You are on page 1of 12


The mature Christian is patient in testing

James 1:1-12

Lesson One

*Introduction: the book of James deals with the marks of the mature Christian. Each chapter
deals with a spiritual mark of maturity. These verses show us how we can triumph over the
trials that come our way.

I. We must have a joyful attitude - 1:1-2

A. We are to expect tribulations - Acts 14:22; Phil. 1:29; 1 Pet. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:12
B. We should rejoice in tribulations - Matt. 5:10-12; John 16:33; 1 Pet. 4:12-14

II. We must have an understanding mind - 1:3

*We as Christians know that:
A. Faith is always tested.
*God always tests us to bring out the best. Satan tempts us to bring out the worst.
1. Job - Job 1:1-22
2. Abraham - Gen. 12:1-4; 22:1-14; Heb. 11:8-10, 17-19
B. Testing works for us, not against us.
Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17; 1 Pet. 1:7
C. Trials rightly used help us to mature.
*Patience is a sign of maturity.
1. We need patience - Heb. 6:12
2. Tribulation works patience - Rom. 5:3-5
3. Studying the trials of Bible characters helps us to grow in patience - Rom. 15:4

III. We must have a surrendered will - 1:4, 9-11

A. With a surrendered heart, we are to let the Lord do his work - v. 4;
Eph. 6:6
B. Whether we are rich or poor, God's testings have a way of leveling us
- vs. 9-11
1. When the poor Christian is tested, he should let God have his way and rejoice
that he has spiritual riches in heaven that cannot be taken from him.
2. When the rich Christian is tested, he also should let God have his way and
rejoice that his riches in Christ cannot wither or fade away.

IV. We must have a believing heart - 1:5-8

*In times of trial and tribulation:
A. Ask God for wisdom - Pro. 3:13-14; 4:7; 8:11
B. Ask for wisdom, believing you will receive it - Matt. 21:22
C. Don't be a doubleminded person - James 4:8

Conclusion: those who endure will be blessed and rewarded because they have shown their
true love for Christ - 1:12
The mature Christian overcomes temptations
James 1:13-18
Lesson Two

*Introduction: in these verses, there are some facts we must consider in overcoming temptation.
I. We must consider God's judgment - 1:13-16
*Sin is a process which is described in four stages.
A. Desire - vs. 13-14
1. We should not blame God when we are tempted - v. 13
2. We are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lust (evil desires) - v. 14
3. The normal desires of life are given to us by God and, of themselves, are not sinful.
4. It is when we want to satisfy these desires in ways outside of God's will that we get
into trouble. Example - premarital sex - Heb. 13:4
B. Deception - v. 14b
1. No temptation appears as temptation; it always seems more alluring than it really is.
2. We are drawn away and enticed - Pro. 9:17-18; 14:12
3. Temptation always carries some bait that appeals to our natural desires. The bait keeps
us from seeing the consequences of sin.
a. Lot - Gen. 3:10-11
b. David - 2 Sam. 11:1-5
4. Christ overcame temptation with the word of God. Matt. 4:1-11
C. Disobedience - v. 15a
1. We have moved from the emotions (desire) and the intellect (deception) to the will
2. Christian living is a matter of will and not feeling. We should:
*Read our Bible when we don't feel like reading it.
*Pray when we don't feel like praying.
*Attend church when we don't feel like attending.
*Go soul winning when we don't feel like going.
*Tithe when we don't feel like tithing.
3. The more a Christian exercises his will in saying "no" to temptation the more God will
take control of his life. See - Phil. 2:13
d. Death - vs. 15b-16
*Disobedience always brings death, not life.
Example: Adam and Eve - Gen. 3:1-24; 2 Cor. 11:3; Rom. 6:23
II. We must consider God's goodness - 1:17
A. The goodness of God is a great barrier against yielding to temptation.
B. James gives four facts about the goodness of God:
1. God gives only good gifts.
2. The way God gives is good.
3. God gives constantly.
4. God does not change - Heb. 13:8
C. Paul shows that "the goodness of God leads to repentance" - Rom. 2:4
III. We must consider God's divine nature within us - 1:18
A. Those who have trusted Christ are "begotten of him"
B. The new birth helps us overcome temptation.
C. Notice the characteristics of the new birth:
1. It is a divine birth - John 3:1-7
2. It is a gracious birth - John 1:12-13
3. It is obtained through God's word - John 3:3-6; 1 Pet. 1:23
IV.We must consider God's promise - 1 Cor. 10:13
The mature Christian walks with God through his word
James 1:19-27

