Presentation on theme: "Mt 21:28-31. Maar wat dink julle? n Man het twee kinders gehad, en hy gaan na die eerste en sê: Kind, gaan werk vandag in my wingerd. En hy antwoord en."— Presentation transcript:
Mt 21:28-31. Maar wat dink julle? n Man het twee kinders gehad, en hy gaan na die eerste en sê: Kind, gaan werk vandag in my wingerd. En hy antwoord en sê: Ek wil nie; maar later het hy berou gekry en gegaan. Toe het hy na die tweede gegaan en vir hom net so gesê; en hy antwoord en sê: Ja, heer. En hy het nie gegaan nie. Wie van die twee het die wil van die vader gedoen? Hulle antwoord Hom: Die eerste…
Mt 5:14-16. Julle is die lig van die wêreld. n Stad wat bo-op n berg lê, kan nie weggesteek word nie; en n mens steek ook nie n lamp op en sit dit onder die maatemmer nie, maar op die staander, en dit skyn vir almal wat in die huis is. Laat julle lig só skyn voor die mense, dat hulle julle goeie werke kan sien en julle Vader wat in die hemele is, verheerlik.
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
James was one of four half-brothers of Jesus who, together with a number of sisters, formed the family circle. We dont often realize that at least five, and possibly seven, of the twelve apostles were Jesus cousins, which explains why so many of them were present at a private wedding at Cana in Galilee recorded in the Gospel according to John. The disciples would not have just turned up uninvited. So Jesus found quite a number of disciples from his wider family circle. But his immediate family didnt know exactly what to make of him neither how to handle him.
At the start of his public ministry it is almost as if Jesus deliberately distanced himself from his mother Mary as if he knew that she could be a stumbling block to his mission.
He doesnt even call her mother but woman in his first recorded comment to Mary at the wedding at Cana. He commented to her when she told him that the wine was running out: Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.
Furthermore, there was clearly tension between Jesus and the rest of the family. At one time his family came to take him home and to lock him away, because they thought he was out of his mind. Upon finding a large crowd surrounding him, they sent a message through to Jesus saying your mother, brothers and sisters have come to take you home. He replied, My mother – who is my mother? My brothers and sisters – who are my brothers and sisters? Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my mother, my brother and my sister. His family thought this was crazy, and no doubt Mary felt hurt by the implications. She would only later, in retrospect understand.
So it seems as if Jesus almost dissociated himself from his family, especially from his mother because she had the most potential to distract him from his true mission.
But it was not that he didnt love them dearly. This shines through when Jesus on the cross, with no more turning back, says to John his closest friend: That is your mother – in effect asking John to be Marys son in his place. He knew that she would need somebody to take care of her in the years that followed. But as events unfolded Mary began to put the pieces of her faith together and so she is present on the day of Pentecost in the upper room with the other believers receiving the Holy Spirit.
But Jesus brothers also struggled with his claims and was suspicious of his identity. During the last Feast of Tabernacles before his death Jesus brothers reminded him – actually teased him – that he really ought to go, because the Jews expected the Messiah to come at this Feast. In other words saying, what an ideal time to declare yourself! But when reality later stepped in they had to admit who their brother Jesus really was. So in spite of this initial disapproval of Jesus two of these brothers became writers of the New Testament – Jude and James
Although these two brothers wrote two books of the New Testament, they never took advantage of their relationship to Jesus. They never said, Listen to me – I am a brother of Jesus. Jude actually says, Im the brother of James. So his own brothers were eventually persuaded by the resurrection that Jesus, who had lived with them in the carpenters cottage in Nazareth, was none other than the Son of God Himself.
James is mentioned as one of those praying in the Upper Room as they waited for the Holy Spirit to come at Pentecost. So, Jesus cousins followed him, and his immediate family believed in him which tells us something of the quality of Jesus character.
James is next mentioned in Acts 15 where he is the presiding elder of the fellowship in Jerusalem. He wasnt one of the Twelve, and yet clearly by unanimous consent, he was recognized as the leader of the church in Jerusalem.
He had an especially crucial role to fulfil during that time. He faced a most difficult and delicate crisis – the biggest in the early church up till that point. It concerned the whole question of whether or not New Testament converts should keep the Old Testament laws.
In other words, should Christianity remain a Jewish religion or become a universal faith that could include non-Jews. James presided over the meeting that could have split the church right down the middle if agreement had not been reached. But James saved it by appealing to the Spirit and the Scriptures. Peter reported what the Spirit had done with Cornelius and his household, and then James said, Well, that confirms with what the Scriptures said, and quoted from the Old Testament. They then continued to spell out for Gentiles what would be either inappropriate or unacceptable for them as new believers in the pagan Roman culture.
This whole incident underlines again the importance and balance of understanding the Spirit and knowing the Scriptures. So on the basis of this understanding of the dynamic of the Spirit and the doctrine of the Scriptures, James gave a judgement that settled the dispute. What could have been a bitter catastrophe turned into a beautiful uniting moment under James. They then proceeded to write a letter from Jerusalem to all Gentile believers in which they stated their conclusions.
So then how did these advanced communication devices find their way into the letter if James was not educated in them as such? The answer lies in what was the case with much of the rest of the New Testament. Many of the writers of the New Testament didnt actually write the text themselves but dictated it to what they called then an amanuensis, but what we would call today a shorthand typist or secretary.
So this is most probably the case with the letter of James too. He delivered all this verbally, and got someone to write it down for him, knock it into shape and send it off as a circular letter to local churches.
This explanation very simply solves all the difficult academic problems that scholars have in attributing this letter to James the brother of Jesus. We see then in this letter the hand of God beautifully combining Greek rhetoric and Hebrew wisdom to produce a message that powerfully speaks to all generations of all ages.
Jam 2:1-26. NIV My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, dont show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say: Heres a good seat for you, but say to the poor man, You stand there or Sit on the floor by my feet, have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my dear brothers: has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, Love your neighbour as yourself, you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder, If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to his as righteousness, and he was called Gods friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.