JAMES: A CALL TO ACTION

Pastor Drew Humphrey

The book of James is a hard-hitting book. It's full of commands and exhortations that urge us to get serious about our faith. At certain times it feels abrasive. At other times, it's overwhelming. But throughout the whole book, James sounds a consistent note of hope and encouragement. For those who have experienced God's grace in the gospel, a response is inevitable. And that response is a life shaped by love for others, humility before God, faithfulness in the midst of trials, and resistance to the world's corrupt systems. Join us in this series as we explore our call to action as followers of Jesus.

A Call to Action

James 1:1

April 23, 2017


As we begin our study in the book of James, our first task is to get a sense of the book as a whole. Who wrote it? To whom was it written? What is the main message it is meant to convey? Answering these questions will help us see the big picture of James, setting the stage for us to study its individual parts more closely in the coming weeks.


Productive Trials

James 1:2-8

April 30, 2017

 

Life is full of difficulties. Some are big, some are small. Some are completely unexpected, some are self-inflicted. Some are long-lasting, some are short-lived. But regardless of the type of difficulty, we all seem to have our fair share. And we probably don’t particularly like them. That’s exactly why we need to hear the radical perspective about trials that James provides. Not only should we learn to tolerate our trials, we are called to rejoice in them, keeping our focus on all the incredible ways that God is using them for our ultimate good. 

 

Looks Can Be Deceiving

James 1:9-18

May 7, 2017

 

It’s easy to think you have things figured out, only to discover you misread the signs and drew the wrong conclusions. This can happen in any situation, but in the midst of a difficult season in life, the capacity to be deceived is heightened. Suffering and pain warp our judgment, and we end up with a distorted view of reality. James recognizes this tendency, and he wants us to protect us from two particularly insidious manifestations of it: being deceived about our own identity and being deceived about God’s character.

 

Quick and Slow

James 1:19-21

May 14, 2017

 

We probably all know someone who has a tendency to speak up and lash out with very little provocation. And we probably try to avoid that person as much as possible. But is it possible that we might—at least on occasion—be that very person? Is it possible that we might be slow to hear and quick to speak, quick to become angry? Looking at a very simple exhortation from James 1, we’ll consider a few clues that might help us see just how prone we might be to the very things we dislike so much in others.

 

A World of Difference

James 1:22-27

May 21, 2017

 

Although you may feel that favoritism in the world is frustrating and unfair, you’ll have a hard time denying that it’s normal. Everywhere we turn, we see “insiders” getting special treatment and “outsiders” being marginalized. But James calls the church to a different standard. What is accepted in the world should be unthinkable in the church. And the reason it should be unthinkable has to do with God’s own preference for those who live on the margins of society.

 

When the Church Plays Favorites

James 2:1-7

May 28, 2017


Although you may feel that favoritism in the world is frustrating and unfair, you’ll have a hard time denying that it’s normal. Everywhere we turn, we see “insiders” getting special treatment and “outsiders” being marginalized. But James calls the church to a different standard. What is accepted in the world should be unthinkable in the church. And the reason it should be unthinkable has to do with God’s own preference for those who live on the margins of society.

 

Living in the Depths of Love

James 2:8-13

June 4, 2017

 

God has called all followers of Jesus to demonstrate indiscriminate and inclusive love toward all people, regardless of one’s external appearances or worldly status. However, this requires us to live at a depth of love that most people aren’t familiar with. In order to survive and thrive at such a depth, we must be aware of the unique realities that are work here. According to James, these realities include the authority of the law, the certainty of judgment, and the triumph of mercy.

 

Naked Faith

James 2:14-19

June 11, 2017

 

What good is faith alone? That is the question James asks to challenge those of us who tend to think of Christianity merely as an internal, privatized set of beliefs. He wants us to see that if our faith doesn’t lead us to serve others and meet the needs of those around us, then it’s worthless. It isn’t good for anything. And the church is supposed to be anything but worthless and good-for-nothing.

