James 1:2-4 - Joy and Trials PDF Print E-mail
News - Sermons
Written by Tim Black   
Wednesday, 01 October 2008 02:00

James: A Handbook on Holiness


Joy and Trials

James 1:2-4


General outline of chapter 1:


  1. The Way to Holiness: The Divine Perspective 1:2-27

    1. The Trial-Temptation Complex 1:2-18

      1. The Confrontation with Trials 1:2-8

        1. Joy and Trials 1:2-4

        2. Wisdom and Trials 1:5-8

      2. The Range of Trials 1:9-11

        1. The Trial of Poverty 1:9

        2. The Trial of Riches 1:10-11

      3. The Outcome of Trials 1:12-18

        1. Confidence in Trials 1:12

        2. Defeat in Trials 1:13-15

        3. Victory in Trials 1:16-18


James 1:2-4



2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,


3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.


4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.




  1. What are some ways you often respond to trials?




  2. Are trials a reason for joy? Why? Why not? Notice James says "when you fall into trials."


  1. Why does James say "Count it" all joy in v. 2? Consider Phil. 3:8.


  1. What does it mean to "Count it all joy?" Consider Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28.


  1. What results do trials bring about? Trials produce the t___________________________, which produces s_______________, which makes you p_______________________________. How does each thing produce the next thing?


  1. What is God's goal in your trials, according to v. 4?


  1. What is one better way for you to respond in the next trial you face? _____________________

James - An Outline PDF Print E-mail
News - Sermons
Written by Tim Black   
Wednesday, 17 September 2008 02:00

James - An Outline


We'll begin our study of the book of James with an overview of the book as a whole.  The outline below is taken from Henry Krabbendam's commentary, "The Epistle of James," privately published in 1995.


Introduction 1:1

    1. The Author 1:1a

      1. James, the brother of Jesus (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3; Gal. 1:19), leader of the Jerusalem church, presided at Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15; Gal. 1:19). Initially skeptical of Christ (John 7:5), but converted when Christ appeared to him after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7). Martyred in AD 62, thrown from the pinnacle of the temple.

      2. Date of writing: Probably before the Council in Jerusalem in AD 49; perhaps earliest NT book.

    2. The Addressees 1:1b

      1. Twelve tribes – Luke 22:30; Acts 26:7

      2. Dispersion – 1 Pet. 1:1; Acts 2:9-11; John 7:35

    3. Characteristics

      1. Content: Epistle, sermon, wisdom literature, diatribe, moral exhortation

      2. Construction: Separate preaching units loosely woven together by linked themes? Better: a unified guidebook on holiness.

