Jul 21, 2024. James 1:12-15

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THE NATURE OF TEMPTATION. James 1:12-15. 7/21/2024. #03.

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

1. The crown of life

                a. There is a special reward for those who endure temptation

                                a1. Enduring is not simply bearing up under a load, but actually being victorious through the trial (not being broken or demoralized)

                                a2. Eph. 6 the victorious believer triumphs in the battle without fear or retreat

                b. There are 2 categories of temptations

                                a1. The word trials & the word temptation are translations of the same Greek word (the context determines the meaning)

                                a2. Trials are difficulties that come into a believer’s life, taking many forms (health, relationships, financial, circumstantial…)

                                a3. Temptations are trials that entice us to sin due to our own internal desires

                c. A trial becomes a temptation only when we desire to do something other than God’s will

                                a1. Adam & Eve were tested, but the test became a temptation when Eve desired the forbidden fruit

                                a2. Joseph was tested but refused to be tempted by Mrs. Potiphar’s advances

                d. Those who resist temptation are given the Crown of Life (stephanos = victor’s crown; used of champions)

                e. The believer choses to obey or not

2. Most holy God

                a. God tests his servants

                                a1. Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden

                                a2. Abraham on Mt. Moriah (Gen. 22)

                                a3. Job with great trials (Job 1)

                                a4. Gideon before a great army

                b. God can’t be tempted with sin

                                a1. Dt. 6:16-18 you shall not tempt the Lord your God

                                a2. Mt. 4 Jesus wasn’t not tempted to yield to Satan’s enticements

                c. God does not tempt anyone to sin

                                a1. God does not entice anyone to lie, cheat, lust, abuse, overindulge, fornicate, or steal

                                a2. 1 CR. 10:1-13 God not only does not tempt us to sin, but gives a way out of temptation

                d. If man falls into temptation, he alone is to be blamed

3. 4 steps to falling into temptation

                a. Drawn away by own desires

                                a1. Drawn away = a hunter’s term meaning to bait a trap (bait hides the danger)

                                a2. Unless one has an internal lust for the bait (sexual, gluttony, power, fame, thievery…), the bait would be ineffective

                b. Enticed

                                a1. Enticed = to bait a hook (no fish strikes at a plain hook (the bait hides the snare)

                                a2. Our temptations come from within us

                c. Conception

                                a1. When internal desire yields to external temptation, sin is conceived

                                a2. Unless one commits to serving the Lord only, one will fall to own lusts

                d. Death

                                a1. When one yields to temptation, the baby sin grows into a monster that brings death

                                a2. Through falling, there are grave consequences reaped (as with David’s sin)

                e. Unless lust is under control via Spirit, we will fall

Key passage: 1 Corinthians10:1-13

1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Jul 14, 2024. James 1:9-11

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A SHORT RIDE. James 1:9-11. 7/14/2024. #02.

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

1. Different accommodations; same destination

                a. This interlude comes in the midst of a discussion on enduring trials

                                a1. James reminds his readers that their social status does not protect from trials

                                a2. Social status does not protect from death

                b. To the lowly brother, his exalted position in Christ guarantees an eternal exaltation

                                a1. The Greek word lowly means weak, insignificant, poor

                                a2. The believer in Christ who is unimportant in this world by wealth, status, and influence is of extreme value and worth in eternity

                c. The rich man carries a high status in this world

                                a1. His wealth gives him fame, influence, and connections the poor man lacks

                                a2. A man’s wealth and status carries no weight in eternal matters

                d. Salvation is no different for the lowly and the exalted (Galatians 3:28)

2. Of flowers and sun

                a. The rich man is reminded of several truths:

                                a1. Salvation did not come from his wealth

                                a2. Before God his wealth is paltry

                                a3. All men are subject to trials and temptation

                                a4. Both salvation and spiritual riches are obtained through humility (a difficult demeanor for the rich to obtain, Luke 19:23)

                                a5. To whom much is given, much is required (Matthew 25, Luke 12)

