Oak Grove Baptist Church

Striving to become the church of choice for this generation.

How to Live with Faith and Trials

James 1:1


Scripture Outline

  1. Greetings (Jas_1:1)
  2. How to Profit from Trials (Jas_1:2-4
  3. How to Obtain Wisdom (Jas_1:5-8
  4. How to Be Rich and Poor (Jas_1:9-11
  5. How to Overcome Temptation (Jas_1:12-15
  6. How to Receive Good Gifts (Jas_1:16-18
  7. How to Communicate (Jas_1:19-21
  8. How to Become a Doer (Jas_1:22-25
  9. How to Be Authentically Religious (Jas_1:26-27)


Christianity is much more than mere philosophy, theology, or religious teaching. It is a lifestyle based upon a vital relationship with God. He has invited us to love Him with all of our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our strength (Mar_12:30).

He desires for us to not only know about Him, but to know Him personally (1Jn_4:7). We are to allow Jesus Christ to be the vine of our lives, and we are to be the branches (Joh_15:5). Christ asks that we not only receive Him but that we walk in Him and be rooted and built up in Him (Col_2:6-7).

Our relationship with Him is one of great intimacy and utter dependence. We are asked to no longer live for ourselves but rather for Him. We are to be in Christ, and He is to be in us (2Co_5:14-17). In fact, without Him we can do nothing (Joh_11:5). But through Him we can do anything He calls us to do (Php_4:13).

Love is at the very center of this relationship. It was God's love for us which caused Christ to live and die and rise from the dead. He was and is love personified (Rom_5:8). Nothing in all of creation can separate us from Christ's love (Rom_8:35-39). Where Christ is, there is love. His very character is love (1Jn_4:8). Jesus said that it is by this love that His authentic disciples are to be recognized (Joh_13:35). This love must not only be expressed in word or in talk, but it must be expressed in action, in deed and in truth (1Jn_3:18). Therefore, love is not an option for the Christian; love is at the very center of his or her lifestyle. And so are the other qualities of the "fruit of the Spirit" at the center of the Christian's life, including joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal_5:22-23).

Love, and all of the other fruit of the Spirit, must be lived out in daily lifestyle. Possession is more than mere profession; authentic Christianity is practical. That is what the Book of James is all about. James helps us understand "how to" live the Christian life.

He helps us to move from the place of merely possessing intellectual belief in Christ to the joy of knowing Him personally and following Him daily. Too often the church has merely told people that they "should" live for God or that they "must" do what is right. James moves beyond mere moralizing to teach us "how to" follow Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives. His teaching is both practical and workable; his style is "show and tell." He tells us and shows us "how to" do it.

James is concerned with the matter of faith. For him, faith is not merely something which is believed; faith is something we do. It must be lived—in active obedience. The focus of his direct teaching regarding faith is found in the second chapter of his letter. However, the emphasis is found throughout the book beginning with the first chapter which focuses upon how to live with faith and trials.

Greetings

As we have seen in our introductory study, James identifies himself not as a brother of Jesus Christ, nor as a leader of the church, but rather as a servant of God and a servant of Jesus Christ. I believe that his identification is more than mere literary style. He is writing with a true Christian perspective of leadership.

James understands who he is and who the people of God are within the Christian family. His style is one of love and humility. Other leaders of the early church used a similar greeting in their epistles, such as Paul (Php_1:1) and Peter (2Pe_1:1).

James understood that his highest calling, and therefore his most accurate identification of his position, was that of a servant. Peter presents that teaching in a powerful manner as he addresses his "fellow elders" concerning the Christian style of leadership (1Pe_5:1-4). He is expounding the basic teaching of Jesus regarding the vital matter of servant leadership (Mat_20:20-28).

Jesus taught clearly that the leaders of His kingdom did not "lord over" or dominate others. Instead, the one who is the greatest in the kingdom of God is the one who is the servant of all (Mat_20:26). This is the understanding and conviction of James. He seeks to be the servant of God's people wherever they may be.

Our introductory study has shown us that James is writing to a scattered church often referred to as the Diaspora—those Christians who were dispersed throughout the Roman world as a result of severe persecution.

His reference to the twelve tribes appears to be a symbolic description of the scattered people of the New Covenant as opposed to the twelve tribes of Israel of the first covenant. These twelve tribes are the New Covenant people of the Church of Jesus Christ.

The simple word translated as "greetings" from James is the Greek word chaı́rein, which was used often in letters of that day. Although Paul and the other New Testament writers did not use it, the Jerusalem church used it in their letter to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia (Act_15:23).

In summary, James writes as a humble servant of Christ and His church to fellow believers who are scattered throughout the Roman world by persecution for their faith. These are people who have a deep faith in Jesus Christ. James writes to give them practical counsel regarding how they can follow Christ as the Lord of their lives even more effectively.


The Importance of Being Careful

Romans 16:1-16

Scripture Outline

  1. The Care of Giving Encouragement to People (Rom_16:1-16)

  2. The Care of Giving Attention to Problems (Rom_16:17-20)

  3. The Care of Giving Glory to God (Rom_16:21-27)

The Apostle is full of Surprises.

After

The Soaring Theology

of

The Early Chapters

and

The Striking

and Challenging Practicality

of

The Latter Section

of

the epistle,

He Concludes With

a delightful personal

and

Intimate Series of GREETINGS

which

show A Number

Of Things that

He Wanted To Do.


