James: Bondservant of Christ

James: Bondservant of Christ


James 1:1 ESV  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

Let’s do this church, raise your hand if you were here for the very first sermon in Revelation, if you were here in green church when we started with Revelation 1:1… raise your hand…

Now those of you raising your hand, would you say you were blessed by reading through Revelation?

Praise God!

Now, I want you to raise your hand if you were here for the very first sermon in James…

That’s everyone! Today is the first sermon in James…

Now if you are raising your hand, do you think you will be blessed by the reading and studying of James?!

LET’S GO!!!!!!!!

If you are here this morning, you have a very special opportunity to be with us for the entire book of James…

And this is what we do here at CLC, we preach through books of the Bible, verse by verse, line by line, teaching by teaching.

Whatever that book preaches about, we preach about. It’s that simple.

And God told us to go through James, so here it is… starting at James 1:1…

James 1:1 ESV  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

  • This verse gives is the perfect introduction to the Letter of James.
    • It tells us who wrote it…
    • The character of the man who wrote it.
    • And who it was written to.
  • Who wrote this book? Well James wrote this book…
    • Now it is important to remember that there are three James in scripture, there is James the son of Zebedee, James the son of Alphaeus, and then there is James the half brother of Jesus.
      • Now, in scripture, James the son of Zebedee is ALWAYS called James the Son of Zebedee, he is never just called “James”. And James the son of Alpheaus is always called “James the son of Alpheaus” he is never just called James… the only James that is just called James, is James the half brother of Jesus.
        • Not to mention that James the son of Zebedee died in 44 AD, before the book of James was written… and that the nature and character of the book of James does not match up with James the son of Alpheaus, nor is there any tradition that teaches that James the son of Alpheaus authored the book of James.
        • That leaves us with James the brother of Jesus as the author, and scholars agree on this point, James the brother of Jesus is the James who wrote this book.
  • Some interesting things about James, as we dive into his letter…
  • James:
    • Was the son of Mary and Joseph, the half brother of Jesus (Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3; Gal 1:19)
    • Did not believe Jesus was the Messiah until after His resurrection (Jn 7:3-5; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor 15:7)
      • I find this particularly humorous… imagine grow up in the shadow of Jesus, I mean I know parents aren’t supposed to pick favorite children… but if you are Marry and you have Jesus as a Son… He has to be your favorite right?!
        • No matter what James did, Jesus would have topped it… and topped it in a huge way… while James is making chairs, Jesus is walking on water.
        • James probably was a little bit bitter against his big brother Jesus… but he came to repentance and found Jesus as Lord after Jesus rose again.
    • James led the Jerusalem Church (Gal 2:9,12)
  • So that is James, brother of Jesus, senior pastor of the church in Jerusalem… a very important and influential man in the Kingdom of God.
  • And who did he write his letter to? Well he wrote it to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion…

James 1:1 ESV  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

  • And that just means it was written to Jews who were not in Rome.
    • Jews who were learning about Jesus, many of whom were converting, and some who were still skeptical.
  • So, we have the letter from James, brother of Jesus, Pastor of Jerusalem, written to Jews dispersed outside of the Roman empire…
    • But what I find really interesting is how James describes himself.
    • He does not describe himself as the brother of Christ, which would have gotten him a lot of street cred with anyone reading this letter.
    • He does not describe himself as the pastor or overseer of the church in Jerusalem, which would have made him seem very important in the eyes of the Jews he was writing to.
      • But instead, He calls himself a servant…

