked a lot about the kinds of things which should be in our lives and the kinds of things which should no longer be in our lives. And he explained that it is required of us that we be doers of the word and not hearers only. And he spoke on the subject of what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves. It means we don’t sin against them, and we are not hypocritical, but we care about their true needs.
And then he covered the subject of the importance of faith, which is proven genuine by our works, but not the works of our own flesh, of our own doing, but the works of God which he prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-14). For, he concluded that as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. And Paul taught the same thing (Romans 2:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-14; 2 Timothy 2:21; Titus 3:8).
James 4 Select Verses ESV
So, the problem was that Christians were fighting with each other out of greed and envy and worldly passions, and then James said this:
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4 ESV).
And this reminded me of John’s words when he said:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17 ESV).
So, it is not enough to just profess faith in Jesus Christ, but we must live the faith that we profess. Our lives must be surrendered to Jesus Christ to do his will, and we should not be chasing after the fleshly passions of this sinful world. For if the world and its pleasures are what we are seeking after, but we are not seeking after our Lord and his will and godly desires and holy living and walks of obedience to our Lord, then we become enemies of God and we are not his friends. For we are not in genuine fellowship with him.
So, this is the counsel that James offered to all of us, truly:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:7-10 ESV).
And this really expresses the essence of the gospel. For our Lord did not give his life up for us on that cross merely to forgive us our sins so that when we die we get to go to heaven. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24).
And by God-given faith in Jesus Christ we are thus crucified and buried with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, no longer as slaves to sin, but now living as slaves to God and to his righteousness. For if sin is what we obey, it ends in death, but if obedience is what we obey, it leads to righteousness and to sanctification, and its end is eternal life with Jesus Christ, our Lord (Romans 6:1-23).
So, we need to follow the words of Jesus Christ. For he said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we save our lives (hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self), we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we lose our lives (die with him to sin and live to his righteousness), then we have eternal life with him (Luke 9:23-26).
And he said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). So, we need to take these words to heart.
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.