Life-Study of Jamesby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In our Life-study of the Bible we have covered all the books of the New Testament except the books of James, Mark, Luke, and Acts. Of the twenty-three books we have covered thus far, ten are especially strategic: Matthew, John, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews, 1 John, and Revelation. We may also regard 1 and 2 Corinthians among the strategic New Testament books, bringing the number of these books to twelve.
I would encourage all the saints to have a thorough review of the twenty-three New Testament books we have covered in our Life-study. I would encourage you to read the Recovery Versions with the notes and cross-references and also to read the Life-study Messages on each book. If you do this, you will enrich yourselves and you will also enrich the Lord’s recovery. If we are saturated with these riches, we shall be able to share these riches with others in three ways: by preaching the gospel, by presenting the truth, and by ministering life. Then if you meet someone who opposes the Lord’s recovery, you will not need to vindicate or argue. Instead, do these three things: preach the gospel, present the truth, and minister life. But in order to do these things, we ourselves must first be equipped.
There is no doubt that the saints in the recovery love the Lord. But even though you love the Lord Jesus, you may not yet have the spiritual skill or the spiritual capital with which to preach the gospel, to present the truth, and to minister life. This is the reason I encourage you to gain the spiritual education and become saturated with all the riches contained in the messages on the various New Testament books we have covered. The more you are saturated with these riches, the more you will be equipped to preach the gospel in different ways to different people. You will also be able to present the truth to other Christians. Every genuine Christian loves the truth. If you present the truth to a fellow believer, he will be attracted by it. Many of us came into the Lord’s recovery because we were attracted by the truth. Furthermore, in addition to knowing how to preach the gospel and present the truth, you will be able to minister life by testifying to others how you have experienced Christ, the all-inclusive One, as your life and life supply.
The number of the saints in the Lord’s recovery in the United States is still small, only about eight thousand. But if all the saints in the recovery would be saturated with the riches of the Word, they would become living witnesses. Then the Lord’s recovery would have thousands of reporters, thousands of saints preaching the gospel, presenting the truth, and ministering life. Imagine what kind of work could be accomplished if we all were equipped in this way!
However, a good number of saints have not yet been equipped to preach the gospel, present the truth, or minister life. When these saints come in contact with others, it seems that they do not have the word to present to them, although they have the heart to do this. Even more are not able to minister life to others. This is the reason I encourage the saints to become saturated with the riches the Lord has given to us through the years. These riches are available for us in the Life-study Messages.
With this message we begin the Life-study of the Epistle of James. Believers have held different attitudes toward this book. Martin Luther, the great reformer used by the Lord to begin the recovery, said that the Epistle of James was an “epistle of straw.” However, certain Christians, especially some Chinese Christians, appreciate this book because it fits in with their ethical background, a background that emphasizes ethical and moral perfection. These Christians especially appreciate the book of James in the New Testament and the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. In the West, when the New Testament is printed separately from the Old Testament, it is often printed with the book of Psalms. But in the Orient, when the New Testament is printed separately, it often includes the book of Proverbs. It seems that Christians in the West like the Psalms, whereas Christians in the Orient like Proverbs.
According to the concept of some, the book of James is similar to the book of Proverbs. This similarity can be seen in the illustrations James uses in his Epistle: the surge of the sea (1:6), the flower of the grass (1:10), the sun with scorching heat (1:11). As we shall see when we come to chapter three, in dealing with the problem of the tongue, James uses twenty different items for his illustrations (3:3-12). In 4:14 James uses vapor as an illustration of human life, and in 5:7 he uses the illustration of a farmer waiting for his crop to ripen. These illustrations give the Epistle of James a proverbial character. Therefore, those who especially appreciate the book of Proverbs also appreciate this Epistle. As we shall see later in this Life-study, I also appreciate this Epistle, but I appreciate it for a very different reason.
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