James 1:1 ESV  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

  • James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…
    • That’s how James chooses to address himself.
    • It is an incredibly humble way to introduce yourself…
      • “Forget about everything I have done… forget about who I am related to… what matters is who my master is! My master is Jesus!”
  • So today I want to talk about this line “A servant of the God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”…
    • And I have to admit, I almost named this sermon “You should want to be a servant, part two”
    • But that sermon, you should want to be a servant, focused on the acts that servants do, today I want to focus on something far more deeper than that…
    • Today I want to focus on what it means not just to be a servant… but to be more than that… what it means to be a “bondservant”… what it means to be a slave to God… what it means for us to Call Jesus Lord, or Master… to really mean that He is the master and we are the slave, He is the Lord and we are the bondservant.
      • Because in English the word “servant” could mean someone who busses tables at a restaurant, or it could mean a maid or a butler, or it could mean someone who volunteers at an organization…
      • But James did not write his letter in English, he wrote it in Ancient Greek, and the word he used that is translated here as servant is the word “doulos” which literally means “bondservant” or “slave”.
      • In fact, about half of the English translations of the Bible translate this verse as “James, Bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” or as:
      • “James, slave of the God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • And I think the other half use the word servant instead of slave or bondservant because of the negative connotations the word “slave” throughout history.
    • Slavery has been horrible, wicked, and evil throughout history, America being a prime example, but not just us, almost every nation has this dark spot on them…
    • Slavery still happens today and it is an abomination to the God who created all men in His image…
      • But, clearly in the context of James, James is a proud slave! He touts off the fact that He is a bondservant… and instead of introducing himself as brother, or as pastor, he introduces himself as slave.
  • So that is what we are going to talk about today…
  • James, Bondservant of Christ.

James 1:1 NKJV  James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.

Point One – What it Means to Confess Jesus as Lord

  • I want to start off with… well, not start off, we are already almost halfway through this message, but you know what I mean… point one…
    • In point one this morning I want to talk about what it means to confess Jesus as Lord.
  • In his introduction to his letter to the dispersed Jews, James confesses Jesus Christ as Lord.
  • And part of becoming a Christian, we know, is to confess Jesus Christ as Lord…
    • We ask you to confess Him as Lord by standing when you are ready to be saved in this church…
    • When a deacon takes these new believers back to pray, they confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord.
    • Then again they confess Christ as Lord, both verbally and physically, when baptized.
  • Roman’s 10:9 says this about it:

Romans 10:9 ESV  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

  • So confessing Christ as Lord is part of our salvation experience…
    • And really, it should be part of our lives…
    • We should confess Him as Lord in the songs we sing…
      • In the sermons we listen to and preach.
      • In the books we read and share with others.
      • In our daily conversations with people.
  • We should be confessing Jesus as Lord, and I think many of us do… I would say most of us do, to some extent or another…
    • But just like last week… we talked about the word “amen”… and I talked about the pet peeve of Christians using words they don’t know what they mean…
      • And how so many Christians use the word amen daily and have no idea what it means…
      • I think some of us Christians are using the word “Lord” not knowing what it means.
        • So let me make this one plane too, I will spare you the Greek and Hebrew and just get straight to it…
  • The Word Lord Means
    • Master, Boss, Owner, King, Manager, Director, Overseer, Disciplinarian, Captain, Commander, Ruler, Leader… etc.
    • Lord means: He tells you what to do and you do it!
  • It means He owns you, you don’t have a choice, you’re His! You are His property…

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  (20)  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

  • You were bought with a price, you are not your own.
    • Jesus paid it all for you!
    • He bought you with His blood!
  • If Jesus tells you to do something, you don’t need to pray about it any more…
    • You might need to confirm it with someone…
    • You might need to keep praying to make sure it is Jesus telling you this…
      • But when YOU know it is God, it aligns with His word, and it has been confirmed by other believers… then you don’t need to think any more on it.
      • When God tells you to do it, you do it!
        • “Well if God told you to jump of a cliff, would you?”
        • “YES!”
          • If I knew it was God telling me that, if I really really knew, then I would. Because I know He could save me.
    • I don’t think He ever will tell me that, but that is how committed I am to my Master, to my Lord.
      • Side note, Jesus ain’t telling any of y’all to jump off a cliff, so don’t get all suicidal on me, ok?! Just making a point… ok? Cool…

John 3:36 ESV Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 14:15 ESV “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Luke 11:28 ESV But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Acts 5:29 ESV But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

