Welcome Attacks Because…

➡ Average Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome Attacks BecauseThere were problems in the ecclesiae to which James was writing. He takes care of each individual problem within the greater context of attacks and tells the ecclesiae and individuals within them what they need to do.

Welcome Attacks because they will force you to exercise in practice what you have learned in Christ: James 1.3-4

The Problem: Jesus followers were showing favoritism.

The Treatment: James 2.1-13

James 2.1 gives us a direct answer to the problem of showing favoritism: “show no favoritism.” He calls Jesus “our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” The word glory is a title for Jesus that indicates a part of the nature of God. By using this word, he is telling his readers that those who have Jesus as Lord, the one who expresses the very nature of God, cannot have discrimination in their collective body, i.e., individual ecclesia.”

Illustration: James 2.2-4

James is using a tool of teaching, which takes a point and stresses it to the exclusion of the other side so that he can get a hearing for his point of view. Showing favoritism based on outward appearance should be abolished. In this new creation which Jesus inaugurated, there is no race, color, creed, etc. (Gal. 3.28). There were many problems within the early ecclesia, which had to be dealt with in a completely new fashion. The early ecclesia was predominantly poor and humble, therefore, when a rich person was converted there was a real temptation to make a fuss over that person and treat him/her as a special trophy for Jesus. The rich and the poor were being treated differently. James says not to have this habit of life.

This idea of “showing preference” to those of “note” is still a problem in today’s ecclesia both the institutional variety that I call ChurchWorld and any ecclesia not associated with ChurchWorld. The ecclesia should always remember the words of Paul that in the ecclesia, we are all one in Christ (Gal. 3). As Jesus followers in today’s highly politically charged world in USAmerica, we are followers of Jesus first before anything else. Rather than focusing on what political party we think is God’s answer to the world’s problems, we should focus on the stated fact that we “are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Exhortation: James 2.5-13

The rich already have salvation in their possession. They have no need for any further salvation in their minds. One of the messages, which Jesus constantly shared, was that God was intensely concerned about those who mattered to no one else. In his first sermon at Nazareth, Jesus said, “he has appointed me to preach the gospel to the poor (Luke 4.18). In his exhortation, James reminds his readers of three things:

  • He reminds them of their spiritual experience, James 2.5. They were chosen by God to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom. That’s good news!
  • He reminds them of their spiritual experience, James 2.5. They were chosen by God to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom. That’s good news!
  • He reminds them of their spiritual experience, James 2.5. They were chosen by God to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom. That’s good news!
  • He reminds them of their earthly experience, James 2.6-7. They will be dragged into court. Moneylenders were plentiful in the ancient world. They had the power to find in public, one who owed them and physically dragged him into court. The rich had no sympathy. James is not condemning riches; it is the conduct of the rich who act without sympathy that he is condemning.
  • He reminds them of the royal law, James 2.8-13. If you break one of the commandments, you are guilty of breaking all of them is the argument of James.

James concludes this treatment by telling his readers that they should speak and act as those who live and are judged by the law, which brings freedom.

The Problem: Believers were shunning the responsibility of taking care of the less fortunate.

The Treatment: James 2.14-16

James suggests the problem in verse James. 2.14.

Illustration: James 2.15–17

James explains what faith is not. In short,  there is no faith without practice.

Hypothetical Dialogue: James 2.18-19

James carries on this dialogue to suggest another illustration of what faith is not. In effect, he is saying, “You claim to have faith, and I claim to have faith. I can prove the existence and quality of my faith by my works, but I defy you to prove the existence and quality of your faith without any works.” James demonstrates that he has a worldview, which includes the idea of being truly human. We must remember that he was the brother of Jesus, the second truly human creation that lived in this world.

Scriptural Evidence: James 2.20-25

In this section, James turns to Scripture, i.e., the First Testament, to identify what faith really is. He uses two illustrations:

  • First, he speaks of Abraham telling his readers that works of obedience provide evidence that faith is genuine (James 2.24).
  • Second, he refers to Rahab and the spies. Her actions demonstrate her faith in God. The general summary of James 2.25 tells the reader that the activity of works is the arena which reveals that faith is alive.

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)