today’s message at church was amazing and i wanted to share my notes with you!
we’re studying james right now and have been taking little bites off at a time. this week we studied “living faith – a look at james – james 1:5-8”
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
in this text you find:
– an invitation to ask -1:5a
– assurance – 1:5b
– qualification – 1:6-8
4 questions that pop from this text
1. do i ask?
– the answer to this question tells me a lot about what i believe about God and who He is to me.
– asking is an act of vulnerability
-in our world we value self-reliance. we were not created to be self-reliant. we were made to daily depend on Him, to rely on Him, to ASK him.
:: God has made us to depend on and need Him.
– do i know i am needy? do i ask God for anything? if not, no, i don’t depend on Him.
:: “asking” is acknowledgement of my dependence.
– to ask is to admit my need
:: “asking” is an expression of my trust.
– saying to God, “you can meet my need. i trust you will.”
:: God, through james, invites to ask.
– He desires for us to express out trust in Him
– i don’t ask enough. i wonder what i’m missing?
2. what do i ask for?
:: james invites us to ask for wisdom.
– “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” psalm 111:10
:: what is wisdom?
– wisdom – more than knowledge. learning to live in and submit to God’s reality.
– God himself defines reality.
– why is james talking about wisdom? vs. 1:2 (“consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”) seeing and experiencing trials in an other-worldly perspective.
:: why do i need wisdom?
– because in my trials i lack the ability to see, live in light of, and submit to God’s reality.
– in our trials, we don’t need relief, but wisdom, perspective.
– from wisdom comes joy, strength, peace, power to endure.
– know that God is real and has a plan. know these truths. need wisdom in trials.
– am i wise enough to ask for wisdom?
– He is the only source of wisdom.
3. why should i ask?
:: james bases the invitation to ask on the character of the God who gives…
a. God gives to ALL
– who is “all”? the brethren, christians, those who have placed their trust in the name of Christ.
b. God gives generously
– “generously” in greek: simply. graciously, liberally, freely. just ASK!
c. God gives without reproach
– without finding fault. without reminding. without rebuke. without lecturing (like we as parents will say “ok i’ll give this to you, but remember what you did last time…”). without reminding us of our past failures.
– offered without a hitch, but…
4. how do i ask?
:: vs. 6-8
:: james says “ask in faith without any doubting.”
– “the one who doubts ought not to expect to receive anything from the Lord”
:: what does that mean? is that even possible?
– is this realistic? we have fickle hearts.
– consistent doubts = tension with scripture
– biblical doubters: john the baptist – matthew 11:1-12, thomas – john 20:24-29, peter – matthew 14:28-33
4 notes to help us understand james…
1. james is reiterating jesus and hebrews 11:6
“6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and thatHe is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
2. james put s things in black and white terms to spur his readers on to active “all in” faith in the Lord.
– God gives His truth throughthe personality of different men in the bible. james is straight forward, so factor in his style. very different from paul’s style.
3. God gives to those who don’t ask and is gracious to those who doubt.
– remind yourself of this so you’re not crushed.
– Jesus doesn’t say He won’t give to those who doubt, but not to expect it. (matthew 5:45 – “… for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on therighteous and the unrighteous.”)
4. when in doubt, take it to Him, ask for help, and look to the gospel.
– what to say when we’re in doubt: mark 9:24, the father of the demon-possessed boy – “24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
– don’t glory in doubt/unbelief, but go to Him, admit it and ask for help. run to the gospel in doubt. romans 8:32 gives comfort in doubt – “32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”