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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 5

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Today’s tidbit is concerning faith and works. Works have absolutely nothing to do with our Salvation, other than as fruit of our Salvation; works will not get us to Heaven. But, once we are saved, we ought to want to work for Christ, and our works are evidence of our faith in Jesus unto Salvation. Our works are our fruits of our Salvation. So faith without works is dead. All born-again saints will stand before Jesus and have our works (after Salvation) tested by the fire. Those works born out of wrong motivation and not glorifying Christ will be burned up. Those works done for the sake of Christ and the Gospel will come out of the fire and we will receive our crowns for them. I look forward to laying those crowns at the feet of Jesus in gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice He paid for me so that I can live eternally with Him as my Lord and King.

James 2:14-26

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (This is a great example of when a brother or sister says to us that they have a need and we respond with, “I will pray for you.” That is all good and well. We are to pray for our brethren. But what about actually using some of the increase that God has blessed us with to put our prayers into action and help them by supplying their need, as the Holy Spirit leads. God blesses us and provides well for us in order for us to help those less fortunate, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.)

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

Those are wrong who put a mere notional belief of the gospel for the whole of evangelical religion, as many now do. No doubt, true faith alone, whereby men have part in Christ’s righteousness, atonement, and grace, saves their souls; but it produces holy fruits, and is shown to be real by its effect on their works; while mere assent to any form of doctrine, or mere historical belief of any facts, wholly differs from this saving faith.

A bare profession may gain the good opinion of pious people; and it may procure, in some cases, worldly good things; but what profit will it be, for any to gain the whole world, and to lose their souls? Can this faith save him? All things should be accounted profitable or unprofitable to us, as they tend to forward or hinder the salvation of our souls. This place of Scripture plainly shows that an opinion, or assent to the gospel, without works, is not faith. There is no way to show we really believe in Christ, but by being diligent in good works, from gospel motives, and for gospel purposes.

Men may boast to others, and be conceited of that which they really have not. There is not only to be assent in faith, but consent; not only an assent to the truth of the word, but a consent to take Christ. True believing is not an act of the understanding only, but a work of the whole heart.

That a justifying faith cannot be without works, is shown from two examples, Abraham and Rahab. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Faith, producing such works, advanced him to peculiar favours. We see then, in verse 24 , how that by works a man is justified, not by a bare opinion or profession, or believing without obeying; but by having such faith as produces good works. And to have to deny his own reason, affections, and interests, is an action fit to try a believer.

Observe here, the wonderful power of faith in changing sinners. Rahab’s conduct proved her faith to be living, or having power; it showed that she believed with her heart, not merely by an assent of the understanding. Let us then take heed, for the best works, without faith, are dead; they want root and principle. By faith any thing we do is really good; as done in obedience to God, and aiming at his acceptance: the root is as though it were dead, when there is no fruit.

Faith is the root, good works are the fruits; and we must see to it that we have both. This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it. There is no middle state. Every one must either live God’s friend, or God’s enemy. Living to God, as it is the consequence of faith, which justifies and will save, obliges us to do nothing against him, but every thing for him and to him.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 4

Oh my oh my. What a crazy summer it has started out to be. Yard work oh yard work, you’re not my enemy. Ha! Just a little silly to start off this post. We have decided to get serious about bringing our huge back yard back to life, after our big Daisy doggie made it her own. That means seeding and watering, a lot. The exercise up and down the many stairs from our deck is good for me, right? My poor arthritic feet do not say so, but oh well. The yard is looking nicer. ūüėČ Unfortunately, my site here has suffered from lack of attention. Since we have been blessed yesterday and today by a cool down and some much needed moisture, I thought it a good idea to share some more tidbits from James.

Now, for James Chapter 2:1-13 – God laid a thought on my heart as I was reading and considering this Scripture. What if we all were to ask ourselves, “Would I treat this or that person a certain way if Jesus were standing next to me?” Well, guess what, Jesus is standing next to us. Just because we do not see Him, does not mean He is not there. He is if we claim to be born-again into His royal family. And if I have the heart of Jesus in me, I will have no respect of persons.

