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Lesson 03

JAMES 1:13-27
Lesson #03

  • Memory verse: Jam 1:22
    • In this chapter, James contrasts the darkness that comes from Satan and gives birth to death to the light that comes from Jesus Christ and gives birth to life.
    • Read Jam 1:13-18
      • Testing and temptation:
        • In the first part of this chapter, we considered the trials of life. Attached to trials in life are opportunities of temptation.
          • There is the temptation to blame God, to be bitter against God, to reject God, etc.
        • We have discussed how the words, test, tempt, and trial, are all from the same Greek root word, peira. However, James makes a distinction between two aspects.
          • =1= the testing that comes from God which we discussed in our last lesson.
          • =2= the temptation that comes from Satan.
            • Many times we attribute to God, a temptation to do evil. We blame God for all of our problems, our failures, our faults, and our sins, when, in reality, we bring many of our problems upon ourselves.
              • Adam blamed God because God gave him Eve who first sinned. (Gen 3:12)
            • God does not tempt believers to do evil. It is true that God allows it, but he is not the source of it.
              • For example, God allowed the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan tempted Jesus, but because Jesus did not have the flesh nature, he would not sin.
                • The temptation was to prove that there was no sin in Jesus.
        • When Satan tempts us to sin, it is our sin nature that gives in to that temptation. (14) therefore, it is man that is responsible for his sin.
          • Temptation is not a sin, it is what a person does with the temptation that makes it a sin. Remember that Jesus was tempted, but he did not sin.
      • The progression from temptation to sin (14-15):
        • James mentions 6 steps that a person goes through to commit sin:

          • “…
          • when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed…” (14)

            • Step #1 the Source

              • The primary cause of sin is the evil inclination of man’s own heart. In other words, his own sin nature that he inherited from Adam and Eve the moment he was born.(Gen 8:21 Mat 7:15)

          • Step #2 the Lure
            • Satan dangles the bait in front of us. When the desire that comes from man’s lust notices the bait, man is drawn out to consider his choice of action. When the desire and the bait come together in agreement, man is enticed.

          • Step #3 the Enticement
            • Enticement is a fixed mind that considers the bait.
              • The fixed mind considers the bait over and over again.
        • “…when lust hast conceived…” (15)

          • Step #4 the Conception

            • When man’s will joins in agreement with his lust, the result is the thought of sin.
              • Sin is first conceived in the mind just like a child is conceived in the womb.
              • It is at this point that the Holy Spirit begins to convict us of sin. This is when we need to repent.
          • “…when it is finished, (it) bringeth forth death…” (15)

            • Step #5 the Maturing

              • When we do not repent of the sin but continue to consider it in our minds, then temptation gives birth in the heart to outward action.
                • It is at this point that we have made a conscious decision to act on the temptation.
                  • There is still an opportunity to repent and ask for forgiveness.
            • The consequences of sin is death (Rom 6:23).

