And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Inner Man; Ephesians 3:14-22

Below you will find the sermon notes for Sunday October 19, 2014.
As posted these notes are in rough draft form, and may differ significantly from the actual delivered sermon.  When the sermon is prepared, often room is left for flexibility of delivery and time constraints.

The Inner Man Ephesians 3:14-21

Last week we covered Paul’s motivation and position of the heart to pray for the Church.
I do hope that this week you applied a likewise attitude, that you simply made room in your life to pray for the church.  This is crucial.  There has never been a more urgent time in North America to pray for the church.

Today I believe we need to take on Paul’s second concern of his prayer message to us, the need to be concerned with The Inner Man.

Let us read Ephesians 3:14-21

Paul’s concern is not about health, or even evangelism, but that as a man, one would be totally given over to God-in the Holy Spirit.  This is our goal.

The concern for the Inner Man is the concern for the spiritual.   It is well beyond the superfluous of the flesh.  It is a kingdom minded prayer that is concerned with the heart and very being of a man or woman.

Church fathers and Puritans called the care of the Inner Man- Soul care; the taking care of the very soul of people.  If you gain the whole world and yet lose your soul, you profit nothing.

What is the Inner Man?
The Inner Man is essentially who you are.  It is the seat of thought, emotion, and reasoning.  It is your heart nature and propensity toward sin or holiness.

People sometimes say, “I need to find myself,”  “I need to discover who I am.”  What this means is they are restless and empty.  They long to discover what will make them happy, what will take away their sorrow.  They try all sorts of manmade distractions.  Satan will even provide a few.  A self-seeker is usually on a course of finding how to best please the self. 

However, the inner man that Paul speaks of goes to the heart in a deeper fashion.  Paul addresses that longing of man, but he takes a short cut.  Rather than utilizing the resources of King Solomon to try every desire and be found lacking, Paul shows us in scripture that the only way of satisfaction in the Inner Man is to find Christ.  Paul shows that the heart is the root cause of all our longing, and by addressing the Inner Man one is made complete.

When we are born, our soul lacks Christ.  And we are helplessly unaware of that need.  This is the state of sinful man.  This person desperately needs Jesus;
  • ·         For faith
  • ·         To become rooted and grounded in love (Desire for Christ)
  • ·         For comprehension (Understanding of Christ)
  • ·         Knowing Christ (Experience)

The filling of Christ that is given prepares a man for verses 19 (complete in Christ) and 20 (Becoming a worshipper of Christ).

A failure to discipline the Inner Man , for the Christian, results in disaster.  As Christians, our Inner Man REQUIRES change.  The change from the old man to the new man requires action.

The Christian is quite the opposite of the fleshly man.  The Christian is completely aware of a need for Christ; the greater your spirituality, the greater your recognition of your need for Christ.
This is them evidenced in your soul by
  • ·         Reliance upon God
  • ·         Spiritual Fruits (Love, Joy, Peace, patience, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control)
  • ·         Humility and an aversion to talking about yourself.
  • ·         A solid prayer life
  • ·         A desire for the word of God
  • ·         A life of worship.
  • ·         Perseverance
  • ·         And giving grace and mercy to even those who do not deserve it.

Soul Care of your Inner Man requires;
  • ·         Confession of sin
  • ·         Repentance of sin
  • ·         Expressing the heart in prayer
  • ·         Honesty before God
  • ·         Thankfulness
  • ·         Rest
  • ·         Faith in God
  • ·         Love at all possible levels of Agape, Philleo love
  • ·         Cleansing your life from sinful influences
  • ·         Seeking God for direction
  • ·         Focusing on important issues rather than trivial
  • ·         Hope being placed in Christ rather than on worldly desires
  • ·         Standing on the promises of God.

Soul Care requires that the inner man be of great concern.  Religion cannot do that, neither can a lazier fair attitude. 

Do you not desire for your soul, the essence of who you are- to be complete in Christ?  To find joy?  Then, you must work for it.  Fight, sacrifice, pursue, and God will make a way. 