  • For Jesus to be your Lord, you must actually obey Him!
    • Just saying it is not enough, you have to mean it! You have to keep His commandments, you have to follow His laws, you have to obey Him as Lord.
      • And no one understands this more than Jesus Himself who said this in Matthew 7:

Matthew 7:21-23 ESV  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  (22)  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  (23)  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

  • Jesus says people will be banging on the gates of heaven, they will be calling Him Lord Lord, but Jeus will say “I never knew you, depart from me you workers of lawlessness… I gave you a law to follow, and you refused it, instead you chose lawlessness… so I am not your Lord, and if I am not your Lord, then I am not your Savior either… depart from Me.”
  • We must know Jesus as Lord, as Master, as Owner, as Chief, As Captain, as Commander, as Boss, as King…
    • If we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then we must confess Jesus as Lord, and we must live with Jesus as Lord.
      • But I want to tell you something, being a slave to Christ is one of the most wonderful things you can possibly be.
      • It’s not like being a slave in ancient Egypt.
      • It’s not like being a slave in early America…
        • No, being a slave to Christ brings Joy, peace, Victory, and Freedom!
        • And that brings me to my second point this morning.

Point Two – The Joy, Peace, Victory, and Freedom of Being a Bondservant

James 1:1 ESV  James, a servant (a bondservant, a slave) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

  • How could James say with such joy and peace that he is a slave?! I mean if you read ahead, the next four words are “count it all joy” so it’s not like this is a depressing letter or anything… no, James says with Joy that he is a slave to God and Lord Jesus. How is that possible… to be filled with joy at the fact of being a slave…?
    • Well it is possible because James has experienced the joy, peace, victory, and freedom of being a bondservant… of being a slave to God and Lord Jesus.

Galatians 5:1 ESV  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

  • Does this mean that we are free to do whatever? No not at all! We just read all these verses that show that if we ignore God’s law we are not saved…
    • So if we are not free to do what we want, what are we free from?
    • We are free from SIN!
    • We are free from the grips of sin!
      • The law showed us just how sinful we are…
      • And history shows us that no matter how hard man tries, they can’t perfectly keep the law of the Old Testament.
      • But we are now free of the law of the Old Testament… not because we are free to do the things the law tells us not to do… but because we are free of the sin that the law was written to convict us of.
        • I don’t need the law like the saints of old need the law because Christ has freed me from the sin that the law was written to combat.
  • I am not free to sin, like I use to sin… but I am free because I don’t sin like I used to sin…
    • We are getting into some deep theology here so let me try to make it plan.
      • Before I was free… I was a slave to pornography…
        • I was a slave to alcohol.
        • I was a slave to peer pressure
        • I was a slave to theft
        • I was a slave to lying…
          • Guy’s before I was saved I was a slave to sin…

Romans 6:15-18 ESV  What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!  (16)  Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?  (17)  But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,  (18)  and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

