“HOME, JAMES ” (James 1:1)
Series: JAMES (Introduction) May 7, 2017 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor
“Today’s Special”: A Cow Funny
A farmer had been swindled several times by the local car dealer. One day, the car dealer informed the farmer that he was coming over to purchase a cow. The farmer priced his unit as follows:
Basic cow $499.95
Shipping and handling 35.75
Extra stomach 79.25
Two-tone exterior 142.10
Produce storage compartment 126.50
Heavy duty straw chopper 189.60
Four spigot/high output drain system 149.20
Automatic fly swatter 88.50
Genuine cowhide upholstery 179.90
Deluxe dual horns 59.25
Automatic fertilizer attachment 339.40
4 x 4 traction drive assembly 884.16
Pre-delivery wash and comb 69.80
FARMERS SUGGESTED LIST PRICE: $2843.36
Additional dealer adjustments: 300.00
TOTAL LIST PRICE (including options): $3143.36
“Home, James” is a famous saying – but originally that was not the entire saying. Can’t you hear the one saying it, desiring that someone named “James” take him home? Tradition has it that in the 1840’s, Queen Victoria of England would often be chauffeured around London. And when she was ready to head back to Buckingham Palace, she would address her chauffeur by saying, “Home” and then his last name. But the chauffeur at this time was a fellow named “James Darling”. So rather than cause a public display, she simply – and wisely – said, “Home, James”. Some reports say the entire saying was “Home, James, and don’t spare the horses”. A movie line says, “Once around the park and home, James”.
So we begin a new series of messages in the book of James. Have you read the entire book yet? 15 minutes is all it takes a slow reader like me! And “Home, James” is an appropriate title for today’s introductory lesson, as well as for the series. For the book of James is about a choice – do we live for Jesus as if we are Homeward Bound people, or do we live for the world and don’t make a difference with the brief life God has given us? PRAYER
#1. WHO JAMES WAS NOT
a. James, the brother of John (Matthew 10:1-4). What do we know about him?
(1). He was the son of Zebedee (Matt. 4:18-22) who, along with John, left their nets to follow Jesus
(2). He, along with his brother John, was given by Jesus the name “Boanerges”, which means “sons of thunder” – perhaps showing their violent personalities!
(3). He was part of the “inner circle” of ministry with Jesus, along with Peter and John
(4) Most importantly, he was “sold out” for Jesus. Along with John, he desired to sit at Jesus side in His kingdom. Jesus said that those positions were only for those who were willing to “drink the cup He was going to drink, and to be baptized with the baptism He was going to be baptized with.” (Mark 10:38ff). They both were willing to do that. And were they? John ultimately was exiled to the Isle of Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation.
(5). And James? Could he have been the author of this book? Look at Acts 12:1-3. This James – the brother of John – was put to death on the order of King Herod. So, no, this could not be the author.
b. James, son of Alphaeus (Matthew 10:1-4) – the list of the first apostles is the only mention of this “James”. He is never identified again outside of the gospels.
#2 SO, WHO JAMES WAS!
It has been important to eliminate the choices as to the author of this book. We are left with one more James, and we are left with both a Biblical help and an historical insight:
a. Biblical help
(1). An half-brother to Jesus. (Matt. 13:53-56) – wouldn’t you like to study a book written by someone who grew up with our Savior?
(2). An unbelieving brother. (John 7:1-5) – wouldn’t you like to study a book written by someone who struggled with faith in Christ?
(3). An eyewitness to Jesus’ resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-7) – wouldn’t you like to study a book written by someone who saw the resurrected Christ?
(4). An elder in the early church in Jerusalem. (Acts 15:12-21) – wouldn’t you like to study a book written by someone who became a church leader?
b. Extra-Biblical help
Tradition says that the elder James was known to be a prayer warrior. His knees were hard and calloused like camel’s knees. I’ve never seen camels’ knees, so I’m trusting my research on that one! And tradition says that before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70ad, Annas the High Priest brought him before the Sanhedrin, the ruling council in Jerusalem, and required him to recant his faith in Christ. He refused to deny Christ. He then was taken to the peak of the temple, the same place Jesus was taken by Satan. Again, he refused to deny Jesus. He then was thrown off the temple – and with his dying breath, on the ground once again he refused to deny his faith in the risen Savior – even to his death.
This book may bring you at the crossroads of your faith. You say you trust in the Lord Jesus as your Savior. That’s great! James will meet us there and give us the Christian behavior expected and the behavior not expected.
And then, in essence, he will ask each of us, “what are you going to do?”.
Let’s prayerfully look to God and commit each of us to Him for His using this book in our lives, for His glory in a most fresh and refreshing way!
Close in prayer