17. THE TRUE MEASURE OF FAITH

The entire book of James is a warning to us to measure our faith against what God considers the standard. It’s also a warning to people who are Christians in name only. This teaching is for them to evaluate whether they have actually been born again. What’s more, this is consistent with Jesus’ own teaching in His Sermon on the Mount.

Read More

16. THE POWER OF PRAYER

The passage before us today is not an easy one to understand, much less an easy one to preach. However, if we are to remain true to the Word of God then we must immerse ourselves in it rather than shy away from it.

On the face of it, almost every verse in this passage has the term ‘pray’ (or ‘prayer’) in it. So we can safely conclude that James had the idea of ‘prayer’ on his mind when he was writing this. It’s quite significant that he does this; because he’s nearing the end of his letter and the thing that is on his mind is ‘prayer’.

Read More

15. THE WAY OF INTEGRITY

As Christians we need to remember that God hasn’t called us to take the easy way out but the right way out. He calls us to a life of integrity that can often come at a price. And in this verse, that’s what James is trying to convey – that as Christians we ought to speak the truth at all times. It’s a call to radical truthfulness that’s borne out by a consistent commitment to truth so that people know they can trust our word without requiring any oaths to back it up. 

Read More

13. GOD’S PLANS OR MY PLANS?

The arrogance of the culture in our day seems to be rubbing off more and more onto those within the church. There are an increasing number of those who profess to follow Christ, but actually follow the schedules and timeframes that they have set for themselves. This is not to say that plan-making is a bad thing in and of itself; it isn’t. The problem is verse 15; when we leave God out of our plan-making. When we fail to recognise and acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives. And this is exactly what James is addressing in this passage.

Read More

12. THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF WORDS

The two verses before us can seem extremely harsh. And it would seem doubly so within certain evangelical circles which only want to preach about Jesus’ message of love and encouragement. However, James’ message, despite the rebuke contained within it, can be very encouraging. In the last two passages, we have seen James provide the ingredients for humble and submissive living that brings peace with God and one another.

Read More

11. WAR & PEACE (Part II) – THE PEACE

There is a condition to receiving God’s grace (vs 6) – humility. This is the key to solving the problem of war in order to bring about peace. What’s more, this isn’t about a one-off act but a consistent, daily application. And how do we do this? The answer is in verse 7 – by submitting ourselves to God. There is no salvation without submission; and that’s exactly opposite what culture teaches us – to be assertive. But contrary to what some might teach, you cannot accept Jesus as Saviour without first submitting to Him as God.

Read More

09. WHAT TRUE WISDOM LOOKS LIKE

While no sane person would deny the importance of wisdom, very few know what true wisdom actually is. Some equate it with knowledge and hence spend their lives pursuing degrees in universities. Others equate it with some sort of mystic revelation and think it’s only to be found by living like a hermit. But James tells us that true wisdom is from above. More importantly, this wisdom isn’t just some intellectual pursuit, rather, it is a practical way of life.

Read More

08. CONTROLLING THE TONGUE

While continuing to unpack the idea of what authentic Christian faith looks like, in this passage, James returns to a subject he touched on earlier in 1:26 - controlling one’s tongue. His objective here is to impress upon his audience that one of the ways in which true faith manifests itself is through controlled speech. Of course, the purpose of James’ writing isn’t really to condemn his audience’s loose speech in the  past, but to prevent them from continuing it. The same applies to us as well.

Read More

07. FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD

This passage has caused untold confusion for many, who think it is opposed to the teaching of Paul. However, it’s clear to see that both James and Paul speak of faith as the root of the tree of salvation. But the fruit of this tree is good works, which even Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:10 - “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Read More

04. LESSONS IN RECEIVING THE WORD OF GOD

“Lord, speak to me - You have 60 seconds!” Sounds funny, but unfortunately that’s exactly how many people in church treat the Word of God. Everybody hears but very few listen. Little wonder then that so many of us live woefully impotent lives. For the Word of God, which is sharper than a two-edged sword, doesn’t really get through to us. But is that the fault of the Word or the preacher? According to James, we need to focus the spotlight inwards to examine ourselves.

Read More