              • Step #6 the Actual Birth

                • The final result of the birth is an outward action of sin, a dead child. (Rom 7:7-14)
                  • Sin breaks fellowship with God. That is what is meant here by the word “death”, separation from God.
                • Every time you give in to a temptation, your conscience dies a little until eventually you do not feel guilty. It is called the “searing” or hardening of the heart. (Heb 3:8)
                  • This is the ultimate point to which no believer wants to slide.
                    • I use the word, “slide” because this is a hardly noticed, gradual progression to which James warns us not to go when he says, “do not err.” (16)
                      • The word, “err” means = to stray, wander, or roam around.
              • Victory over temptation and sin (17-18):
                • Is it possible to overcome temptation? Yes
                  • Read 1Cor 10:13
                • Victory over temptation comes by dwelling on the good and perfect gift of God, Jesus Christ. (17)
                  • Inherent in the words, “good and perfect gift” is the act of God giving Jesus Christ to the world (Joh 3:16) and the gift itself. Both the act of God giving his son and Jesus, the gift, are expressions of God’s love.
                  • “…the father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (17)
                    • This phrase gives us the view of God as creator of the stars and planets. As the planets rotate, they cast a shadow. However, there are no shadows in the light of God’s truth, neither does God’s truth change with time.
                • Victory over temptation comes by staying in God’s will which is explained to us in the “word of truth”, the Bible.
                  • This tells us that the important key to responding to trials and to resisting temptation is found in God’s word.
                    • The following three things are essential to spiritual growth:
                      • =1= a person’s acceptance of God’s Word.
                      • =2= a person’s obedience to God’s Word.
                      • =3= a person’s willingness to live according to God’s Word.
                • When we achieve victory over temptation, we are the “firstfruits”. (18)
                  • The firstfruits was an offering to God of the first part of the harvest. It designated a precious grain at the point of maturity and perfection. The firstfruits offering called attention to the fact that the full harvest was yet to come.
                    • Jesus Christ was the firstfruits offering and the believers in Jesus Christ are the full harvest to come. (1Cor 15:20)
                    • The believers in Christ are then also the firstfruits that lead others to the Lord to become a greater harvest. (Deu 18:4 Rev 14:4)
                  • Instead of conceiving and giving birth to sin, we should be giving birth to good fruit for the kingdom of God.
                    • Two wills are involved in giving birth to sin…Satan’s will and man’s will. When conception takes place, sin is born.
                    • Two wills are involved in giving new birth to man…God’s will and man’s will. When conception takes place, new birth occurs spiritually in the heart.
                • Read Jam 1:19-27
                  • Demonstrating the righteousness of God and preparation for receiving the word of God. (19-21)
                    • Be quick to hear the Word of God.
                    • Be slow to answer because we are all still learning the Word of God.
                    • Be slow to get angry in arguments with people over God’s Word.
                    • Put aside the temptations to filthiness and wickedness. (21)
                      • The Greek word used for filthiness refers to dirty ear wax.
                        • In other words, sin that keeps you from hearing the voice of God.
                    • Receive the engrafted Word of God.
                      • The Word, engrafted, is used only here in the New Testament. It means = the Word is to be planted in the fertile soil of the soul.
                      • To receive the engrafted Word of God means:

                        • =1=
                        • We must realize that knowledge does not equal holiness.

                          • Knowledge of God’s Word for the sake of knowledge is useless. Only knowledge put into practice in a life will produce holiness.

                      • =2= We must be prepared to receive the Word.
                        • We must be quick to listen to the Word of God, according to James, with the intention of learning something that will change our lives.
                        • We must control the tongue to receive the Word of God. Because an uncontrolled tongue prevents us from listening. Without listening, we do not learn.
                        • We must control the temper to receive the Word of God.
                          • When anger, hatred, or revenge dwell in the heart, we cannot concentrate on God’s Word. A person with a perpetual anger problem never grows beyond being a baby Christian.
                        • We must lay aside, lock it up, and put out of sight anything that would cause us to be filthy, because it is these filthy things of the world that drag out attention from the Word of God.
                        • We must develop a teachable spirit to receive the Word of God. This requires humility in recognizing that you do not know everything. Spiritual growth occurs when you evaluate where you are spiritually in relation to where God wants you to be.

                      • =3= We must immediately apply what we learn. If we do not, we deceive ourselves and become spiritually blind because eventually the Holy Spirit does not convict us in this specific area of life.
                • “…be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only…” (22)
                  • When the believer is born again by the Spirit of God, God engrafts his Word on our hearts. (Heb 8:10)
                    • However, believers are supposed to study the Word of God so we know what God expects of our lives
                      • The Holy Spirit uses the words we learn to convict our hearts.
                      • As we are obedient to do God’s will, his Word is confirmed in our lives internally and externally.
                        • The very best version of the Bible is the version that the Holy Spirit has written in the heart of the believer in Jesus Christ.
                          • When the believer is obedient to the Word of God, he demonstrates the Word of God in his actions. Other people see those actions and learn God’s Word by those actions.
                            • Read 2Cor 3:2-3
                              • This little anonymous poem expresses it all:
                              • “The Gospel is written a chapter a day
                • By deeds that you do and by words that you say.