The Care of GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT to People

(Rom_16:1-16)

It should be noted that this

final chapter

has been the basis

of

much debate,

particularly with regard

to

the fact that The Apostle

could hardly

have known so

many people

in a church he had never visited.

It has been suggested, therefore,

that the letter was really sent to Ephesus.

The response to

this theory

has been that

The Apostle Was

Asking For Trouble

in mentioning

only Twenty-Six People

by name in a church

where he had

recently spent TWO

and

A HALF YEARS!

In the light of such arguments,

We may assume that Paul

Knew a lot

Of Christian people

All over the world

And

Had the ability

To keep track of them

As they moved

From place to place.

It is clear that

He was careful

To Remember Names

And

Details of the people he met.

PHOEBE, the bearer of the letter,

is Warmly Commended

as she makes

her journey to Rome

Expecting

to

enjoy the normal Hospitality

extended by

The believers in

The early church.

She is described

as "SISTER," "SERVANT"

(Greek, diakonos—deaconess),

"SAINT," AND "HELPER"

credentials of

The Highest

Order.

The Apostle's beloved

co-workers,

PRISCILLA

AND

AQUILA,

Who have braved innumerable

DANGERS

with Paul,

are described graphically

in verse Rom_16:4

as those who "risked their own necks for my life."

The fact that

PRISCILLA

almost always

precedes her husband

in the Scriptures

may be attributable

to

Her Superior Social Station

or

more likely to her

being the more striking

and

Gifted Person

in the joint ministry

they exercised.

Numerous People

are commended

for their "LABOR,"

and

not a few are

simply

described as "BELOVED,"

while

The Apostle repeatedly

uses the expression

"In The Lord"

To

Identify the bond

that holds them together.

It is clear that some

of The Believers

are of JEWISH ORIGIN,

that some of them

knew Christ before Paul, that

Some Were Slaves

and

others came from

The Household Of Herod,

that some

Had Shared Prison Cells

with Paul

and others

Had Cared For Him

and even " him.

But all were

REMEMBERED

and

all WERE APPRECIATED.

BARCLAY points out that:

Tryphena and Tryphosa

were probably twins,

that

their names mean

"Dainty And Delicate,"

but

They Were Described

as

Those Who "LABOR,"

with Paul

Purposely Choosing

the word that suggests LABOR to

The Point Of Exhaustion.

Of such stuff

was

the church of Rome made!

As his mind teems with remembrances of dear friends and courageous fellow-workers, the apostle shows his concern as he gives them an important warning.

Rom 16:13  Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 

=================

Mar 15:21  And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. 


Romans 16:17-20

The Care of Giving Attention to Problems

The Authoritative Apostle appears

at this juncture

as he takes steps

to warn

the believers in Rome

about

the possibility of people

moving

into the fellowship

with

perverted doctrine

delivered with considerable expertise

and

less than honorable motives.

He refers to these people

as those who

"deceive"

and cause

"division"

and

who serve "their own belly."

They are committed to their own appetites,

resist

the ministry of Paul,

and

.deny the fundamentals

of

the faith as outlined

in the apostolic teaching.

They are, therefore,

to be regarded

as agents of Satan,

and

the believers should

"avoid them."

Under no circumstances

should

the believers be afraid

of these people,

for while they are

to be watched and avoided,

they cannot prevail ultimately.

As was promised in the Garden,

the enemy of souls

will eventually be crushed,

and

the Romans will enjoy

their special place

in this promised victory

as

"the God of peace will crush Satan under [their] feet shortly."

As always,

Paul strikes a fine

balance

as he warns Christians

not to ignore

Satan but at the same time

not

to be paranoid about him.

That he is

real and dangerous

goes without saying,

but that he is

defeated

and

his days are numbered

is equally true.

The devil is like

a roaring lion s

eeking

whom he may devour,

but

he is on a short leash

and

the hand that holds

it is the hand of God.

Careless ignoring

of

satanic infiltration

is foolish,

but chronic oppression

by satanic influence

does no justice

to the victory

which is ours in Christ.


Romans 16:21-27

The Care of Giving Glory to God

It is quite possible that

Tertius,

who had taken down

the epistle at Paul's

dictation,

read the finished

document

to the apostle,

who then picked up the pen

and

wrote these final words of

doxology.

They ring with similar

Sentiments

to those with which

the letter opened

and

direct the attention

of the readers to God

and

His ability to

"establish" them.

In the light of

the great themes

of salvation

that have been unfolded,

the believers in Rome

are to live as people

who will be part of the

team

who will present

the gospel to all corners.

This will require

great strength

and fortitude

but God would not

call them to the task

if He were not able

and

willing to "establish" them.

Accordingly, they must

look up continually

to Him

and

see in the gospel

and

the preaching of Jesus

Christ,

the revelation of

the mystery,

and

the Scriptures

of the prophets,

the message that

God has intervened

in the human arena

and t

hat, having called people

to faith

in and obedience to Christ,

He will strengthen

them for

the task ahead.

He is the One

who intervened;

His was the wisdom

that devised

the glorious blending

of grace, mercy

and justice;

it was His Son

who died and it was

His power that raised

Him from the dead;

it was from His right hand

the Spirit

was dispensed

and through Him

that the redeemed believer

lives the life that

honors the Lord

and crushes Satan.

Therefore, to Him all glory rightly belongs!


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