James - Faith Talk, Faith Walk

 

Walking the Talk

Imagine growing up with a big brother who can’t do anything wrong.  Literally perfect.

James didn’t need to - he was Jesus’ little brother.  And he went through a stage of resenting God’s calling on Jesus’ life - not wanting to share him with others.  And yet God graciously enabled him to see Jesus as more than his big brother - but to recognise him, as he calls him in this letter, as the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory.

But his experiences, growing up alongside Jesus, leave him able to smell the difference between holier-than-thou humbugs and the unpretentious godliness that Jesus calls us to.  And he is incredibly practical as he points out the ways in which we deceive ourselves and others into thinking we’re “good people” and naturally hypocritical in our judgement of others.

He sees and confronts our tendency to judge on externals, rather than the heart.  He points out how our words betray the real state of our hearts.  He confronts a nominal, “nice” Christianity that does nothing more than make us feel warm, fuzzy and slightly superior.

Ezekiel proclaims God’s promise to do heart transplants.  God will replace our sin-hardened hearts with hearts that are alive to his Holy Spirit and in tune with his priorities.

James holds up the mirror of God's law and invites us to be honest about how our hearts are doing.  He cuts through the excuses, confronts our blind spots and shows us what unpretentious godliness really looks like.

Why?  James wants his readers to enjoy a confident and joyful faith.  To live simple, faithful lives without the need for deceit or pretension.  He wants to see churches that are characterised by open, loving hearts, not plastic smiles and secret shame.

The aim of this series is not to make us feel bad, but to help us to be more honest with ourselves and others and to pursue true goodness more than the appearance of it.

Psalm 51:6 'Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.'

Some good resources:

The Practical Christian, Gordon Keddie, Welwyn Commentary Series
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Practical-Christian-Message-James/dp/0852342616
http://thinkivp.com/9780852342619

Truth for Life, John Blanchard, Evangelical Press
http://www.amazon.co.uk/TRUTH-LIFE-PB-Exposition-James/dp/085234225X
http://thinkivp.com/9780852342251

James, Mercy Triumphs, Beth Moore Lifeway
http://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Mercy-Triumphs-Beth-Moore/dp/141587171X

James – Derek Prime Focus on the Bible
http://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Focus-Bible-Derek-Prime/dp/1857921291

The message of James  - Alec Motyer, Bible Speaks Today Commentary
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Message-James-Alec-Motyer/dp/0851115799
http://thinkivp.com/9780851115795


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