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Sermon #05 — James Series


Title:               Good Gifts, Perfect Gifts, and the Giver


      Text:                                  James 1:16-17

      Subject:               Temptations

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — February 24, 2015

      Readings:           Merle Hart and Allen Kibby



The Book of God is full of self-evident truths, things that (to those who have the mind of Christ) are so obvious that they are without controversy and need no proof. There are some things that lie so deep in us that they are found in the very foundation of all our hope and faith. They are things we never question. And when others question them we are either shocked by their presumption, or laugh at their folly, or are saddened by their ignorance. Let me call your attention to a few of these wondrous facts (Genesis 1:1; John 3:16; Romans 8:28; 1 Timothy 1:15; 3:16).


(Genesis 1:1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.


(John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


(Romans 8:28) We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


(1 Timothy 1:15) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.


(1 Timothy 3:16) Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.


James 1:16-17


If you will turn with me to James 1, verses 16 and 17, I will show you another of these marvellous, self-evident truths. The title of my message is — Good Gifts, Perfect Gifts, and the Giver (James 1:16-17).


(James 1:16-17)  Do not err, my beloved brethren. (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


Do not err, my beloved brethren.” — James has been talking about evil things: lusts, temptations, and sin. He has told us that these things come from us, not from God. Here, in verses 16 and 17, he tells that good comes from God; and that all good comes from God.


(James 1:16-17) Do not err, my beloved brethren. (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


Proposition: God is the only source and cause of all good.


There is none good but God; and there is no good except that which comes from God.

·      None in you.

·      None in me.

·      None in humanity.

·      None in the earth.


But James says more. — Nothing but good comes from God. To make God the author of sin, or to suggest that he tempts us to evil, is repugnant. It is an assault on the very nature and being of the Almighty, and a denial of his perfect holiness. “It is” as John Gill put it, “one of those damnable errors and heresies, which bring upon men swift destruction.”


Wicked, unbelieving, self-righteous people, while pretending to confess their sin, seek a cloke, an excuse for their sin. The reprobate always try to justify their evil deeds, even if they can do so only by blaming their ungodliness on God. Believers confess their sin, taking sides with God against themselves.And all who confess their sins, taking sides with God against themselves, obtain forgiveness of all sin by the grace of God, through the blood of Christ (Psalm 32:1-5; 51:1-5; 1 John 1:9.

·      Job

·      David


(Psalm 32:1-5) Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (3) When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. (4) For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. (5) I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.


(Psalm 51:1-5) Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (5) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.


(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


A while back Bro. Todd Nibert wrote a very brief article that is worth repeating and remembering. He wrote…


“Sin is a noun. It is what I am. Sin is a verb. It is what I do. Sin is an adjective. It describes me. Sin is an adverb. It describes what I do. Thank God for the promise of the Gospel, ‘Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.’


Now, let’s look at verse 17 for a little while.


(James 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


Good Gifts


First, James speaks of every good gift. He says, “Every good gift is from above.” Every good gift comes down from heaven.

·      Only good comes from God.

·      All good comes from God.

·      And all good comes from God alone.


Every gift of creation is the good gift of God and comes from above. God created all (Genesis 1:1-3; Psalm 8:1-9).


(Psalm 8:1-9) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (2) Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. (3) When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; (4) What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (5) For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (6) Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: (7) All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; (8) The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. (9) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!


Every gift of providence is the good gift of God and comes from above.

·      Husbands and Wives

·      Children and Family

·      Gospel Ministry, Gospel Church, Church Family

·      Job, House, Daily Bread


The list could go on and on. Every good thing comes from God. But that is not all, the Lord God makes everything good to his elect.He hath made everything beautiful in his time(Ecclesiastes 3:11). — God does not sin; and God does not tempt us to sin. God is not the author of evil. — But God is God! That means that he rules evil and sin by his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness, according to his own holy and wise decree for the everlasting good of his elect and the glory of his own great name.


(Ephesians 1:3-14) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.


(Romans 11:33-36) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.


And every good gift of grace comes from above, from the Lord our God. He who is our God is “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10).


(1 Peter 5:10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.


All the riches of grace are his. He has stored up all the fulness grace for sinners in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And he has given all grace to all his elect in his Son from everlasting. Who can grasp this? — God gives all the fulness of all grace to every sinner who trusts his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, because “he delighteth in mercy!” — Imagine that!

·      Eternal Grace!

·      Electing Grace!

·      Adopting Grace!

·      Redeeming Grace!

·      Regenerating Grace!

·      Justifying Grace!

·      Sanctifying Grace!

·      Forgiving Grace!

·      Preserving Grace!

·      Restoring Grace!

·      Sufficient Grace!

·      All Grace!

·      Everlasting Grace!


(Colossians 2:9-10)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.


And “the God of all grace,” who has called us to eternal glory by Christ Jesus, bids us come to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace as we need it (Hebrews 4:16).


(Romans 6:23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


(Hebrews 4:16)  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


Perfect Gifts


But look at the next line of our text. — “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” James speaks of good gifts and of perfect gifts. Without question, Christ is the good and perfect Gift that comes from above, from the Father of lights! He is himself all that is good and perfect. And having Christ, we have all!


Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). — Whenever we think our Lord Jesus Christ, all who know him are compelled to employ the Apostle’s language in our praise: — “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift!” For your Son, O Lord God, we cannot give thanks enough. Words cannot be formed with which we can sufficiently express the gratitude of our hearts for your dear Son.


Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior, is the Gift of God. — We had no claim upon him. We felt no need of him. We did not desire him. But, freely, out of his abundant mercy, love, and grace, God gave us his Son. — “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.”

·      God the Father gave us his Son in the covenant of grace.

·      God the Father gave us his Son in his condescending incarnation.

·      God the Father gave us his Son at Mount Calvary.

·      And God gave us his Son in the new birth.

In giving us salvation and eternal life, God gave us Christ and all that he is, all that he has done and all that he possesses. Christ is our Salvation, our Life and our All. And all who have him have him by the free gift of God.


As the Gift of God, our all-glorious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ is unspeakable. — Who can describe the glorious Godhead and perfect humanity of our blessed Lord Jesus? The complex union of the God-man is a mystery beyond human understanding. We can only say, “Great is the mystery, of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh.” Is there a man who can adequately explain the vicarious life of Christ, our Representative, as he accomplished righteousness for us, or his vicarious death as our Substitute, when he who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him? Who can explain that painful, shameful, ignominious death by which he obtained eternal redemption for us? We can only say, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift.”


Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ is a Gift of whom we must and shall speak very much. — We speak of him to God in prayer and praise. Our prayers are truest and our praise is best when Christ is the center, when much is said of his person and work, his greatness and glory, and our complete indebtedness to him for everything. We speak much of him in his house, much of him in our conversations with men, and much of him in our own houses. — Blessed is that house in which Christ’s name is the name most often mentioned with honor and love! We shall speak of him to men while we live. And we shall speak of him eternally among the hosts of heaven. There everyone says to him and of him, — “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing…Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13).


Yes, Christ is the perfect Gift of God. But in our text God the Holy Ghost speaks of “every perfect gift.” Obviously, there’s more than one. There are multiple perfect gifts from above, perfect gifts that come down from the Father of lights.

·      His work is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).

·      His way is perfect (2 Samuel 23:4; Psalm 18:30).

·      His strength is perfect (1 Corinthians 12:9).

·      The Lord Jesus Christ, his Servant, the Captain of Our Salvation, is perfect (Isaiah 42:19; Hebrews 2:10; 5:9).


We are thankful, truly thankful for all these perfect things which come from and reside in our perfect God, our Rock and our Salvation. But James is talking specifically about perfect gifts heaped upon our poor, needy souls. What are they? Does God tell us in his Word what they are? He does indeed.


1.    God has given us his perfect Word (Psalm 19:7; 1 Corinthians 13:10).

2.    The God of all grace has given us perfection in his Son (Philippians 3:12, 15).


(Philippians 3:12-15) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (15) Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.


3.    Our beauty is the perfect beauty of our Savior (Ezekiel 16:8-14; Song of Solomon 4:7-9).


(Ezekiel 16:6-14) And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. (7) I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. (8) Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. (9) Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. (10) I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. (11) I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. (12) And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. (13) Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. (14) And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.


(Song of Songs 4:7-9) Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee. (8) Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards. (9) Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.


4.    The Lord God has perfected his love in us, and has given us his perfect lovethat casteth out all fear” (1 John 4:17-18).


(1 John 4:17-18) Herein is our love made perfect [God’s love is brought to perfection in us when we are made to experience it in the new birth], that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.


5.    Just in case I may have missed something, hear this and rejoice: — The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me (Psalm 138:8).



(Psalm 138:1-8) I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. (2) I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: — for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (3) In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. (4) All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth. (5) Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD. (6) Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. (7) Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. (8) The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.


Father of Lights


Alright, let’s look at the third line of our text. We’ve seen the gifts. Now, let’s look briefly at the Giver. — “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” James describes our God, this great Giver of every good gift and every perfect gift as “the Father of Lights.” He who is our God is himself Light (1 John 1:5). And he who is Light is the Father of Lights. All light comes from God, who is Light (Genesis 1:1-3).


(Genesis 1:1-3) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.


(John 1:1-9) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. (4) In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (5) And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (7) The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. (8) He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (9) That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.


Our great God is the Father of Lights. Christ is the Light. And all light comes from him.

·      Physical Light

·      Rational, Moral Light

·      Spiritual Light


God Immutable


Look at the text one more time. — “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” He who is our God, this great Giver of every good gift and every perfect gift, the Father of Lights, is God immutable, God who cannot change, “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning!


The sun, the great light of heaven, rises and sets, appears and disappears every day. It has its eclipses; and it has its turnings. Wherever it is, it casts shadows, shades of darkness. Much the same must be said of the lesser lights of night: the moon and the stars. There is great variableness to them all. But not so God our Savior, our God, the Light of the world!


(Malachi 3:6) For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.


(Hebrews 13:8)  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.


He who is God our Savior is God immutable, God who cannot change or be changed. He varies not. He changes not.

·      In His Person!

·      In His Purpose!

·      In Promise!

·      In His Grace!


(James 1:16-17) Do not err, my beloved brethren. (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.





Don Fortner








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