JAMES 1:1- 4 - PAGE 1




Faith works!

·        If you have faith in a chair you sit on it.

·        If you have faith in a car you drive it or ride in it.

·        If you have faith in a computer you use it.

·        If you have faith in your parents at a young age you do what they say.

·        If you have faith in a friend you will ask for help.

·        If you have faith in a friend you will follow advice.

·        If you have faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit you will do as they say!

·        If you have faith in God you will follow His leading.

     Faith works!


There is a time to have faith and do nothing.  When we trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, our salvation is not based on our works but on our faith. Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-9


I could do nothing to save myself. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. 


Faith is to be maintained after salvation. Hebrews 11:6


Many people have made a profession in Christ as their Savior.  They believed in their head that Christ died for their sins, but they did not believe in their heart.  They didn’t grasp in their heart that Jesus was their only hope for salvation. For when one truly comes to Christ as Savior change takes place.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


The new creature in Christ is a changed person.

The new creature in Christ is working out his own salvation.

He is proving that He is saved by his faith and his works. Philippians 2:12-13


All this brings to a very practical book of the Bible, the Book of James.  The theme of James is “Faith Works”. The theme is best summed up in James 2:17-18.


James 2:17-18 - Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. [18] Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.


The Book of James is loaded with things we should be doing by faith.  It is a book of activity, a book of works, but these works are never to be done apart from faith.   


By the second verse of his Epistle James is telling us of works we should do by faith. In James 1:2-4 we learn that FAITH WORKS JOYFULLY.     


We’ll talk more about that in a minute, but first, some background on the book of James.


Vs. 1 – The New Testament epistles were written on scrolls.  It made sense that the name of the person writing would appear at the top of the scroll, so one did not have to unroll the whole thing just to see who was writing. So the first thing we see in the Epistle is the name of the human author, James. There are a few named James in Scripture.


There was James, the brother of the Apostle John, one of the two sons of Zebedee. He was the first Apostle to be martyred. He was executed by Herod.


There was James the Son of Alpheus. He was another of the twelve Apostles. But he was relatively obscure. There is no indication that he wrote the letter.


There was James, the father of Judas. This was not Judas Iscariot, but another one of the twelve.


Then there was James, the Brother of our Lord, the son of Mary and Joseph. When we say he was the Lord’s brother, of course, we mean half-brother.  Jesus, of course, was the son of Mary, but conceived by the Holy Spirit.


During the early ministry of our Lord James was evidently not a believer.  But after the resurrection of Christ, we know that he was a believer. 1 Corinthians 15 tells us that one of the appearances of the risen Lord was to James.


Paul called James a “pillar” in the early church in Jerusalem.

Evidently he was the leader of that early church.


We believe that it was this James, this prominent man in the early church, who had to but use his first name to be recognized.


James goes on in his introduction to describe himself. If you or I were writing we might say, “James, brother of our Lord”.  We might want to rub it in a little. We might want to give ourselves a little credit. We might want to make it so others are more willing to listen because they are impressed with our identity. 


But this is not what James did. James calls himself a servant.

To James there was no higher honor than being a servant to the one who purchased for him eternal life. Do you feel this way?


The word servant was the common Greek term for slave, or bondservant, “one who is in a permanent servitude to another.”


Someone has said that this term servant emphasizes “The supreme and absolute authority of the master and the entire submission of the slave.”


Next James says that He is the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We hear a lot of references to just “Jesus” today. But when we are addressing Him, we should recognize Him for who he is:

LORD – Master

JESUS – Saviour

CHRIST – Messiah, the anointed one, the King of Kings and

                  Lord of Lords.  


Who is James writing to? He is writing to “the twelve tribes scattered abroad”.  Another term is the “dispersion”. There were Jewish people living all over the Roman Empire who would have been considered part of this dispersion.

But James must have in mind those of the twelve tribes who knew Jesus Christ as Savior. James was writing to the Jewish Christians of His day. James was probably the first epistle to be written.


Obviously these Jewish believers were having troubles, probably being persecuted for their faith.  If there is one thing we can count on it’s that we are going to have troubles as well.


Job 5:7 - Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.


Trouble is unavoidable. No matter who you are, what position you have in life, or how wealthy you are, you will still face trouble in many ways, shapes, and forms.


Being a Christian does not excuse us from trouble, but being a Christian means that my way of handling trouble should be different from the way those who don’t know the Lord handle trouble.


In James 1:2-4 James tells us how faith works in trials or troubles.




“My brethren” – This is a reminder that James is talking to fellow believers. He is talking to those who had the same faith as he, the same salvation that he had through His faith in Christ.


James then says “Count it all joy”.

This should be my response to the difficulties I face.

I am to count it, or command it joy.

Note that I will not necessarily see my troubles as something nice, or enjoyable, but I am to coat that trial with a joy which only the Lord can give.


And further, I am to count it all joy.

Most of us take some things better than others.

Perhaps you can take poverty better than others.

Perhaps you can take family problems better than others.

Perhaps you can take illness better than others.

But James is saying to take it all with joy.

Command it all joy!


The next word here is “when”.

Unfortunately Christian, the word is not “if”.

There is nothing uncertain about trouble in the Christian life.

You are going to face it.


You are going to fall into troubles. In other words, they will come to you. You won’t have to look for them.


King James says that we are going to fall into “diverse temptations”.  In the original language the word temptation has two meanings. The first meaning is trials, the second meaning is to be tempted to sin.  Right here the word means trials.


This teaches us another lesson. Our troubles are going to be varied. There will be many different types of trouble to face. You will get variety in your trials.


So James is saying in this verse, “Christian Brother when you run into trouble, or trouble runs into you, decide to command it as joy.”




In order to count something joy, we must be able to determine of assess the reason for counting it joy. The fact that God tells us to us to count it joy should be good enough reason to do so, but God tells us why anyway.


James says we should know something.  I think James means knowing it in your heart and not just your head.


We are to know that the trying or testing of our faith worketh patience.

The Christian Life is a life of faith.

It is faith which saves us, and it is by faith we should life. Hebrews 10:38


When a trial comes my way, it is an opportunity to trust God through the trial.   

It is my privilege to live by faith, especially when I do not know how God is going to solve my problem.


And as my faith is tested, this produces endurance or patience in my life.


As my faith is tested, and I patiently endure in my faith instead of panicking, or complaining or trying to run away, my endurance, my patience, my staying power increases.


The attitude toward trials is to be joy!

When we assess the trials to realize that they are there to produce patience or endurance, then we can be joyful in the trial.




The word “Let” means to be submissive, to yield, to give our consent.

Don’t buck the trials.

Don’t gripe and moan and get the poor me’s.

But allow God to build your patience through the trials.


Does this mean that we do nothing while being tried?

If there is nothing we can do, we do nothing, but let God have his way.

Often during trials we can gain ground. It might mean fighting the wind, but we can progress.


Have you ever had to go somewhere in a snowstorm?

There are times when you can’t just stay put.

You must go forward. It’s slower, it’s tougher, and it’s riskier. But go forward you must!


We are to move forward in our trials, always allowing God to have his way, and thus letting patience have her perfect work.

As we do we become perfect, but that doesn’t mean sinless.

We become perfect, or mature.

We grow up to be mature believers.

We become entire, or complete.

We lack nothing spiritually because we have learned to trust.


Trials are God’s way of bringing you to maturity.

Are you willing to let Him do that in your life?

Trials will make you bitter or better.

Which will it be?








This is a much elaborated upon outline that has been previously shared.