  • I have found freedom from sin!
    • I have been set free from sin!
    • For freedom’s sake I am free!
      • Free from porn, and alcohol, and lying, and stealing…
        • I am still a sucker for peer pressure, but not when they pressure me to sin.
        • I am no longer a slave to sin! But that doesn’t mean I am no longer a slave.
        • I am now a slave to righteousness.
  • Sin tells me to lust, and I say “You’re not my master” I am free.
  • Sin tells me to lie, and I say “You’re not my lord” I am free.
  • Sin tells me it is so much easier to just steal a little every now and then, and I tell sin “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” I am free!
    • Because I have a new boss, I am free!
    • Because I have a new master, I am free!
    • Because I have a new lord, I AM FREE!
      • Not free to do whatever I want, but free not to do what my old master is trying to make me do.
  • Now righteousness tells me to stay pure and I say “Yes master!”
  • Jesus tells me to stay honest, and I say “Yes Lord”
  • God tells me to never steal again, even if it doesn’t hurt anyone, and I say “Your the boss! Whatever you say I will do, GOD!”
    • Because I am a slave to God, I am free from sin! THAT’S REAL FREEDOM!
  • So being a slave to God, being a slave to Christ brings us freedom.
    • Freedom from sin, freedom from the world, freedom from the curse…
    • But it also brings us joy, and peace, and victory.
  • I have a victorious marriage, why? Because God told me to marry Amanda.       
    • I didn’t marry who I wanted to marry, I married who God wanted me to marry.
      • There is a whole testimony about it, but I promise you, if God had not clearly told us both that we were to get married, it would have never happened.
        • But God told me to marry her, and I am His slave, so I don’t ask questions, I do it.
          • God isn’t telling you anything other than STOP SINNING and I don’t believe you can hear the voice of God about your relationship when your relationship is bathed in sin!
            • That’s not the sermon today… but if you are sleeping with your girlfriend or boyfriend… maybe God want’s you to be together, maybe he doesn’t… but HE definitely want’s you to stop sinning, if that’s you, come talk  to me and Pastor Amanda and we will pray with you and give you Biblical council…
  • Non the less… I have victory in my marriage not because of me, because I am not my own, but because of God who told me to marry Pastor Amanda.
  • And I have a testimony like that about everything in my life.
    • Why did I marry Amanda: God told me to.
    • Why did I work in IT in Seattle: God told me to.
    • Why did I resign and move to Singapore: God told me to.
    • Why did I plant a church in Iowa: God told me to.
    • Why did I have three Kids: God told me to.
    • Why did I name them Ezra, Hanna, and Esther: God told me to.
    • Why did you plant a Church? God told me to.
    • Why did you name it Christian Life Church: I named it after myself… just kidding, God told me to.
    • CHURCH: EVERY MAJOR DECISION IN MY LIFE, AND MOST MINOR DISCISSIONS I MAKE BASED ON THIS ONE FACT: God is my master, I am His slave, and what He tells me to do I do…
  • And I am going to tell you right now, it has been working out great!
    • Everything that God has ever told me to do has brought victory, peace, joy, and freedom.
      • Even the stuff that I didn’t like in the moment, like living in Singapore…
      • It bore fruits of victory, joy, and peace!
          • Jesus, don’t just take the wheel… least I try to wrestle it back from you.
            • Let me give you the keys to, so you are in full control.
            • And you know what, I better not sit in the passenger seat, least I reach over and try to grab the wheel at some point.
            • And, well Jesus, I better not sit in the back seat either, least I try to back seat drive and tell you where to go…
            • Tell you what Jesus… how about you just take the keys, lock me in the trunk, and you take my life wherever you want to… I am completely at your mercy, I am at your feet, you are in full control.


Turn On Children’s Class Lamps

  • I saw this survey on Youtube and they were asking adults “What would 12 your old you think of how your life turned out” and it was really sad…They all said things like “Well things didn’t happen like I thought they would”Or “12 year old me didn’t understand the stress of being an adult”Or “I never reached my dream of being an astronaut…”
    • They were all these answers full of regret… it was really depressing, then the video asked me to ponder… what would 12 year old me think of where I am today?
      • And I was thrilled with the answer:
        • I have my dream home, my dream wife, my dream children.
        • I have a job that is fulfilling and helps people and loves on people.
        • I have more friends then I know what to do with.
        • I have just enough money to get everything I need and some of what I want…
        • MY LIFE ROCKS!
  • Because 12 year old me, even at that young age, knew what kind of an idiot I was… how much trouble I got in… how no one understood me… how I struggled to find friends… how I would never find love… how I would be poor and lonely my whole life… but maybe just maybe I could do well in computers and then be rich and lonely my whole life…
    • 12 year old me was a slave to sin and had no idea what kind of joy, what kind of peace, what kind of VICTORY comes with being a slave to Jesus…
      • But that all changed when I was 16 years old, when I was born again… when I gave my life to Jesus…
  • Gospel Call


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