                  Men read what you say whether faithless or true.

                  Say, what is the Gospel according to you?”

                      • The illustration here is that we must not be sermon sippers, those who, like humming birds, drink a little bit here and drink a little bit there but never stay in one place to put the Word into action.

                      • The Test of Faith #7 is this:
                        • God tests faith by his Word
                        • We saw many tests of faith in our last lesson covering the first part of James chapter 1. This is the first test we have seen in this lesson.
                        • As a Bible teacher, I hear Christians make the following statements, “I do not have time to study the Bible.” “I am not really interested in the Bible.” “I do not understand the Bible.” What they are really saying is, “I do not care what God has to say to me.”
                          • According to this test in the book of James, they have just failed the test.
                            • When James tells us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, he is assuming the true believer in Jesus Christ is at least hearing the Word of God. However, many who claim to be believers in Christ neither hear nor study the Word.
                          • The demands of the Word of God (22)
                            • If faith comes by hearing the Word of God, then the person who never hears the Word, will not have any faith. And without faith, he is non-believer.
                          • The danger of the Word—the magic mirror (23-24)
                            • The means of the test is that you can hold your life up to a mirror and see if your life looks more like that of Christ or if it looks like the “natural man”.
                              • The term “natural man” is a New Testament phrase meaning the non-believer.
                              • The magic mirror is the Word of God.
                            • The Word of God changes the life of a believer because the Holy Spirit is in the heart convicting the soul.
                            • The danger is to look at yourself in the mirror of the Word of God and not change the flaws that you see in your character.
                          • The design of the Word (25)
                            • When the believer looks into “the perfect law of liberty” he is changed. What is the perfect law of liberty?
                              • The perfect law of liberty is = the Word of God (Jam 2:12)
                                • The “Word of God” exists in two forms:
                                  • =1= the inspired written or spoken Word, the Bible.
                                  • =2= the living Word, Jesus Christ (Joh 1:14).
                                • God put his love in the Old Testament law, and he put law in New Testament love.
                                  • Read Joh 14:15
                                    • The believer will want to obey Christ’s law out of love, not out of obligation.
                              • When, by faith, the New Testament believer obeys Christ’s commands, his life is changed by the grace of God, because the truth of God sets you free. (Joh 8:31-32)
                              • The word, looketh, in verse 25 means = to stoop down and peer intently at.
                                • The believer is to humble himself and look intently at the Word of God, that magic mirror, to see himself accurately as God sees him.
                      • Religion and the religious (26-27):
                        • James uses both the word religion and religious in this verse. These words are used only 7 times in the New Testament.
                          • The word, religion, comes from a Latin word which means = to bind back. (this is in reference to ritual or the outward expression of religious activity)
                          • Christianity is not a religion according to the Bible. It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
                        • What does James mean when he uses these words in verse 26?
                          • James is saying that if a man’s religion, no matter what religion it is, does not change his life, that religion is worthless.
                            • James uses the tongue as an example. (He will elaborate more on this theme later in the book.)
                            • Only Jesus Christ can change a person’s life and that occurs on the inside, in the heart.
                              • True religion from God’s perspective is a changed heart that produces a changed character, a changed attitude toward others, and a changed outward conduct.

                        • The Test of Faith #8 is this:
                          • Does your belief system change your life? (26)
                        • The Test of Faith #9 is this:
                          • Does your belief system cause you to love others to the point of wanting to help them? (27)
                        • The Test of Faith #10 is this:
                          • Does your faith keep you pure from being polluted by contact with the world system? (27)

                    James 2:1-13
                    This is a self-study. Please do not send homework answers to the teacher forcorrection.

                    • Application of Jam 1:13-27
                      • Considering the tests of faith in this lesson, are you passing the tests of faith?


                      • In what areas do you need more work? Be specific.

                        • Preparation for Jam 2:1-13
                            • Explain how the royal law of love and the law of liberty work together. (Read Joh 14:23 Joh 15:10 2Cor 3:17 and Gal 5:1, 13-14)


                          • Memory verse: Jam 2:8
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    About Joyce

    I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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