DO NOT ERR: EXPOSITION OF JAMES #2
by Pastor Jeromy John Visser
Brothers and sisters, this will be the second and final part of our exposition covering the entire epistle of James. In this day and age, a Christian must do all they can to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3)" so we can heed the straightforward admonition by James; "Do not err (James 1:16)." It is the Word of Yahweh that is Truth (John 17:17) and our Bibles are to be used as a "two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)" slashing through false doctrines.
Since World War II the state of Christianity has undergone major revisions and accepted erroneous doctrines even apologizing for so-called racism, a word that did not exist until 1936. The enemies of Jesus Christ will seemingly stop at nothing to pervert His teachings even changing the intent of the Messiah who came only for Israel (Matthew 15:24) and taught; "Those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me (Luke 19:27)."
"Easy-believism" is also known as judeo-Christianity and this fictitious doctrine has claimed many casualties, especially from amongst the ranks of Christian soldiers. A steadfast believer only needs to open their trusty Bibles and read the red Words of Jesus Christ in order to shatter the thousands of false "love doctrines" that have infiltrated the movement. These snakes preach "another Jesus (II Corinthians 11:4)" foreign to the scriptures and should be withstood for their outright blasphemies.
That being said, let's finish our study of the "general" epistle of James:
"My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body (James 3:1-2)."
Not every one will have the ability to teach the scriptures because this is a gift from God. Still, a Pastor is responsible for every word he speaks or every person that they might mislead so the "masters" receive a greater criticism and are expected to do more by Yahweh. The only way that we can attempt to be 'perfect' as was Jesus our example is by the Word of God. It is that same Word that helps us to know the Will of God and gives us power over sinful flesh or worldly desires.
"Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body (James 3:3)."
The 'bit' that is placed in a horses mouth is a very small thing yet it has the ability to control the most powerful of horses. James begins to teach on 'the mouth' or tongue contrasting the fact that a man who has proper control over his tongue can also govern his whole body by doing so. For example, Solomon teaches us; "He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 13:3)" so let's remember that every word has a consequence.
"Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth (James 3:4)."
Like the small bit to be found in a horse's mouth that controls him, a ship is controlled by a small 'helm' or rudder. James is using these analogies to compare the similarities between what a man says with his mouth is the same thing that is in his heart or mind. This is an expansion upon the very teachings of Jesus Christ who taught the same thing; "Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man (Matthew 15:18)." We must control our speech.
"Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell (James 3:5-6)."
The "tongue" or things we say are what gets us in trouble -- as small as it is it's the words that we speak by which man will judge us. A lie or false teaching is equated to a devouring fire that is started by a small spark yet consumes an entire forest by the time it's done -- compare this analogy to an untruth that builds and grows. In this chapter, James spends a fair amount of time teaching us that we must control the words that come out of our mouths, this is obviously an important issue.
"For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:7-8)."
Pay attention to what's being said -- the "tongue" is an unruly evil compared to a deadly poison that eventually takes life. How many people do you know who attack the basic fundamentals of Christianity even calling you such smears as "Jesus freak" or "racist" for merely following the clear-cut aspects found in the Holy Bible? No man can control what other's might say about us yet we always have the advantage because Yahweh works all things together for good for those He chooses (Romans 8:28).
"Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God (James 3:9)."
Based on what we've read so far, what type of "men" do you think James is saying are made after the likeness of God? Genesis 5:1 says that it is Adam and his descendants who bear this same likeness being created in His image. Nonetheless, this is yet another teaching on 'judging' our brethren so we must be careful to know all the facts or have two witnesses before even accepting those things said by others. It is with our mouths that we can both bless and curse God's children.
"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be (James 3:10)."
These things should not be this way, it must be one or the other -- think about what Jesus meant when He taught; "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit (Matthew 7:17)" and "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20)." The words that come out of a person's mouth are a reflection of the very thoughts he has in his mind. If a television 'evangelist' continually begs for money then it's safe to say that finances are on his mind.
"Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter (James 3:11)?"
The answer is no -- it can be one or the other. Speaking of water, Jesus said; "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14)." That is the sweet water that we must seek as opposed to; "The third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter." Once again -- sweet or bitter, not lukewarm nor mixed.
"Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh (James 3:12)."
If we're familiar with 'the parable of the fig tree' than we should already know that they cannot bring forth olives or 'fruits.' Like the majority of the Bible, we must decide between two masters -- God or mammon. Even still, we must always strive to speak with respect when it is warranted and accept those who Jesus has. By comparing people's "fruits" meaning works we can tell who belongs to Yahweh and who doesn't. Let's always seek to grow in wisdom and grace through God's eternal Truth.
"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish (James 3:13-15)."
Have you ever known somebody who thought they knew "all truth" even though Jesus said that He was that same Truth? A truly wise man knows that he knows nothing while the foolish man feels he knows it all because only a hoodwink could think as such. Notice the commandment "lie not against the truth" and take heed -- many people do bear false witness against the teachings of the Word and this can only be seen as an attack against God Himself (John 1:1). This is purely a Satanic tactic.