                                a6. Life is very short and not only will wealth and status not prevent death, it will be all left behind (Job 1, Luke 16)

                b. The scriptures often use flowers and grass as illustrations of the brevity of man’s life (Isaiah 40:7)

                                a1. Ps. 90 after the flood, God determined that men will live an average of 70 years

                                a2. Unlike the 900 year pre-Flood lifespan, man’s journey on earth is very brief

                                a3. Only during the Millennial Reign will the lifespan increase again (Isaiah 65:20)

                c. James compares the rich man’s life to a flower

                                a1. Flowers are beautiful to look at, sweet in fragrance, and widely acclaimed

                                                b1. The rich man’s wealth and accomplishments are impressive (houses,

                                                       boats, clubs, achievements,…)

                                                b2. For a brief moment, he is envied, admired, and mimicked

                                a2. Like the flower, the rich man will soon be gone and his wealth will be dispersed

                                                b1. He won’t be remembered (Isaiah 65:17)

                                                b2. His pursuits will cease and fade away

3. Equal opportunity living

                a. James states that the lowly should be exalted in his richness in Christ, while the rich is humbled that he also is included in the kingdom

                b. God gives grace to each and each is given the choice and privilege of pursuing Christ (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)

                c. The humble man is able to exalt God no matter what his status is (neither despair and complaint in his lack of material goods nor pride and worthless pursuits in his abundance)

                d. The high and low are encouraged to lay aside their circumstances to enter the same pursuit of serving the Lord with the gifts God has given them

                e. In the midst of challenges, trials, temptations, and opportunities, each is to focus on pursing the Lord)

                f. 1 Chronicles 4:7 all comes from God, so all is the serve God

Key passage: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,

Before the [a]difficult days come,

And the years draw near when you say,

“I have no pleasure in them”:

2 While the sun and the light,

The moon and the stars,

Are not darkened,

And the clouds do not return after the rain;

3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,

And the strong men bow down;

When the grinders cease because they are few,

And those that look through the windows grow dim;

4 When the doors are shut in the streets,

And the sound of grinding is low;

When one rises up at the sound of a bird,

And all the daughters of music are brought low.

5 Also they are afraid of height,

And of terrors in the way;

When the almond tree blossoms,

The grasshopper is a burden,

And desire fails.

For man goes to his eternal home,

And the mourners go about the streets.

6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is [b]loosed,

Or the golden bowl is broken,

Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,

Or the wheel broken at the well.

7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,

And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,

“All is vanity.”

Jul 7, 2024. James 1:1-8

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THE PERFECTING WORK OF PATIENCE. James 1:1-8. 7/7/24. #1.

1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

1. Introduction

                a. James is known as the wisdom literature of the New Testament

                                a1. It was accepted late into the canon due to men believing that it taught a works salvation in chapter 2 (Luther called it a right strawy book)

                                a2. Deals with practical matters of faith

                b. Of the 4 men named James in the NT, James, the half brother of Jesus is the likely author (the Apostle James was martyred early – Acts 12, 44 AD)

                c. James wrote to the dispersed 12 tribes (scattered by persecution after the martyrdom of Stephen)

                d. James was the leader of the Jerusalem church and led the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15)

                e. Probably written between 45 and 50 AD (James was martyred in 62 AD, according to Josephus

2. Hang in there

                a. Notice that James does not spend time in pleasantries, but immediately jumps into correction

                                a1. His tone is to command rather than to urge

                                a2. There were serious issues to address

                b. Perseverance was an issue, along with instability, anger, disobedience, lack of charity, lack of love, being respecters of persons, gossip, lack of repentance, lack of faith in prayer, and lack of proper order

                c. After the persecution that scattered the church, many began to waver in their faith

                                a1. James begins by stating that trials are friends

                                a2. Enduring trials produces growth

                                a3. We are to expect persecution

                d. Proper response to trials:

                                a1. Be joyful = not because of the trials, but due to the growth enduring trials can bring (I Thessalonians 5)

