September 2016 - April 2017
The letter of James has strong claims to be both the most celebrated and most criticized of all New Testament books. It has been criticized because the words “Christ” and “Jesus” appear only a couple times. Martin Luther fumed that “James mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul.” He was referring to the faith and works discussion in chapter two. But in spite of such charges, this letter has persistently found its way into the hearts and affections of countless Christians through the ages. It remains one of the most cherished books of the Bible because it is very practical. James addresses everyday issues of living such as how we speak, how we should think about wealth and poverty, how to approach conflict, sickness and suffering. James is a wonderfully down to earth book, and through our study, may the Lord show us what genuine faith looks like in real life. May the Lord show us how real faith works hard and lives distinctively.
Sun, Apr 02, 2017
47 mins 54 secs
Speaker: Lukus Counterman - In a time of so many hardships imposed from the outside, Christians cannot afford to squabble with each other on the inside. Now of all times we must be supporting and encouraging one another. In our text this morning, James speaks to people who are enduring suffering, oppression, and injustice. When life is hard, we need to avoid the tendencies of impatience, faint heartedness, and complaining. Instead we need to follow the example of the farmer, the prophets, and Job. We need to be reminded that the Lord is coming and the Lord is loving. So Christian, endure suffering, persevere through difficulty, don’t lose heart! May the Lord teach us, strengthen us, and encourage us together this morning.
Sun, Mar 26, 2017
59 mins 9 secs
Sermon: Lukus Counterman - Being outwardly rich or poor refers to how much of the world’s goods a person has at his or her disposal. Inward wealth or poverty on the other hand, refers to a person’s relationship with God and love for others (or lack thereof). In our text this morning, James rebukes the physically rich who are spiritually poor. He makes four charges against them, condemning their hoarding, their cheating, their selfish living and unfair oppressing stance toward the righteous. Thankfully, James doesn’t leave the reader with bad news - he assures the poor righteous believers who are suffering that the riches of this age are fleeting, but life with God is eternally rewarding. God will set things right in the end. May the Lord teach us how to handle our wealth with our eyes fixed on him.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017
49 mins 51 secs
Speaker: Jon Kopp - James is going to show us today that those who live in humility acknowledge what is true about life and God. You see, humility isn’t simply echoing Eeyore's constant "poor me" refrain. C.S. Lewis has famously said, "True humility isn't thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less." It is acknowledging what is true about yourself with all your limitations and inabilities and living in light of them under a Holy God. So, in today’s text James is going to help us do that as it pertains to a very practical area of life— how we plan and think about the future. May God help us to acknowledge what is true about ourselves so that we can embrace what is true about Him.
Sun, Mar 12, 2017
41 mins 23 secs
Speaker: Jonathan Albright - Everyone has felt the pain of misplaced criticism. Although we may know the defeat and discouragement of being the target of destructive speech, it stands to reason that we have also caused the pain of judging others. All through the pages of Scripture the sin of slander and judgmentalism are described as marks of the wicked expressions of a proud heart, and in these two verses James is going to surface the sin of slander and judgmentalism in the church and expose why it is so serious.
Sun, Mar 05, 2017
56 mins 33 secs
Sermon: Lukus Counterman - James 4:6 says “He gives more grace…” What comfort there is in this very! It tells us that God is tirelessly on our side. He never falters in respect to our needs. He always has more grace at hand for us. He is never less than sufficient, but rather more than enough. His resources are never at an end. His patience is never exhausted. His initiative never stops. His generosity knows no limit: he gives more grace! But his grace is appropriated to the humble. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. So what does this humility look like? It looks like active submission to God, fierce resistance toward Satan, a hot pursuit of heavenly fellowship, a holistic cleansing of heart and hands, a serious grieving over sin and a falling down before a high and holy God. This kind of humility lowers a person into the perfect spot to receive grace. Grace runs down like water to low spots - hearts that have been humbled before the Lord. May we find our place on our knees before the Lord and may we receive the grace this morning that we desperately need.
Sun, Feb 26, 2017
54 mins 30 secs
Speaker: Lukus Counterman - James 4:1-6 presents a key problem that can exist even amongst the people of God. They still fight with each other - maybe in the home, at work, or even in the church. Where does this come from? James raises and answers his own question - from the lustful desires that remain part of humanity’s fallen nature, even after redemption. These desires regularly attach themselves to what people do not already possess, leading to all kinds of quarrels - from verbal assaults to literal warfare. So, where do fights and quarrels come from? They emerge from conflicting passions and rivaling affections in our hearts. So, James calls us to run to God’s over-abounding grace - “he gives more grace.” May the Lord help us to run to his throne grace this morning to find help in our time of need.
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
58 mins 33 secs
Speaker: Lukus Counterman - James establishes the existence of two kinds of wisdom: one from above, the heavenly, and the other from below, the demonic. He takes time in (James 3:13-18) to describe the characteristics, sources, and fruit of each of these types of wisdom. Today we will be examining wisdom from below, and we will discover that where such pollution of the soul exists, there is disorder and vile practice soon to follow. When we see jealousy or selfish ambition, we should be on the watch for earthly wisdom. In those moments we must repent and run to Christ who is the wisdom of God. We must ask him for wisdom from above so that we can live a life that pleases Him. May the Lord help us to seek him and His wisdom for life.
Sun, Feb 12, 2017
52 mins 52 secs
Speaker: Lukus Counterman - James 3:13-18 continues to unpack the second major theme of the letter - wisdom and speech. The theme of wisdom first appeared in James 1:5-8 and then again in James 1:19-26. In our present context, James is explaining that by their good conduct, Christians should demonstrate heavenly rather than worldly wisdom. Specifically they should exhibit purity and peacefulness rather than jealousy and strife. When we fight for power in Christian circles, evil establishes a foothold. When we operate with worldly values, seeking our own honor and status, we even offer Satan an entrance into the house of God. May the Lord protect us, and teach us to live with wisdom from above.
Sun, Feb 05, 2017
51 mins 22 secs
Speaker: Lukus Counterman - Ask what James 3 is about and there is only one possible answer: the tongue. The control of one’s speech is one of the tests of true religion that James mentions at the end of chapter one. Believers must control their speech because the tongue has an influence on life for good and bad that is all out of proportion to its size. As we continue to look at this chapter, James explains the nature of the tongue - it is puny but powerful, it is humanly untamable, and it is shamefully inconsistent. If no man can tame the tongue, we are left without hope unless there is someone greater than a mere man who can intervene. Our hope is in Christ - the one who changes hearts and changes tongues. May the Lord help us to receive his word with meekness such that our hearts and mouths are changed.
Sun, Jan 29, 2017
51 mins 29 secs
Speaker: Jon Kopp - This morning, James is going to introduce the next major section of his epistle by addressing another characteristic of genuine faith. If you remember back to Chapter 1:26-27, James has already given us a rough outline for the major topics for his epistle. The outline flows like this: Those who have genuine faith care for the neediest around them. That was chapter 2. They also interact well with the world. That will be James 4 and following. Then this morning, those with genuine faith control their tongues. and to introduce that topic, he points out something that is universally true of human beings. There is no more consistent and penetrating evidence of our need for genuine faith than what comes out of our mouths. Over and over again, many times a day, our tongues humble us and shows us our need for a faith that can transform us. So, thats what we will look at today. May God use our tongues to humble us to our desperate need of his grace.