Ep 41-Marks of a Mature Christian
Hi there Tom Mahairas . We’re gonna be having a discussion with Vicki, my wife on this whole subject of spiritual maturity, you know, trials from the outside temptations from the inside. How do you deal with it? And we’re gonna look at that in the first chapter of the Book of James as we get into the discussion on this whole new series on how to grow up as a believer and really deal with sin from within and the pressure and the and the trials from outside. Hi there we are gonna start a series now called spiritual maturity, marks of the mature christian. And we’re gonna use the epistle to James to to really gather these thoughts and that’s uh that’s the book that God has given us beautiful insights from this book that are gonna help us to grow in the test that we experience from the outside the uh tests that we are the temptations that we experience from the inside. And we’re gonna go through the chapter right now, Vic and I are going to discuss some of this the first chapter, the 2nd 3rd, 4th, fifth chapter. And what are the marks of a spiritual mature christian. But let’s just have a little discussion here in terms of growth, the christian life. We we we are constantly challenged. You know, after many, many years time is not a a monitor for really seeing whether you’re spiritual or not because you could be, you could be An old Christian in terms of time? 2030, 40 years, but still be immature, is that, is that correct? All right. There’ll be a child of the faith instead of a father or mother of the faith? So what are the signs? The marks of a spiritual believer? When you’re looking for marks of a mature christian? Well, he’s he’s looking to God, he’s patient in the midst of his trials. He’s using the scriptures in the temptation time of his life, just like christ did. And he taught us to use the word of God to battle against the spiritual battles that we have internally. Yeah. So we’re gonna look at the Book of James, The epistle of James. That’s a general epistle. And we want to also hear some uh brief comments about the introduction here. Vicky’s gonna read that from john Macarthur, We have several books. We use spirit. So Deonte says, Hebrew greek study bible. We use john Macarthur. Study bible. We used David Jeremiah study bible Tony Evans, many wonderful teachers. But then we have other books like the message uh you know by Eugene P. Peterson, we’ve used that. Beautiful and uh we also have the new testament in modern english Bye. Uh J. B. Phillips. And so maybe we can begin just to read the J. B phillips translation for a few verses and then jump into the background of the book? Just what we’re looking at. Could you do that when all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives. My brothers don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends realize they have come to test your faith and producing you, the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until the endurance is fully developed and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if in the process, anyone does not know how to meet any particular problem. He has only to ask God who gives generously to all men without making them foolish or guilty, that he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom would be given to him. That’s fantastic. I love that. That you look at them as friends in disguise. They are not your enemies. The pressures of life yesterday, you know, I I was uh, I, I don’t even know if I was speeding a little too much. I was doing about 70 and a 65. My uh, an hour in the new york state thruway and a truck came over, pushed me out of the way and was very, very dangerous. But it caused me to really be conscious of everything around me. You know, when you experience a trial, you begin to be more observant in your life. Hey, what’s going on? You know, is where’s this coming from? And what can I do about it? Uh, last week, the same thing happened, Somebody speeding on the highway again. I mean, these are just physical things that we experience, but trials can come from different places in the greek language and modern greek. We have a saying, me, me, me paparazzis don’t don’t bother me. Well, that word paparazzo is the word for trial or temptation. Same word. Two different applications and context of using that word. Let’s jump in right now to john macarthur and and find out what he says about the introduction to this book. And then we’ll get into uh, the outline. So this is a general epistle and all the general epistles except for he bruises named by the author. And there were only four men in the new testament. That could possibly be this James and only two really are candidates. So the people have not really seriously considered James the less the son of el fetus or James, the father of judas. Uh, not as scary it, but some have suggested James, The son of 70 and brother of John, that was in Matthew 4 24 but he was martyred very early on. And that was in the Book of Acts. And it tells us, uh, that was X 12 X 12, but I’m not sure what year that is. Um, and then That leaves only the oldest brother half brother of Christ in Mark 63. The bible tells us about him, I’m gonna do Luke chapter four because it’s very, it’s it’s the parallel passage, but it’s fantastic to me to realize that Jesus Christ in his own home really, uh, was was obscure. They didn’t really understand his brothers and sisters did not know that here was God in the flesh. In fact it says about mary that she harbored these things in her heart. Even the miracles that he was doing like the miracle in kenya, I’m just amazed that you can live with somebody for 30 years and really not know who that person is. It, it goes to show us that how, how uh how unbelieving the heart can be even when jesus christ was living right there with his brother James and the other brothers and