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James five for us is a body of believers. I don’t know about you, but in going through the book of James together, I can say this has been like a spiritual boot camp for me. James is just cut to the chase. This is what it looks like to walk with Jesus. Go for it. Or or or just call. Call yourself a quitter, right. And he just outlines for us when we when we recklessly abandon all of our life for ourself and give it to Christ. This is what it looks like. That’s James chapter one, temptations and trials that we go through thinking of widows and orphans, those who can’t give in return. Chapter two treating how we treat everyone regardless of where they are in life, rich or poor, sickness and health. Whatever you said in your marital vows, it doesn’t matter. God has called us to love them in the in the world. They are created in God’s image and we are all made equal in him. And we reflect that in the way that we treat one another. In chapter two, it ends with saying this your faith is intended to be seen. The Bible very clearly tells us that faith alone is that is what saves you. It’s faith alone that saves you. But faith that saves you should never be alone. We demonstrate it and and we, we, we show it by the works in our lives. What Christ is doing on the inside demonstrates itself on the outside.

And so, James, when he talks about that relationship with God being reflected into the world in chapter three, he starts talking about the words that we express the tongue. A good way to examine our own heart is found in the way that we choose to, to demonstrate it by the words that we say. Sometimes we have this tendency of fooling ourselves into thinking, you know, when I said the bad things, that really wasn’t me. The good things were me. But the Bible says, no, it’s all you. Yes, you were created in God’s image, but you’re also a fallen creature. And there’s this war that’s taking place within you. In fact, at the end of chapter three and four, he talks about that war. And there’s a place for us to be honest with that. And in fact, at the end of right in the middle of chapter four, he tells us this, that we we should take time to grieve over our sin. And it’s not for the purpose to say, you know, I’m a really bad person or it’s not to wallow in that sin, but the purpose of us examining our life and sin is to recognize that while sin may have power, and while we may fall into the temptation of sin, the glory and grace of Christ is far greater. And no matter how how deep the sin may go, Jesus’s grace far outweighs all of that. Christ can set us free.

And it was our sin. Our sin that put him on the cross. And sometimes we like to undermine it. You know, we sin. We think, ah, no big, no big deal. Go down the streets way worse than me. I’m all right. But the set for a minute in the midst of that sin and just think it was my sin. Cost. Jesus. His life. That’s serious. But how beautiful the grace of God is seen, that he would demonstrate his love to me and giving his life. And no matter how great sin may look, the glory and grace of God that wants to be made known in my life is far greater. End of chapter four and chapter five. Then James talks about the way that we choose to live our life, and he addresses that of a job. And we said this good, good doesn’t necessarily mean godly. Just because you live a good life, it doesn’t mean that you live a godly life. In the chapter four, James is talking about a businessman who’s going to the world, and he’s working and he’s providing, and he and he has means in his family’s taken care of, and he’s got the boat, he’s got the cars, he’s got the house. And everyone in America would look back and say to that, you know, he’s he’s got a good life. He’s he’s not a mean guy. He’s not he’s not a bad guy. He’s a good neighbor. Moses lawn once a week.

In fact, he tells me when I haven’t mowed mine, he’s a good guy. Picture perfect. Right? But good’s not godly. And the only way that we get to a life that lives in godliness isn’t by trying, trying to be more good. Is that even possible? We’re good. Trying to be better. It’s by giving your heart to Christ. So the transformation that takes place isn’t on the external, but it’s from the inside out. And I can go in my life and I can live good all the days of my life, but none of it will ever be to the glory of God, and none of it will ever be for his intentions and purposes. All the plans that you make are good, but the way that we learn to use our plans before the Lord is to make them with hands open, saying, God, I’m making these plans. I’m doing the things that I think that you called me to do in this world. But Lord, if they’re not, take them from me. Because ultimately, God, the best place for me to be is in the center of your will. And that’s James. Good life isn’t godly life, but one centered in Jesus. That’s what God has called us to. James comes in a chapter five today, and he concludes with this thought again. He talks about the idea of suffering. He comes in suffering, and then he couples that with a thought of prayer, maybe intertwined with that of suffering.