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James 2:1-13

1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary has great words to help us understand this passage:

Those who profess faith in Christ as the Lord of glory, must not respect persons on account of mere outward circumstances and appearances, in a manner not agreeing with their profession of being disciples of the lowly Jesus. St. James does not here encourage rudeness or disorder: civil respect must be paid; but never such as to influence the proceedings of Christians in disposing of the offices of the church of Christ, or in passing the censures of the church, or in any matter of religion. Questioning ourselves is of great use in every part of the holy life. Let us be more frequent in this, and in every thing take occasion to discourse with our souls. As places of worship cannot be built or maintained without expense, it may be proper that those who contribute thereto should be accommodated accordingly; but were all persons more spiritually-minded, the poor would be treated with more attention that usually is the case in worshipping congregations. A lowly state is most favourable for inward peace and for growth in holiness. God would give to all believers riches and honours of this world, if these would do them good, seeing that he has chosen them to be rich in faith, and made them heirs of his kingdom, which he promised to bestow on all who love him. Consider how often riches lead to vice and mischief, and what great reproaches are thrown upon God and religion, by men of wealth, power, and worldly greatness; and it will make this sin appear very sinful and foolish. (Bold letters added by me.)

The Scripture gives as a law, to love our neighbour as ourselves. This law is a royal law, it comes from the King of kings; and if Christians act unjustly, they are convicted by the law as transgressors. To think that our good deeds will atone for our bad deeds, plainly puts us upon looking for another atonement. According to the covenant of works, one breach of any one command brings a man under condemnation, from which no obedience, past, present, or future, can deliver him. This shows us the happiness of those that are in Christ. We may serve him without slavish fear. God’s restraints are not a bondage, but our own corruptions are so. The doom passed upon impenitent sinners at last, will be judgment without mercy. But God deems it his glory and joy, to pardon and bless those who might justly be condemned at his tribunal; and his grace teaches those who partake of his mercy, to copy it in their conduct.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 3

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Great tidbits on dealing with wrath/anger in times of trial and stress, being doers and not just hearers of the Word, liberty but not to sin, and what religion really means.

James 1:19-27

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (During our trials, or in times of dispute with others, our flesh’s first reaction is to become angry, but anger is most counter-productive at those times. We must remember to take a breath and have a little talk with Jesus and ask Him what He may be teaching us during these times. If we are in a dispute with someone, it is best to walk away and take some time to chill so we do not say things we will regret and cannot take back. I have had my share of flying off the handle and before I know it, ugliness has come spewing forth from my mouth and I have had to go back and ask forgiveness. In any event, it behooves us much¬†to cool down and get with God before allowing our anger to cause us to sin.)

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (This is just common sense. If we give way to our wrath, God’s righteousness cannot abide in us, as with any sin we allow in our lives.)

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (Here our Lord implores us to lay apart, and to cast off as a filthy garment, all sinful actions and habits. It includes sinful thoughts that lead to sinful actions as well as our words. His Spirit and His Word empower us to then “receive with meekness” His engrafted Word. Engrafted=Cause to grow together; Fix or set securely or deeply.)

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (In a glass, blurry, unclear)

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (If we were to have the privilege of listening to a sermon given by an angel from Heaven every day of the week, but, we heard it only, that would never get us to heaven. Hearing without the doing makes us mere self-deceivers; and self-deceit is the worst deceit of all. When we dedicate private time to God’s Word it will reveal to each of us our corrupt nature, what our priorities are, and it will tell us plainly what we are. Once our sins are revealed, it is of utmost importance that we go to Jesus for forgiveness and cleansing and make the needed changes. If we go away, and ignore what God has revealed through His Word, instead of washing them off and applying what He shows us, we hear in vain. This is speaking of those who do not hear the word as they ought.)

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (In hearing the word, we look into it for guidance and direction, and as we study it, it points to our spiritual life. As we are shown the things we need to work on, we make the needed changes in our character so as to continue to be more and more like Jesus. So, when we stay in the Word of God and let it influence us spiritually we are, and shall be, blessed in all our ways.)

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. (Oh boy, we sure could say a lot about the smallest member of our body and the tremendous harm that we are capable of doing–oh the power of our words! It takes a strong walk with the Lord and the power of His Holy Spirit to help us bridle our tongues.)