sisters. But go ahead and read what it says there. It says when jesus was in his own country and his disciples followed him when it was sabbath had come, he began to teach in the synagogue and many hearing him were astonishing. Where did this man get these things and what wisdom is this which has been given to him that such mighty works are performed by his hands. Is this not the carpenter? The son of mary and the brother of James, Joses, judas and Simon and are not his sisters here with us. So they were offended at him. So he had, he had three other brothers according to that, write their name and James was the older one just read that list again, It says in Mark Chapter six verse 3, is this not the son of mary And brother of James, Josie’s Judas and Simon. So he had four brothers and now are not his sisters here with us and are not his sisters here with us. I don’t know all their names, their names are not there. Okay. But then you go to luke chapter four and it says he returns in in in uh, in uh, chapter 14, jesus christ returns to galilee in the power of the spirit. This is after he had fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. And the bible says In verse 16, he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up as was his custom. That word is Ethos, which is really his, his character, who he is. You know, they’re uh Aristotle talked about the ethos and the pathos and the logos, these three uh thing, these three things that go on when you’re speaking and communicating. Two people, you need to have your character, you need to have the, not only the ethos but the pathos, the passion and also you need the lowest the insights that you’re going to be sharing. But here it says he talks about his custom, his ethos, the way he lived. This was not a one time deal. He would go to the synagogue every single week and his brothers and his sisters were also doing that. So this is their synagogue in Nazareth where they grew up. And uh, so obviously the family is also there. It doesn’t mention it, but I’m assuming because this was also their pattern and the bible says he entered the synagogue on the sabbath and stood up to read verse 17 luke for 17 and in the book of the prophet Isaiah had been handed to him and he opened the book and found the place where it was written. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release the captives recovery of the site of the Blind to set those who are downtrodden to proclaim, to set them free to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. And uh everyone’s looking at him and he was speaking so well in verse 22 and they were wondering and uh it says uh his gracious words which were falling from his lips. And then he began to talk about how God had visited gentiles and how he used gentile women to perform miracles. And then this admiration turns into rage In in verse 28 and all in the synagogue filled with rage. And they were and they as they heard these things and listen to what it says now. And it says it says they rose up, they cast them out of the city, they led him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built in order to throw him down off the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went his way now listen, where is where are his brothers? Where are his sisters? Where’s his family? Wait a minute you see James is writing this epistle? This general epistle and all this is in the background growing up with jesus watching jesus and how he handled situations um being a carpenter, working in the carpentry shop, meeting people, talking to people all the perfection that came the virtue that float from jesus christ because in another passage of scripture, it says he did all things well. So I’m just, I’m just impressed Vickie that here is the synagogue where he grew up, his family that knew him so well here they’re not believing the passage that you read, they, you know, they’re not really believing that this is the messiah and and when we understand what is going on, we realized wow, wow and and now this same uh James the brother, the half brother, uh the oldest half brother of jesus christ is is writing an epistle and a lot of that epistle has to do with what a mature christian looks like because he had a great visual in jesus christ what that person looked like. And so if we’re going to go through the chapter divisions this person is patient and testing chapter one, Trials on the outside the 1st 12 verses temptations on the inside 13 4 to the end and then he is also he practices the truth chapter two and uh faith and love faith and works. That’s what chapter two is all about. Why don’t you pick up the chapter divisions Vicky Chapter three has power over his tongue. He exhortation 31 through two, illustration 33 to 12 and application 3 13 to 18. And then we’re gonna look at. Of course the only difference is here is here they’re just starting the argument now. Here they’re actually full blown in the argument behind us here and then the fourth one is he is a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. Chapter 43 Wars three Enemies three. Admonitions. And then Vicki picked that one up. He’s prayerful in trouble in chapter five. In his economic troubles, physical troubles, national troubles and church troubles. There were four words. And and by the way that outline along with this little break up was from my friend And Mentor Warren W were Zombie who has been, I heard him teach this book 50 years ago when I was at word of life island as a teenager and I can still remember the illustrations and the applications to my life and learning and growing and uh listen to what Warren says here. Turning trials into triumphs. If we’re going to turn trials into triumphs, there are four imperatives to obey and Vicki, why don’t you go through them? The first word is in chapter one verse two, Count or consider it. He