How how do we endure in the midst of suffering? And I can tell you this morning, if you feel like, if you feel like you’re in that place, you’ll find some things that are applicable to you, to your life. But I just want to set this basis for the text to be true to the text. When James is writing this in chapter five, he’s writing to believers who have, have, and are risking their lives for Christ. And they’re they’re being beaten and battered by their relationships in this world and maybe even at risk of of their, their family relationships to the point that it could even cost their lives, their family turns them into to the Jewish people, and they find themselves killed. In fact, that’s the result of James life. James dies as a martyr for Christ. And so he’s answering this question on that backdrop when when life’s pressure is just insurmountable by my strength, how do I endure that suffering? Jesus promised in John 1633 says this in this world you will have much tribulation. The Apostle Paul in Acts 14 said we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God. And so how do you endure? Suffering is an important question for us to answer, because life will provide temptation and escape from what God has called us to do in relationship to him. When you see Jesus’s plan for the world as we endure. We are God, we see that God is not going to address all wrongs in this world necessarily now, but rather when he returns.

When Christ returns, he reconciles and brings justice. For sin. But until he returns. Ultimately, we rest in the question, Lord, how do we endure? A biblical approach to suffering reminds us of this. It does not necessarily dictate that the suffering itself will end, but God rather shows us how to have strength through the suffering and gives it purpose and meaning. I believe this about God’s people. God will never waste the suffering of his saints. God ultimately always brings redemption to it. And the example that we always pull from when we think of that is Christ on the cross. If God could take such a despicable moment, such a despicable way of torture, and make it the emblem of of pronunciation and glory of the church, thought of the cross to us, no longer as one of shame, but a reminder of the glory to come because of Jesus. If God could take such a horrendous thing and turn it into something glorious for him, what? What could he do for us? How do you endure suffering? James, when he starts this passage, he he draws three illustrations for us and James chapter five and verse seven, the first example he gives. You’re going to have to click for me. Mike, I don’t have power. The first example that he he gives is one of a farmer.

When you think about the thought of a farmer, my mind, my mind tends to think this way. Those are tough guys and they like to work and sweat. Right? Those are those are the the good old boys and they endure. Excuse me. Endure, but enjoy just laboring from the hand. The thought of a farmer is a good reflection back into Genesis three when the creation story takes place. Man sins. God says, by the sweat of our brow and by the thorns you know the thorns of the ground, you will be reminded of this curse. This is to say, if you’re a farmer, that’s a great way to put hair on your chest, right? So ladies, don’t do don’t farm. But but but farmers are are seen as a great picture of a man’s man. You know, when I think about farming today, I see it that way. And then when I think about farming 200 years ago, it just blows my mind. Could you imagine someone says to you, here’s rocky soil, we want you to take this ox and this plow and dig all of that up. I would sit back and say, where’s the tractor with the air conditioning, I don’t do I don’t do animals that can think for themselves. I don’t walk behind things that poo as they go. I don’t, I don’t I don’t do that. The farmers. They’re built tough. And they think about the prize. And you can ask the question about the farmer.

How does a farmer do that? And you think about today we have all these tools and heavy machinery and stuff, simplicity to life they’re supposed to bring. And I think when you look at the size of a farm, sometimes they enhance that. But you, you consider just a few hundred years ago the resources they had to use to till up the ground. And you look at that today and you think about your desk job, you say, ah, you know, ah, how how do I think about getting through this? What what do I need to have on my mind to endure that labor in the field? And for the farmer. It’s always the thought of the rewards. And it’s no wonder at the end of harvest season that most cultures have some sort of celebration that takes place. All of that hard work culminating to joy about what’s been accomplished in that field. Just thinking about the goal all season long, to see it take place and to celebrate with the family because everything’s been provided for. And for the life of the Christian, it’s the same thing. God sees us as farmers. Going into this world, sowing seed, enduring knowing that we’re going to face hardship. Knowing sometimes you’re walking behind the ox and he has dropped something. How do you make that? How does it work? We think about the prize. At the end of the season, there will be a harvest of great joy and we will be celebrating of what God has done in us and through us.

