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Glorious, Inexpressible Joy

11/19 – Consider It all Joy (James 1:2-27)

 

Introduction — Here James encourages fellow believers to keep on keeping on. He wants them to remain faithful to God, no matter what may happen to them. In fact, James urges them to count it all joy when they encounter various trials. He wants them to see that the testing of their faith produces endurance. And that very endurance is one indicator that they are maturing in the faith. James wants them to show their maturity in Jesus Christ through their godly actions. So, throughout the remainder of the letter, James gives them numerous ways they can express their growing faith. These folks can be those who are doers of the word and not merely those who are hearers of the word.  They can show their joyous obedience by asking God for wisdom when needed. They can show their joyous appreciation for the grace of God. They can joyously receive all of God’s good gifts, knowing that He loves them. They can and must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. These folks can and must put aside all filthiness and all malice. They must receive the word implanted, which is able to save their souls. They can and must bridle their tongues. They can and must visit orphans and widows in distress. To remain faithful to God they can and must obey God. Did these folks count it all joy when going through trials? Did they remain faithful to God through joyful obedience to Him? How about us? Do we count it all joy when we go through various trials? Do we remain faithful to God?

 

We count it joy when we go through various trials. During those times, we grow in our endurance. We persevere through our difficulties by God’s grace. We marvel at His grace. We rejoice in God’s plan to redeem us. We remain faithful to God in our right thoughts about Him, about others, and about ourselves. We count it joy to remain faithful to God.

 

It’s our joy to honor God through our faithfulness to Him!

 

Faithful to God through Our Humble Obedience (19-21)

19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 

 

Comment: Here James further directs these folks to consider their response to trials. Will they be slow to listen or quick to hear what others might say? Will they be quick to speak or will they be slow to offer their thoughts to others? Will they be quick to show raging anger or will they be slow to express any anger toward anyone? In clear terms, James says, Know this, my beloved brothers: everyone of your must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Why? Because they anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, in humility they must put aside all filthiness and all wickedness. Therefore, in humility they must receive the implanted word, the word which is able to save their souls. James urges these believers to remain faithful to God through humble obedience to God. Question: Did these folks hear these words? Did they obey these words? Do we hear these words? Do we obey these words? Do we get on board with God’s commands to us? Do we know, truly know, that we must be quick to hear (both God and one another), slow to speak, and slow to anger? Do we humbly set aside all filth and evil in us? Do we humbly receive the word God plants in us, the word which is able to save our souls? Application: Let’s be people who are quick to hear. Let’s listen quickly and carefully to God. Let’s listen quickly and carefully to one another. Let’s not be in a hurry to express our thoughts. Let’s be slow to speak. Let’s think about what we say before we say it. Let’s prayerfully consider what we will say to someone. Let’s be slow to anger. Let’s realize that our human anger never produces the righteousness God desires. Let’s humbly get rid of all the filth and evil in our lives. Let’s humbly receive the word God has planted in our hearts.

 

Faithful to God through Our Consistent Obedience (22-25)

22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

 

Comment: Here James further directs these folks to consider their response to trials. He tells them bluntly: prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. James contrasts the absurdity of anemic faith with the beauty of bedrock faith. First, he says that anyone who is a hearer of the word and not a doer is like a person who looks at his face in a mirror, but once walks away he immediately forgets what he looks like. That’s absurd. Second, he says that the person who looks intently at the perfect law, and abides by it, this person will be blessed in what he does. That’s beautiful. To see a believer intently gaze upon God’s word and consistently obey God’s word is beautiful.

Question: Do we prove ourselves doers of the word? Do we kid ourselves into thinking we truly obey God? Do we give God lip service? Do we look in all the wrong places for our direction and affirmation? Do we gaze fervently at the gospel? Do we look consistently at the word of God? Do we obey the word of God? Are we forgetful with what we hear from the word of God? Or are we faithful to do what we hear from the word of God? Do we consistently obey the word of God? Do we obey God? Application: Let’s be folks who prove ourselves doers of the word. And let’s quit kidding ourselves when we hear God but then disobey Him. Let’s look to the word of God for our direction. Let’s look to the word of God for our affirmation. Let’s live in the word of God. Let’s hear and obey the word of God. Let’s be consistent in our obedience to God.