yelled me right, he yelled at count, consider or having a joyful attitude two, Nog Unesco and understanding mine, let is the word the a surrendered will and ask a tail a believing heart. Now this I think is so important that if we’re going to understand when trials come into our life, we need to look at them like phillips said J. B. Phillips. And then here even in the message with Peterson and how he said it. Let me just read it to you. He said consider it shear a a sheer gift. Consider it a sheer gift. Friends when tests and challenges come at you at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith is forced into the open and shows its true colors. See testing and trials expose us to truly who we are in our ethos and our character in our inner being. It shows whether you’re true and genuine believer or you’re not. You’re the you’re gonna go through the pressure. Like the four kinds of ground that the seat falls on. You’re going to go through the pressure. You eventually wind up being good ground that produces fruit. Notice what else he says here. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let let it do its work. So you become mature and well developed. Not deficient in any way. Eugene H. Peterson. Great paraphrase to the scriptures. I love it. Yes, Vicky the word gale may yet do we have a clearer definition? Let’s go to the, to the this one here, go for it. So um this is really an interesting word because it says consider a count It all joy hot out which we thought comes from Grace comes from grace. When you encounter these various trials, these tests in your life knowing that the proof of your faith produces this this gale may, which is a very interesting word. It’s to lead from ago, properly lead the way as a chief, a person, Hagemann, a governor or an official or even in your thought life. So God is telling us every day when we wake up we’re going to start the day with this thought, I’m going to consider it joy in my life. Whatever I’m gonna face today, I’m going to have a positive attitude in my life today. Yeah, you know that is so important. But let’s go back to the slide that we just left because these are what does it say here? It’s there there four imperatives. This is the way you there’s your philosophy of life, this is the way you live your life. This is the way you are uh going to think when you wake up in the morning, you can’t wait for the trial to come. You can’t wait for the pressure to be there. And then all of a sudden say, what did God say? You have to immediately even before anything comes know that God is in charge of everything in my life And that’s why Romans eight and 28 it says and we know that God causes all things to work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. You know, and the purpose of God may not be my comfort. It may be my character development, right? And so that’s why these are the uh imperatives. He yelled at unesco there at D. O. A. A a joyful attitude and understanding mind a surrendered will and I believe in heart and that’s what you and I have to ask every day. Do I have a joyful attitude when pressure comes? You know, I get a flat or somebody hits my car again? Car illustration, I get sick. What are some of the other things that can happen problems in your home? You’re having a fight with somebody. No, not me, not you, I’m talking about the kids but you know, you’re you’re constantly having to be alert that our enemy the devil prowls around seeking to devour us, that’s his plan and God says I’m going to come and give you the wisdom, I’m gonna give you the inner strength, I’m gonna give you through prayer and the word of God, the power to be an overcoming. It’s interesting, it says, you know, school, which is experiential knowledge. So we need to through experience, understand that what’s happened in the past, God has used many pressured experiences great trials, you know, to build my faith and so I can I can have some experience in the in the development of maturity in my life. Absolutely. You know, and a surrendered will boy, that’s a big one. I mean, if you, if you are going to take the reins by yourself, I’m gonna do my will, you know, and that’s why jesus christ in luke chapter nine in verse 23 said if anyone is going to follow me, he has to deny himself daily and pick up his cross and follow me and and that’s so very important. And then finally a believing heart when you’re praying and asking God, it’s not like, well, I hope you’re gonna do something. It’s like God really knows that we’re going through what we’re going through and he will answer our prayers and meet our needs because his desire is to create the image of jesus christ in us through the pressures, the external uh pressures testing in our life that comes from the outside. Hi there, this is tom we’ve been talking with Vicki concerning the spiritual maturity and how to grow up as a believer. We’ve been looking at the marks of a christian, a true grown up because we’re going to be going through all kinds of pressures from the outside. We have temptation from the inside and that’s what the whole chapter division of the book of James is about the true spiritual mature believer is patient and testing chapter one, he’s got trials on the outside verse one through 12. He’s got temptations on the inside uh 13 to 27 He practices the truth in chapter two. He’s also has power over his tongue in chapter three. And of course this is when they don’t have power over the tongue. And then chapter four, he’s a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. And then in Chapter five, he’s praying through the troubles. Now these chapters have been given to us. This letter was written to the Christians that would disperse throughout all of that first century. The 12 tribes gone everywhere in the world because of the persecution and what we want to do right now is look