The Inner Man must yield to Christ.  You cannot love Christ and the world.  Flee the world and pursue Christ.

Christ saves and begins working on the inner man- You have hope.
  • ·         Romans 12:2 Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Essentially transformation of the heart.
  • ·         James 1 Ask of God and He will give you wisdom to stand under the trials of the day.
  • ·         Colossians, put off the old and put on the new.
  • ·         Pray without ceasing, is to keep your mind and heart constantly Kingdom Oriented.
  • ·         Philippians 4:8-9 Think on these things
  • ·         Mathew 6:33 Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.

The inner man finds his peace when He is mindful of the spiritual.  This is the bulk of Romans chapter 8.

All of these verses share the implied severity of a need to be disciplined in working our inner man to conformity with Christ.

Therefore, what will you do with your Inner Man?  How will you manage your own soul care?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Prayers of the Heart Ephesians 3: 14-21

For those interested, below are the notes from the sermon yesterday at Ekron Baptist Church.
They are in rough form, but contain enough information to jog your memory.

Prayers of the Heart Ephesians 3: 14-21

Paul bows his knees.
            More a heart position than a physical position.
            How do we address God?
                        We address God  based on two understandings.
·         What we know and believe about God
·         What we know and believe about ourselves

Think of Paul’s position, as a prisoner, yet praying for others.

Being one who intercedes for others he is not shy of telling them that he prays for them.
·         This encourages those whom you pray for.
·         It hold us accountable in prayer.
·         It gives us a chance for a rapport on the activity of God.
·         It leads to worship.  It is part of worship.
·         It opens prayer for and with one another.
·         It adds perspective on the relationships between each person.

His prayer is deliberate.
            Formal vs Casual
We can err on two extremes

Formal prayer- tends to focus on the right words.  It is fretful with constructs, methods, and being correct in all it says and does.  It treats God as someone who is distant.

Casual prayer- treats God like a common buddy. Lacks depth of thought.  Often is glib, forgetting the promises of God and our duty to God.

Prayer should be treated as a privilege to provide on someone else’s behalf. 
Prayer is a joy to seek out a holy loving God in order to express your love for someone in order to see their life grow even further.
·         It supports the weak.
·         It seeks holiness for all.
·         Prayer of this nature has great confidence in God, little in the flesh, but great hope for the future.
·         This prayer longs to have eyes to see and be awed by the working of God in His providence.
·         Prayer has a dependence upon God rather than on methods.

We can gather that his deliberate prayer is not once and a while, but persevering and repetitive.
Deliberate prayer takes its role seriously and believes it is essential to see God at work.

What does Paul pray for?
            Not himself.  He prays for the inner man of the Ephesians.
He prays for the things of the Heavenly Kingdom, the things spiritual, not physical.
            Too often we are caught up praying with our eyes on the world we can see, touch, taste, and experience.  But this world is not our home.  In prayer our eyes ought to be on the eternal.  We should be most concerned with the spiritual nature of man.
            Mind you, we do, can, and should pray for the physical.  But if that is all we pray for it seems that there is thus a lack of the spiritual in our lives. 
            What you pray about reveals the desires of your heart.
            An evaluation needs to be made.
·         How often do you pray?
·         How do you approach God, is it with bended knees of the heart?
·         What types of words do you use, formal or casual?
·         What is your concern in prayer?
·         Do you pray for sanctification?
·         Do you pray for things of the flesh?
·         Do you seek out the Heavenly promises?
·         Do you pray for your enemies?
·         Do you pray till the Spirit moves?
·         Do yu keep your eyes open afterwards to see the Hand of God move?
·         Do you use answered prayer to worship?
Paul prays that they would pray like him.  Thus he sets an example.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why Be a Church member: Members are Disciples Mt 16:13-27

Rough draft sermon notes for Sunday June 1, 2014.
Saints and friends, I am today again providing a copy of my sermon notes from which I will preach today.  These notes are in an effort to help you study further during the week.  The actual sermon may differ from what is written here.  It is my hope that you will be like the Berean church who took to task the preaching of God's word in comparison with the written Word.