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (Ahh, this word religion can really be misinterpreted, usually by those who are convicted by the Holy Spirit about it. They will use it to justify their lack of a true relationship with Jesus. How often do we hear, “I do not believe in organized religion because of the hypocrites, or I was hurt so badly at my last church.” But they have no problem going other places where there are hypocrites and mean people who hurt us. For are there not hypocrites, and all types of characters, every where we go? And they do not stop us from going there!

But that is not what God is speaking of here. The reason for going to church is so that we may sit under the teaching and preaching of a true man of God who preaches from God’s one true Word, the King James Bible, without watering it down for ‘itching ears.’ Once we are saved, we need to grow stronger in our relationship with Jesus, and a truly Godly church and Pastor will help us do that. The purpose of God’s church is to save souls from hell, and to teach His Children so that they can go and tell the Good News to others. We also have the prayers, love, and support of our brothers and sisters in Christ during tough times. True religion¬†teaches us that we must do every thing as if we are we are in God’s presence, for once we are born-again, His Holy Spirit comes to live in us and He experiences everything we do. That is why we try to keep ourselves “unspotted” from the world and try to do good things like visiting the fatherless and widows and help them in their affliction.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 2

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James 1:9-18

9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: (Though some are just common and perhaps poor in the eyes of the world, they have much to rejoice about if they are high and lifted up as rich in their faith in Jesus and heirs as adopted children of God.)

10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. (The rich may rejoice because they are under the care and protection God gives if they are saved by the blood of Jesus, which usually leads to a humbling attitude of gratitude. But, we are to understand that the temporal wealth that this world offers is a withering thing. So, let the rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises that teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from enjoyments of the world that pass and fade away as the grass that withers. Let the rich man not put his faith in his riches, but in God alone.)

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (Now not all who suffer are blessed; but those who persevere through the trials, not blaming God and whining, “why me.” We can get through those times knowing that it is our duty, and be thankful for tough times to bring us closer to our Lord. It is not the afflictions that make us miserable, if they come through no fault of our own choices. Those of us who make it through the testings that come to make us more like Christ, will be crowned with the Crown of Life by Jesus himself. Jesus promises us this crown if we have Him in our hearts and if we nurture our love for Him as we mature. Every saved soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this life fully rewarded for eternity in Heaven where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and His dealings with us as He prepares us for our future with Him forever, will try our hearts, but in time they will show us to be strong in character and count as our testimony to bring others to Salvation.)

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: (Though we all have those fiery trials throughout our lives, we must never think that the temptations to sin comes from God. He is pure and Holy and cannot sin. We must remember that there is evil in this world that we must battle every day of our lives. Because we are saved, does not mean that we will not sin anymore. Our saved spirits will battle our selfish, evil flesh until we see our Lord. We are just sinners saved by His grace. Jesus gave us the victory over that evil in His death, burial and resurrection. All we need do is go to His Word and speak it against the evil tempter as Jesus did when He was tempted by him.)

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (Temptations come to us in our thoughts that, if we spend time thinking on them, bring about a lust to sin. The temptations themselves are not sin. It is when we spend time thinking on the temptations and then put action to them that they become sin. We must immediately recognize the evil temptations and cast them out through the power of Jesus’ name and the power of His Holy Word, replacing those evil thoughts with God’s pure and powerful/alive Word.)

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (God never changes. He is the same today as He was yesterday and thousands of years ago and will be for eternity. So we know that any good thing comes from Him, but we also know that all thoughts that would lead us to sin come from God’s enemy and our enemy, the devil. God has, has always had, and will always have power over that sinful creature who only wants to destroy anything and anyone belonging to God. It is up to us if we let him have his way in our lives or not.)

18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (In Israel, the first sheaf of harvested grain was always offered to God – Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:9-14. Those firstfruits were a preview of what was yet to be gathered. James explained that he and other Jewish Christians were a kind of firstfruits. They were the first yield of a much greater harvest that was yet to be gathered as a result of the spread of the Good News/Gospel. We are products of those firstfruits.)

