This ending section of Jame’s letter to the scatted Christian churches, is framed by the reality of Christ’s eminent return. James calls his Brothers and Sisters to live in light of Eternity. What does that mean? It means the reality of the Gospel animates & guides your entire life! Decisions and relationships, marriage, career and everything flows from the Gospel.
Six way to live in light of eternity in today’s text(For Spirit Indwelled Believers Only)
Trust Fully in God’s Timing. Give Grace To Each Other. Suffering for God = Blessing.
Don’t Make Oaths, Pray instead. Faith Healing Happens In The Body. Relational Connection Enables Eternal Correction.
7 Be patient, my brothers and sisters, as you wait for the Lord to come. Look at the farmer quietly awaiting the precious harvest. See how one has to possess their soul in patience till the land has had the early and late rains. 8 So must you be patient, resting your hearts on the ultimate certainty. The Lord’s coming is near.
- The only way to be patient is to ‘practice patience’… you lean by waiting
- This is all about trust! Trust in the Lord’s ways and that He keeps every promise
- Farmers, in that day, were dependent on rain (very limited irrigation)
- ‘Possess their soul in patience’ is the act of waiting without anxiety or worry
- There is only one ‘Ultimate Certainty’: God / Christ
- There is more to life than ‘This Life’! Jesus Christ is coming back to our world!
- That is what we are to live for. THAT is what our life should reflect
- This could be described as living in light of what you believe about Your eternity
This is the ‘Overview’ of how all members of Christ’s Body should live, it is about attitude and identity and belief.
Next, some specifics things we are to practice that flow from surrender to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; specifically Christ’s return to usher in eternity.
9 Don’t make complaints against each other in the meantime my brothers and sisters (as you wait for Christ’s return)—you may be the one at fault yourself. The judge himself is already at the door.
- During this meantime, until Christ returns, we are to practice grace in this Body
- This is directed to His ‘Brothers & Sisters’: Christ’s Body / Spirit Indwelt Elect
- We don’t know the whole story, we don’t even realize if we are right or wrong
- This is a call to grace based on humility: we know we are flawed, so we shut up
- In this context it is about projecting your suffering and blaming others
- The real ‘Judge’ is about to enter the room (Figuratively)
- YOU are not ‘The Judge’, don’t act like you are.
- Instead of complaining about others, practice patient endurance in suffering
10 For our example of the patient endurance of suffering we can take the prophets who have spoken in the Lord’s name. Remember that it is usually those who have patiently endured to whom we accord the word “blessed!” 11 You have heard of Job’s patient endurance and how God dealt with him in the end, and therefore you have seen that the Lord is merciful and full of understanding.
- This is suffering for God’s sake, because you are living for HIM (Prophets)
- God knows our motives. He know if we are doing things for Him or for ourself
- Are you suffering because you are living 4 God or because you are not?
- In the end we see from Scripture how God will bless those who endure 4 HIM
12 It is of the highest importance, my brothers and sisters that your speech should be free from oaths (whether they are “by” heaven or earth or anything else). Your yes should be a plain yes, and your no a plain no, and then you cannot go wrong in the matter. 13 If any of you is in trouble let them pray. If anyone is flourishing let them sing praises to God.
- Highest importance here is often translated: Above all else
- I believe this heading so to speak, is for everything that follows until the end
- James is laying down some cultural practices for Jesus Christ’s Church
- Again we see ‘Brothers & Sisters’… ‘Brethren’ is old school… Christ’s Body
- Say what you mean and mean what you say! The integrity of ‘Your Word’
- Oaths are like ‘cursing’ someone: Unauthorized invoking of God’s power
14 If anyone is ill they should send for the Church elders, who should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the Lord’s name. 15 Believing prayer will heal the sick person; the Lord will restore health and sin will be forgiven.
- Illness can be physical, emotional or mental
- What James prescribes is that the afflicted one must initiate the ‘Call’ 4 Elders
- Honoring of the authority structure God has put in place is crucial
- The Lord does the restoring, and He does it in HIS way, through HIS leaders
16 You should get into the habit of admitting your sins to each other, and praying for each other, so that if sickness comes to you, you may be healed. Tremendous power is made available through a good person’s earnest prayer.
- We are to make freely admitting our sin a habitual lifestyle
- This is a standard for all members of Christ’s Body: Biblical Christian Culture
- I admit I do not habitually practice confessing my sin to anyone but God
- We need to all share the conviction that we are to do this for real & then DO IT!
17 Do you remember Elijah? He was a human like us but he prayed earnestly that it should not rain. In fact, not a drop fell on the land for three and a half years. 18 Then he prayed again, the heavens gave the rain and the earth sprouted with vegetation as usual.
- Humans can be part of God’s supernatural work
- His prayer connection to God was him connecting to God’s will
- The point is that God wants to partner with us through prayer
19 My brothers and sisters, if one among you should wander away from the truth, if another should turn them back on to the right path, 20 then you may be sure that in turning someone back from their wandering course, a soul is rescued from death, and this loving action will “cover a multitude of sins”.
- Within Christ’s Body, we are to keep an eye on each other
- This world is working 24/7 to make us wander from the truth
- We need each other. So we need to get to know each other
- If we know our Brothers and Sisters well we can help them if they wander
- This says there is a ‘Right Path’ there is such a thing as ‘the Truth’
- This means that God has given us His Word to study, learn and understand
- From this comes ‘Biblical Doctrine’
- Caring about doctrine is a worth while endeavor; something that really matters
- Believing based on tried & true interpretations of Scripture: SAVES SOULS!
- Believing based on tried & true interpretations of Scripture: fosters forgiveness
Do you want to be part of this? This does not happen outside of ‘Committed Biblical Community’
Six Ways to Live In Light Of Eternity
PRACTICAL BIBLICAL LIVING
Trust in God’s Timing
Absolute surrender of everything to God’s control; when, how, where and whatever HE wills. Accepting what God walks us through with patience, joy & grace.
Grace For Each Other
Being real about how much grace we have been given and then treating others in our church body with as much grace as we can.
Suffering 4 God = Blessed
Honestly living as Biblically as possible is not easy and suffering is part of the Christian life. The Biblical definition of blessed is Eternal Life with GOD.
No Oaths, Prayer Instead
Instead of dependence on our resources and words we seek the power of Christ in our lives, together in prayer. Prayer is to be our natural response to bad and good.
Faith Healing In The Body
God provides for healing of various kinds within HIS body, it happens in a committed community of shared life. This is how God intended HIS people to live and thrive.
In Christ’s Body different members prayerfully correct and guide each other from a place of knowing and being known. This is how Christ’s Body comes to salvation and experiences forgiveness.
SURRENDER EVERYTHING to God for a life of peace rather than one of anxiety!
Spend your time examining yourself rather than others, that is God’s job, not yours!
Choose the eternal blessing of living honestly for God rather than your own comfort!
Speaking humbly about what you can do and seeking God for all HE can do!
Trust God’s way of providing supernatural healing through the authority of HIS Body!
Know your brothers & sisters well enough so that you can prayerfully correct them!