James, the Lord's Brother

Scripture: John 15:14, James 1:3, James 2:5
Date: 10/04/2014 
Lesson: 1
"Why is humility so important in the Christian life? That is, in light of the Cross and what happened there, how dare any of us ever assume an attitude of arrogance or self-importance, especially when it comes to spiritual matters?"
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Greeting friends, I would like to welcome you to this special presentation of the Sabbath School Study Hour. My name is jean ross, I'm one of the pastors at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. Now for the past 18 years this program has been recorded at the Sacramento central seventh-day adventist church, but earlier this year Pastor Doug Batchelor joined the pastoral staff here at the Granite Bay church. Now the Granite Bay church is in the process of moving to a new location where we'll be able to record and broadcast our weekly programs, and also this special study hour, on a regular basis. But in the meantime, we're recording this here at the Amazing Facts studio in rocklin, California.

I would like to welcome our local church audience, those who are joining us here in the studio, this is typically our prayer meeting time - Tuesday evening - but we're doing something a little bit different - something a little special. Over the next few weeks together, we're going to be studying through the lesson quarterly on the book of James. So those of you who have the lesson quarterly, you can follow along with us. Those who are watching, you can download the lessons at the Granite Bay church website. The web address is just simply 'granitebaysda.

org' and you can follow along with the lessons as we study together. Now, before we get started, I'd just like to, once again, welcome you and thank you for joining us and let's begin with a word of prayer. Dear Father, we thank you for the opportunity that we have to gather together to study Your Word. Father, we recognize that the Bible is your book and so we invite the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds and lead us into a deeper and a fuller understanding of your will. Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen.

I would like to invite pastor Doug Batchelor to come forward now and lead us in our study for today. Thank you, Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross. Evening friends. Normally we do this in the morning.

This is evening now, but it is a study time and, for those who are watching, I want to welcome our friends who have been watching for years from all over the world. We have an extended class and we're going to continue doing the Sabbath school study time with you. In just a moment we're going to get into the book of James and it'll be our first lesson - I'm looking forward to that - but before we do, we thought it might be interesting to just roll a little video for you and explain why there's a transition happening right now. Friends, we thought it would be a good idea to take a few moments and explain what's going on during this transition and why. The Sacramento central church is probably one of the oldest adventist churches in California and over its great history, it's been responsible for planting a number of other churches in the area.

Well, about seven years ago, as central church attendance continued to swell, we decided to plant a new church in a community called Granite Bay, where there formerly was no adventist church. We started out with about twelve people that were meeting in a home and, as the Lord blessed and the church grew, they eventually moved to a school that was in the Granite Bay community. And then the Lord continued to bless. We did some evangelistic meetings and the church continued to grow. So a presbyterian church was kind enough to rent their facilities to us for a couple of days a week.

We're meeting there currently now, but we're unable to videotape there because we only have it for a few hours a couple of days a week. And so, that's why, right now, we're going to be videotaping our services for Sabbath school at the Amazing Facts studios. Now the exciting news is God provided a building just about across the street from the Amazing Facts offices. If I had a good arm and could throw a football about 300 yards, our office, you'd see, would be right back that direction. And so this is a very convenient location and, with God's blessing, we're going to renovate this and there'll be a congregation meeting here in the near future.

It's something of an office warehouse building, but it's clean and it's neat and we believe it's a place we'll be able to record the new Sabbath school programs as well as the worship services. So please keep us in your prayers and we appreciate your staying with us during this transition time. Well, okay, friends, hopefully that gives you a better picture of what we've been doing and how we're in a transition mode, but now we're going to get into our lesson. As we always do, we have a free offer that goes along with each study and this time we're going to be offering 'life in the spirit.' And if you'd like a free copy of this, all you've got to do is call the number on your screen. That's 866-788-3966.

When you call, ask for offer #155. The number again - -study-more, which is -788-3966. Now I'm really excited to get into the book of James and today we're going to be dealing with lesson #1. The title of our new quarter is simply, 'the book of James.' And there's really no book in the Bible quite like it. It's very unique.

You know, you have some of the books in the new testament - you've got first and second Corinthians and first and second Thessalonians, but James is really a stand-alone book. And getting into the introduction of the lesson, one of the first things that we want to talk about is who wrote the book of James? Now James is a very controversial book. Martin luther, for instance, when he did these debates during the protestant reformation with John eck, he was talking about righteousness by faith. But the book of James often talks about obedience, faith and works, and John eck kept throwing that back at martin luther and martin luther sort of dismissed the book of James that maybe it really didn't belong in the canon of Scripture. And, you know, that shook a lot of people for a number of years.

Later in his life, luther affirmed that it was part of the canon - it was part of the Scripture. I think that he was just caught at a weak moment and he was so passionate about teaching righteousness by faith, coming out of a church that was really steeped in salvation by works, that James troubled him. Now you've probably noticed that when you read Paul - some of Paul's letters - he's dealing with people that were so - many of the Jewish pharisees and religious leaders were so into straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel - they were paying tithe on their mint, anise, and cumin - and this legalism began to influence the early Christian church. And so Paul, in his writings, he's often trying to counteract that and he's emphasizing faith and grace whereas, on the other hand, James was dealing with another group. Some of the Jewish converts to Christianity were thinking, 'oh, we don't have to keep the ceremonial law anymore and they were forgetting about the moral law as well.