Why Be a Church member: Members are Disciples
Mt 16:13-27

Last week: the seriousness of being a member, not faking your spirituality, Ananias and Sapphira as well as the Laodicean church of Rev 3.

The word church is Ekklesia, which means called out ones.

Members are disciples, like bricks in a building (1 Peter)  We play a role, but all need to do their part.

I. Membership in the Church involves Revelation from God
13 at Caesarea Phillipi   “Who do people say I am?”

14 John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah  all expected forerunners of the Messiah.

15 “Who do you say I am?”  Important question for us all.
Confession and Belief
Confession can be only head knowledge, but Belief is evidenced by action.

16 Peter “You are the Christ.”  This is a confession made by a revelation from God.
            Peter’s eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit.  He understood the signs of Jesus.
            Petros= pebble  Peter= rock  A play on words  Jesus is alluding to Peter becoming a changed person.  1 Peter 2:5-7

17 Blessed are you Rock, Is 51:1-2 making peter a founding father.
From here on Jesus begins fully teaching who He is.

18 On this rock (Read as change, confession) I will build my church.
Jesus says I not Peter will build HIS church.  Jesus alone is the architect, builder, and owner.  Ephesians 2:20-22
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,  in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,  in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Further:  Evidence that the church is not built on Peter,
Who is the greatest in the Kingdom, and Jesus summoned a little child.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 18:1-4)
Who is the greatest?
James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, *came up to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You." And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?" They said to Him, "Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to Him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. "But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." (Mar 10:35-40)

Gates of Hades will not prevail, Job 38:17, Is 38:10.  Death has no hold on those who belong to Christ.  But there is eternal damnation for those who build their kingdoms apart from God.

Not even death stops the church.  Persecution seems to weed out the Ananias’ and Sapphiras and the Laodiceans of the church, and it thrives by those seeing the True church.

19 I will give you the keys.  IS 22:22 reference.  Here authority is given to the leadership of the church.  The church is given authority to deal with sin, John 20:23.  The church is to discern and teach the scriptures.

20 Tell no one.  God is revealing to hearts who He is, this is a time for intense discipleship for those who have been following Jesus.  The cross is eminent, for the declaration of the revelation has proven that the Kingdom of God is at hand.

II. Membership in the Church involves the Cross
Jesus begins to speak of the cross.
22 Peter takes Jesus aside and rebukes Him for speaking of His death.
23 Peter in turn gets rebuked with a correction to how foolish his mindset was.
To think of the flesh is death, but the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

Peter was resting in his own assumptions.

“You are not setting your mind on God’s interests but on man’s.”
We must guard the mind, this is where the Laodicean church failed.
If He is the Messiah, we must logically follow Him, all else ends in judgment.
            Ananias and Sapphira did not follow the Kingdom of God
            The Laodicean church was in great danger of misrepresenting God

III. Membership in the Church involves Discipleship
24 “If anyone wishes to come after me”
Wishes equals desire (Heart issue)
Come equals a calling
After Me equals an exchanged life, complete commitment

Deny Self is the antithesis of self-esteem.  If you cannot turn from the pursuit of your own kingdom then you will never be a citizen of Christ’s.

Take up the cross-this is not what we often think it is in ‘cross bearing” (inconveniences, troubles, irritations)  often we misconstrue the problems of life in pity parties and woe is me drama.  Taking up the cross deals greatly with our heart attitude about life and the pursuit of Jesus.  It is not a show foe others to exalt us as Ananias and Sapphira did.  If we have to put our Christianity on display or tell people what a strong Christian we are then the odds are strong that we are not so spiritually mature.  Keeping a list of your record in the church is merely evidence of how you think highly of yourself and that you are indispensable in the kingdom of God.