                                a2. Count it joy = reckon or calculate that the trials will bring a good end (Romans 5:1-5)

                                a3. Recognize that trials come in various forms (lit., multi-colored) – persecution, physical, financial

                                a4. Be patient (hupomenos, remain under) = to not only endure the trials, but persevere through them, refusing to waver in faith, commitment, and service while facing opposition

                                a5. Let the trials mature (telios) you (by working through the trials by faith we become equipped seasoned soldiers of the cross, instilling a confidence and trust in Lord that is unshakable

                                a6. Trials are to make us complete (totally fit, equipped, and furnished = II Timothy 3:17), so that there is no spiritual deficiencies

3. Seeking help

                a. In our own strength, we fail (John 15:5)

                b. James urges us to call upon the Lord for wisdom

                                a1. Not only does God have all wisdom, but he is readily willing to dispense wisdom to us in grand proportions is we ask him

                                a2. Asking God for wisdom assumes that you want the wisdom and will use it, even if you desire something else (fun, escape, comfort, wealth)

                                a3. God does not reproach us for asking for help

                c. James warns us that we must ask in faith

                                a1. Not faith that we will receive the answer we desire or that God will do our bidding

                                a2. Faith is believing that God is willing and able to equip us to do his will

                                a3. Faith also requires us to accept his will

                d. James warns that a double-minded man is unstable

                                a1. Those who want both to do God’s will and their own will are unstable, not truly seeking God

                                a2. God wants to be served with a whole heart, mind, and soul (he will not allow competition for our loyalty – I Kings. 11; 18)

                                a3. Those who are in and out of faith will not prosper and should expect to receive nothing from God

                                a4. Revelation 3 without total commitment, there is no commitment at all (Whom do you serve?)

Key passage: Romans 5:1-5

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Jun 30, 2024. Hebrews 13:17-25

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THE FINAL ACCOUNTING. Hebrews 13:17-25. 6/30/24. #50.

17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. 19 But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. 24 Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

25 Grace be with you all. Amen.

1. Soul watchers

                a. Once again the author appeals to the readers to submit to church leadership

                                a1. In verse 7, Hebrews admonishes the readers to follow in the footsteps of those who had gone before

                                a2. Now, Hebrews encourages to submit to present leadership

                b. 3 reasons for obeying church leaders:

                                a1. They watch over the souls of the saints (lit., they stay awake or alert over the spiritual wellbeing of the flock)

                                a2. Church leaders must give an account to the Lord for they souls under them (want them to do so in joy)

                                a3. It is to the benefit of the flock for the leaders to give a good report (any loss is on the disobedient believer, not the leaders)

                c. Obedience = to willingly comply to being led

                d. To have rule = to shepherd

                                a1. Not dictatorial (I Peter 5:1-7)

                                a2. Servant leadership is a responsible position

                                a3. Leaders govern on behalf of the Lord

                                a4. Under shepherds represent the Great Shepherd

                e. Submissive = to line up behind (I Corinthians 11:1)

                                a1. An assumption is being made that leadership is doing what is right before the Lord

                                a2. Obedience is to the Lord first (Ephesians 5:22-25)

2. Given in good faith and grace

                a. The author wants prayer, for he has not been able to come to them due to some difficulty

                                a1. His mention of Timothy being released from imprisonment adds to the belief that Paul is the author of the epistle

                                a2. Though Hebrews had admonished the readers, he still coveted their prayers

                b. Hebrews wrote the epistle in good conscience

                                a1. Even though he had some difficult admonition for them, he believed that it was necessary for him to write what he did

                                a2. For their sakes, he would not hide the truth from them (their souls were too valuable to allow them to continue in sin or even remain as false believers)

                c. His words were honest from pure motivations

                                a1. It is better to receive and accept sincere rebuke than to be flattered or falsely encouraged

                                a2. He urges (pleads, begs, implores) that they readily accept what he wrote to them

                d. The receive correction would allow the Good Shepherd to make them complete (katarizo = used in mending bones or a net, equipping an army, or fitting sails)

