Presentation on theme: " 1. THE FOREWORD – ABOUT THE MAN. 1.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE LETTER 1.2 AUTHORSHIP & STYLE 1.3 THE ORIGINAL AUDIENCE 2. THE FILLING – ABOUT THE."— Presentation transcript:
1. THE FOREWORD – ABOUT THE MAN. 1.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE LETTER 1.2 AUTHORSHIP & STYLE 1.3 THE ORIGINAL AUDIENCE 2. THE FILLING – ABOUT THE LETTER. 2.1 OUR WEALTH 2.2 OUR WORDS 2.3 OUR WORLD 2.4 OUR WISDOM 2.5 OUR PROBLEM 3. THE FUTURE – ABOUT US.
The Jewish people were dispersed twice: once to Babylon during the involuntary exile of 586 BC, and again just before Jesus came, when many opted to settle all over the Mediterranean world. There were more Jews outside than inside Israel, with as many as Jews in Rome itself. Many would return three times a year for the Jewish festivals, but they quickly absorb the culture around them, so much so that the Jews became a byword for hypocrisy and ‘compromise’.
We see in this that Christ came at precisely the right time for the spread of the gospel. The Jews had been scattered around the Mediterranean, the Roman roads had been built and the Greek language was spoken everywhere – everything was absolutely perfect, conducive and prepared by God for the rapid spread of the Good News about Jesus.
When the apostle Paul arrived in a new place on his missionary journeys, he went first to the synagogue, believing that the first converts would be from the Jewish people already there.
He had partial success with them, but most of them would resist and persecute the church severely. Nevertheless, there were two groups of Jewish Christians – those of the Dispersion that lived outside Israel and those mainly within the Jerusalem church.
But this focus on business has it’s own challenges. Jesus said, ‘You cannot worship God and money.’ In other words you cannot devote yourself to God and money- making at the same time as the same priority. The Pharisees laughed when Jesus said that, because they were both rich and religious. But Jesus said, ‘It’s impossible.’ They said, ‘He doesn’t know how to make money, so he is just against the rich.’ But Jesus constantly warned us that it is hard for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God.
Money itself in neither good nor evil – it’s neutral. It can be used to bring about tremendous blessing, but also extreme destruction. Money becomes either moral or immoral in the hands that have it, but it is the lust for money that is the problem and the root of all kinds of evil – idolising it as our main motivation and priority. So having read James it is clear that wealth had corrupted some of those believers in Christ.
The original recipients to the letter of James were exploiting employees in their businesses and holding back their wages to help the cash-flow of the business. But they were also indulging themselves by spending their money on needless luxuries. In the arrogance that their misplaced money spending brought they flattered the rich people who came to church, telling the poor people to sit at the back, but showing the rich people to the front seats. They deliberately and subtly discriminated, insulted and despised the poorer people among them.
Having had a high ‘wealth index’ made the danger of false security very real for the first audience of the letter of James. If godliness is defined as a life lived in reference to God, money can wreak havoc to true godliness, because when you have excess money planning without consulting and honouring God becomes very easy and very dangerous.
Spr 4:24. ‘ Verwyder van jou die valsheid van mond, en hou ver van jou af die verkeerdheid van lippe. ’
Prov 6:2. ‘ You are trapped by the words of your mouth and caught by the speech of your mouth. ’
Prov 10:8. ‘ The wise in heart will accept and obey commandments, but the chattering fool comes to ruin. ’
Spr 10:11. ‘ Die mond van die regverdige is ‘n fontein van lewe, maar die mond van die goddelose verberg geweld. ’
Prov 10:14. ‘ Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites destruction. ’
Prov 10:19. ‘ In a multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. ’
Spr 10:21. ‘ Die lippe van die regverdige help baie mense reg; maar die dwase sterf deur gebrek aan verstand. ’
Spr 12:14. ‘ Uit die vrug van iemand se mond word hy versadig met die goeie,… ’
Prov 12:18. ‘ Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. ’
Prov 13:3. ‘ He who guards his mouth guards his life, but he who speaks rashly (recklessly or thoughtlessly) will come to ruin. ’
Prov 15:1. ‘ A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. ’
Spr 16:24. ‘ Vriendelike woorde is soos ‘n heuningkoek: soet vir die siel en ‘n genesing vir die gebeente. ’
Prov 16:27. ‘ An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire. ’
Prov 18: ‘ A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil]. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it. ’
Jam 3:1-4:10. ‘ Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely. For all of us make many mistakes. If someone does not make any mistakes when he speaks, he is perfect and able to control his whole body. Now if we put bits into horses' mouths to make them obey us, we can guide their whole bodies as well. And look at ships! They are so big that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are steered wherever the pilot pleases by a tiny rudder.
In the same way, the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it can boast of great achievements. A huge forest can be set on fire by a little flame. The tongue is a fire, a world of evil. Placed among the parts of our bodies, the tongue contaminates the whole body and sets on fire the course of life, and is itself set on fire by hell. For all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be or have been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue.
It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in God's likeness. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. It should not be like this, my brothers! A spring cannot pour both fresh and brackish water from the same opening, can it? My brothers, a fig tree cannot produce olives, nor a grapevine figs, can it? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good life that his works are done in humility born of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and rivalry in your hearts, stop boasting and lying against the truth. That kind of wisdom does not come from above. No, it is worldly, self-centered, and demonic.
For wherever jealousy and rivalry exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. However, the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure, then peace-loving, gentle, willing to yield, full of compassion and good fruits, and without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is grown from the seed of peace planted by peacemakers.
Where do those fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your selfish desires that are at war in your bodies, don't they? You want something but do not get it, so you commit murder. You covet something but cannot obtain it, so you quarrel and fight. You do not get things because you do not ask for them! You ask for something but do not get it because you ask for it for the wrong reason-for your own pleasure.
You adulterers! Don't you know that friendship with the world means hostility with God? So whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God. Or do you think the Scripture means nothing when it says that the Spirit that God caused to live in us jealously yearns for us? But he gives all the more grace.
And so he says, "God opposes the arrogant but gives grace to the humble." Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double- minded. Be miserable, mourn, and cry. Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. ’