Follow Me- Abide in Christ, active discipline of desiring God.  You will always follow what you love. (Sports teams, celebrities, hobbies, family, dreams, dream homes, status, accolades, rest, the crowd or approval from people you don’t even like)
Those who..
Wish to save their life will lose it  (read as you cannot save yourself)
Lose their life for Christ’s sake will find it (Read as life is only found in Christ, all else is death)

Mt 10:38, 16:24, Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23, 14:27

3 Final question based on God’s work in this passage
I ask you all today, Who do you say that Jesus is?
Is your life backing up His conditions of following as a disciple?
In judgment, are we being the church?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Receiving the Word of God and How to Listen to a Sermon

As I like to do when possible, here are the rough draft notes for today's sermon.

James 1:21 Receiving the Word of God and How to Listen to a Sermon

God’s word is a revelation of who He is.  It isn’t all about a list of to do’s it is about His character, revealed
by His will, His words, His actions.
God’s word does not change.
God’s word is inerrant.
The footnotes of your Bible are not the inspired word of God.
You are accountable to the Word of God, you will be judged accordingly.

Thus, God wants us to think about what He is saying in His word.  It is life to us, it is truth that sets us free, and it the standard by which we will be judged.

·         The Word of God is for correction, teaching, reproof,……
            All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2Ti 3:16-17)
Realize that God gave us His word that we would know Him and be given wisdom in living.

·         Expect to hear from God, expect to take away a benefit for the week ahead.  When we come to church, we should always, always expect a fresh word from God.  It is the preacher’s ultimate duty of the week.  Thus pray for your preacher.  Pray that his week is such that the word of God is alive in his heart and supersedes all worldly temptation of compromise, ease, and trendiness.  Often, the sermon is a direct result of your prayers for the pastor.

·         Do not quench the Holy Spirit.  Blatant participation in sin, division in the church, and all other forms of pride and arrogance will quench a move of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 51: 11, Ephesians 4:30,
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
(Rom 8:5-8)

·         Attitude- value the words of God above and beyond the preacher
Have an attitude of learning and participating in the life of the church.  The church is given and treasured by God for the growth of the saints, spiritually and numerically.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Eph 4:11-16)

·         Be a Berean- compare what was said to other scriptures. (Acts 17:10-12)  Is it true?
Distinguish between a man’s opinion and what God has said.  Don’t fall for personalities (Apollos, Paul,. Peter…1 Corinthians 1:11-13)

·         Be wise, Proverbs 1, Psalm 1, James 1, Colossians 3:16
Col 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

·         Be wary there are false prophets.2 Peter 2:1, Mt 7:15, 24:11 &24, Mark 13:22, Luke 6:26
1Jn_4:1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
I am quite ashamed at the way people flock after the newest book, teacher, film, or fad Christianity.  Just because it says "Christian," or is sold in the local Christian bookstore does not make it theologically sound.

The word of God is not subjective, you may disagree with God, but you will always be wrong.

Be willing to change your opinion on an issue

Find encouragement

Expect to be tested upon what you hear.
            Be doers of the Word.

Obey.  Simply put obey the Word of God.
            If you love me you will obey me.
By the way, knowing the will of God is easy, its is obedience that we often have trouble with. 

Prepare the night before
·         Have clothes ready
·         Find your keys
·         Find your Bible
·         Do not quench the Holy Spirit by indulging in what God says is offensive.
Have a morning devotional time to prepare your heart.
Attend Bible study hour or a small group during the week
Take notes
Talk about what you heard on the way home
Make immediate application-plan on being tested

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What is Sin Anyway? Sermon Notes

In keeping with an offer to help people on Monday review the Sunday sermon, the following notes are a rough draft format of what I will be working on for the message this week.  I have every intention of keeping track with these notes, but as too often happens, diversions, shiney things, and squirrels detract from my train of thought.  Therefore, the actual sermon preached and the notes prepared may differ.

What is Sin Anyway?

