Discovery Church

James part 1 FAITH/WORKS

For those willing to risk the dangers, the Concord stagecoach offered three classes of tickets. First-class passengers received service while comfortably seated inside the coach. They could avoid labor and the sight of it. Second-class ticket holders disembarked and either walked or stood along the roadside to observe while others pushed the coach. Third-class passengers were supposed to disembark, roll up their sleeves and push the stagecoach out of the mud or uphill if necessary — without complaint.

The Omaha Herald in 1877 published rules of stagecoach etiquette, including, “Don’t imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic. Expect annoyance, discomfort, and some hardships.
I would like to say to every person who becomes a follower of Christ….
“Congratulations, new believer….. You now have a third-class ticket.”
James 1:1-8 (NIV)
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

Trials and Temptations
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Faith Under Pressure
faith-under-pressure
James: –  A QUICK SNAP SHOT AT THE BOOK
 

famous phrases that often make their way into Christian conversation:

  • “Faith produces steadfastness.”
  • “God cannot be tempted.”
  • “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.”
  • “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
  • “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.”
  • “Even the demons believe—and shudder!”
  • “Faith apart from works is dead.”
  • “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
James has been called “the Proverbs of the New Testament.”
 
Who he is not:
He is not the “James and John, the sons of Zebedee” – Mark 10
He is however;
– Jesus little brother.
– He did not believe Jesus was the promised messiah until after the resurrection.
 
Jesus and his brothers
“We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?”But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?”  – Mark 6 (the message)

Vs. 1 

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.
Note the very first verse of the book of James is written to the twelve tribes who are SCATTERED .
The greek word that James uses this “scattering is: “Diaspora” – from which we get our words “Dispersed” and “Dispersion”.
diaspora
After the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 things became pretty crazy for the Christians
Acts 8:1 “They were all scattered ….except the apostles.”
James writes to people who are facing “various trials”.
STUFF GOT STRESSFUL! – It was then and it still is to this day.
STRESS IS……
It’s INEVITABLE.
It’s PREDICTABLE.
It’s PARADOXICAL.
It’s PROFITABLE.
STRESS IS INEVITABLE
inevitable
“count it all joy WHEN you fall into various trails” – Vs 2
 
Stress is a fact of life….you first experienced it coming out of the birth canal.
It’s not going away, and we all have to deal with it.
It’s not stress that kills us….it’s our reaction to stress that kills us.
As you study James…you will begin to see yourself as the lone recipient of this letter; It’s from God, through James, and to you personally. – Listen to his seasoned ans saged advice and but into practice.
The people James is writing to have just lost their jobs, their homes and their life style.
He is writing to people who are about to crack under the pressure….they are at their wits end because of “Various trails“. – so many problems you don’t know when or where the next one is coming from.
Dads, Moms, kids all stressed out and James is writing to them on how to deal with the stress mess.
In our modern world, the moment we even hear the word stress we tense up, clench our fist, grind our teeth – as if stress where our enemy.
Start think of stress as a friend and not a foe – Stress is here for a purpose.
 
Yes, Stress is INEVITABLE!
 
Stress is PREDICTABLE.
predictable
“count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” WHAT?
In other words……Predict it –  Expect it  Prepare for it!
 
 
Most of us count it joy when we escape the trials of life, not when we fall into them! And notice that James was not saying to count it joy if we fall into trials. He said we are to count it joy when we fall into them. Experiencing stress is not an if it’s a when. Stress is predictable: it is inevitable, inescapable, unavoidable. We all experience it. We can’t avoid it. Stress happens.
 

In fact, we can read the Bible from cover to cover, and nowhere will we find the promise that we’re immune to stress or sickness, exempt from trials or tribulations. Some, however, teach falsely that if we’re living the Spirit-filled life, we’ll have only smooth sailing on the sea of God’s will. But may I remind you that our Lord Himself warned, ““In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”” (John 16:33).

Yes, stress is predictable. We can’t avoid stress, but it can actually be good for us. Stress can, for instance, be a motivating factor: it can motivate us to make changes in our life or our lifestyle. However, too much stress coupled with not knowing how to deal with it can be detrimental mentally, spiritually, and physically. 
And it is  PARADOXICAL.
paradoxical
James says we should consider it pure “joy” when we face these stressful trials. We generally count it joy when we avoid trials, not face them. The word James employs here means to “think ahead.”
Imagine what it is going to be like when the trial is over.
Job was thinking ahead when he said, He knows the way that I take; and when he has tested me I will come forth as gold (Job 23:10). Job did not consider it a joy in the midst of his stress but he, like James, looked forward to the joy that would follow his trial.
It’s PROFITABLE.
profitable
Mark Batterson on stress

“Just wanted to go on record and thank God for stress! I’ve been spending a lot of time in prayer the last few weeks. And the reason is simple: stress. Without the stress, I don’t think I’d be praying as much as I am.”

Someone has said that a Christian is like a tea bag. He is not worth much until he has been through some hot water. Yes, stressful trials can be profitable for the person in poverty (v.9), the person with plenty (vv.10–11) and the person with pressure (v.12).
In the words of James, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life” (v.2).
I love The Message Translation of Philippians 4:6–“shape your worries into prayers.” You’ve got to take the negative emotions of guilt or jealousy or fear or anxiety and turn them into positive prayers. In a sense, prayer is channeling our emotions to God. 
 
 
CONCLUSION:
“Don’t imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic. Expect annoyance, discomfort, and some hardships.
I would like to say to every person who becomes a follower of Christ….
“Congratulations,  believer….. You now have a third-class ticket.”

 

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