"For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:16-17)."
Ah! Babylon, also known as "confusion." With true freedom in God's Word we should be able to discern Truth from man's partial hypocrisy and traditions. To over-simplify, if a Christian steps into a church or another person's house where there is jealousy and fighting than those places are -- without a doubt -- also filled with uncertainty and iniquity. Again, Yahweh's Word is Truth and only it allows us to see and rebuke false doctrines filling us with a 'doubtless' Faith in our perfect Creator Jesus.
"And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (James 3:18)."
What is this "fruit of righteousness?" Paul says to the Hebrews; "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Hebrews 12:11)." Meaning that it is the chastisement of God for not following His Law that brings forth the fruit of righteousness for those who strive to do better or "sin no more (John 5:14)." We must do all things in peace and not effeminacy.
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members (James 4:1)?"
Any 'war of man' that isn't to bring about God's Kingdom on earth is outright evil and these types of situations are brought forth from "the love of money" which "is the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10)." Still, Christians should be of one mind and never bicker about meaningless doctrines or genealogies within the congregation. No matter how much money a man-pleaser strives to make during his life it will never be enough if that is the god he serves -- only God will comfort and fill us with peace.
"Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (James 4:2-3)."
The entire world is God's and was given to His Adamic people. No matter how many times "wars for real estate" are launched or how many Saints have been martyred by the false universal church, worldly lust can in no way be contented. There's never enough money, time, wine nor evil for those who seek these things for comfort as opposed to the never-changing Word of God. The fact of the matter is we can either choose man's sinful world or the perfect Will of Yahweh.
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4)."
Here it is -- plain and simple -- friendship of the world is enmity or hatred towards God. Man can't serve two masters nor rely on man's lawless agenda and expect blessings from Yahweh. No matter how many different ways the Bible says we should not go "the way of the world" but instead serve only Jesus, some "believers" seemingly will never come to grasps with that fact and whorishly support the politics of man instead of seeking God's Kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven."
"Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:5-6)."
James tells us right here that God plainly resists the 'proud' or self-righteous man but instead gives His saving grace to the humble or 'teachable.' How many of us have met "know-it-alls" who feel they're wiser than Yahweh? These types of men will usually say something along the lines of "I've read the Bible once before" or "Just accept Jesus" but by their own lives deny Christ by their ungodly lifestyles. Christians should resist this type of arrogant "believer" because God certainly does.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded (James 4:7-8)."
These are commands -- submit ourselves and all things we do for God, resist Satan to make him flee from you, draw close to God and He will accept you, an unstable or 'double-minded' man is to cease from sin and purify his heart. There is no excuse for those who flat-out deny Jesus Christ considering all it takes is a desire to know Him and a request for wisdom from His Word to be made whole. Like usual we're taught to stop sinning, not given a license to continue transgressing the Law (I John 3:4).
"Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:9-10)."
Humbleness and meekness are the keys. In order to remain humble we must be able to hear all matters and contrast them with the Bible. Keep in mind that "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5)" meaning that humility is a condition of salvation considering we're saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). As you can see, those who teach a life on earth of prosperity and bliss for following Jesus are false prophets because this concept is not to be found in scripture.
"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge (James 4:11)."
There are certain groups within the movement that will erroneously dub someone a 'rabbi' if they choose to teach the Christian Law as found in our Bibles. Such groups continually slander and attack such Pastors as myself and in essence attack the Law itself and its perfect Lawgiver meaning Jesus Christ. As we shall see from the next few statements, James also taught that the eternal Law was to be followed and done, not just heard. Those who deny the Law simply follow "the lawless one."
"There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another (James 4:12)?"
That Lawgiver was the Creator Jesus who was Emmanuel (God with us) or "God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). We're taught by Isaiah; "Yahweh is our judge, Yahweh is our lawgiver, Yahweh is our king; he will save us (Isaiah 33:22)." God is the judge of all matters so we should never be quick to render our own opinions because our thoughts are not YHVH's nor can we know His doings. It is He who created this world that is able to salvage or annihilate His creation, not us.
"Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:13-14)."
Our Messiah taught us; "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment (Matthew 6:25)?" Strangely enough, there are many people in the world who feel that they somehow have control over their own lives by turning towards man's devices like surgery, vaccinations and flu shots just to name a few. These sad souls cannot see that they've already sided against God.
"For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:15-17)."
All things are to be done for God's Will because it is God's Will that will be done. Jesus said; "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10)" and in order to be familiar with God's Will we must study and follow the eternal Law that is His "Will and Testament." Keep in mind that to those who know what the Bible teaches yet refuse to do as commanded it becomes a transgression yet a sin committed in ignorance is not counted as sin to those who don't know better.
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days (James 5:1-3)."
At no place in the Holy Bible are the rich spared -- the rich don't make it to the Kingdom (Mark 10:25) and have already received their so-called worldly rewards (Luke 6:12). Have you ever known a man who "heaped treasure together" or lived as a total 'pack rat' surround by his trinkets? Jesus teaches us; "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:24)" meaning that those who fancy themselves "rich" or seek "money-power" serve another God that cannot be found in the Word.
"Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (James 5:4)."
"The Lord of Sabaoth" is a transliteration of the word hosts that could've better been said as "Lord of hosts" meaning the triune Godhead. God knows all and keeps accurate records of what a laborer is worth yet we must always labor for God's Kingdom on earth and not to give wicked men more power. Many people in this day and age are exploited by faulty taxes, fraudulent "insurance" companies or simply the "system" in general. There is nothing hid from the eyes of Yahweh.
"Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you (James 5:5-6:)."
Who does this description fit? Could man's wicked "one world government" fall into this category? How about the Saints like Martin Luther who wrote The Jews and Their Lies? Those who live in sin on earth and never desire to know the ways of God will be resisted by Jesus Christ instead and the same can be said about those who turn aside to "new doctrine" or allow themselves to taught how to think according to television "programming." The Lord draws near for Judgment and none escape.
"Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain (James 5:7)."
The day of Judgment is not a thing to be feared by those who belong to Jesus irregardless of how the enemy tries to paint it. This is the day in which we receive our reward and get to see the wicked punished and cut off from among our people. I will be bringing a whole new sermon on 'the early and latter rain' because it is an entire study within itself but for now let's all focus on being patient and not judging one another without cause. There is only one real "Judge" who decides our eternity.
"Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door (James 5:8-9)."
Establish your hearts with patience in Jesus Christ remembering that He promised to return in the flesh never really leaving us in the first place. The Judge who stands near the door is the blessed Messiah who will also tell many; "I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:27)." We must follow the Law in order to refrain from iniquity because Jesus said; "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law (Matthew 5:18)."
"Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (James 5:10-11)."
My! There are so many ways in which the Bible contradicts the oral "traditions of men" with its blatant teachings on suffering and persecution. Once again, James directs us to the Old Testament prophets who all suffered afflictions as did Jesus and His true followers. Friends, there is no such thing as a "New Testament Christian" as we're told to consider the tale of Job and use his "patience" as a rule to live by -- there is no way of doing this when one has thrown out the first two-thirds of the Bible.
"But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation (James 5:12)."
Never border the fence nor 'swear' an oath to any man, rather allow your answers to be yes or no. There is no "gray area" when it comes to God, it's either right or wrong and good and bad. How many cults exist that require their adherents to swear an oath to them even over the safety of their own families? I can think of several without calling out any names. Nonetheless, we're not to swear or promise anything because we have no control over the outcome and anything more than this is wickedness.
"Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms (James 5:13)."
Prayer is yet another aspect of Christianity that has been perverted by those who hate our Savior. Solomon says; "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Yahweh: but the prayer of the upright is his delight (Proverbs 15:8)" meaning that those who say prayer is an ineffective tool are simply evil men whom God has withstood. Naturally, these snakes will say prayer avails nothing but the effective and passionate prayer of a righteous man is most powerful if said in Faith as James will soon teach.
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him (James 5:14-15)."
Here we see that there is a definite hierarchy when dealing with 'the church body' and that those who are much-learned elders have the ability to use the anointing oil of our peoples. This passage does not say that we're to allow ourselves to be butchered in surgery nor that we should allow our enemy to inoculate our children with foreign substances, it says that the prayer of faith shall save the sick, not might. Those who repent from lawlessness have the gift of forgiven sins if asked in pure Faith.
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16)."
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Prayer is our "tap-line" to God, it builds Faith and adds wisdom to those who ask -- it is everything. We must be honest with one another and confess our sins if the situation arises but keep in mind this verse does not say we're to tell the church "juicy tidbits" of gossip nor paint ourselves in a negative light. Simply put, if a man learns that something is right he previously held untrue than he is to adapt to that Biblical Truth in honesty.
"Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit (James 5:17-18)."
Yet another New Testament reference to the Old Testament scripture. Elijah the Tishbite had Faith enough in God to pray for rain and it was granted to him yet also enough conviction to turn the tides of nature by bringing forth pestilence before hand. Jesus teaches us; "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:20)." Think about that fact for moment.
"Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20)."
James closes his letter much in the same manner that it was begun -- to the brethren only. Strangely enough, this same book is considered by many to be the "general" epistle of James yet there is nothing generalized about this work because it's addressed exclusively to Israel and Israelites. If we're able to convert a fellow kinsmen in Truth than we can also hide a multitude of our own sins for the good work. Let's always seek to grow in the knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ and His eternal Will.
My intention with both parts in this series is a rather simple one. I hope that by simply reading the Bible and what it has to say that we might all be able to see there are many false doctrines out there that don't align with what is being said in the Word. I pray that the ever-living ministry of Jesus Christ is honored by this specific teaching and that it will help us all to strengthen our own Faith in the Creator.
There can be no King but Jesus as there can be no government but that from God. War for Christ! Amen.
Wednesday, July 27th, 2005 ]
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