Summary: #23 and the final message in the Book of James Series. Being a Christian has to be much more than just in word, but in action and in commitment to Christ.
23 Christians in Need of Conversion
The Book of James
By Pastor Jim May
James 5:19-20, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."
As we come to the final closing verses of the Book of James we find that James gives us a final exhortation, a final instruction, a final promise and a singular purpose for living.
Throughout this letter we have heard instructions on the prayer of faith, the kind of prayer that gets God’s attention and receives an answer, and how that we are to be faithfully committed to obedience to God’s Holy Word as we are directed and led by the Holy Spirit.
In these final two verses, all of the teachings of this entire book are summarized in just one sentence.
First of all, James is addressing the Brethren. That means you and I, and all those who are true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. James isn’t giving his instructions to the heathens who lived around him. He’s not talking to the worldly crowd that if full of devilment. He is talking to the church, the Children of God and those who call themselves a Child of the King.
Now catch this second phrase, “…if any of you do err from the truth”. What I see here is that even though we are born again, full of the Holy Ghost and fire, and doing our very best to serve the Lord, there is still a very good chance that we can stray from the truth.
Satan’s greatest trick in the church today is to simply get people off center and get them to believing a lie and lying spirits are having a heyday in our churches.
A recent Gallup Poll seems to indicate that there are no clear behavioral patterns that distinguish Christians from non-Christians in our society. We all seem to be marching to the same drummer, looking to the shifting standards of contemporary culture for the basis of what is acceptable behavior.
There are no more absolutes. Everything is relative. Our permissive and compromising Christianity has left the church impotent, thereby guaranteeing that fewer and fewer people from each succeeding generation will be true believers. Traditions are cast aside in pursuit of individuality. When each of us is allowed to interpret the scriptures without the foundation of absolute truth, where does that leave the church?
What is the power behind the weakening of moral values? What force is always at work, behind the scenes, undermining the efforts of the church to reach the lost? That force has been alive and active ever since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. It is the spirit of the antichrist. Now we know that the Antichrist, that Man of Sin, has not yet been revealed in the earth, and won’t be revealed until the church is taken out of the way in the Rapture.
But the spirit, the attitude, the agenda if you will, of the antichrist is already at work and has been throughout human history.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Who can doubt that the church is in trouble today? In fact, except for the promise of God that he will have a church that is rapture ready, we would almost be forced to conclude that Christianity would cease to exist on the face of the earth and it wouldn’t take long to do it. Satan’s forces are working overtime to see to it that souls are lost and he is doing his worst right in the ranks of God’s own people.
Christians on every hand are being led away from the truth; duped into believing a lie; following after the teachings of men; and hearing only that which is pleasing to the ear. Many have gone so far from the truth that they no longer know what the real truth is. If you ask many Christians today just what it takes to make Heaven their home, what kind of answers will you get?