So he was really dealing with a different group and I think, if any of you are parents and when you're talking to your children and trying to impress them with the lesson, sometimes you'll over impress them to make a point. And so, there are times when you can see James is trying to speak to one group so he comes on very strong. Paul was speaking to another group. But there's no question about the inspiration of the book of James. I've never had any doubts reading it, that whoever wrote this book - we'll get to that in just a minute - they knew the Lord and it is a very spiritual book.

But just for a little more reinforcement, it's one of the books that has not been questioned by the very early church fathers. The book of James may have been the first letter in the new testament that was written - preceding Paul's letters, which was most of the new testament - and even the letters of John. Probably somewhere between 45 and 48 ad, which is new when you consider that Jesus died 31 ad. Irenaeus, who lived in the second century, about 202 ad, said that James was an inspired book and part of the canon. Tertullian - 160 - 225 ad - he believed it was part of the canon.

Eusebius - origin - eusebius said it was publicly read in most churches. Origin placed it among the canonical books of Scripture, so just in case you run into anyone that says, 'well, we're not so sure it really belonged in the Bible.' Because James says some very direct things. Through the history of the Christian church, they've always embraced the book of James. Even luther's right-hand man - any of you know what his name was? Pastor Ross? Melancthon - yeah, I know some of the pastors here knew that. Melancthon, he said the book of James was part of the canon of Scripture.

So that one statement of luther, though, it shook some protestants up on that point. So the question is - book of James - which James? There are several Jameses. Now, as we typically do during our Sabbath School Study Hour, I've got some verses you're going to help me read. First verse is going to be Mark :3 - who's got that? Alright, let's get a microphone over here to cathy and, while we're setting up for that, I'm going to read acts 1 - if you have your Bibles you can follow - acts 1, verses 12 through 14. And notice, just in this one section I'm going to read, "then they returned to Jerusalem" - this is the first chapter of acts, verse 12 - "then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey.

And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and andrew; Philip, thomas; bartholomew and Matthew; James The Son of alphaeus and Simon the zealot; and Judas The Son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." Whose brothers? Jesus' brothers. Now notice, we just read 'James, James, James' so we're wondering, who wrote this book? You've got three Jameses there. Now let's look at the brothers of Jesus. Go ahead, cathy, you can read that for us.

"'Is this not the carpenter, The Son of mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?' So they were offended at him." Alright, so it tells us Jesus had brothers and we're fairly certain that these brothers that Jesus had - and sisters - it doesn't say how many sisters - it names four brothers - that these were half brothers. Now that shocks people. They think Jesus was the first born of mary and then this other litter of kids all came later and Jesus was the oldest brother. Actually, Joseph probably had another wife that had died before he married mary. Joseph was, evidently, older than mary.

You notice, by the time Jesus begins his ministry Joseph is never mentioned. They believe that he had passed away at that point. When Jesus is on the cross, who did he give the care of his mother to? If she's got four other blood children, why would you ever deliver the care of your mother to a stranger? Although John may have been a distant relative of Jesus, some have argued. The other thing - the reason that we believe that the brothers of Jesus - and this is important in understanding the book - the brothers of Jesus were older and were half brothers by Joseph. When Jesus began his ministry it would have been very unusual for the eldest brother to leave the family business and become an itinerant preacher.

It's always the elder brother that takes over the family. He's responsible for the all the younger families. In that culture it would have been very disrespectful - it's usually the younger brother that runs off - like in the parable of the prodigal son. Who runs off? It's the younger brother. And so, for those reasons, most scholars are pretty sure that this is a family that Joseph had when he married mary.

She took on a lot. Talk about a blended family. She may have been in her late teens and then all of a sudden she's got at least six children - four boys and 'sisters' - that means at least two - it could have been ten. Probably not, but he had sisters. But who is the first one mentioned among the brothers that are named? James.

They usually listed them according to their age. So he was the older brother of Jesus. Now, I'll give you more evidence for this, but we believe this is who wrote the book, rather than - you've got one James who's an apostle - two Jameses that are apostles - James The Son of alphaeus, James the brother of John and The Son of zebedee. The other one is just called Judas, The Son of James - that was his father. But there are reasons, as we read on, James - the book of James - is written after James, the brother of John, is killed by herod.

Acts chapter 12. The first of the apostles, next to Judas, who killed himself - the first of the apostles to die was James, the brother of John. Herod beheaded him. And so, about the time this book was written there's another James that ends up sitting as, sort of, the chairman of the board for the church in Jerusalem. And they think he was the elder brother of Jesus.

He was highly respected but he didn't start out that way. The brothers of Jesus were very cynical and questioning about Jesus' ministry when he began. Let's take a look at some of these - and this is the section under the - 'James, the brother of Jesus.' So if you look, for instance, in John 7 - John 7, verse 2, "now the jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to him, 'depart from here and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see the works that you are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly.