Lesson Three

*Introduction: in these verses, James gives us three responsibilities we have toward God's
I. We should receive the word - 1:19-21
*God gave us his word so that we would know how to be saved.
*If the word of God is to be planted in our hearts, then we must obey the instructions
given us:
A. Be swift to hear - 1:19
Matt 13:9; Rom. 10:17
B. Be slow to speak - v. 19
Prov. 10:19; Prov. 17:27
C. Be slow to wrath - vs. 19-20
Psalm 37:8; Prov. 14:29; Prov. 16:32; Ecc. 7:9
D. Have a prepared heart - v. 21
*We prepare our heart by:
1. Confessing our sins - 1 John 1:9
2. By asking God to make our heart tender - Jer. 4:3
3. By having an attitude of meekness.
Zeph. 2:3; Gal. 5:22-23
II. We should practice the Word - 1:22-25
*In practicing the Word, we must:
A. Be doers and not hearers only - v. 22
Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46; Col. 3:17
B. Realize that in hearing the word only, men deceive themselves - vs. 22-24; Gal.
C. Those who both hear and do will be rewarded - v. 25
1 Cor. 15:58; Gal. 6:9
III. We should share the word - 1:26-27
A. We should share with others through our speech - v. 26
1. It is the tongue that reveals the heart - Matt. 12:34-36
2. A controlled tongue means a controlled body - James 3:1-18
B. We should share with others through our service - v. 27a
1. After we have seen ourselves and Christ in the word of God, we must see
others and their needs - Isa. 6:1-8
2. Words are no substitute for good deeds - James 2:14-16; 1 John 3:16-18
C. We should share with others the fact of our separation from the world - v. 27b
1. Satan is the prince of this world - John 14:30
2. The lost are the children of this world - Luke 16:8; John 8:43-44
3. As God's children, we are in the world physically, but not of the world
spiritually - John 17:11-16
4. We are sent into the world to win others to Christ - John 17:18
5. We are to remain unspotted and not become conformed to this world - James
4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; Rom. 12:1-2
The mature Christian practices the truth
James 2:1-13

Lesson Four

I. We should practice the truth of Christ's life - 2:1-4

A. We, like Christ, should be no respecter of persons - vs. 1-3

Pro. 24:23; 28:21; Matt. 22:16; 1 Tim. 5:21
B. Christ himself was despised and rejected of men -
Isaiah 53:1-3
C. We as Christians should not judge others - v. 4
Matt. 7:1; Rom. 14:4, 13; 1 Cor. 4:5; Jam. 4:12
D. Man looks on the outward appearance, but Christ looks on the heart - 1 Sam.

II. We should practice the truth of God's grace - 2:5-7

A. God's salvation is based upon grace and not merit.

Eph. 1:4-7; 2:8-10
1. Concerning salvation, God ignores national differences. Acts 10:34-36;
Rom. 2:1-16
2. Concerning salvation, God ignores social differences.
Eph. 6:5-9; Jam. 1:9-11
B. God's grace is based upon his riches, not ours.
Eph. 2:7; 1 Tim. 6:17-19

III. We should practice the truth of God's word - 2:8-11

A. We should practice the royal law - vs. 8-9

Matt. 22:36-40
B. We should keep the whole law - v. 11
*Love is the fulfilling of the law - rom. 13:10
C. We should practice the golden rule - matt. 7:12

IV. We should realize the truth of God's judgment - 2:12-13

A. Our words will be judged - Matt. 12:34-37

B. Our deeds will be judged - Col. 3:22-25
C. Our attitudes will be judged - 2:13
1. Mercy shown to those who showed mercy.
2. No mercy shown to those who showed no mercy.
The mature Christian has true faith
James 2:14-26

Lesson Five

*Introduction: faith is the key doctrine in the Christian life.

1. The sinner is saved by faith - Eph. 2:8-9
2. The believer walks by faith - 2 Cor. 5:7
3. Without faith it is impossible to please God - Heb. 11:6
4. Whatever we do apart from faith is sin - Rom. 14:23

*In these verses James shows the relationship between faith and works.
*He shows us that there are three kinds of faith, only one of which is true saving faith.

I. Dead faith - 2:14-17

A. There are those who profess Christ, but they do not possess Christ - Matt. 7:21-23
B. True faith works by love - Gal. 5:6; 1 John 3:17-18
C. The person with dead faith has only an intellectual experience. In his mind he
knows the doctrines of salvation, but he has never repented and submitted himself
to God, trusting Christ as Savior. He knows the right words, but he does not back
up his words with his works.