God never fathoms a relationship with a people aside from holiness.  “Relationship” is not a word used in the scriptures.  Relationship is a term man uses to grapple with trying to understand how a holy God could ever forgive sinners and make them His children.  What is in the scriptures is holiness, purity, and truth.  A holy God by nature seeks to sanctify those who will worship Him.

·         Genesis 3 (To be read to the congregation)
·         But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:21-26)
·         For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:20-23)
·         Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Rom 5:2-10)
·         Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1Co 15:1-5)
·         Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2Co 5:17-21)
·         This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1Jn 1:5-10)
·         Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (1Pe 5:8-9)

Sin is any failure to conform to the law of God in act, attitude, or nature.
Obedience= Doing what you are told, when you are told to do it, with a right heart attitude.
Sin can be commission (thou shall not kill), omission (You shall love the Lord your God), or construct of the heart (thou shall not covet).
The keeping of the law is summed up this way, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Sin is Godlessness; a failure to render unto God to glory that is His due.
Thus, sin is a worship issue.
Who do you worship?

You see, sin is powerful.
·         Its wages is death
·         It offers freedom yet in reality brings forth bondage and enslavement.
·         It creates an animosity toward God

Sin distorts truth; such as Satan tempting Adam and Eve, and even Jesus.
Sin works by deception, it perverts truth by having semblance of glory, but it is actually candy coated evil.
·         Sin challenges the truth of God within our hearts.
·         Sin redefines moral standards (Right vs Wrong)
·         Sin seeks to remove a sinner from the grace of Almighty God and His authority.

Sin involves an identity question.  People seek to “Find Themselves.” Which is really a question of “What satisfies me?” A question of personal enthronement.
For the Christian our identity is in Jesus.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Christianity that Moves from Perishing to Persisting James 1:1-25

A Christianity that Moves from Perishing to Persisting
James 1:1-25

Below are a few notes that I have taken upon reading through the first chapter of James. These are
rough notes and are being published for the purpose of being used for your own personal Bible study.

For the purpose of thought, I consider that many Christians are perishing in their Christianity; not as a loss of salvation, but a failure to grow or to be cultivated into fruit bearing.  To many examples exist of a man becoming Christians yet never demonstrating any evidence of the Holy Spirit changing his life.  As a matter of fact, without this evidence I am reluctant at all to call someone a Christian.  I strongly suggest at this point a reading of Matthew Meade’s book, The Almost Christian or the first chapter of Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor.

As disciples, we ought to be persisting for the evidence of perseverance.  This is the demonstration of God’s grace to renew our minds, break sinful chains, and to be addicted to nothing by being a bond-slave of Christ.  This is true discipleship.  Therefore, I share these notes from James chapter one as a herald to live your Christianity in a persistent manner with strength from God rather than the mediocrity of worldly influence.

1.1       The book of James is addressed to Christians.  Thus the directives given within are for our growth.

1.2       Count it all Joy when (in the midst of) various trials ( Good and bad events are opportunities and a trial in themselves)
            Trials are given continually.  The supposed absence of trials is often a time of peace so that one may rest and prepare themselves for future reliance upon God.  I strongly suggest scheduling times of retreat, getting away from the routine influences that seem to bring about trials, for the purpose of seeking God.  One great place for the entire family to do this is the camp ministry of Life Action Ministries.