If you do these things, show yourself to the world.' For even his brothers did not believe in him." - Is the comment that John makes. So it wasn't that they totally didn't believe him, but they sure didn't understand. Their idea of the Messiah - and even the apostles were confused - they thought when the Messiah came he would come like David with the strength of sampson and he was going to, you know, go raging chariots, leading an army into Jerusalem and overthrow the Romans and sit with his new power and they were wondering, 'if you're really the Messiah' - I mean, they've known this good boy - mary's boy - all of their life. He's always been well behaved, he always seemed so meek. They're going, 'the Messiah? We always pictured the Messiah as a conquering king.

' So they really struggled with his claim. You know, if you read Psalms 69, verse 8, one of the prophecies about the Messiah - matter of fact, let me get set up for the next verse. Who's got Galatians 1:19? Brian? We'll get you the microphone and you'll be next. But if you look in Psalms 69:8 first it says, "I have become a stranger to my brothers and an alien to my mother's children." Can you think of any other stories in the Bible where especially chosen individuals were not recognized by their brothers? Joseph. When Joseph had these dreams about a great plan that God had for his life, did his brothers buy into that? They thought he was a kook.

Matter of fact, when they finally threw him in the pit they said, 'here comes that dreamer.' And they got so tired of his dreams. Who else? When David came to his brothers and started asking about what Goliath was doing did his brothers say, 'David, we believe you're the one. You can go fight him?' Or did they say, 'what are you doing here? You're always looking for trouble. You just want to see the fight.' Did they understand him? Not at first. Notice - did Joseph's brothers understand him later? Did David's brothers understand and support him later? And this is what happened with James - Jesus' brothers.

We believe that they all ended up coming around but at first they didn't understand. You know, there's a quote and it's in your lesson. It's in the book 'Desire of Ages' pages and 486. "It was a false concept of the Messiah's work and a lack of faith in the divine character of Jesus that led his brothers to urge him to present himself publicly at the feast of tabernacles. They had a wrong concept of what the Messiah would do and they didn't really appreciate what Jesus' calling was.

Alright, you're going to read, I think brian, Galatians 1:19. "But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother." Wait a second now. He's talking about apostles. How many apostles were there? Twelve is what they started out with but, you know, between the first generation of the church and the death of the apostle John, others had the name apostle. Let me just give you some examples.

First of all, notice this - I always thought this was very interesting. Before the Holy Spirit is poured out, one thing happens before the Holy Spirit is poured out in acts chapter 1. Peter said - he stands up and makes a speech. They'd been praying for ten days. He stands up and makes a speech and he said, 'you know, I feel impressed by the Holy Spirit that Jesus chose twelve apostles and one of us now is gone at his own hand, Judas.

It was foretold in the Scriptures that he would take his life.' And he quotes the Scripture. 'It happened just like that. It seems like we should choose one from among those who saw Jesus from the beginning - of faithful disciples - that will fill that seat. So they cast lots and they chose matthias. You don't hear much about matthias later in the Bible but Jesus personally appears to some individuals and they are later recognized as apostles.

For instance, does he appear to Paul? Is Paul called an apostle? It seems like apollos is categorized later as an apostle. I don't know when Jesus appeared to him but it seems like he's listed with apostles in the writings of Paul. And you know what else it says? Let me read this to you - Galatians 2, verse 9, "and when James, cephas," - cephas is just another way of saying 'Peter' - "when James, cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars," - now, how many times have you heard in the Bible where it said, 'Peter, James, and John; Peter, James, and John; Peter James and John?' Do you ever see anywhere where it says 'James, John, and Peter?' Not in the Gospels. It's always Peter, James, and John. Why? But they all - Gospel writers got it that way.

When that little trilogy of apostles did things with Jesus - when he raised the daughter of jarius, he took with him just Peter, James, and John. He went up the mount of transfiguration, he took Peter, James, and John. He asked for three of them to come pray with him in the garden of Gethsemane, he took Peter, James, and John. So they're often kind of pulled aside. But here it says, 'James, cephas (Peter), and John.

It seems like James had even ascended, with the church in Jerusalem, above Peter. - "And when James, cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and barnabas the right hand of fellowship," - and then - it mentions this in acts, when James and the other apostles sent out Paul and barnabas. So it's not James, the brother of John, that does that. - "That we should go to the gentiles and they to the circumcised." Now Peter, when it says they went to the circumcision, that meant the jews. Remember when cornelius had his dream and Peter preached to the gentiles there? But most of what Peter did is he traveled and he preached to the jews.

If you look in the book 'acts of the apostles,' this is a pretty strong affirmation for the point that it was James, the brother of Jesus, who wrote the book. 'Acts of the Apostles' p. 405, "When we think of Paul's great desire to be in harmony with his brethren, his tenderness towards the weak, the faith, his reverence for the apostles, who had been with Christ, for James, the brother of the Lord." She says apostles that have been with Christ and for James the brother of the Lord. Now this is where I think things may have changed. If you go to the next section - now let me see - who has acts , verse 17? Alright, we'll get you the microphone next.