 

Faithful to God through Our Pure Obedience (26-27)

26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distressand to keep oneself unstained by the world.

 

Comment: Here James further directs these folks to consider their response to trials. He wraps up this section with two clear statements in which he offers three implied actions.  In the first statement, James points out the worthless religion of a person who does not control his tongue. What is the implied action? Bridle your tongue.  In the second statement, James posits what Bible scholars Blomberg &Kamell see as the thesis of the entire letter. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. The implied actions are visit orphans and widows and keep yourself unstained by the world. All three implied actions are ways to show pure obedience to God. Question: Do we show pure obedience? Do we bridle our tongues? Do we care for those who are helpless? Who are the orphans and widows among us? Do we take thought of them? Do we keep ourselves uncorrupted by the world? Do we want to blend in with everyone else? Do we give God our true worship? Are we all in for Him all the time? Do we stand firm in our faith? Application: Let’s evaluate our worship by the way we speak. Let’s make certain that we seek God’s help to tame our tongues. Let’s not kid ourselves. Let’s see that our worship is worthless unless we bridle our tongues. Let’s care for the helpless among us. Let’s look out for their interests. Let’s serve them. Let’s visit them. Let’s come along side them. Let’s keep ourselves unstained by the world. Let’s not conform to the world. Let’s have faithful, pure obedience to God. Let’s count it joy to remain faithful to God no matter what. Let’s consider it all joy.

Word Study for James 1:2-27

2 consider (hegeomai—go before; lead the way; lead; be of an opinion, think, regard)[1]

2 joy (chara—gladness; delight; state of rejoicing; reason for gladness)

3 endurance (hypomone—perseverance; to wait expectantly; patience; steadfastness; a remaining behind)

4 complete (holokleros—whole; complete in all parts; entire; wholeness; health; intact; without defect)

6 ask (aiteo—ask for; request; demand; beg)

9 humble (tapeinos—lowly; gentle; modest; ignoble; mild; meek; low social standing)

9 glory (kauchaomai—boast; brag about; glory in; exult)

12 blessed (makarios—happy; fortunate; happy times)

14 carried away (exelko—drag away; be lured away; to draw out; to remove)

14 enticed (deleazo—lure into sin; bait; be seduced)

15 brings forth (apokyeo—give birth to; deliver; cause to exist; bring to being)

16 deceived (planao—wander about; stray from the truth; move about without purpose; to lead astray)

21 filthiness (rhyparia—moral impurity; dirtiness; sordidness; turpitude)

22 prove (ginomai—become; be; possess a certain characteristic; come into being; accomplish)

22 doers (poietes—maker; poet; a keeper; one who does)

26 religion (threskeia—worship; reverence; service)

26 worthless (mataios—empty; vain; idle; frivolous; useless; nothing)

27 visit (episkeptomai—consider; to look upon; take care of; be present)

27 keep (tereo—guard; watch over; to take care of; keep on; held in custody)

 

Application for James 1:2-27

Let’s consider it all joy when we encounter various trials.

Let’s let endurance have its perfect result.

Let’s ask God for wisdom in faith.

Let’s appreciate where we are in life.

Let’s affirm that God does not and cannot tempt us.

Let’s remember that every good and perfect gift comes from God.

Let’s be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

Let’s put all filthiness, and in humility, receive the word implanted.

Let’s prove to be doers of the word.

Let’s see the importance of watching what we say and how we say it.

Let’s take care of the helpless.

Let’s keep ourselves unstained by the world.

 

Gospel Connections for James 1:2-27

Jesus counted it all joy to go through various trials. Jesus persevered under trial. He counted it all joy to endure the cross. Christ is our life. Jesus was born to bring forth life. He died the death we deserved because of our sin.

He took all our filthiness and wickedness upon Himself. He is the word of truth. Jesus is able to save our souls.

He cared for the helpless. He controlled His tongue. He was quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

 

Thoughts and Quotes for James 1:2-27

If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere. ~ Billy Sunday

 

Comparison is the thief of joy. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

 

It is prosperity that we cannot endure. ~ Martin Luther

 

To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.

~ George Mueller

 

The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust. ~ Josh Billings



[1] Word studies from various sources on Logos Software, including, but not limited to Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains by James A. Swanson