What would you expect to hear in a sermon series preached by the brother of Jesus? This is what some believe the book of James started out as: a set of notes collated from messages preached by James, the brother of Jesus, sent out in letter form to persecuted believers who were in need of encouragement.
James was one of the pastors of the church in Jerusalem. The aim of his letter was to help struggling believers live out their faith in practice. James therefore reads more like a manual for life than a theological textbook. Jumping from one topic to the next, it is refreshingly practical and concise. James doesn’t waste words or mince words. He’s direct and to the point. And his message is simple: true faith is lived inside out.
James refuses to let us reduce faith to sterile truth or private belief. He insists that saving faith always shows itself in changed living, particularly in the way we relate to others. Genuine Christians don’t just know the truth they live out the truth. Like dye poured into a wash, the gospel should colour every area of our lives.
Whatever our fears, frustrations or failures from the past year, James calls us to reset our faith for the season ahead by recommitting to living it inside out.