                                a1. Only place in Hebrews where shepherd is used

                                a2. Only place that the resurrection is mentioned Hebrews “few words” were for the benefit of the reader

                                a1. Do not despise the words of correction

                                a2. Receive the truth that will set you free (John 8:36) and humble self to follow Christ alone

                f. True words of exhortation are better than false words of disingenuous encouragement

                                a1. At times it is hard to tell someone the truth

                                a2. Truth in love is better than ignoring evil

3. Closing benediction

                a. Hebrews uses Paul’s typical peace and grace benediction (when addressing pastors, Paul adds mercy)

                b. Hebrews desires that he will be able to come shortly

                c. He sends greetings from Italian brethren and to the church leaders

Key passage:  1 Peter 5:1-7 1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Jun 23, 2024. Hebrews 13:10-16

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THE CITY TO COME. Hebrews 13:10-16. 6/23/2024. #49.

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

1. A different altar

                a. Hebrews sought to convince the Jewish believers, that the temple sacrifices were in the past and were of no effect in the present

                b. The altar where the priests ministered was a mere symbolic representation of the real effective altar (the cross) on which Jesus died

                c. Once the genuine satisfactory sacrifice was made, there was no purpose in holding onto the symbolic sacrifices

                d. The priests cannot eat at our altar

                                a1. They have no right to partake of Christ’s sacrifice, for Christ had not yet come as a man

                                a2. The better sacrifice is reserved for believers after the resurrection of the Lord

2. Outside the camp

                a. Hebrews makes a contrast between the place of sacrifice and disposal of the sacrifice versus the place of crucifixion

                b. The sacrifice in the tabernacle took place in the court

                                a1. The animals were killed inside the tabernacle

                                a2. The altar was in the courtyard

                                a3. Offering for sin was on the brazen altar

                                a4. The carcass of the animals were burnt outside of the camp (sacrifice was already made)

                                a5. The animal body was treated as a waste product

                c. Jesus was sacrificed outside the gate of Jerusalem

                                a1. Away from the temple and the city

                                a2. Criminals were crucified by Rome by the road to Caesarea outside the Fish Gate (Tower Gate)

                                                b1. Popular trade route from the north

                                                b2. People would mock the convicts and also be warned about crossing Rome

                                a3. Jesus’s sacrifice outside the camp was of a different variety than the temple offerings

                                                b1. By being sacrificed were the carcasses of animals were burned (outside the camp) Jesus was sacrificed for all people, Jew and Gentile

                                                b2. For this reason, Gordon’s Calvary is probably the actual place of the crucifixion and not The Church of the Holy Sepulcher 

                d. Hebrews invites the Jewish believers to leave the temple which is of no effect in order to come outside the gate to the altar of the cross to embrace Christ

                                a1. Cannot embrace both

                                a2. To embrace Christ is to reject all other means of spiritual entreaty

                e. There is also a contrast between Jerusalem and the Eternal City which will never fade away

                                a1. Jerusalem is a dying city, fading away (II Peter 3)

                                a2. We are heading to an Eternal City, which will never fade away – New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-7)

                                a3. Hebrews invites readers to leave the old dying Jerusalem in order to embrace the New Jerusalem entered into through Christ alone

3. True sacrifice

                a. Jesus as the last sacrifice has made the Levitical sacrifices obsolete and of no effect

                b. Believers offer new sacrifices to God not involving animal sacrifices and grain offerings

                c. Hebrews states that believers offer 3 types of sacrifices to God

                                a1. Sacrifice of praise – to worship and exalt the Lord (including thanksgiving and reverence)

                                a2. Sacrifice of good works – serving others, witnessing, helping, teaching, comforting…

                                a3. Sacrifice of sharing (koininea) – giving of time and resources to help others, shoulder burdens, send the gospel, etc. (James 1-2; Romans 10)

                d. Since sin is paid for, we focus on ministering to others

Key passage:

Revelation 21:1-71 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, [a]John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said [b]to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It[c] is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes [d]shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.