And in the meantime, I'm going to read 1 Corinthians 15 - Paul is writing here - 1 Corinthians :3-8, "for I delivered to you, first of all," - just in case anyone's wondering, this is the Bible. I just cut and paste all the verses in here so - people say, 'well, you've got a small Bible.' I just find it saves time so I just print out all the Scriptures I know I'm going to read. "For I delivered to you, first of all, that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures, that he was seen by cephas" - now who's cephas? Peter. - "By the twelve," - that means the other apostles - you remember in the upper room when he met with - of course Judas wasn't there but they called them the twelve. First week, when he met, someone else was missing - thomas, remember? And later, when Jesus came back, thomas was there with him so he met with all the existing twelve that were alive - "after that he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain present, though some have fallen asleep.

" - What does Paul mean by 'fallen asleep?' Some have died. Because he's writing this, you know, years later - "after that" - let me see here - "after that he was seen by James." - Now that's not talking about James, the brother of John, because he was in the upper room. Jesus made a personal appearance to his older brother and the same way he revealed himself to Paul and Paul became an apostle. Paul tells us he also - we know Jesus appeared to several. Did he appear to two on the road to emmaus? Evidently he appeared to Peter alone, at one point.

He appeared to Paul alone. He appeared to James, his older brother, alone. Now this is important to think about because does it make a difference whether it was James the brother of John or James the brother of Jesus? Who knew Jesus longer? You're talking about the difference between three and a half years and thirty-three and a half years. This James knew Jesus from infancy and if you know of any mistakes - I wouldn't want my brother to tell you what he knew about me. If you're going to know that anybody has messed up it's going to be your siblings, right? Maybe even more than your parents.

Don't your siblings know about stuff that you got into that your parents never found out about? So the fact that James could believe that Jesus was the sinless Son of God, that's a very powerful testimony. So I think it's important to recognize that this was the brother. So, okay, who's got acts 12:17? I think you're going to read that. But he, beckoning unto them with a hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison and he said, 'go show these things unto James, and to the brethren.' And he departed and went into another place." Alright, this is when Peter is liberated from prison, in acts chapter 12, by the angel and he appears in the upper room where all the church is gathered praying for him. But, evidently, not all the church is there - and he says, 'go tell James.

' The first thing Peter says is, 'you need to go tell James. He was the recognized leader of the church in Jerusalem. As near as we can tell he stayed in Jerusalem. He oversaw the church there. He was older.

He was highly respected. He was educated and you can tell from his letter. As a matter of fact, his letter, they say, is one of the most eloquent examples of Jewish writing in Greek that is in existence. The metaphors that are used all through the book - it's very concise. It's to the point.

It's very powerful. And he actually draws upon a lot of the Jewish wisdom of the day, in illustrations that they were familiar with. Plus, he references - and we'll get into this in the next quarter. We've got a lot of studies left on James. I want to be careful not to say it all now.

I'll probably repeat myself a few times but he draws a lot on the Scripture. Meaning: he read the Bible. But the first that Peter says - he's not talking about James, the brother of John, because chapter 12 begins by saying, 'James, the brother of John, was beheaded.' And then herod put Peter in prison. So when Peter says, 'go tell James.' He's talking then about the head of the church in Jerusalem. Now, you might be thinking.

'How do you know it's not James, The Son of alphaeus who's an apostle? You know, he doesn't seem to appear, significantly, in anything that's happening in the Gospels. And the other thing is we do have that one verse where Paul refers to James, the brother of Jesus. So we believe that this is the one who wrote the book. Alright, and then if we'll read - let me see - what did I put here? Matthew 7:24. Jesus says, "therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

" Now one of the powerful things about the writings of James is he punctuates all of his points through his book, with other Scripture so it's actually riddled with and endorsed by the Scriptures. Alright, next section: 'James and the Gospel.' And in a moment we're going to get down to - someone's going to help me read James 2:22. Who has that? Oh, you're all ready to go. Okay. Alright, James is a universal book and it it's not written to one person.

You know, sometimes you'll read, you know, John'll say, 'John, unto the elect lady' or Paul will write a book to Timothy or sometimes a book is written to a town - to the Corinthians; to the Thessalonians. But the book of James is written, really, to everybody. So it's a book that is written to the church at large, though he's probably addressing it more to the Jewish Christians. And you know why I say that? If James was written as early as we think it may have been written, what percentage of Christians were Jewish when the church began? When it began, a hundred percent, right? Then at pentecost, when the holy spirit's poured out, it says in acts chapter 2, 'now there were gathered in Jerusalem, jews; devout men from out of every nation under heaven.' People key in on the 'out of every nation under heaven' and they miss the part: 'jews' that had come to Jerusalem for pentecost. There were some converts that were there - proselytes they call them - people that had converted from being gentiles to jews.

I remember when I was growing up my mom was in show business and she told me sammy davis, jr., That black entertainer, was Jewish. And I said - you know I was young - I said, 'how can he be Jewish?' Because, you know, all my mom's family was not african American. And she said he converted. And so there were some converts from all over the roman empire that were impressed with the monotheism - the one God of Israel. But the majority of those who came to Jerusalem, they were jews.

