James, Servant of God
James 1:1

How do you introduce yourself? The way you introduce yourself says a lot about you.
SOME…. Tell you their life story.
SOME…. Ask questions about the other person.
SOME…. Wait to be introduced.

Whether it is on a RESUME, or at a PARTY, or your FIRST DAY at a NEW SCHOOL, there are times when we have to introduce ourselves.

The way that JAMES introduces himself tells us that he possesses the character trait of HUMILITY. Today we want to learn about that character trait so that we can apply it to the way that we relate to others.

The way that James in UNLIKE the Christian businessman who was visiting a church was asked to give his testimony. He shared the following: “I have a fine family, a large house, a successful business, and a good reputation. I have plenty of money so I can support some Christian ministries very generously. Many organizations want me on their board of directors. I have good health and almost unlimited opportunities. What more could I ask from God?”
As he paused for effect, a voice shouted from the back of the auditorium, “How about asking Him for a good dose of humility?”
(Lou Nichols, http://www.family-times.net/illustration/Humility/201517/)

So, What do we know about the author of the book of James?
The only personal information is that he is “James, a servant of God.” (James 1:1)

There is not a uniform opinion on the THEME of JAMES. I believe that the best way to summarize the theme is that James is writing primarily about “Steadfast Faith.” We will focus on this theme as we study the book in the coming months.

The first question to settle is concerning the author. There are FOUR men named James in the New Testament. Which one is the author of this book? It seems that the author was well known among by the audience. He gives no information about himself, indicating that the readers who were “scattered abroad” (1:1) knew who he was.

Of the four men bearing this name in the New Testament, the only one who fits the details and the timing of the book is James, the ½ brother of Jesus.

James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John (Mark 1:19) was martyred for his faith (Acts 12:1-2).
James the son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18) is not mentioned elsewhere.
James the father of Judas (not Iscariot; Luke 6:16) is not mentioned elsewhere.
Only James, the half brother of the Lord was known weel enough to qualify as the author of James. J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 814–815.
What Do we Know About James?
He was one of Jesus Brothers. We find James at Capernaum. Matthew 12:46 (ESV) “While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.
At this time, he is NOT a believer! John 7:5 (ESV) “For not even his brothers believed in him.”

The event that changed James was the Resurrection. He was a witness to Christ’s resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:7 (ESV) Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

James was with the disciples in the upper room, awaiting the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:14 (ESV) All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Paul visits James after he sees Jesus. Acts 9:26–29 (ESV) And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him.

And in Acts 15:12-21, we find that James is the HEAD of the Jerusalem Church! Acts 15:12–13 (ESV) — 12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me.

He was STILL in Jerusalem during Paul’s missionary missions. Acts 21:18–19 (ESV) — 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

He was regarded as A Pillar of the Church in Jerusalem. Galatians 2:9 (ESV) — 9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

JOSEPHUS informs us that James is martyred in 61 AD.

What do we Learn about Humility from James?
1. The HUMBLE are happy to SERVE. James’ describes himself only as “servant”
Jesus was a servant
Christ’s greatest lesson on leadership.
Matthew 20:25–28 (ESV) — 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 23:9–12 (ESV) — 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

2. The humble do not need self promotion.
James does not write, “James, brother of the Lord Jesus….”

Proverbs 27:2 (ESV) — 2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

James’ closeness to Jesus comes through. He uses many metaphors. Having learned from the ministry of Jesus, James speaks much about nature
(1) 1:6 “wave of the sea”
(2) 1:6 “tossed by the wind”
(3) 1:10 “wild flower”
(4) 1:11 “sun … with scorching heat”
(5) 1:11 “the plant … blossom falls”
(6) 1:17 “the heavenly lights”
(7) 1:17 “shifting shadows”
(8) 1:18 “firstfruits”
(9) 3:4 “ships … driven by strong winds”
(10) 3:5 “a great forest is set on fire by a small spark”
(11) 3:7 “animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea”
(12) 3:12 “can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?”
(13) 3:18 “sow in peace [and] raise a harvest of righteousness”
(14) 4:14 “you are a mist”
(15) 5:2 “moths have eaten your clothes”
(16) 5:4 “the cries of the harvesters”
(17) 5:7 “the farmer waits for the … crop”
(18) 5:7 “how patient he is for the fall and spring rains”
(19) 5:18 “the heavens gave rain”
(20) 5:18 “the earth produced its crops” J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 817.

He quotes frequently from the Sermon on the Mount

Uses illustrations about money

3. The Humble have the confidence to complete their mission from God. Even though James REJECTED JESUS while he was alive, he was humble enough to recognize that he was God’s servant.

4. The Humble will be vindicated.

We find many lessons on Humility in the book of James
A. Wisdom comes from God. James 1:5 (ESV) — 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
B. Lowly boast in his exaltation. James 1:9 (ESV) — 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
C. Good gifts come from God. James 1:16–17 (ESV) — 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
D. Don’t show partiality. James 2:1–3 (ESV) — 1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”

E. The most freqeunt phrase in James is the phrase “My brothers.” 1:1, 2, 16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:1, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9, 12, 19.
1. 15 times in 14 verses!
2. At least once in each chapter!
3. James is a BROTHER. Not a MASTER

Humility is a verifying character trait.
A. You can’t fake humility
B. Humility verifies that you honor others above yourself
C. Humility verifies that you give God the glory for what happens

Jeremiah 9:23–24 (NIV84) This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

James introduces himself as “A servant of God.” Although he had much about which to brag, he used his words to encourage others.