And so he says this therefore be patient, brethren, look what what they say in this passage three times James reminds us of this. Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. This is the goal. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it until it gets the early and late rains. You to be patient, strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing right at the door. Jesus is coming at any moment. Just think of the reward. Think of the goal. Think of the prize. As a farmer, you endure because in the moment of that suffering, the the reward is far greater. Walking in faithfulness and Jesus is far better than simply giving up. Because if you give up, what do you have on your side? It’s about pursuing him. Think about that goal in chapter or excuse me, chapter five, verse 7 to 8. When James talks about this word patience, he uses two different words in the Greek text in chapter seven and or excuse me, verse seven, eight and ten. He uses the word patience for long suffering, but when he gets to chapter five and verse 11, the same word means to remain under. It’s saying to us to stay put when you feel like running away.

To remind yourself of the labor. And to work for what Christ has called us to the ultimate glory in him. God takes our hardships. And uses it for his glory. In life. We’re going to face hardships no matter what, and we can’t escape it. We live in a sinful world. But in Christ your suffering is redeemed for a greater glory to come. Knowing you’re in suffering. If you’re like me, I am really good at bringing out the flesh in trials. I, I have an ability sometimes when bad things go wrong, to have this short temper or thought or fleshly thinking about it. And I think James knows that’s human tendency and all of us. And so in verse nine, this is what he says to us, do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing right at the door. So not only are we thinking about farming, but we think in that trial it becomes difficult for us. And you can have the ability to snap. In pressure. Some of us don’t always respond correctly in pressure. Some of us do respond correctly, but we we look down upon those who don’t. So. But some of us just under pressure, we just we just snap in general. And James is saying, don’t get stressed out to the point you miss what God is ultimately doing. I heard a quote that says this conflict is inescapable because of the major differences between human beings.

But the problem is not conflict itself, but how people relate to one another when they are enduring such conflict. When you go through seasons of pressure. Of stress, of suffering. That’s a good opportunity when you know those times are upon you just to stop in those moments, come before the Lord and say, God, it’s not my power that will make it through here because it’s about your glory being seen. It’s not the fruit of the spirit working by my power, but the fruit of your spirit working by your power in me. God, I’m not going to do this by being good, but rather I’m going to do this by being godly. And God, I know what I’m about to go through is going to be hard. But no, Lord, I know that the fruit of your spirit is love and joy and peace and patience and goodness and kindness. And so, God, because your spirit bears that fruit, I’m surrendering that right now. And God. So as I go through the suffering, help me to endure the way that you’ve called me to. And James leaves the thought of the farmer, and then he goes on to the thought of of the prophets. Go ahead and give me the next line of Scripture. It says this. And as an example, brethren of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Anytime you want to think about godly individuals in the Old Testament, it’s the prophets. Anytime you want to think about people that suffered in the Old Testament, it’s the prophets. If you want a job that that will surely, probably or most more than likely end in the loss of your life, or at least the loss of your friends. In the Old Testament, it was the prophet. When God gave a prophet a message, it was generally to tell the people something that they weren’t doing in recognition to the relationship with him. It was always a bad news bearer, or most of the time a bad news bears records in Scripture and he knows people. You know what? We don’t like to hear you telling me what I need to do. I’ll sock you upside your head, son. That’s the prophets. And that’s the response that they got. And James says, just consider their example. You know, in my life right now, when I, when I read stories about even, even today in the church, Christians that are just being faithful, no matter the expense, I see that the loss of life takes place because of people of faith in Christ, and my heart grieves. But there is a piece of me that rejoices over that. To think, yes, they’re faithful in Christ, even to the end. And what encouragement that brings to my own life to hear that even though they’re enduring such hardships that that they’re standing and and so can I stand just as they’ve stood.