So at pentecost, when it says the Holy Spirit's poured out and ,000 are baptized in one day and you read later it says 5,000 are baptized. 5,000 What? Almost all jews. Matter of fact, it wasn't until Peter had that vision and he went to the house of cornelius and God said, 'do not call unclean what I have cleansed.' And Peter said, 'God has told me to call no man unclean.' They thought all the gentiles were unclean dogs and they were working through some centuries- old prejudice that they had against the gentiles. You remember when - even Jesus said - this canaanite woman came to him and said, 'Lord' - he was up in the tyre-sidon region and they said, 'Lord, please come and heal my daughter.' And Jesus wanted to show the disciples how they sounded. He said, 'it's not appropriate to take the children's food and give it to dogs.

' And everyone said, 'how could he be so harsh?' He was trying to shame the disciples because that's what the religious leaders said about the gentiles. And it's like the parable of the rich man and Lazarus - that poor man was outside, comforted only by the dogs, eating the crumbs. It's like that woman said, 'oh, but even the dogs get the crumbs.' So they saw the gentiles as they were on the outside. 'We are the chosen people.' Now, I know, we don't have to ever worry about that as Christians or members of our particular church, that we somehow have the truth and everyone else is - you know, the first time an attempt was made on Jesus' life - well second, actually - the devil tried to kill him as a baby. But when he began his ministry - the first attempt was when he went to his hometown church.

And you know what he said during his sermon? He said, 'there were many widows in the land in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up for three and a half years, but God did not send Elijah to any of the Jewish widows, he sent him to a gentile. And there were many lepers in the land in the days of naaman, but Elisha only healed naaman the syrian.' And they were so outraged that he would say God would show favor to the gentiles, they tried to take him and throw him off of a cliff. How many remember reading that? So this was the attitude for the first eight or ten years right after Christianity and the disciples - the first missionaries that went out - as they went out, you know where they went? They went to the synagogues and they told the jews about Jesus being the Messiah. And, yes, Philip talked to that Ethiopian but he was a Jewish convert so he could talk to him. And even Paul had to chastise Peter.

After the Gospel went to the gentiles, Paul says in Galatians, 'Peter was to be blamed because before the delegation came from Jerusalem he was hob-knobbing with the gentiles, but when they came he didn't want to look like he was getting too close to those - the unclean gentiles. And so it was just deeply ingrained in them that all of the gentiles were unclean. So James' book is probably being addressed largely to these Jewish converts in the early church but it was just beginning to go beyond that time. It was probably closely after the time when Peter had his vision. Anyway, so they were grappling with those things.

But do you find the Gospel, in the book of James, or was martin luther's accusation true - that it's a book of just legal laws? Alright, let me see here. Go to acts 15, verse 13. When Paul and barnabas - they came down and they reported how the Lord had worked marvelously in raising up churches in these gentile towns among the gentiles - as well as jews. It says, after they'd come - "after they had become silent" - acts 15:13 - "James answered, saying, 'men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:'" - and notice, James is supporting the Gospel is supposed to go the gentiles - "'after this I will return and rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord who does all these things.

'" - James knew his Bible. He's quoting old testament prophecies to say the Gospel is supposed to go to the gentiles. So he understood the Gospel and, let's see, read James, for instance, chapter 1, verse 3. "Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." What was martin luther's concern about the book of James? He thought it was too much law and not enough faith. But you'll find that he says quite a bit about faith.

Matter of fact you can go ahead - dick, why don't you read James 2:22? "Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works, faith was made perfect?" So is he ignoring faith and emphasizing work or was he showing a balance between faith and works? What James is saying is really what every Christian believes and we have whole lessons that will delve into this much deeper, but that real faith - we're saved by faith, but real faith will be evident by the fruit of the Spirit and, among those fruits, Paul even says 'we are saved unto good works.' And so there's perfect agreement between what James says and what Paul says. Let me read James 2, verse 5, "listen, my beloved brethren: has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him?" Notice the emphasis on faith and love. He's promised the Kingdom to those that love him. And so, the good works that James talks about later in the book spring out of what? It's supposed to be out of love. Anything other than that, it's just not right.

And we can read James 5:15 - we're just kind of - of course, there's only five chapters so we're just jumping through the book here to show that there is a balance here. James 5:15, "and the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." And so, there's an emphasis on forgiveness through the book. There's an emphasis on faith. There's an emphasis on prayer.

True faith carries certain recognizable credentials and this'll be revealed in the life and character of the believer. Now there is a quote from that book called 'life sketches of Paul' - 'sketches from the life of Paul' and this is pages 208 and 209, "these brethren were now called forward and one by one they laid at the feet of James, the offerings which the gentile churches had freely given, although often from their deepest poverty. And so, you remember when there was a famine in Jerusalem? If you read the book of acts you remember Paul, and in his writings he refers to it. He went among some of the different churches in asia. There was a drought and a famine because of the drought, in Jerusalem, and the gentiles were making this generous offering to help the hungry Jewish Christians that were down in Jerusalem.