  1. The Way to Holiness: The Divine Perspective 1:2-27

    1. The Trial-Temptation Complex 1:2-18

    2. The Word of God 1:19-27

  2. The Principles of Holiness: The Biblical Framework 2:1-26

    1. The Law as Substance of Holiness 2:1-13

      1. The Focus upon Partiality 2:1-7

      2. The Nature of Partiality 2:8-13

    2. Faith as the Dynamics of Holiness 2:14-26

      1. Faith and Works 2:14-19

      2. Faith and Justification 2:20-26

  3. The Implementation of Holiness: The Christian Experience 3:1-4:10

    1. The Obstacle to Victory 3:1-9

      1. The Fact of Human Impotence 3:1-5

      2. The Root of Human Impotence 3:6-9

    2. The Nature of Victory 3:10-18

      1. The Rejection of Compromise 3:10-13

      2. The Description of Defeat 3:14-16

      3. The Description of Victory 3:17-18

    3. The Requirements for Victory 4:1-10

      1. Self-knowledge 4:1-5

      2. Godcenteredness 4:6-10

  4. The Range of Holiness: The Fabric of Life 4:11-5:18

    1. The Relationship to "The Other" 4:11-17

      1. Facing your Brother 4:11-12

      2. Facing the Future 4:13-17

    2. The Relationship to Yourself 5:1-11

      1. The Rich 5:1-6

      2. The Poor 5:7-11

    3. The Relationship to the Circumstances 5:12-18

      1. The Description of a Godcentered Attitude 5:12-14

      2. The Effectiveness of a Godcentered Attitude 5:15-18

  5. Conclusion 5:19-20

    1. Instruments of Conversion 5:19-20a

    2. Instruments of Pardon 5:20b-20c

Ex. 20:2 - The Preface to the Ten Commandments PDF Print E-mail
News - Sermons
Written by Tim Black   
Sunday, 31 August 2008 02:00

Note: You may download all study guides in one PDF file here.


Why Study the Ten Commandments?

  1. The Law is Useful!

    1. The Three Uses of the Law

      1. For all men: Reveals God’s holiness & man’s duty and sin – WLC 95

        1. Lev. 11:44-45: Be holy as I am holy.

      2. For the Unregenerate: “Drive them to Christ” - WLC 96

        1. Gal. 3:24: So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

      3. For the Regenerate: “Rule of their obedience” - WLC 97

        1. Titus 2:11-14: 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

        2. James 1:25: But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

    2. Though not useful for us to earn our justification – Law & Gospel

      1. Rom. 3:20-22: 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

  2. The Law is a great blessing – Psalm 19

    1. What words do you associate with the word “law?”





      higher authority





    2. David used very different words than these in Psalm 19!

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is
sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are
right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is
pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is
clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are
true and righteous altogether.
10 More
to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is
And in keeping them there is
great reward.

What Are the Ten Commandments?

  1. The Ten Commandments are the Covenant

    1. They are the Mosaic Covenant

      1. Deut. 4:13: So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.”

      2. Deut. 5:2-3, 5ff: 2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 3 The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today. 5 ...He said, 6 'I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 7 'You shall have no other gods before Me....

      3. Deut. 9:9 : When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD had made with you....

    2. They are the Covenant of Grace

      1. Because the covenant formula “I am the LORD your God” and “I will be your God, and You will be my people” used to introduce this covenant (Ex. 20:2) is applied equally to the New Covenant.

        1. The formula in God’s name Yahweh: Ex. 3:6, 11 (who am I?), 14 (I AM WHO I AM)

        2. The formula is applied equally to the OC & NC people of God, because those two peoples are one and the same: Ex. 19:5-6; Dt. 7:6-11 (1 Pet. 2:9-10); Ex. 20:2

        3. Both forms of the formula are conjoined in scripture; they express the goal of the Exodus:

          • Lev. 26:12-13: 12 I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

        4. The Mosaic covenant is God’s remembering (and thus the extension of) His covenant with Abraham, which is broadly recognized to be the covenant of grace: Ex. 6:2-7

        5. The formula is applied to the New Covenant in Ezek. 36:25-28 and:

          • Jer. 31:33: But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

          • 2 Cor. 6:16: Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

          • Rev. 21:3: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

    3. They are our covenant! They follow the pattern of its structure, and define our obligations within it

  2. Place of the Commandments in History

    1. Given by God

      1. Given to Moses and the people on Mt. Sinai in Horeb (Dt. 1:6; Ex. 20).

    2. Taught by Moses

      1. Moses taught them to the people in Horeb, during their wandering in the desert (Dt. 4:5—happened throughout the text of Numbers), and at the edge of the promised land in the body of Deuteronomy (6-26).

    3. Written in Scripture

      1. They are the covenant God made in Horeb and reconfirmed in Moab. As such the 10 Commandments are the central verbal expression of the covenant-relationship established at the climax of God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt, and reconfirmed in preparation for their entrance into the land He had promised. This is why they are placed at the climax of the story in Exodus, and made the principial structure of the torah-teaching of Deuteronomy (cf. Olson, 1994: 6-22). They draw together, then, the main themes of the Pentateuch, and lay the foundation for Israel’s life in Canaan under Joshua, the judges, David, and the prophets. This covenant then formed the foundational structure of and pedagogue leading to (Gal. 3:24) the New Covenant under Christ.

