A Word From Our Pastor
The Book of James
We are currently in the book of James, a book dating back to the early church around AD 100. It is a letter written to believers forced to leave Jerusalem during the persecution that followed Stephen’s death. These Christian Jews were scattered throughout Judea, Syria, Cyprus, Antioch – and all over the world. They no longer had contact with the Apostles or James to instruct and encourage them.
Meanwhile, the religion of some was becoming a superficial formality. Discriminatory practices among them revealed a lack of love and, along with bitterness and a bad attitude, they were falling back. Reports to that effect had reached James in Jerusalem. In response James addressed the Jewish believers with a letter. He wrote, in effect, “as Pastor in absentia, I urge the people to make the needed change in their lives and in their relationships with Christ.”
Keep in mind that James led the church in Jerusalem during a very difficult time. It was a poor church, so much so that Paul had taken up an offering for them. Also, there were many Christian Jews in Jerusalem who still held to the Old Testament law. The temple and its services were still in operation. (Acts 21:20). In Jerusalem, there were saved people who had come to a knowledge of the true Messiah and become believers in Jesus, but they were still in the shadows of the law.
One of the major problems James identified was a failure, on the part of many, to live what they professed to believe. For example, the inability of some believers to control their tongues was encouraging fighting and division in the assembly. Looking back, we see the state of the church James pastored being very similar to that of today’s Christian church.