And so, they were basically showing, 'well, here, you treated us like dogs but we're going to show love to you because the Gospel came through you to us.' Doesn't Paul say, 'to the jew first and after that the Greek?' The Gospel came to the jew first and then after that it goes to the Greeks. And so they were showing this, but whose feet did they lay the offerings at? Isn't that interesting? Now, you might be thinking, 'were they worshiping him like a pope or a God?' If you read in acts chapter 5 when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church and people were selling their property, they'd bring the proceeds from their sold land to the apostles and they'd lay it at their feet. Now, the apostles did not want worship. They recognized this meant they were giving it to the Lord. The apostles sort of represented the earthly messengers of the Lord.

When they tried to worship Paul and silas - I forget what town that was in - and they wanted to make offerings to them after they did a miracle. It may have been Philippi and Paul and silas said, 'don't do that!' And they tore their clothes. The apostles didn't want worship. And when Peter and John healed the man who was paralyzed, at the beautiful gate, acts chapter , the people wanted to act like Peter and John, these apostles, were divine. And they said, 'we're men just like you.

It's the name of Jesus that did this.' But when they sold their property and they wanted to give it to the Lord - and they didn't have regular churches to meet in - they'd come to wherever the apostles gathered and they'd publicly say, 'this is a gift to the Lord.' And they'd put it down at their feet. That was just of way of saying, 'we're giving this to the Lord.' But it's interesting, the prominent position that James rose to in the church, going from a skeptical older brother to, basically - I know this may sound strange but he was known as 'the bishop of Jerusalem.' And bishop is a biblical word. It means 'the over shepherd of the church.' He was probably older than Peter and John. They were younger when Jesus called them. He was older than Jesus and if he's the oldest of at least six children, he may have been, you know, twelve, fifteen years older than Jesus.

And so, he was fifty, sixty - he was the patriarch. A lot of the converts were very young - that first followed Jesus. Alright, so the Gospel is in the story of James. Now, it says here, in the next section, "to the twelve tribes scattered abroad." And - let's see here - if we look in James 1:1 - this is the - now we're finally getting into the book. Sorry it's taken so long.

James 1:1 - well, we've been quoting excerpts. "James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: greetings." Now does that mean this book is just written to twelve tribes or is he using the words 'twelve tribes' in a spiritual sense? I'll give you a little tribal history. How many tribes were there - of Israel? It's a trick question. It started out that Jacob had twelve sons, but because Joseph was sold and went into Egypt, while there, Joseph gave birth to two sons. But Joseph had been separated for many years from the family.

So Jacob, he said, virtually on his death bed, that The Sons of Joseph would be given a name and an inheritance equal with a brother, because of what had happened. And so their names were ephraim and manasseh. But then, if you do the math and you count ephraim and manasseh and all the tribes, you end up with thirteen. You don't count Joseph, you count the two sons of Joseph, right? But they always talk about the twelve tribes. Let me tell you how that happened.

That only lasted while they were in Exodus - they had thirteen tribes - in Egypt, rather. After the Exodus - shortly after Mount Sinai, God said that the sons of levi - the descendents of levi - they would not get an inheritance in the promised land like the other twelve tribes, but they would be the priests for the other twelve tribes. So if you count levi and ephraim and manasseh and issachar and zebulun and the rest of them, you end up with thirteen. How many were at the last supper? Thirteen. Until Judas left the room there were thirteen.

So they call them the twelve tribes. Now, even when they came back - let me see - yeah, Ezra - I'm jumping ahead here because I thought about it - Ezra 6:17. Ten of the tribes - oh - you just - give you the history - everything was hunky dorey with the twelve tribes after - when Saul became king - there were really only three Kings over the united kingdom: Saul, David, Solomon. It's interesting, they all reigned exactly forty years. Forty - forty - forty.

I don't know what it means, but the life of Moses is divided up into three forties also, right? Forty in Egypt. Forty in the wilderness. Forty leading them from Egypt through the wilderness. And so you had three Kings of Israel where there were the twelve tribes of the united kingdom, but then, when Solomon came along - after he died there was a rebellion. Jeroboam split off - he was a servant of Solomon - the Kingdom split.

Rehoboam and jeroboam - rehoboam, son of Solomon. Ten of the tribes in the north said, 'we're going to have our own religion.' They set up their own altars. They didn't 'want the people going down to the temple in Jerusalem. And so it was a great apostasy. They got into idolatry.

They had golden calves at dan and bethel. The southern kingdom tried to stay true to the Lord and the southern kingdom was comprised of most of the levites because the northern kingdom had corrupted worship. Most of the levites, the tribe of Benjamin - but the big tribe was judah. It was often called judah, because they were the biggest tribe. The northern kingdom was often called ephraim, because they were the biggest tribe.

But it was ephraim and the other nine. So there's a civil war that lasted until the end and, around the time hezekiah was king of the southern kingdom, judah, the king of assyria came and he conquered the northern kingdom. They had gone through lots of bad Kings. I mean, Elijah dealt with ahab and all of his problems. And you've got Elisha dealing with jehu and they just had a lot of bad Kings and did a lot of violent things and the dynasties kept getting overthrown.