II. Demonic faith - 2:18-19

A. The devils believe in the existence of God - v. 19
B. They also believe in the deity of Christ - Mark 3:10-12
C. They believe in the existence of a place of punishment - Luke 8:27-31
D. The devils not only believed (intellectual faith), but their feelings were stirred in
that they trembled - v. 19

III. Demonstrative faith - 2:20-26

Demonstrative faith is faith that is real, faith that results in a changed life - 2 Cor. 5:17
- this is true saving faith because:
A. It is based on the word of God.
1. Saved through hearing the word - Rom. 10:17
2. Saved through receiving the word - Jam. 1:21
3. Begotten with the word - Jam. 1:18
B. It involves the whole man.
1. Intellect (mind) - the mind understands the truth.
2. Emotions - the heart desires the truth.
3. Will - the will acts upon the truth.
c. It leads to action.
*True faith that saves is demonstrated in the lives of:
1. Abraham - Gen. 22:1-18; Heb. 11:8-10, 17-19
2. Rahab - Josh. 2:1-24; 6:17-25; Heb. 11:31
The mature Christian has control over his tongue
James 3:1-14

Lesson Six

*In these verses James gives us six pictures of the tongue.

I. The tongue has the power to direct like the bit and the helm (rudder) - 3:1-4

*In selecting the bit and helm James presented two items that are small in themselves, yet
exercise great power, just like the tongue.

A. Both the bit and the helm must overcome contrary forces.
1. The bit must overcome the wild nature of the horse, and the helm must fight the winds
and currents the would drive the ship off course.
2. The human tongue also must overcome contrary forces. We have an old nature that
wants to control us make cause us to sin - Eph. 4:22-27; Col. 3:8-10
B. The bit and the helm must be under the control of a strong hand.
1. As Christians, if we let Christ occupy the throne of our heart, he will control our
speech - Matt. 12: 34-35
2. We should ask the lord to set a watch over our lips - Psa. 141:3-4
C. Like the bit and helm, the tongue has the power to direct, which means they affect the lives
of others - Pro. 18:21; Pro. 15:1-2; Pro. 10:19-21

II. The tongue has the power to destroy like the fire and the animals - 3:5-8
A. The tongue is like a fire. - vs. 5-6
1. Like a fire the tongue can heat up things - Pro. 17:27-28; Pro. 14:29
2. Like a fire, our words burn and hurt.
*While Christ ministered here on earth, he was laughed at and called names - Matt.
3. Like a fire, the more fuel you give the tongue, the faster and farther it will spread
harmful things - James 3:6; Col. 4:6
B. The tongue is like a dangerous animal - vs. 7-8
1. Like some poisonous animals, some tongues spread poison. Rom. 3:13-14; Eph. 4:31;
Jam. 4:11
2. Unlike the fire and the animal, the tongue cannot be tamed by man. However, it can
be tamed by God through the heart - Matt. 12:34

III. The tongue has the power to delight like the fountain and the tree - 3:9-12
A. The tongue is like a fountain - vs. 9-11
Pro. 10:11; 13:14; 18:4
B. The tongue is like a tree - vs. 12
1. Like a tree the tongue can be a source of food - Pro. 10:21; John 6:63
2. Like the tree the most important thing about the tongue is its root system.
*If we are rooted in the things of the Lord, then our words will be the fruit of our
fellowship with him and we will be like the blessed man in Psalm 1; see Isa. 50:4
The mature Christian has true wisdom
James 3:13-18

Lesson Seven

*In these verses James shows the difference between true and false wisdom.

I. True and false wisdom have different origins - 3:15-17a

A. False wisdom - v. 15
1. This wisdom comes from below and originated with the devil - Eph. 2:1-3
*It is earthly, sensual, and devilish.
2. This wisdom is called "man's wisdom" and "the world's wisdom." - 1 Cor. 1:20-
3. This wisdom is foolishness to God - 1 Cor. 1:20
4. God's wisdom is foolishness to this world - 1 Cor. 1:18; 2:14
5. Man's wisdom comes from reason, while God's wisdom comes from revelation.
B. True wisdom - v. 17
1. This wisdom is from above and originated with God - Jam. 1:5
2. Christ is our wisdom - 1 Cor. 1:24-30
3. The word of God is our wisdom also - 2 Tim. 3:15

