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James-Detailed Outline
A. Faith Can Overcome Trials
James 1:1-1:12 God Tests Faith by Trials.
Temptations are testings. Joy should be the result of trials. There is a purpose in trials; they are not trivial or meaningless. The joy follows. When faith is poured into the test tube of trials, the result is patience. Patience allows a believer to become perfect. Perfect is defined as one that has reached full maturation. If any lack wisdom in attaining to Christian maturity, let him ask of God wisdom in this direction. He is to ask without hesitation, with bold faith. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways the poor are contrasted to the rich. Riches will not give anyone eternal life. As the sun scorching the grass causes it to wither away, so the rich will fade from the earth. The thought here is that there is a reward for the man who endures testing and is approved (tried) afterwar
James 1:13-1:21 God Does Not Test Faith With Evil
No man is tempted with evil from God. God is incapable of being tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no man. A man is tempted with evil when he is trapped and hooked by his own lust (flesh). Desires of the flesh lead to sin, and sin to death. Sin gives birth to death in an unholy union. This is a warning. God never sends evil. He is good and He gives good gifts for He is the Creator. There is no variation, as the laws of creation reveal. Every good gift comes from God. God never changes. Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath. The anger of man is contrary to the will and work of God. Put away filthiness (of the flesh) and wickedness. The implanted Word is a preventative against the sins of the flesh.
James 1:22-1:27 God Tests Faith By the Word, Not by Man’s Words
“Be doers of the Word. The Word demands decision and action. To give only a mental assent to it is to rationalize, which leads to self-deception. The Word reveals the natural man in reality. To ignore the Word leads to tragedy. Work attentively and penetratingly to obeying the word. The Word leads to blessing and life. The tongue is the true index of the reality of religion. Real belief and obedience is loving others, serving them and don’t conforming to the patterns of this world.
B. Faith Can Govern Action Towards Others
James 2:1-13 God tests faith by attitude and action in respect of persons. Hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. Don’t be a spiritual snob. God can and does choose the poor to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom. The law is summed up in this statement, even as Jesus stated. Love thy neighbor as thyself. To discriminate between rich and poor is sin, and it makes a person a transgressor of the law. To break the law in one point makes one a lawbreaker. To break one law makes a lawbreaker as if he had broken any other law.
James 2:14-2:26 God tests faith by good works. Works follow saving faith. This is a practical illustration. Pious clichés and Christian verbiage are not the evidence of saving faith. There must be a vocation to go along with the vocabulary. James is speaking about saving faith. He is not speaking of the works of the law, but of faith. Faith is demonstrated to a skeptical world by works. Lip service is not the evidence of saving faith — even the demons believe. Faith without the fruit of faith is empty and futile as far as the world is concerned. Abraham is an illustration of saving faith. By offering his son, he demonstrated his faith. Abraham’s faith was made real. Abraham proved he had saving faith. Saving faith can stand the test of life. Rahab is another example of saving faith. Faith without works is like a dead body in a morgue.
C. Faith Can Disciple the Tongue
James 3 God tests faith by the tongue. Teachers have a great responsibility. The tongue is the index to the body. The tongue is a little member, but it needs to be controlled. The uncontrolled tongue is a forest fire, a world of iniquity, and it is set on fire of hell. Animals can be tamed — but not the tongue. The tongue is capable of praising God or blaspheming Him. The tongue lifts man above the animal world. Man can communicate with man and with God. Man can be two-faced, double-minded, and a liar; that is, he can say good and bad. No fountain gives forth sweet and bitter water, nor does a tree bear figs and olives. The tongue reveals genuine faith. Strife and bitterness are not the fruits of faith. An uncontrolled tongue produces envying and strife, which lead to confusion and evil work. True wisdom comes from above and produces fruit: purity, peaceableness, and gentleness. These things are the fruits of faith.
D. Faith Can Purify Character
James 4 Strife and turmoil are created by conflicts and overweening demands of the members of the body for satisfaction. Selfish desires lead to war. This spirit of strife is worldliness. This is not the Christian approach. The desires should be taken in prayer to the Lord to have them, satisfied, denied, or refined. Prayer requests are denied because they are selfish. The spirit of trying to get more rather than to give more is the spirit of the world and is the enemy of God. God says, “Love not the world.” This is one of many references that show God’s hatred of pride and His love of humility. The child of God must first of all be subject to God. Then he is in a position to resist the devil. The door to God is always open. There must be confession of sin. Certain conditions call for mourning, not for joy. Sin is never to be treated lightly. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. Don’t speak evil of another. Don’t judge others. Life is uncertain. Life is like a mist on a mountainside…uncertain, transient, and temporary. Our lives are in the hand of God. Man cannot boast…if he does, it is sin. Refusing to do the right is sin.
E. Faith Can Create Confidence in God
James 5:1-5:6 Riches are a care (rich warned): Money is not evil, but the love of money is. It is not the making of money, but the accumulation and abuse of riches that is condemned. The way in which riches are made is important. Don’t abuse the laborer. God condemns the riotous living of the rich in pleasure and in the satisfying of selfish lusts. God is doing nothing about the injustice of the world now, but He will straighten out everything at His coming.
James 5:7-5:12 Coming of Christ is a comfort: The coming of Christ will correct the wrongs of the world. Waiting for the fruit to ripen should be the attitude of the child of God. We are to be patient in view of the coming of Christ. Set your house in order; get your affairs straightened out before He comes and straightens them out Himself. The prophets are an example. They suffered. Job is an example of one who suffered. Be the kind of person who needs not to be under an oath to tell the truth. A believer’s word should be as good as his bond.
James 5:13-5:20 Prayer of the righteous is a power: The afflicted are to pray. The merry are to sing psalms. The sick are to do two things: (1) Call for the elders (officers) to pray, (2) Anoint with oil. Man is to use every means that God has provided, but it is the prayer of faith that will save the sick. Sins must be forgiven, that means confessed. Confess faults to one another, but confess sins to God. Elijah was the same sort of human being that we are, and God heard and answered his prayer. He controlled the weather for three years. James closes with a challenge…an unsaved person who is converted, will be covered.

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