You may not be aware of this, but right now in Iraq, you know that we’ve sent troops back to Iraq and they’re fighting. But one of the reasons they’re fighting is because this Islamic power is now persecuting people, and they’re going after Christians. And this is taking place right now. Today, they’re running into homes of people that they know are Christians, and they’re tagging the Arabic word for in. It’s like a down, a smiley face with a little dot on top, like a one eyed Cyclopes. And they’re tagging on all the homes they know of people that are Christian. And that letter is the letter N. What it stands for is a follower of the Nazarene who is Jesus. And they have an option recant or die. And you hear the stories. People who know that the reward to come is far greater than what this world has to offer. And they’re laying down their lives. And James is saying to us, do you need encouragement in the midst of the things that you’re going through? Your suffering on your part is a profession that is demonstrated that your your faith isn’t simply just a profession, but it’s a possession. And when you’re tested in your life, it is validating for you that your faith is indeed genuine. When nothing is making sense and things are falling apart, and you’re at a position where you can walk away from Christ and trust in your flesh, or just stay the course in Jesus.

If you choose to stay the course in Christ, the genuineness of your faith is being made known. And just like the prophets, your life becomes an example. The faithfulness of those before us as an example for godly living. Paul said in Romans 15, for everything that was written in the past was written to. To teach us so that through endurance and encouragement of the scriptures, we. We might have hope. James then goes on and describes job, and he says in verse 11, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard, heard of the endurance of job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. It’s like to say this to us, um, uh, if I say, hey, think of an example of suffering in the Bible, and then everyone just says, job. Yeah, that’s it. When you think of suffering, the answer is always job. Job endured such difficult hardship. And you know what I find in Scripture? When job was enduring that sometimes he questioned God’s will, but he never forsook his faith. In job 13, he he had it out with the Lord and just talking to him about what he was going through, it says this in verse 15 Though he slay me, I will hope in him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before him. When he is talking to the Lord.

But but his faith is there. He may not have all the answers, but he’s trusting in him and suffering because he knows, regardless of the circumstance, God can take even the difficult moment and use it for his glory. He did so at the cross. Bible tells us. Give me a click in James or excuse me, Psalms chapter 23. You guys know this. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. It gives us these promises as we’re going through hardships. One you’re going to walk through difficulty. You’re in the valleys, it says in the Psalms. But. But it also tells us that God is present with you, that that God cares about you, and God is watching over you, that he will never waste the suffering of his saints. We go back for just a moment. So he concludes with verse 12 above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, not by heaven or by earth or anything else. All you need to say is a simple yes or no. Otherwise you will not be condemned. You always get to this place in our lives when not always. But we get to a place in our lives where sometimes things are so bad and we just make these promises to God. God, if you just fix this, I’ll go to church every day and it lasts like a month.

God, if you just take this out, I promise, I promise, I promise. And. And there’s a place where we need to just question our character in that. Question her heart in that I don’t doubt that the motivation for heart at that moment is genuine. But if you’re at a place in your life where you’ve got to make promises to see something happen, it might be suggesting something about the consistency of your character in the past. You haven’t done it. That’s now while you’re at a place where you’ve got to promise. Why don’t just let your yes be yes and your no be no. God’s promise. He’s with you. God’s promise? You’re going through the valley, but he cares about you. He’s watching over you. And just trust that he brings it for his greater good and glory. And so then James comes, and James chapter five and verse 13, you can skip ahead to those passages. And he shares with us about prayer. He says this. Is anyone among you in trouble? Hey. Suffering. Right. Let them pray. Good idea. You know, they say this. You get to a place in suffering where you realize prayer is just all that you have. But when you’re in that place, you realize prayer really is all you need. I need to connect with the one who is watching over me in these moments. Has anyone among you suffering? Let him praise anyone. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

