Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

How Long, How Long? (JamesBS09, by John

HOW LONG, HOW LONG? (JamesBS09)
James 5: 1-20

1. Have you ever done a day’s work expecting to be paid at the end, only to find the boss wasn’t there to do it?
(1) This portion of James opens with a statement about men who became rich by sinful means.
(2) They got rich by not keeping their words. They thrived on other people’s poverty and need!
(3) We think this present time is the only time in history when such things happened. It’s not.
2. James says if you get rich like that, your riches rot, get moth-eaten and rust.
(1) On top of that, they don’t just disappear.
(2) They become a witness to God against you!
3. By the way, some people say the Bible can’t be true because only iron rusts, gold and silver don’t, and our text says they do!
(1) In our language that is true, but remember this was translated from Greek.
(2) As nearly as I can translate vv.2,3, they say, “Your riches have putrefied and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have been poisoned, and their venom will eat your flesh as fire.” (Vines: rust).
(3) The little word ios is used in v 3 in two forms. Counting both forms, it is used only four times in the NT.
(4) In Romans 3:13 can you imagine Paul quoting from Psalm 140: 3 saying, “The rust of asps is under their lips.”
(5) Can you imagine James 3:8 saying, “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly rust.” (That’s why I used poisoned and venom!)
4. The kind of churlish treatment given by undeservedly rich bosses, rulers, or government causes all of us to cry out How Long, How Long?
5. James answers that with four definite injunctions.

I. BE PATIENT.

1. Jame’s word here is makrothumos, which means long wrath, or long fierceness.
(1) It does not mean that we are to be passive.
(2) It doesn’t mean “que sera sera” or “kismet,” or “It’s fate!
(3) It does mean, don’t lose hope; Don’t give up! Do wait for God to work!
2. James illustrates this with the farmer planting seed.
(1) He plows, plants, waits for the rains, cultivates, and in due time, the right time, he harvests!
(2) There is nothing weak or namdy-pamdy about that kind of patience!
3. We have every reason to expect a harvest for our willing, expectant waiting.
(1) God keeps His promises.
(2) He has given us many injunctions, but one stands out above all the rest right here, and that’s the second of the four injunctions.

II. LOOK EXPECTANTLY TO THE PAROUSIA OF THE LORD!

1. Jesus is coming again!
2. My wife was reading the Commission magazine about all the trouble people are having in South Africa. She said, “Nobody can tell me we aren’t already in the tribulation!”
3. You may disagree with her about the last days, but you have to agree that the Bible says Jesus is coming again, and we are to be watching expectantly for Him!
4. It also says, and James says here, He’s coming soon!
5. When He comes, He will judge the world!
(1) Remember 4:12 says, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy.”
6. The third injunction is:

III. PRACTICE PERSONAL PIETY.

1. Knowing His judgment of all mankind is near, we must not complain against one another!
2. We need to take the prophets as our example. They showed us how to bear suffering and to wait as long as necessary for God to vindicate them!
3. Job was one of those prophets, and although he lost a lot, God blessed Him with much more! We can safely expect the same kind of mercy and compassion from the Lord. He never changes!
4. We should let our yeses and noes stand by themselves without any kind of swearing! (Isn’t it a shame we live in an age when only a man’s signature is his bond? And that’s no good either if he can afford a good lawyer!)
5. Piety is not wearing a holy face. It’s not bowing and scaping. It is being obedient to the Lord! Treating our brethren with love and compassion. Patterning our lives after the prophets. Making our word our bond! And keeping our language clean!
6. The fourth injunction is:

IV. PRAY OFTEN!

1. When I first began to pray on my own, I couldn’t see how anyone could pray for an hour, much less four hours like Suzanna Wesley did every day!
2. I still think long prayers are like long sermons. They are no good if they are actually short ones stretched out!
3. We should pray a lot of long prayers full of meaty things.
(1) James says we should pray about our suffering and the suffering of other brethren.
(2) He also says we should sing praises to God when we are cheerful! (That’s praying, too.)
(3) We are to call for prayer when we are sick, and we are to pray for others when they are sick!
a. A prayer of faith will raise the sick up.
b. If he has committed sins, they will be forgiven. (That means a person will change while we are praying for him!)
c. We are to confess our sins to one another (in God’s hearing, I think).
d. Spiritual healing will certainly occur and physical healing may occur also.
e. We should pray for spiritual changes in our physical world and nation!
aa. That’s what Elijah did.
bb. We should, too.
f. All in the same breath, James talks about the blessedness of turning a stray back into the right path. I take it that means we are to pray for the right things to say to people! I do that all the time!
4. I don’t think we have any idea just what great power God has given us in prayer! But James just gave us six things we can utilize that will prove that power!

CONCLUSION:

1. There are, and always will be, people who have some control over us. They may treat us unjustly. Whenever we are persecuted, we’ll wonder How long! How long do I have to keep on like this?
2. The answers are:
(1) Have patience, Jesus is coming.
(2) He will judge the world!
(3) Live a pious life patterned after the prophets.
(4) Keep in constant touch with the Lord through prayer.
(5) Don’t even think about giving up!
3. Be a positive influence on the lives of other people about you. Turn strays back into the path of righteousness!
4. Of course, you have to know Jesus, or none of these things will be possible. Do you know Him?

Emmanuel 2/22/1987
Emmanuel 11/6/1988 (Only used intro.)
ECC 4/3/2005

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