II. True and false wisdom are different in their operation - 3:13-14, 17

A. The evidences of false wisdom are: - v. 14

1. Envy - Gal. 5:26
2. Strife - Phil. 2:3
B. The evidences of true wisdom are: - v. 13, 17
1. Meekness - Gal. 5:22-23
2. Purity - 1 Pet. 1:22
3. Peace - Col. 3:15
4. Gentleness - 2 Tim. 2:24, 25
5. Compliance - "easy to be intreated" (easy to get along with)
6. Mercy - Pro. 3:3; 11:17
7. Good fruit - Col. 1:10
8. Impartiality - 1 Tim. 5:21
9. Sincerity (no hypocrisy) - Phil. 1:9-10

III. True and false wisdom have different outcomes (results) - 3:16, 18
A. False wisdom produces trouble - v. 16
B. True wisdom produces blessing - v. 18
The mature Christian is aware of his enemies
James 4:1-7

Lesson Eight

*In these verses James gives three enemies the Christian must face and overcome. We have
seen back in James 3:15 that the Christian battles three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the
Devil. We also find the same basic listing in Eph. 2:1-3, where the life of the unsaved man is
pictured. The unsaved person lives for the world, and the flesh is controlled by the devil.
When a man is saved, he receives the Holy Spirit within and has a new nature; but he will
still battle these three enemies.

I. The flesh - 4:1-3

A. The flesh is contentious - v. 1a
Pro. 18:6; 26:21
B. The flesh is carnal - vs. 1b-2a
*The word "lusts" means "desires." Rom. 7:23-24; 8:5; 1 John 2:16
C. The flesh must be controlled - vs. 2b-3
1. Controlled by the Spirit - Rom. 6:6-13; 8:1-6
2. Controlled in order to help one's prayer life.
*Those who walk after the flesh do not pray - v. 2b
*When those who walk after the flesh do pray, their prayers are not
answered - v. 3

II. The world - 4:4-5

A. There are four dangerous steps in the believer's relationship with the world:
1. Friendship with - v. 4
2. Love of - 1 John 2:15-17
3. Conformity to - Rom. 12:1-2
4. Judgment with - 1 Cor. 11:32
B. We as Christians must remember that:
1. We have been called out of the world - John 15:18-19
2. We have been crucified to the world - Gal. 6:14

III. The devil - 4:6-7

*In the battle against Satan we must:
A. Be humble and pray for God's grace -v. 6
Psa. 84:11; 1 Pet. 5:5; 2 Pet. 3:18
B. Be submissive to God and resist the Devil - v. 7
Eph. 4:26-27; 1 Pet. 5:8-9
The mature Christian heeds God's warnings
James 4:8-17

Lesson Nine

*In these verses James mentions three important warnings that every Christian should heed.

I. The warning against pride - 4:8-10

Pro. 16:18; 1 John 2:16
A. Pride is a sin - Pro. 6:16-17; 21:4
B. Pride should be confessed and forsaken - 1 John 1:9
C. The proud should humble themselves - Pro. 11:2; 29:23
D. The proud should draw near to God - Psa. 34:18

II. The warning against criticism - 4:11-12

A. We should not speak evil of one another - Eph. 4:31; 1 Pet. 2:1
B. We should speak the truth in love - Eph. 4:15
C. We should not judge one another - 1 Cor. 4:5
D. God is the judge - 2 Tim. 4:1

III. The warning against self-confidence - 4:13-17

A. The humble believer seeks to know "the will of the Lord." The proud, criticizing,
self-confident person never seeks the will of God - Psa. 10:4
B. In these verses are four things that reveal the foolishness of ignoring the will of
1. The complexity of life - v. 13
*Life is filled with many decisions and responsibilities. We must seek the
will of God on a daily basis.
2. The uncertainty of life - v. 14a; Pro. 27:1; Luke 12:16-21
3. The brevity of life - vs. 14b-15; Psa. 39:5; 90:8-9; 1 Chron. 29:15
4. The frailty of man - v. 16
*Man's boasting only covers up his weakness. He cannot control the future.
For man to boast is sin; it is making himself God - 1 Cor. 10:12
C. Being self-confident and disobeying God's will is a serious matter - v. 17
1. It is our duty to do right - Psa. 37:3
2. It is a sin to omit or neglect the doing of good when we know to do it - Luke
3. It is important that believers understand the definition of sin as given in this
verse. See also - 1 John 3:4; 5:17a
The mature Christian views wealth and riches in light of the Bible
James 5:1-6

Lesson Ten

*In these verses James exhorts the rich of that day. He did not say it was a sin to be rich.
However, he did address the matter of how riches were accumulated and how they were