You know, when I look at that. And that’s also a prayer to me in this whole context. James talks about prayer and then all of a sudden he inserts this, this thought of song, and I see the song just as a thought of praise. It’s a prayer of praise to God and celebration. So it’s saying to us as believers when when things go wrong, pray. God provides answers. Sing praises when things are going right. When you’re on the mountaintop, just continue to sing those praises regardless. God is glorified in either way. Whether you seek him in the valleys or you’re celebrating him on the mountaintops, God is always glorified because you’re walking with him. And so he says, is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord God, and give me one more click. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. The Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Let me let me just tell you what this passage means. Let me tell you what it doesn’t mean. First, this passage does not mean, as sometimes television might say, if you give me 49.95 a week for the next few months, I will pray over you and anoint you with my special juice, and everything will be well.

That’s not that is not what this passage says. Okay, I will take 49.95 and I will go to lunch with that. But but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Okay. Let me let me just break down what this passage says for us in the scriptures. It says, uh, when when James is talking about suffering and when James is talking about this anointing, there’s a there is a few words that are used here. Now, I will tell you as we go through this passage, this is what I believe. If we pray, God can heal. If you pray, God can certainly heal. When James talks about praying in this passage of Scripture, he presents the thought of bringing the elders together. There’s some some commentaries that think this is just the older saints within the church. Others think it’s the position of elders within the church, but they’re bringing godly people. It says the righteous, uh, righteous person. His his prayers are heard before the Lord. The the prayers of a righteous man will heal. And so these people are coming together and they’re praying. They’re praying for healing. And the word for anointing in this passage of Scripture is, is the word for medicinal anointing. Okay. So what’s happening in this passage is that these people are praying for healing, but they’re bringing medication and they’re bringing their prayers before God.

And so they’re saying this to the Lord God, rather, whether it be by medicine or whether it be by prayer, Lord, we’re here to honor and glorify you, that you would heal this individual God. We’re praying on their behalf. I can tell you God works either way. God can sometimes miraculously heal. And God chooses sometimes through that miraculous healing, to use medicine, to use this anointing, this medicinal anointing. It’s different than other anointings that are talked about in the Scripture for taking care. Of saints. When I read this passage of scripture I see in verse, uh, excuse me, where are we? Go back. There we go. When it says in verse 615, it says in the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. The Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. When? When it’s talking about this passage, I think what James is referring to here is one of two things taking place. I think either it’s talking about salvation or of an individual, or the healing of a person, okay, the salvation healing of an individual, or even the physical healing of of a person or the emotional spiritual healing of a person. So when James talks about raising them up in the last day in this passage, that that God, when he raises them up, is referring to the resurrection that happens because of faith in Christ. They’ve put their faith in the Lord.

And it says in this passage, the Lord has forgiven their sins. But in addition to that, sometimes we we encounter problems in life because we’re sinning against God. Some things that we do that harm our body are because of sin. And then other things that we do aren’t because of sin. But if someone’s doing something to themself physically that’s harmful and he’s called the people together, put his faith in Christ, and he’s praying with the leaders and and they’re seeking God, that he is forgiven and he’s healed physically. Or spiritually or emotionally. You think that the person that they’re talking about in this passage of Scripture is one who’s suffering, and the suffering may be outward oppression from a world that’s persecuting them. And so they may be at the place where they’re so emotionally harmed by this that it’s affecting their their physical life. And they know that they just need prayer, and they’re at the place that they want to walk away from God, but they want to keep trusting in him. And so they ask the elders to come together, and they and so they pray over this, this need. And God heals them physically because he’s healed them spiritually. And their faith rests in Christ. This passage does not always mean that a person is healed physically. And let me give you just a few examples. Why? The Apostle Paul in Second Corinthians going to give me a cloak. Nick. I like how that runs, right? Second Corinthians 12 says this in verse seven.

