"THE EPISTLE OF JAMES" A Servant Of God And The Lord Jesus Christ (1:1) INTRODUCTION 1. In our introductory study, we concluded that James, the Lord's brother, was most likely the author 2. If this is so, then it is interesting that James does not identify himself as such, but rather as simply "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" (1:1) 3. Perhaps it was a case of humility; yet, calling himself a "servant" was not peculiar to James a. Paul described himself as such as well - Ro 1:1; Php 1:1 b. So did Peter (2Pe 1:1) and Jude (Jude 1) 4. Why did these men refer to themselves as "servants"? a. The Greek term (DOULOS) literally means "a slave" b. Why use such a term to describe themselves? c. And why should WE think of ourselves as "servants"? 5. In this lesson, I shall explain why, and make some other observations concerning the idea of being a servant [First of all...] I. BEING A SERVANT IS "WHAT A DISCIPLE OF JESUS IS CALLED TO BE" A. JESUS STRESSED THIS TRUTH ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS... 1. While pointing out the faults of the scribes and Pharisees - Mt 23:8-12 2. During the Last Supper, with a vivid demonstration of servitude - Jn 13:12-17 3. Even by His own example, as He came to serve - Mt 20:25-28;Php 2:5-8 B. SPECIFICALLY, WE ARE CALLED TO SERVE... 1. God - Jm 1:1; He 9:14 2. Jesus Christ - Jm 1:1; 1Co 4:1 3. Righteousness - Ro 6:17-18 4. Each other - Ga 5:13; 1Co 9:19-23 [The early Christians called themselves "servants", because that is what they were! But what is so good about being a "servant"? For one thing...] II. BEING A SERVANT IS "A MARK OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY" A. AN IMMATURE PERSON IS USUALLY VERY SELFISH... 1. For example, newborn babies are very ego-centrical 2. Normally, as people grow older, they begin to concern themselves with the needs of others a. If they do, they are becoming mature b. If they remain selfish, it is an indication of immaturity B. A PERSON WHO SERVES OTHERS... 1. Is certainly not selfish, but concerned with the needs of others 2. And thereby demonstrates mature behavior C. JAMES' DESCRIPTION OF HIMSELF FITS IN VERY WELL WITH THE "THEME" OF HIS EPISTLE... 1. Remember, the theme is: MARKS OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY 2. By being a servant, James is demonstrating his own spiritualmaturity 3. And we can make the point that one of the marks of spiritual maturity is truly being "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ"! [Are we trying to be servants of God, and of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ? If so, then we are on the road to spiritual maturity! But before we answer too hastily, let's consider that...] III. BEING A SERVANT HAS SEVERAL "IMPLICATIONS" A. IT IMPLIES "ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE"... 1. In a slave-master relationship... a. The slave knows no law but his master's word b. He has no rights of his own c. He is the absolute possession of his master d. He is bound to give his master unquestioning obedience 2. Does this describe our relationship to Christ? a. It should, especially in light of 1Co 6:19-20 b. We have to come to Jesus on HIS terms, not our own
- Lk 6:46; Mt 7:21 B. IT IMPLIES "ABSOLUTE HUMILITY"... 1. Otherwise, absolute obedience is not possible a. When we have a humble opinion of ourselves, we are receptive to the idea of complete obedience b. For example, consider Paul's self-estimation
- 1Co 15:9-10;Ep 3:8; 1Ti 1:15 2. Does this describe our relationship to Christ and His Will? a. Jesus said it should! - Lk 17:10 b. But if we murmur or complain about what Jesus tells us to do, can we really be considered "servants"? C. IT IMPLIES "ABSOLUTE LOYALTY"... 1. Since we become servants FREELY, it should be expected that we: a. Are to be loyal to Him first - cf. Ga 1:10 b. Do not consider our own profit or preference important, but that of the One we freely serve! 2. But it is amazing how anyone can claim to be servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, while: a. Complaining about having to do the will of God, OR... b. Being negligent or slothful in carrying out His will 3. But some act as though they are being forced against their own will! a. They don't "have to" serve the Lord Jesus... 1) Of course, the alternative is not very inviting 2) If we don't serve Jesus, by default we serve Satan, and are destined for hell! b. But God by His grace has offered salvation, and how dare we ever grumble or complain that He calls us to life of service in grateful appreciation! [These are some of the implications of being called a "servant". It is costly in terms of service, pride, and allegiance. But consider also that...] IV. BEING A SERVANT IS "A GREAT HONOR" A. FAR FROM BEING A TITLE OF DISHONOR, IT WAS THE TITLE BY WHICH THE GREATEST MEN OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WERE KNOWN... 1. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - Deut 9:27 ("Thy servants") 2. Moses - 1Ki 8:53 ("Thy servant") 3. Joshua - Josh 24:29 ("Servant of the Lord") 4. Caleb - Num 14:24 ("My servant") 5. Job - Job 1:8 ("My servant") 6. Isaiah - Isa 20:3 ("My servant") 7. The prophets - Jer 7:25 ("My servants") B. HOW WONDERFUL IT WOULD BE IF GOD LOOKED UPON US AS COMPANIONS OF THESE GREAT MEN... 1. Who found freedom, peace, and glory! 2. Who found it in perfect submission to the Will of God! CONCLUSION 1. He will, IF we are willing to accept the call to serve Him and His Son Jesus Christ with... a. Absolute obedience b. Absolute humility c. Absolute loyalty 2. And when we are serving God, His Son Jesus Christ, and even each other in this manner, we are making great strides towards SPIRITUAL MATURITY! "...a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" - can this be said of us?