at the background, notice what it says. It James 1, 1 James a bond servant, Abdul Aziz. He doesn’t say the oldest half brother of jesus. I’ve known Jesus all my life, he doesn’t use his relation als because he’s a sibling of jesus christ. He doesn’t use that level of relationship, but he’s Humble. He’s a zulus, used 106 times in the new testament. Uh, that speaks of someone doing the wishes of his master, even going against his own personal wishes and desires. It says James bond servant of zulus of God and of the Lord jesus christ. He uses the whole title, curious is Sous Cristos, the Lord jesus christ To the 12 tribes that are dispersed. Now he’s talking to these 12 tribes who are in the dispersion, the diaspora. This is really the context and the whole background of the whole book and it’s so important for us to remember that James later on became a believer when he, when he believed that jesus was his savior died was buried Rose again. He believed that finally and he trusted christ as his own personal savior, not just as his brother, but his own personal savior from his sin. And then God used him and to become the pastor of the Jerusalem church. Uh, and it was an amazing thing of how God takes this guy who was very jewish and this book is the most jewish book in the new testament besides Hebrews. And uh, he gives us insights on how to deal with the pressure from outside writing to the people that have got the pressure because of all that they went through notice. Uh, it talks about this in first Peter chapter one Peter an apostle of Jesus christ to those who reside as aliens scattered throughout punches, Malaysia, Cappadocia CIA Bettina. These are some of the places they were scattered to. This is called the diaspora. Uh, it’s a soul of scattered seed, which is the root of the speed Irma. The seed properly, thoroughly scattered distributed seed. And that’s what this word means. The exporter properly refers to the Israelites in the old testament that will take it into Babylon. Uh, the, the displacement and then the dispersion Uh, that went all over the world. In fact Jesus was accused here in John 735, the Jews that said to one another, where does this man intend to go that we would not find him. He’s not intending to go to the dispersion, the diaspora among the Greeks and teach the Greeks as well. So the jews living outside of Israel going to the colonized world, that was the diaspora, there were about 50,000 jews living in Rome, remember when they took them as slaves to build the coliseum there. And that’s what in the first century after Titus had destroyed uh Jerusalem Vincent in his uh study says that the captivity into Babylon is referred to and also the dispersion, the espada is referred to there in first peter one, the espera we saw that it was about four million that were dispersed everywhere. And then in X one we have this whole description, you shall receive power when the holy spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem. Samaria and judea and to the remote is part of the earth. They stayed in Jerusalem. They wouldn’t go. So God allowed the dispersion to come. And what happens instead of going from Jerusalem right there by the dead sea, near the dead sea there. Uh and they were supposed to go down to judea and up to Samaria. Uh and and a Galati and further, but they didn’t. And so God allowed this this persecution to come Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death, that was Stephen in chapter seven. And here in chapter eight on that day, a great persecution, the oak moss arose against the church in Jerusalem and they went, they were scattered where they go, the dispersion throughout the region of judea and Samaria. And and uh then again in Acts 13, the missionary journeys to the remotest part of the earth. And then again in Acts 13 1 through five, you you see where the cities that they went to and they began to go and then you had Paul’s first missionary journey. But the reason was God was testing a people for himself. They didn’t have to be in Jerusalem. But God allowed the pressure to push them out with the gospel. They were all gospel seeds. Each person who had believed on christ and God wanted them to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature Matthew 28 And verse 19 and 20 and here they were going. And this is why what James is talking about the pressures that he talks about in in uh testing their faith and the Erasmus of their faith. The testing of their faith. This was the dispersion that they were going to going into strange lands, learning strange languages, having strange customs and yet God was gonna use them to be able to share the love of God through jesus christ that he came was died on a cross for our sins was buried and rose again and they being jews believed him as their messiah now they were preaching him to the world so that the world that first century will could come to believe that jesus christ is the Lord, that’s how James starts fantastic book and he calls himself a slave of christ the oldest half brother of jesus, a slave of jesus christ His Lord, so is jesus christ. Your Lord James yeah Covas in greek James the oldest half brother of the Lord, jesus christ Says in verse one that he is a slave of God, the father end of the Lord, jesus christ curios, jesus christos you know and that is to me an amazing thing that this brother that once did not believe after the resurrection believed and called him his Lord, he became the pastor in Jerusalem and then later on was martyred in 62 A. D. For his Lord and savior. The Lord jesus christ, I hope jesus christ is your Lord and you can invite him into your very simply just cry out to God say oh father God thank you for loving me and jesus, thank you for becoming a man, you jesus christ my Lord come into my heart and forgive me and save me from all my sins in jesus name.