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Tidbits from the Book of James-Part 1

The Epistle of James always helps remind me of many of God’s wonderful guidelines on how to live Godly in this sinful world. These tidbits can bring needed, though uncomfortable, conviction to the believer’s heart. That’s why some tend to shy away from it. I did that for a time myself. Each time I read this Book, God does a little something different in my heart. I will attempt, over the next however long the Spirit leads, to share what He shows me.

First, let us consider and understand who James was. He was the half-brother of Jesus and he did not accept Christ as Saviour until after Jesus rose again. (I have often considered the heartache Jesus must have felt when He began His ministry and many of His family members disowned Him for His claims of Christ-hood. But that is for another time.) James did become an elder of the church in Jerusalem and he was respected as a leader among and Council member of the early churches in Jerusalem – Acts 15:6-21. James may possibly be the first New Testament book to be written.

This Epistle offers words of encouragement to us as we try to be firm in our Christian faith while we are persecuted for it. He urges us to focus on the victory that we will attain through what Jesus did. James also provides practical advice to unite all believers so that our fellowship will not be threatened by a lack of love, un-christlike speech, and bitter attitudes.

James teaches us to develop our faith by seeking wisdom from God. He reminds us that we have a choice: we can either give in to sin and suffer tragic consequences, or we can stand firm and therefore experience maturity of our faith by accepting the trials that will inevitably come. He maintains that our trials will produce patience and they will ultimately perfect and complete us as Christians. The prevalent theme of James is how to develop an enduring faith.

Today we will look at James 1:1-8

James 1:1-8

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. (James could have given himself more credit by making sure we know that he is Jesus’ brother here, or he could have even boasted about his leadership in the reputable Jerusalem church. Instead, he proudly referred to himself as a “servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Servant here means “bondservant,” like slaves who had been released from their obligation, but willingly remain servants to their masters out of respect for them. Likewise, James gladly offered his life to be bound to serving God, who gave him his freedom. He expressed his willingness to obey, laid aside his own rights to follow God’s will, and he pledged his loyalty to the Lord regardless of personal loss, humiliation, or danger.)

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (Woah, hold on there you say! Count it all joy?! Yes, we are to count it all joy when several trials and temptations come, and sometimes several of them come at once. Remember when Paul and Silas were beaten and cast into stocks in the inner prison? What did they do? They sang praises to God and were set free. I have experienced the release and help that Jesus gives when we praise Him during tough times. There is nothing like to to build your faith.)

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (So all Christians learn as we grow that trials usually come so as to build our character and patience. This is never fun to experience, but if we praise God during the trials and ask Him what He is trying to teach us, He gives us the grace we need to grow as we move through them. I used to pray, God please give me patience. And then I would freak out because almost immediately something would happen that I really did not like, and as I whined about it to a more mature Christian, I would be reminded that every time we ask for patience we can expect a trial to develop that patience in us. Now I ask for grace as He teaches me the patience I still need.)

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (As Christ-like women, we come to realize that we all have the potential and that it is our God-given destiny to continually be maturing in our walk with our Lord. This is a goal that only God can help us reach.)

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (I am also understanding more the importance of growing in Godly wisdom. And all I have to do is ask for it. I used to think that the Scripture that says to ask and you shall receive was about asking for things and happiness, etc., but I have come to understand that while we do ask for those things, it is also speaking of wisdom in dealing with things that come up throughout our daily lives, as well as sharing the Lord with others and live out our faith.)

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (When we ask, we are to ask believing, like it is already happening. Oh how many times do I ask the Lord for answers in fervent prayer and then take it back and fret about it and get myself into a tizzy. How silly that is. If I ask something of the Lord, I need to trust Him with it without doubt; if I take it back and start fretting about it then I am not trusting Him.)

8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (Double-minded=wavering in¬†mind¬†: undecided, vacillating. It is a human weakness and a characteristic of the hypocrite. One might say one thing while acting completely opposite, making one “unstable in all his ways.” God has no use for a double-minded person. Jesus spoke of double minded behaviour in Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” We are to know what we believe and why we believe it, hopefully because God says it in His Word, and we are to stand firm in those Godly beliefs, not wavering.)

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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