Those ten tribes were carried off, hundreds of years before Jesus was born, to assyria. Most of them intermarried. They became very indistinct as a unique people. Now you can go to assyria today and you'll find a few, vague remnants of people that say they are jews that can be traced back - they're surrounded by arabs. They've intermarried with arabs, but they still maintain their Jewish religion.

And so, there are still some remnants of Jewish people in that part, but they did not come back from the captivity. When Nebuchadnezzar carried off the southern kingdom of judah, seventy years later they came back. But even though there were really only three tribes: judah, Benjamin, and levi, listen to what Ezra says. This is a long introduction into one verse. "And they offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house of God, one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

" So even though they didn't have twelve tribes anymore, in Israel, they still referred to them as the twelve tribes. And they also believe that some of the tribes had intermarried, they shared their faith, they kind of lost their distinct identity, but they were scattered. They were blended. They, sort of, mingled into the other nations. The jews are the greatest evidence of the Bible being true, of just about anything.

Well, I shouldn't say the greatest - one of the greatest evidences. There is no other nation in the world that has been conquered, scattered among foreign countries, that remains with a distinct language. Have you noticed that a lot of countries - native Americans - I've lived on several reservations. Karen and I live by five tribes up in covelo. I don't know one of them that can speak their ancient tongue anymore.

I used to, when I first moved there, but they slowly died off. I lived with the navajos for years. When I first went there, they all spoke fluent navajo. It's becoming less and less prominent. Navajo is probably one of the strongest native American languages.

But you go around - and that's just after a few hundred years. The jews were conquered and scattered for over a thousand years. And to be able to maintain their language and then come back to their land three times. They were carried off to Egypt. They came back.

Carried off to Babylon. They came back. Scattered by the Romans for over a thousand years - nineteen hundred years - and they came back. It's just phenomenal when you think about it. So when James is saying, 'to the twelve tribes' who's he talking to? He's talking to every believer in jehovah.

And it was a term that was used to just talk about all of God's people. The new Jerusalem has how many foundations? How many gates? Twelve. How many kinds of fruit on the Tree of Life? Twelve? Twelve different kinds - twelve times a year. That could mean a hundred and forty-four different - better than baskin robins, huh? A hundred and forty-four different kinds of fruit. And so twelve is a number that is just - the woman in Revelation 12 - not that the chapter means anything, chapter - has how many stars above her head? Twelve.

So that was a number that represented the leadership. Old testament - twelve tribes. You had people include Samuel. They argue twelve Judges in the old testament. And then you have the twelve apostles.

Peter thought the number was important. They replaced - oh yeah, were the twelve apostles all from twelve different tribes? No, most of the apostles were probably from Benjamin, judah, levi. Matthew levi was from what tribe do you think? Levi. What tribe was Paul from? Paul said, 'I'm a benjamite.' Yeah, so why did Jesus pick twelve tribes if they weren't from - or twelve apostles if they weren't from different tribes? The number meant something to the Jewish people. It was very important.

They always felt bad that they'd been decimated by apostasy and by other nations, so they claimed that 'we're still twelve.' And so, when he says 'to the twelve tribes,' he's speaking more in a spiritual sense. Now you know why this is important for us? When you get to Revelation and it talks about twelve thousand from the twelve tribes - it says, 'from the tribes of judah, Benjamin, issachar, levi - all the different tribes. You know many Christians today, they believe that the holy spirit is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit that God is going to raise up a hundred and forty-four thousand literal jews with twelve thousand literal jews from these literal tribes. But if they know their Bible history, most of those tribes were scattered and so blended that all of you here might have a little Jewish blood - if you're lucky. Sorry.

But, I mean, really. So the idea that there are going to be twelve thousand literal people from zebulon out preaching the Gospel, it's just Bible ignorance. They don't know the history. Those tribes have been scattered and dispersed and watered down two thousand years ago. So when it says the twelve tribes here, I think that's a spiritual number that he's talking about.

So what does Peter say? If you look in - let me see here - 1 Peter 2:9, "but you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;" Peter is referring to the church at large - as a nation - and so the twelve tribes was sort of - and, you know, Peter also says - Peter 5:13? Peter writes a letter and he says, "she who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son." Peter's writing a letter to Babylon? Or was Peter referring to rome as Babylon even back that far ago. He's using Babylon in a spiritual sense there. They did have some people that lived near Babylon during the time of Peter, but there was no special Christian church in Babylon that we know about from history. Peter - they used these words sort of interchangeably with their spiritual sense. Luke 22 - Jesus says - verse 29, "and I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as my father bestowed one upon me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

" So how does Jesus use the term 'twelve tribes?' Is he excluding Christians when he says 'you'll be judging the twelve tribes?' Or is he talking about all his believers? You see, when you understand that - I believe God has a special work for literal jews - I do. And I think there's going to be a great revival before the end. But Paul says,'he is not a jew which is one outwardly, he is a jew which is one inwardly.' Paul says, 'if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed.' Paul says that we are grafted into the stock of Abraham - that the gentiles are grafted into the Hebrew stock. We draw our sap from the Bible we read - the Jewish book, right? And so they all understood this. So really, what's happening is the - the early Christians, including James, they understood that all the gentiles were sort of converting.

