Faith Tested True

A Study of the Epistle of James

 

Introduction

 

What is faith? What is a life of faith like? How can my faith be built up and made strong? These are some of the questions this short but powerful epistle (or letter) of James considers. It’s important that we know that our faith is real and truly the kind of faith that is pleasing to God. Faith in God is what gets us through life and makes us useful to God.

A faith untested is a faith that cannot be trusted. But a faith that is tested true is trustworthy. Faith is like a muscle; in order to grow strong, it must be worked. James writes about the training that God uses to strengthen tests our faith until it is true and in line what He intends and requires it to be. And then James pains a practical picture of what such faith that is tested true looks like.

In the Word for Today Bible introduction to this epistle Pastor Chuck Smith states the following:

            James is perhaps the most practical book in the New Testament. Although it contains         some important doctrinal teachings, it is mainly practical advice on how to live the Christian life. This book addresses the prejudices that we are so prone to hold. It           addresses issues about money, the tongue, pride, strife, and so many other practical issues            we face on a daily basis. James communicates that the Christian life should not just be a             belief system and philosophy to which we give mental assent; rather it is a way of life. It   is something to be believed and acted upon. . . . If our faith doesn't result in evidence of a      changed life, then that faith is dead. Fruit follows faith; obedience follows belief. [1]

 

It's good to read through a portion of scripture a few times in order to get an overview of it and see the context clearly.  A detailed outline of the Faith Tested True found in the epistle of James could be as follows:

 

I.                   Why is Faith Tested? To make it Trustworthy – 1:1-8

 

A.    The one providing testimony – 1:1

1.      James is the author of this epistle – 1:1a

2.      James is a “bondservant” – 1:1b

3.      James is a bondservant who serves “God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” – 1:1c

4.      James writes his testimony to the diaspora – 1:1d

 

B.     The Purpose of Testing – 1:2-8

 

1.      Trials are God’s means of testing faith – 1:2

a.       The good testing trials does to faith should cause us to be joyful 1:2a

b.      Trials that test take “various” forms – 1:2b

2.      Testing trials produce patience – 1:3

3.      Testing trials produce Trustworthy faith when we patiently allow them to work – 1:4

4.      Wisdom for how testing trials produce spiritual maturity should be sought for from God – 1:5-8

a.       If you lack wisdom ask God for it – 1:5a

b.      God gives wisdom liberally – 1:5b

c.       God gives wisdom “without reproach” – He won’t chastise you for asking for wisdom – 1:5c

d.      Ask God for wisdom and it will be given – 1:5d

e.       Ask God “in faith” for wisdom – 1:6

                                                                                                  i.      Ask in faith – 1:6a

                                                                                                ii.      Ask without doubting – 1:6b

1.      To doubt is to be unstable like wave of the sea – 1:6c

f.       Asking God anything faithlessly with a “double-mind” results in unfulfilled requests – 1:7-8

 

II.                What does a Tested True Faith Look Like? Examples of Trustworthy Faith  – 1:9 – 5:6

 

A. Trustworthy Faith has a proper perspective on worldly wealth – 1:9-11

B. Trustworthy Faith endures temptation successfully – 1:12-15

C. Trustworthy Faith knows every good and perfect gift in life comes from God 1:16-18

D. Trustworthy Faith is self-controlled – 1:19-20

E. Trustworthy Faith obediently applies the word of God in life – 1:21-25

F.  Trustworthy Faith has pure and undefiled religion – 1:26-27

G. Trustworthy Faith is fair to all and unprejudiced – 2:2:1-13

H. Trustworthy Faith is evidenced in tangible works – 2:14-26

I.  Trustworthy Faith controls its words – 3:1-12

J. Trustworthy Faith relies on heavenly wisdom – 3:13-18

K. Trustworthy Faith is not proud or self-centered – 4:1-6

L. Trustworthy Faith submits to God and resists the devil – 4:7 – 5:6

1. Trustworthy Faith is submissive to God – 4:7a

2. Trustworthy Faith resists the devil – 4:7b-10

a. Trustworthy Faith draws near to God – 4:8a

b. Trustworthy Faith cleanses outward works – 4:8b

c. Trustworthy Faith purifies its heart inwardly – 4:8c

d. Trustworthy Faith is genuinely remorseful for sin – 4:9

e. Trustworthy Faith humbles itself before God – 4:10

3. Trustworthy Faith doesn’t speak evil of others – 4:11-12

4. Trustworthy Faith relies on God’s will for each day – 4:13-16

5. Trustworthy Faith acts on opportunities to do good – 4:17

6. Trustworthy Faith isn’t riches oriented – 5:1-6

 

III.             Trustworthy Faith is Triumphant Faith – 5:7-20

 

A. Trustworthy Faith is triumphant faith because it patiently waits for Jesus’ return – 5:7-12

B. Trustworthy Faith is triumphant faith because it is prayerful – 5:13-18

C. Trustworthy Faith is triumphant faith because it holds others of faith accountable – 5:19-20

 



[1] Chuck Smith, Word for Today Study Bible (Costa Mesa, CA: Word for Today, 2012) page 1597. 

 

 

# Chapter Title Listen
1 James 1 Faith Tested True Part 1  Part 2
2 James 2 Faith Tested True  Listen
3 James 3 The Power of the Tongue Listen
4 James 4 Trustworthy Faith Understands it is in a Spiritual War Part 1 Part 2
5 James 5 Trustworthy Faith is Triumphant Faith Listen