It is often called the “how-to” book of the New Testament. In his book, James doesn’t seem to be as concerned about developing and establishing doctrine as much as he is passionate about deepening one’s grasp on God’s heart and mission for the world.
It is a practical book, which is why so many people gravitate to its pages. In 108 verses, James attempts to provide the church with a healthy dose of comforting and challenging words. His goal is for them to develop into mature, devoted, faithful Jesus-followers, even though they lived in a world that was becoming more and more hostile toward them.
James was the brother of Jesus, yet he never referred to himself in that way. Instead, he opens the letter by stating, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” If I were James, I would have worn the “I’m Jesus’ brother” badge for the whole world to see—but not James. He didn't become a believer in Jesus (his own brother) until after He died and rose from the dead. Through this, James came to realize that the highest calling and most legitimate identity on his life wasn’t to be the brother of Jesus, but rather a faithful servant of Jesus. And this is something in which James took great pride and humility.
James doesn’t write to one specific audience or church. Instead, he writes to those who were scattered (1:1). This is why many enjoy the book of James. Even though there are very challenging parts of his book, it is applicable to everyday life. We often feel scattered because of confusion, distractions, job transition, relationship instability, and other forms of dysfunction that either creep on the doors of our own hearts or those to which we are close. A scattered heart must also be a heart that is steadfast, patient, and eager to remain faithful to character that aligns with God’s own heart.
The book of James fits the Sycamore View Church so well for this season in our church’s life. There is a balance—a dance—between faith and works, and to attempt to do one without the other results in distance from God’s desires and mission for the world.
God has opened so many doors for our Sycamore View family. Never before have we had a stronger reach and connection with the 901. Our reputation in the community continues to grow, and the calling upon us is to be faithful with what we have been given. We know that if we are indeed faithful, God will increase His blessings, gifts, and responsibilities that He lavishes upon His people. We can’t afford to serve without faith, nor can we afford to have a faith that is void of service and communal touch.
So, I invite you to read James. It’s only 108 verses. Read it. Listen to it. Do it multiple times. Ask God to reveal the deep truths of His heart to you through this book. Over the next 13 weeks, come on Sundays anticipating the movement of God.
You can follow James the series week-by-week below:
August 23 — (Introduction) 1:1, 17-18, 1:22-25, 2, 5:19-20
August 30 — 1:2-3 & 5:7-11
September 6 — 1:5-8 & 3:13-18
September 13 — 1:9-11 & 5:1-6
September 20 — 1:12-16
September 27 — 1:19-25
October 4 — 1:19, 3:1-12, 4:11-12, 5:12
October 11 — 2:1-13
October 18 — 4:1-6
October 25 — 5:13-18
November 1 — 5:7-11
November 8 — (Mark Ottinger) 1:26-27
November 15 — (Dave Clayton) 4:7-10
Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2015
by Justin Ardrey