  3. Important Distinctions: The Moral Law is Summarized in, but more universal than, the Ten Commandments

    1. This distinction in the Shorter Catechism:

      1. WSC 40: The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience was the moral law.

      2. WSC 41: The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.

    2. In the Westminster Confession: One covenant of grace, the same in substance, in two dispensations

      1. 7.5: This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel

      2. 7.8: There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.

      3. 19.5: The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof

      4. 19.7: Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it

    3. Substance & Differentia in the Dispensations of the Moral Law

      1. Moral & Symbolic: Augustine, Theonomy

      2. Moral, Civil, Ceremonial: Thomas Aquinas, Melanchthon, Calvin, WCF 19.3, 19.4

      3. Constitution (universally applicable) & Case Law (situationally-applied)

      4. Lex Talionis & Pedagogical Delegation of Divine Justice

        1. The death penalties’ delegation (Ezekiel 23:24) is pedagogical (Ezek. 23:48-49)

    4. Differentia seen in the Ten Commandments

      1. First Commandment: Context of Polytheism

      2. Second Commandment: Context of Idolatry

      3. Fourth Commandment: Servants, livestock, the exodus

      4. Fifth Commandment: The land of Israel was their inheritance. It expressed the same providential care God shows us & them in giving us the present creation & future new creation.

      5. Tenth: Servants, ox, donkey; “field” added in Dt. applies specially to Canaan

How Should We Interpret the Ten Commandments?

  1. The Rules for Interpreting the Ten Commandments: WLC 99

Question: What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the Ten Commandments?

Answer: For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules are to be observed:

1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth everyone to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience for ever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin.1

2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.2

3. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments.3

4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden;4 and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded:5 so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included;6 and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included.7

5. That what God forbids, is at no time to be done;8 what he commands, is always our duty;9 and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times.10

6. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto.11

7. That what is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places, to endeavour that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.12

8. That in what is commanded to others, we are bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them;13 and to take heed of partaking with others in what is forbidden them.14

  1. The Two Tables of the Law

    1. Jesus summarized the law in two halves:

      1. Matt. 22:35-40: 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

    2. Hence WLC 98 explains, “The four first commandments [contain] our duty to God, and the other six our duty to man.”

  2. The Issue & Application of Each Commandment

    1. We need to understand each commandment’s central concern—its nucleus—and its correct application

    2. Issue: Henry Krabbendam summarizes the central concern of each commandment this way:

      1. 1: Love God for who he is.

      2. 2: Love God for what he says.

      3. 3: Love God for what he does.

      4. 4: Love God on the day he has set apart.

      5. 5: Love our neighbor by honoring his authority.

      6. 6: Love our neighbor by honoring his life.

      7. 7: Love our neighbor by honoring his wife.

      8. 8: Love our neighbor by honoring his property.

      9. 9: Love our neighbor by honoring his reputation.

      10. 10: Love God and the neighbor from the heart.

    3. Application:

      1. Deuteronomy’s Commentary

        1. Along with a growing line of scholarship,15 and the implication to this effect in Dt. 6:1-3, I believe we must take Dt. 6-26 to be a commentary on the Ten Commandments listed in Dt. 5, such that the order of the Decalogue forms the order of the sections in ch.'s 6-26, and those sections successively explain & apply each commandment.16 I consider the divisions suggested by Jordan and Krabbendam to be correct, that ch.'s 6-11 treat the 1st commandment, 12-13 the 2nd, 14 the 3rd, 15-16:17 the 4th, 16:18-18 the 5th, 19-22:12 the 6th, 22:13-23:14 the 7th, 23:15-24:16 the 8th, 24:17-25 the 9th, and 26 the 10th.

