James 1:1-2 | “A beautifully crafted punch in the gut for those who WANT TO follow Jesus!”
"He drank neither wine nor fermented liquors, and abstained from animal food. A razor never came upon his head, he never anointed with oil, and never used a [public] bath … He was in the habit of entering the temple alone, and was often found upon his bended knees, and interceding for the forgiveness of the people: so that his knees became as hard as camel’s, in consequence of his habitual supplication and kneeling before God." (Eusebius who quotes Hegesippus in the 2nd century)
“And what would be more natural than for James to summarize his preaching to his flock in Jerusalem in a letter sent to those who could not be there to hear it in person? James is best understood, then, as a brief, perhaps condensed, sermon or homily, or extraction drawn from a series of sermons, sent to James’ dispersed parishioners in the form of a letter.”
"He is resolutely opposing any form of Christianity that drifts into a sterile, actionless ‘orthodoxy’."
"No profound theologian, James’ genius lies in his profound moral earnestness; in his powerfully simple call for repentance, for action, for a consistent Christian lifestyle. His words need to thrust through our theological debates, our personal preconceptions, our spiritual malaise, and set us back on the road to a biblical, invigorating, transforming Christianity."
"The letter implies that these Jewish believers were mainly poor people who were caught in a situation of considerable social tension. Oppressed and taken advantage of by wealthy landlords (5:4–6), hauled into court by rich people (2:6) who also scorn their Christian faith (2:7), … In the meantime, the trials they are suffering are to be met with steadfast endurance, so that their Christian character might reach full maturity and their reward, ‘the crown of life’, be secured (1:2–4, 12). But while the situation of the church in the world provides the background for the letter, James’ concern is with the world getting into the church." (D. J. Moo)
Martyn Lloyd-Jones was, of course, closer to the type of evangelism which believed in sin and conversion than he was to the broader denominational type which thought more of winning people ‘back to the churches’.
"Spiritual power is not something which belongs to the world of mathematics, and so if we united all the denominations and added all the powers which each has together, even that would not create spiritual life. The burial of many bodies in the same cemetery does not lead to resurrection. Life is more important than unity."
"The churches had lost their evangelistic power because the authority of the Bible had been undermined and because some fifty years ago Nonconformity had become too politically minded. He discussed the right and wrong motives for evangelism. The crux of the whole matter was the message to be delivered: we had stressed the social aspect for the past fifty years, and men had increasingly turned their backs on us. It was not the wooing note which was needed but the note of judgment. We must convict men of sin and make them feel that they were under the condemnation of God. There were many in the Assembly who did not agree with Dr Lloyd-Jones’ diagnosis of the position and who could not accept all his theology."
"All our fears for the future of the church and religion, our feeling of hopelessness as we see the world falling deeper into sin and vanity, our inclination towards multiplying arrangements, committees and movements, stem from the same thing, namely our lack of faith in the workings of the Holy Spirit."
"The general state of the people in London and in the country is one of apathy and deadness ... Nothing but an unusual manifestation of God's power through the Holy Spirit can possibly meet the present need. I pray daily for revival and try to exhort my people to do the same." (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)