The testing (That is part and parcel of the journey of life) of your faith
Produces steadfastness
 (Faith that holds, faithfulness, unmoved character, unswayed by circumstances, based on a sure foundation)  Do not be surprised at trials.  Prepare for trials scripturally, Psalm 119:105.
Let it have its full effect
 Don’t quit or shortcut, too often we give in too early (1 Cor 10:13).
When we give in early we fail to finish, this is why we often have trials over and over, until we get it right.
So that you may be
            Perfect and complete (That is like Jesus, Romans 8:29, Romans 12:1-2)
            Lacking nothing.  Notice God’s goal is much different than ours.  Often, the goal of man is happiness.  God sets the standard as our goal is His glory.  When we glorify ourselves it is a temporal joy that culminates in frivolity.  When we glorify God, as is our purpose, we actually receive a joy beyond expectation.
1.5       Thus If (In this situation you try and fail, try and fail) you lack wisdom (How then do I do this?) Then ask of God (Go to Him as the authority)
God gives generously
            That is He gives what we need, what is best, and He gives out of love.
            Properly seeking God is humbly submitting as abiding in love, as a child to his or her father.  Usually, as evidences later in James, we fail to receive because we ask amiss(James 4:1-11).  We tend to ask out of wrong motives.  James chapter one is all about the process of ordering our life unto God rather than our own enthronement.
It will be given
1.6       How shall we ask?
Asking incorporates our goals, attitudes, and understanding.
Ask in faith with no doubting
            Doubters are tossed by the winds, that is a lack of steadfastness.  Doubters are influenced by whatever blows this way and that.  This could be public opinion, the last opinion heard, emotions without logic, logic without emotions, ignorance, or any form of sway.  A man in this state is in a very sad state, he is perishing.  The world around him has a great influence.  The latest news sways his confidence and affects his hope.  He is driven by the winds of change.

We need wisdom thus we ask God, thus to ask God we need not to doubt, but we are asking because we are doubting.
Question: You need faith to get faith, but what if you have no faith?
Answer: This passage is written to Christians, thus they have faith as it has been given by God.  Their faith is based upon Jesus, not themselves.  Faith should never be based upon ourselves but upon God, His word and His promises.  Therefore, as James illustrates, to seek greater faith is to seek more of God.

A wind tossed person is such for many other reasons than lacking faith. However, being wind tossed is always a result of being swayed by influences other than the person of God.  Thus it is imperative to our faith that we know not just God’s word, but that we know Him through His word.  Do not read the Bible as a mere book of rules; read it as a revelation to His nature and character.

If you find yourself doubting, stop. Refuse to dwell on the doubt by going to God in prayer, seeking His word, and by talking to your pastor.  Go back to God and isolate the other influences of your doubt as being under His control.  Remember the sovereignty of God and the power of the Cross over death and sin.  The victory of Jesus is proven in the resurrection.

1.8       Otherwise, the double minded man is unstable.  That is to say, a double minded man is someone who is driven by winds of change and not the gospel.

1.9-11  Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
 the rich in his humiliation, for like the flowering grass/he will fade
            The rich man puts his hope in the temporary, the perishing pursuits of his wealth.

1.12     Blessed in the steadfast under trial
            When he has stood the test
            He will receive a crown of life.  Notice the rich man was clothed with temporary flowers, the lowly brother was tested in his poverty of circumstance and yet is now rewarded with a crown of exaltation.  This is a fulfillment of God’s promise, and that is a faith building blessing.

1.13     God does not tempt.
            God however can turn our temptation into trials that ultimately bless in the purposes of God.

1.14     Temptation come from within
            No one makes you angry, or causes you to lust, or sad, or whatever.  These reactions come out of our heart simply because they are within our heart to begin with.  No one makes you angry, they simply may bring an opportunity for you to vent your vexation.  You are not responsible for what happens to you, but you are responsible for your response.
Lured by own desire
            We are baited into sin by our own personal treasuring of what that sin offers.  If we treasure it we will go for it.