 

Justified by Works

James 2:20-26

June 18, 2017

 

It may well be one of the most difficult sentences in the Bible: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” To those of us who have been around sound, gospel-centered theology, this can sound like outright heresy! But what James is trying to tell us is not heretical, nor is it at odds with the rest of the Bible’s teaching. He wants us to understand that although we’re established by faith, it is ultimately our works that will vindicate us as followers of Jesus.

 

The Universal Superpower

James 3:1-12

June 25, 2017

 

Whether we realize it or not, we all have a superpower: the tongue. It’s a small, unimpressive part of our bodies, but it has tremendous power and influence. The problem with superpowers, however, is that they’re not always used for good. So what does it look like to use this powerful instrument in a constructive way? James helps us through the use of a few vivid illustrations to see how powerful our words can be and how those words can be used in the proper way. 

 

The Works of Wisdom

James 3:13-18

July 23, 2017

 

We are living in what is arguably the most informed and educated society in history. Yet in spite of our vast knowledge, it would be hard to argue that we’ve collectively become any wiser. If anything, we’re more foolish than ever. Why is this? What keeps us from growing in the kind of wisdom that allows us to lead fulfilled, meaningful, flourishing lives? James helps us answer that question by exposing the futility of the world’s “wisdom” in contrast with the true wisdom that comes from God.

 

Beneath the Surface

James 4:1-3

July 30, 2017

 

There are few biblical questions more relevant than this one: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?” All of us can immediately relate. We’ve experienced tensions and conflict first-hand. We’ve been at odds with other people (and experienced them being at odds with us.) And so we should all be eager to hear what comes next. In these verses, James unpacks the root causes of conflict and helps us see how we can cut it off before it starts.

 

Friends and Enemies

James 4:4-10

August 6, 2017

 

Most Christians would like to think of themselves as friends of God. But James challenges us with the possibility that we might actually be God’s enemies. Not because of open hostility or direct confrontation, but because of our tendency to get too friendly with the world. In this sermon, we’ll consider the accusation that James brings against his readers, as well as the invitation that he extends to those who find themselves in desperate need of grace.  

 

Lose the Gavel

James 4:11-12

August 13, 2017

 

We pride ourselves on being a post-judgmental society. We’re open-minded and tolerant. We live and let live. But as much as we may think we’ve moved beyond the need to be instructed about judgmentalism, we haven’t. We’re still haunted by our need to criticize and condemn. And so we need the instruction of James as much as ever, as he gives us two vital tools to escaping our propensity to cast judgment on others.  

 

You're Not in Control

James 4:13-17

August 20, 2017

 

The illusion of control is something that we all suffer from. We tend to think of ourselves as the masters of our own fate. But James helps us see that we’re not nearly as in control of our lives as we think we are. We may plan and dream of great things, but none of it matters if we’re not submitting ourselves to God’s will and resting in his sovereign direction for our lives.   

 

A Word to the Wealthy

James 5:1-6

August 27, 2017

 

Wealth is incredibly dangerous. Although it’s not inherently evil, it certainly opens the door to a number of grave and serious sins. In this passage, James warns us about three such sins: hoarding, oppression, and indulgence. We’ll look at each of these sins and consider what makes them so destructive for those who commit them.   

 

The Long View

James 5:7-12

September 17, 2017

 

When life is hard and difficulties mount, how can we persevere in our faith without losing heart? James calls us to take the “long view”—a perspective that sees beyond the here-and-now. This requires us to be patient and trust in a sovereign God who will ultimately visit our suffering in love and justice, rather than trying to take matters into our own hands and solve things by ourselves.

 

Tough Questions about Sickness and Healing

​​​​​​​James 5:13-18

September 24, 2017


The Christian life is filled with dangers. We’re all just a few bad decisions away from finding ourselves spiritually adrift. But the good news is that God has mobilized a rescue team to bring us back when we wander. That rescue team is the church, and in the church we have the security of being cared for while also having the responsibility to exercise care on behalf of others.


All Hands on Deck

​​​​​​​James 5:19-20

October 1, 2017


The Christian life is filled with dangers. We’re all just a few bad decisions away from finding ourselves spiritually adrift. But the good news is that God has mobilized a rescue team to bring us back when we wander. That rescue team is the church, and in the church we have the security of being cared for while also having the responsibility to exercise care on behalf of others.