This is about the Apostle Paul praying over his own need, he says, or because of the surpassing great revelations he’s talking about, he saw the third heavens. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. What? Paul is saying this yes, Jesus healed me, but it wasn’t physically. Jesus gave me the strength to to endure this. And it’s to say this to us as people. It is possible to to have the perfect body and lose your soul. But to gain your soul. The Bible promises that Jesus one day resurrect and heal the body. God loves both body and soul. But right now, at this time, God brings the spirit to life and he will resurrect the body in the future, bringing them together. Paul wasn’t healed physically, but rather he was healed spiritually. With Timothy and first Timothy five it says, this can give me another click. First Timothy 523 it says, stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illness.

This is Paul writing to Timothy. You know Paul, the guy that walks around and heals people. You think he walks with the apostles? And it says in the early book of acts that Peter walked around and his shadow healed people. I mean, that would be amazing, right? Magic shadow man. And then he comes to Timothy. And Timothy’s done ministry with Paul, and Paul knows as they’ve gone around, Timothy’s got a stomach problem. He’s a pastor. He stresses out all the time. And so he says to Timothy, Timothy, you want it healed in this? Listen, how about some how about some medical healing? Drink some wine right now, let me just say for preference sake, that Welch’s did not take fermentation out of wine until the 1800s. So this has alcohol in it. Timothy. It’s medically healed. His faith is in God. God’s also provided a way. Both Timothy and Paul, ones that walk with God, find solutions in things, and I’m sure in either way they give God praise. And so Second Corinthians 416 says, says this to us, therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. As soon as you’re born, you’re dying. I’m you’re born spiritually dead and the body decays. Jesus and James 15 resurrects our bodies spiritually in him. He he may heal mentally, physically, spiritually. But ultimately one day when we see him face to face, there will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears.

And it rests in Christ alone. Remember as we go through this passage, the anointing is medical in this passage that God can heal no matter what, but the healing may not always be physical. So what’s the application for us? As you draw to the end of James, you can go ahead and click one more time. James gives a couple illustrations for us. He gives the idea of Elijah saying, he’s saying this to us, guys, if if you’re not praying in difficult circumstances, train yourself to do so. Prayer has power. And so he says, Elijah was a human being even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. So then he says to us, my brothers and sisters, if one one of you should wander from the truth, and someone should bring that person back, remember this whoever turns from a sinner from the error of their ways will save them from death and will cover over a multitude of sins. Listen, suffering is not easy, but think about the power of prayer, because Elijah saw power and prayer and think about those who are facing such challenges that may wander from the faith and pray for them. And God’s called us to be a family in this together. And suffering is not easy.

But rather, as James says in in chapter five and verse 13, call the elders together and pray together. Don’t do this alone. Notice when it talks about the suffering. It’s it’s never on its own. It’s always done collectively. And walking with God and walking with a body, praying together, sharing our needs, saying in this moment there’s praying. It’s not just complaining about it, but let’s say, hey, let’s take it to God and pray. Because in this moment, regardless, I believe that God can turn this for his glory and he can heal me emotionally. He can heal me spiritually. He he could heal me physically. But either way, one day Jesus will heal me. And like a farmer behind the ox, right now, I’m just trusting in him because I know whatever is to come is far greater than what this world has to offer. Endure hardships in Christ. And there is a farmer on the prize. Don’t bite people’s heads off. Be an example as a prophet. You may question God’s will like job, but don’t lose face. Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Christ is with you. Don’t lose hope. But together, gather with God’s people and in prayer. Let your requests be made known to God. Seek him, that God may lift you up. If anyone here this morning feels like they’re in that place. Can I just encourage you? Get with some friends. Pray.

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