1.15     Desire, when conceived
            Desire is not sin. It is a part of the conception of sin, but we can defend against it.  Again, desire is not sin; only when it is allowed to develop does it lead to sin. 
Desire, if allowed to conceive gives birth to sin.
Sin leads to death.
The puritans would say, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

1.16     Do not be deceived (Realize that sin is a powerful enemy)
            Deception is the nature of sin.  Sin seeks to deceive, to lie, to give false promises, and to enthrone us either above or alongside of God.  Sin offers a pursuit of the world; it is a pursuit of wind driven waves.
We want/desire that which satisfies, that which makes us happy, we seek fulfillment.  God created you with a desire for satisfaction, knowing that it can only be fulfilled in Him.  Sin and failure come when we try to find satisfaction in anything other than Him.
This search for satisfaction is affected by our values, influences, our own heart, our pride, wisdom, knowledge, experiences, peers, and etc.  Think about how allowing particular influences affects your heart and mind.  Have you ever given thought to the means and habits by which you make decisions?  What is your process?  Where do you begin and end?  How are you ever changed?  Why are you steadfast?  Do you ever weigh consequences?  Do you consider short term and long term factors?
            God wants to give us satisfaction, it is His nature. Being God, He only gives what is 100% best; thus the best is Himself.
            So, God in giving, gives of Himself that we look to Him rather than creation.  This is the point of Romans chapter one.  Since earthly things do perish, God wants us not to fret, but to look to Him.  Sheep once having eaten the green pasture bare look to the shepherd as the means by which they we be led to greened pastures.

1,17     Every good gift and every perfect gift is from God, coming from Him.
No variation, no shifting shadow
            He does not change.  He is not driven by winds of change.  He is going to bless as that is His nature.  We do not influence His decision to bless, we simply ask in faith to receive.  This He is glorified when we put faith in Him.  Prayer does not change things to get God to do things.  Prayer changes us that we may then receive the blessing that God hold out before us.
            The battle is to be faithful to Him.

1.18     God works His own will, it is part of what it means to be God.
1.19     Know this
                        Our part is to be faithful and produce a heart that God can bless.
            Quick to hear (Use your ears, not your mouth, think and check facts, make sure you understand before proceeding)
            Slow to speak (Only use your mouth when needed)
Slow to anger (Anger is to be avoided)
Notice: all of these are a test that requires humility, wisdom, restraint, patience, and going to God before acting or finalizing a decision.
The anger of Man does not produce the righteousness of God.
            Man’s goals and means are often failures because
            1. Often they are not of God’s wisdom.
            2. They are influenced by wind driven waves.
            3. They lack hearing, speaking, and righteous motives.
God requires a righteousness in all situations, for these are the trials that we are being tested by.  Therefore, in every situation in should be clear that we are dependent upon God for wisdom.

1.21     Therefore, (See here how holiness is often the missing ingredient in our pursuits)
            Because we often react rather than seeking God, start to grow in faith, that is seek God’s wisdom, to….
            1. Put away all filthiness in life (Anything unrighteous must go)
            2. Put away rampant wickedness (Get rid of sinful habits.  Habits are those rampant or reactionary behaviors of our life that make up our character.)
            3. Put on, receive, with meekness (Humility, knowing your need of God, restraining your sinful desire to give opportunity to walk by faith.)

The implanted word
            His word, not our own
            His ways, we need change even in the little details.
This word, is what can save your souls.
            Mind you, James is talking to Christians, thus they are saved eternally, not losing their salvation.  However, many of their lives are shipwrecked by the continual living in sinful habits.

So often our souls fall into sin, they perish, fail to find God, simply because we are so caught up in our own hubris.  We operate out of our own abilities, our wealth, our experiences, our opinion that we are not quitters, that we are better than _________, that pride, or the esteem of our self simply fails to walk humbly before God.

Stop pretending, stop excuse making, blame shifting, it only keeps you as a wind driven wave.
Rather, put off the old self-reliance.
Put on being a doer of the word, not a hearer only.  A hearer has head knowledge, but never a heart change.

Hearers are content to look into the mirror of the word, but it is only taken as a vanity of the soul.

But, one who looks at the perfect law, the law of liberty..
            They see God’s word not as restricting but liberating.  They have found the faithful wisdom of God to bring freedom.
            This means abiding in God.  This brings about God’s blessing.  The crown of life, the saved soul.

Why are you perishing?  Like Peter drowning after walking on the sea.  Keep pursuing Jesus for a faith that persists rather than perishes.