      2. The rest of Scripture and its summary in the WSC & WLC will be brought in to understand each commandment’s application.

The Preface to the Ten Commandments

  1. WLC 101 explains:

    1. Preface

      1. The preface to the Ten Commandments is contained in these words, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

    2. God in Himself the source of all else

      1. Wherein God manifesteth his sovereignty, as being JEHOVAH, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God; having his being in and of himself, and giving being to all his words and works:

    3. Words: God reveals Himself in His covenant

      1. and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people;

    4. Works: God saves His people & requires a response of obedience

      1. who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivereth us from our spiritual thraldom;

      2. and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.

1Ps. 19:7; James 2:10; Matt. 5:21–22.

2Rom. 7:14; Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37–39, 5:21–22, 27–28, 33–34, 37–39, 43–44.

3Col. 3:5; Amos 8:5; Prov. 1:19; 1 Tim. 6:10.

4Isa. 58:13; Deut. 6:13; Matt. 4:9–10; 15:4–6.

5Matt. 5:21–25; Eph. 4:28.

6Exod. 20:12; Prov. 30:17.

7Jer. 18:7–8; Exod. 20:7; Ps. 15:1, 4–5; Ps. 24:4–5.

8Job 13:7–8; Rom. 3:8; Job 36:21; Heb. 11:25.

9Deut. 4:8–9.

10Matt. 12:7.

11Matt. 5:21–22, 27–28; 15:4–6; Heb. 10:24–25; 1 Thess. 5:22; Jude 23; Gal. 5:26; Col. 3:21.

12Exod. 20:10; Lev. 19:17; Gen. 18:19; Josh. 24:15; Deut. 6:6–7.

132 Cor. 1:24.

141 Tim. 5:22; Eph. 5:11.

15Cf. Schultz (1859: 13ff), Schulz (1966: 151-157), Kaufman (1978: 105-158), Braulik (1991), Kaiser (1983: 127-137), Jordan (1984: 199-206), Hill & Walton (1991: 144-149), Millar (1998: 104-108), and Krabbendam (1997: 49, 130-140). None of the others consulted see the case law of Deuteronomy to be structured this way.

16Merrill (1994) considers this thesis throughout but can perceive only a loose dependence upon the order of the Decalogue.

Southwest Express PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 18
News - Life
Written by Tim Black   
Wednesday, 06 August 2008 01:50

Today was the first of our marathon driving days. We planned these days to be 8-9 hours of driving, but because we can’t do the speed limit these days are going to take longer than that.  We covered a lot of the Southwest today--from the middle of Arizona to nearly the end of New Mexico.


Public works got some culture.  This was in or near the Navajo Nation.


Petrified Forest National Park.

A sign in the visitor center reads, “The bubonic plague is real.” A more detailed flier in the Mather Campground at the Grand Canyon explained that you can get it from the animals in the park, especially the rodents. I told a ranger that was very surprising, and she said, “Don’t play with the animals.” Ok, you convinced me. She said they’ve had some occurrences in the past but not recently. The threat of death has enlivened this trip throughout; even the truck rental agreement and usage guidelines state plainly and repeatedly that a consequence of not following the instructions is “serious injury or death.”  Though people may live in fear of death all their lives, thanks be to God He has made a way to no longer fear it through the death of Christ as our substitute.


We’re house hunting at the Puerco Pueblo.


At least it has a foundation.

Actually, the guy behind the counter in the visitor center is from Kansas and said some small towns there--including Coffeyville, which is 20 miles from Caney--are giving away land for free to attract new residents.


Indian petroglyphs. The interpretive signs show adult men chipping out the drawings, but do you really think kids didn’t have a hand in it? I got my kicks out of the man-eating bird--it’s straight out of Calvin and Hobbes. A great addition to our nation’s artistic memory. Interesting how graffiti became worth saving.




Can you find the petroglyphs?



