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Friday, 18 November 2011

Day 323: the letter of James

A Gentile church and the Jewish letter.  
Church established at Antioch
Acts 11:19-24
Paul brought to Antioch
Acts 11:25-26
Gift sent to Jerusalem
Acts 11:27-30
James (John’s brother) killed
Acts 12:1-2
James’ letter written AD 45
The letter of James: Temptations try faith
James 1:1-15
God’s good gifts
James 1:16-18
Doers of the word
James 1:19-27
No respect of persons
James 2:1-13
Faith and deeds
James 2:14-26
Use of the tongue
James 3:1-12
True wisdom
James 3:13-18

At last Gentile church is established at Antioch. Barnabas has the heart to rejoice and see it as God’s work, and he remembers Saul, and fetches him to work at Antioch. So Barnabas has the vision that Saul, the arch-Jew, might be the perfect person to work with Gentiles.
These Gentile christians take it upon themselves to support the Jerusalem church in their hardship. They raise a collection which they send to Jerusalem. Persecution is fierce, and James, John’s brother is executed and Peter, again, arrested.
So this is the backdrop for James’ letter. James, the brother of Jesus, had emerged as the leader of the church in Jerusalem. In many ways he’s like his brother – he writes as Jesus used to speak: pithy, direct, uncompromising. He’s not impressed by worldly show – he tells people off for showing favouritism. He strongly insists that real faith must show itself in action, (reminds me of the parable of the two sons) he warns people not to let their tongues do harm (reminds me of Jesus saying “what comes out of a person defiles him”) and he points the way to true wisdom, coming down from heaven from God.  

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