James 5-7-12 (audio file)
Open your Bibles to the book of James. We are reading again from chapter 5. this time we will be looking at verses 7-12.
Last week we looked at a startling verse aimed at the rich. those who have hoarded their wealth and possessions, those who have gained it dishonestly, and those who have used it selfishly are all to weep and howl, for the Lord sees all of that as evidence against them, and that all of our hearts will be judged by the evidence that is before the judge.
This week we have a bit of a respite in a sense. James is not really condemning anyone in particular. He has shifted his focus from the oppressors to the oppressed. he wants them to understand how they are to endure the trials that they are going through. he wants them to remember again what he said to them in the first chapter of the book. Verses 2-4 say to count it all joy when they meet trials of various kinds. He is yet again reminding them of one of the themes of this book, that the point of suffering is that it produces steadfastness in them. And he gives them here in this section a bit of perspective on their situation.
Lets go ahead and read the text…
What is your first thought when you are going through a difficult situation? When you feel oppressed, or mistreated, how do you respond? Can you think of a situation where someone had or has power over you, and they have, mistreated you? Maybe you are in that situation now. The most common situation like that I can think of is a boss, employee relationship. One that you have no control over, but you feel you are being persecuted, or treated poorly. What do you do about it? Well, this passage I think will help us, maybe not to know exactly what we should do in every situation, but it can help us gain perspective when we find ourselves in those situations where there seems no way of escape.
Steadfastness is a great and noble attribute to possess. Steadfastness is something to admire in someone, it is legit. It should be something we all want. Our society does not think so, does it? …
First off, lets look at the verses in this text. What does he say there? well, he says, “be patient, therefore”, what does he mean by that? well, if you recall from last week, he was informing the rich oppressors that their mistreatment of people will cry out as evidence against them on the day of judgement. So you can imagine a conversation where two people are present and James is talking to the rich oppressors, and telling them all this, then he turns and looks at the poor christians, and says, hey, because of all that, you can be patient, because you know what, their day is coming.
Now you will notice that james here does us a real favor. You know when you are trying to explain something very important to people who are not likely to remember it?
Think about it. Have you ever had to teach, or coach any sport? especially with Kids. How many times have they ever listened to you and followed through after you told them something one time? NEVER! Now, I coach Micah and Nathan’s soccer team. I love it, I love the age group, I love the competition, I love the fact that my assistant coach and I have lost 1 game in three seasons when we are both on the sidelines. Not bragging, but, Im bragging. I love coaching. Now, here is the thing with youth soccer. they default to herd-ball. everybody wants to follow the ball, all the time, and it is like pulling teeth to get them to spread out. So pretty much every practice, I have the same goal, to get them to spread out, and pass the ball to each other. And almost every practice I have to come up with new ways to try and teach them. I come up with new drills, and new games with the same goal: Spread out!
What we find here in the verses, is James doing that with us. he wants to say something very important, and he knows if he says it once, it wont sink in, so he says it several times from several different angles. And the thing he wants to tell them is to “Be Patient.”
So, lets look at the first way he says it, it is in the first part of verse 7. He states it plainly: “be patient, until the coming of the Lord”
- Be Patient Until Jesus returns!
– the reminder here is that Jesus is coming back, and we need to remember that.
-he just got through telling the rich oppressors that the cries of the harvesters that they have defrauded have reached the ears of The Lord.
2. Be Patient for the Long Haul. Jesus Is at hand.
-consider the farmer. Early rain, and late rain…
-establish your heart in the word. There is work to be done while we wait. What are we to do while we wait? Look at 1:21-22…
- Be Patient with one another. Jesus is near.
-don’t grumble against one another.
-grumbling against one another is judging them, and you remember what that does, it makes us enemies of God.
Look at the prophets: Job.
In all his sufferings, God had a plan, and a purpose. From this we will see his mercy and compassion. The goal of our sufferings is steadfastness in us, and Glory for God. When we are patient when suffering, we show the world that there is a superior pleasure to our comfort, and it is the pleasure that is found inChrist Alone!