Yes, it’s rock. And there’s a lot of it around the park, but they say tons of it are stolen each year. They also say it weighs 200 lbs per cubic foot!


Do NOT take any. Instead, buy it legally outside the park, from people who picked it up outside the park. I wondered how thoroughly they’d want to search the back of our truck, but they just waved us through at the vehicle inspection point at the park exit.


There are a LOT more chunks of petrified logs lying on the floor of this valley--they are most of the brown dots you can see.





The Painted Desert in the Petrified Forest.



The Teepees in the Petrified Forest.


Gallup, New Mexico.


Continental divide.

We had hoped to make it to Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo tonight, but it's time for bed so we stayed in a hotel in Tucumcari, NM.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2008 08:27
Stiff upper lip PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 15
News - Life
Written by Tim Black   
Monday, 04 August 2008 06:20

This morning we saw more of the Grand Canyon by driving east along the rim and stopping at the viewpoints.



We found it!



Now let me get away from the edge. The edge is truly thrilling.


Tim's shaking in his tennis shoes.  If you’re hankering for a terrifyingly sheer cliff you can find several at the Grand Canyon. They said you should keep your pets on a leash and children within sight because of the mountain lions, but like the warnings at Crater Lake, I’m sure the drop is another sufficient reason.


It’s even deeper through the binoculars.




At Grandview Point there’s a sign describing how 4 years ago a girl who ran the Boston Marathon in around 3 hours (in other words, in far better shape than you are) hiked down the trail there without adequate supplies and died as a result.  I like signs that communicate so effectively.



It’s an amazing sight.


Is it a condor or a raven?  You tell me.


A dear smiles for the camera.


We outran a thunderstorm that drenched us briefly around Flagstaff and followed us the rest of the day.


We continued on to Walnut Canyon but discovered the trail to the cliff dwellings is closed due to a landslide. They are repairing it, possibly using the group of young people we saw with the words “Conservation Experience” on their t-shirts. What makes me think that is a display in the visitor center that says in the early days of our national parks much of the construction work was done by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps. The Corps was only for “boys” ages 18-25 who came from families needing assistance. They were paid $30/month, could keep $5 for themselves and had to send the rest home to help their families. Now there’s a productive form of welfare!

Next we visited Meteor Crater, which I’d read about as a kid and now finally get to see!


It is 4000 feet wide and 700 feet deep.



We didn’t see any aliens but there was a bright green collared gecko. The biggest chunk of the meteor they’ve found is on display in the museum, not attached to the platform on which it rests. It’s solid iron and nickel. It doesn’t look too large for two strong men to lift, but the tour guide said if you can pick it up he won’t attempt to stop you from carrying it out the door. They believe the meteorite was 150 feet in diameter. Interestingly, though meteorite fragments have been found outside and inside the crater, and Daniel Barringer spent the last 26 years of his life searching for it, the mother lode of this giant iron deposit has never been found. They speculate most of it melted and vaporized.


We found the Wigwam Motel that inspired the traffic cone motel in Cars.  Want to sleep in a wigwam?



Next we went a long ways on a little road, but a well-maintained little road, to stay in a TrendWest/WorldMark/Wyndham timeshare at Bison Ranch in Overgaard, AZ.


These were very nice accommodations, for less than the cost of a hotel.


We got the last minute deal rate by taking up an offer by Dean Scott, owner/founder of Sovereign Grace Singles (www.sovereigngracesingles.com), whose site I maintain, to use part of the time share he bought into for members of the website to use for singles retreats. They’d better use it because this was a great place to stay!


Dude, it’s a ranch. They have bison, horses to ride, riding lessons, several stores and a restaurant. The rooms are stocked with all the kitchen/dining utensils you need and you don’t have to wash them when you’re done!

After unpacking we took a dip in the pool and hot tub.



Ow. The pool is only 4 feet deep, according to my swollen lip.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 August 2008 20:33
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 10 of 17