When they became Christians that they were, in a sense, converting to being spiritual jews. That troubles some people. If someone's got a little bit of antisemitism they kind of chaff at that idea. But is a very clearly taught theme, in the Bible, that Christians really are standing on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, which is a largely Jewish book. Then we go to 'James and Jesus' here.

This is the last section and how does he refer to himself in the opening verse? The bondservant. Have you ever seen an older brother that would tell the younger brother that 'I'll be your bondservant?' Jesus must have made a pretty strong impression on James. I mean, after all, was James at the cross when Jesus was crucified? Mary was there with his brethren. I'm sure they saw that. When Jesus then appears after his resurrection, personally, to James, would that convince you, even as an older brother, if your younger brother gets resurrected and says, 'I've just come from The Father.

' Especially if they were always called 'little angel.' My brother - you know I had a step-brother, John and I - John was older and my brother falcon, he was older than me but falcon had cystic fibrosis - his health wasn't that good so when we'd go get in trouble - John and I were always in all kinds of trouble - falcon, his health wasn't as good and he didn't participate in all of our antics and we always called him 'little angel', 'goody goody' - it wasn't a flattering term. But that's probably what Jesus got called by his brethren. They'd get into some kind of mischief, you know, 'come on Jesus, let's go...' 'No, that's not right. I can't do that.' 'Little angel' you know and - James 1 verses 9 through 11. James says, "let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away.

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." He emphasizes humility and, knowing Jesus, Jesus was very humble. By the way, here's another example - he's quoting, you know where James is quoting from here? In Isaiah where he says, 'the flower fades and the grass withers?' It's also - Psalms talks about that. Alright, go ahead. Read for us James 1:21.

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." Meekness. What was one of the characteristics of Moses? Meekest man who had ever lived. Moses said, 'the Lord, your God'll raise up a prophet to you like me.' And Jesus said, 'for I am meek and lowly.' And so James says, 'lay aside all filthiness and receive with meekness, the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.' And what is Jesus called by John? Jesus is the word. Let's go to James 4:6-10, "but he gives more grace. Therefore he says: 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

' Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." - These are wonderful promises - "cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep!" - Why? So you can stay in self humiliation and depression? - "Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom." - Notice - "humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up.'" In other words, James says you need to thoroughly repent and humble yourself so God can give you the joy and lift you up. You know, a lot of times people - they want to have the joy of the Lord and they don't first humble themselves and sorrow over their sin.

James says some very strong things. Now, you know, we're not altogether sure what happened to James in history. There - the closest historical quote we have is actually from the writings of Josephus and this is in the book 'Josephus - Jewish antiquities book 20' and it's verse 9.1. And I'll read to you, word for word, what it says here. "Therefore annas" - now you know what annas is? This is The Son of annas the high priest that condemned Jesus - he had a son by the same name that also ended up being in the same position - this is many years later - because the annas who condemned Jesus actually lived for quite awhile.

"Therefore annas was of this disposition. He thought he now had proper opportunity to exercise his authority. Festus was now dead and albinius Was but upon the road. So" - before albinius got there to Jerusalem - "he assembled the sanhedrin of Judges and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who is called Christ, whose name was James." There you've got another historical reference to what the brother - and he was, evidently, a leader in the church - "and some others or some of his companions and when he formed an accusation against them" - did they have any problem getting false witnesses? "When he formed an accusation against them" - did they get false witnesses for Jesus? For stephen? For naboth? They always were able to find false witnesses - "as breakers of the law he delivered them to be stoned." That's all he says. Then he moves on to another thing.

So James, evidently, was stoned in Jerusalem with some others during one of the persecutions of the early church. So I think we can be fairly certain who the author of this book is. And it's someone who knew Jesus about as well as anybody in the Bible. Not too many people in the Bible say, 'I knew him for thirty-three and a half years and I still believe he was The Son of God' so I'm really looking forward to our study together. Before we run out of time I just want to remind our friends who are watching that we will send you the free book, 'life in the spirit.

' We hope you'll take it and read it and share it with somebody else. Just call the number on your screen. It's 866-788-3966. Offer #155. Oh, you know, one more thing I want to mention just before we go off the air - that there's something very exciting happening.

You've probably heard us mention before in albuquerque, in just a few weeks, we're going to be uplinking a live evangelistic series across the country - it'll be on this station and others - called 'landmarks of prophecy.' Please pray for it. Your church can go to the website and get involved. You can have this evangelistic program in your church. Landmarksofprophecy.com. God bless you.

Spanning the timeline of human history God has provided prophetic landmarks signaling that his coming is near. Are you ready for the next big leap in Bible prophecy? Join Pastor Doug Batchelor as he presents 'landmarks of prophecy.' A live, -part Bible series beginning October 31st from albuquerque, New Mexico. To learn more, visit 'landmarksofprophecy.com.' Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last day events of Revelation, 'Biblehistory.com' is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's Word.

Go deeper. Visit the amazing Bible timeline at 'Biblehistory.com'.

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