I. How the rich got their wealth - 5:4, 6a

A. By holding back wages - v. 4
Deu. 24:14-15; Lev. 19:13; Jer. 22:13
B. By controlling the courts - v. 6a; also see James 2:6
1. When God established Israel in her land, he gave the people a system of courts
- Deu. 17:8-13
2. God warned the judges not to be greedy - Exo. 18:21
3. They were not to be partial to the rich or the poor - Lev. 19:15
4. No judge was to tolerate perjury - Deu. 19:16-21
5. Bribery was condemned by the lord - Isa. 33:15; Mic. 3:11; 7:3
C. The Bible warns us against the securing of wealth by illegal means.
1. God owns all wealth - Psa. 50:10
2. He permits us to be stewards of his wealth for his glory - Pro. 13:11
3. The hand of the diligent maketh rich - Pro. 10:4
4. If we put God first, we will have all that we need - Matt. 6:33

II. How the rich used their wealth - 5:3-5

A. They stored it up - v. 3; Matt. 6:19-21
B. They kept others from benefiting from it - v. 4
*We should be faithful with what God gives us - 1 Cor. 4:2
C. They lived in luxury - v. 5; Luke 12:15; 1 Tim. 6:17- 20

III. What their riches will do - 5:1-4

A. They will vanish - vs. 2-3a; 1 Tim. 6:17
B. Misused riches erode character - v. 3b
Psa. 62:10; Pro. 22:1; 1 Tim. 6:10
C. The loss of opportunity - v. 3c
*The "last days" indicates that James believed that the coming of the Lord was
near. The present was the time for the rich to use their wealth for the cause of
Christ - Eph. 5:16; John 9:4
D. Judgment is a certainty - vs. 3, 5; Rom. 14:10-12; 2 Cor. 5:9-10
*Notice the witnesses God will call on in the day of judgment:
1. The rich man's wealth will witness against him - v. 3a
2. The wages they held back will witness against them - v. 4a
3. The workers will also testify against them - v. 4b
The mature Christian patiently waits for the Lord's return
James 5:7-12

Lesson Eleven

*In these verses, James gives three encouraging examples of patient endurance for those who
are waiting on the Lord.

I. The farmer - 5:7-9

*See 1 Cor. 3:1-9 for the spiritual application.
A. He must be patient in planting.
B. He must be patient in waiting for the rain.
C. He must be patient in waiting for the increase.
D. He must remember that gives the increase.
*Application - just as the farmer plants and plows his crops while waiting patiently
for the time of harvest, so we as God's people should sow the gospel seed, water the
seed that has been sown and then wait for God to give the increase. We do all of this
while patiently waiting for the Lord's return - 2 Thess. 3:5

II. The prophets - 5:10

*The old testament prophets are good examples of those who patiently endured suffering
while waiting on the Lord.
A. Elijah went through a drought and was fed by a raven and a widow - 1 Kings 17:1-16
B. Jeremiah was arrested by his own people and thrown in a dungeon but God fed and
protected him through the siege of Jerusalem - Jer. 38:1-28
C. Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den but was protected by an angel of the Lord - Dan.

III. The man Job - 5:11-12

A. Job endured much personal suffering yet he did not turn his back on God - Job 1:13-
22; 2:1-13
1. He lost his material possessions.
2. He lost all of his children.
3. He lost his health.
4. He lost the love and respect of his wife.
5. He lost his friends.
B. After his trials, he received a double blessing from God. Job 42:10-17
The mature Christian will pray
James 5:13-20

Lesson Twelve

*In this section, James encourages us to pray by describing four situations in which God
answers prayer.

I. Prayer for the afflicted (suffering) - 5:13

A. There are times when God's people must endure suffering. 2 Tim. 3:12
B. God will give us grace to endure the suffering - 1 Pet. 5:1
C. The mature Christian knows how to sing in suffering.
Ex: Acts 16:25

II. Prayer for the sick - 5:14-16; see 1 Sam. 12:23; 1 Jn. 5:14 -15

III. Prayer for the nation - 5:17-18; i tim. 2:1-2

A. The background for this incident is found in i kings 17 & 18. Wicked King Ahab
and Jezebel, his queen, had led Israel away from the Lord and into Baal worship.
God punished the nation by holding back the rain they had needed (Deu. 28:12, 23).
B. Elijah was a man just like us - v. 17a
C. Elijah prayed believing - v. 17b; Mark 11:24
D. Elijah was earnest in his praying - v. 17
E. Elijah was persistent in his praying - v. 18; Matt. 7:7-8

IV. Prayer for the straying - 5:19-20

A. Prayer for those who are lost, that they would get saved - Jude 22-23
B. Prayer for the saved that are backslidden, that they would get right with God - 1 Pet.