Summary: 1. Seek God’s help for your suffering (vs. 13a). 2. Sing God’s praise (vs. 13b). 3. Share your faults with one another (vs. 16a) 4. Speak to God for others (vs. 14-18). 5. Steer people to God’s truth (vs. 19-20).

Christianity Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Part 12: Excellent Guidance for Everyday Life (Part 1)

James 5:13-20

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - May 6 2012

*Someone put together a list of Kid’s Instructions on Life:

-9-year-old Rocky said: "When feeding seagulls, always wear a hat."

-And 12-year-old Joel said, "Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat." (1)

*Those are some pretty good instructions, but we’ve got infinitely better instructions right here in the Word of God. And as James closes this practical and powerful little letter, he gives us some excellent guidance for everyday life.

1. First: Seek God’s help for your suffering.

*This is James guidance to us in the first part of vs. 13, where he said: “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” We might think, “Well, that’s so obvious. Why did James even bother to say it?”

[1] But when you are suffering and afflicted, your thinking can get clouded. You might get so distracted by your pain that you don’t feel like praying or even think to pray. I felt that way when I had a kidney stone many years ago. But God wants us to pray.

[2] When you are suffering, you might think, “God doesn’t love me.” But He proves His love every day in big and small ways. And He proved it best when Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. As Paul said in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And God wants us to pray.

[3] When you are suffering, you might think that God is chastening you for some sin, and that could be true. Paul tells us this in 1 Cor 11. But 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And whenever you are suffering, God wants you to pray for yourself.

*One of the best places we can find personal prayers is in the Book of Psalms. Many times I have pointed hurting people to David’s pain-filled prayer in Psalm 13. There David cried out to God and said:

1. How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?

2. How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

3. Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;

4. Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed against him’’; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

5. But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

6. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

*Seek the Lord’s help for your suffering, and the Lord will give you David’s testimony from Psalm 34:6. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”

*No wonder James tells us to seek God’s help for our suffering.

2. But he also tells us to sing God’s praise.

*That’s the message in the last part of vs. 13, where James said: “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” One of the great things about being a Christian is that God puts a song in your heart. God puts a song in our hearts, and He wants us to let it out.

[1] Sometimes we will be all by ourselves. But God hears our joyful praise, and He loves to hear our praise.

[2] Sometimes other believers will hear our songs, and be encouraged by the reminders of God’s goodness, strength, mercy, grace and faithfulness.

*Hearing something upbeat and encouraging has a positive effect on us. It lifts us up and brightens our day. And it doesn’t have to be a song. It might just be an encouraging word. And that kind of positive, encouraging energy is multiplied when we joyfully sing about our Lord.

*James said: “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” Sometimes other believers will be blessed.

[3] But sometimes lost people will hear our songs, and be blessed to turn to the Lord.

*That’s one of the great things that happened in Acts 16. Paul and Silas were with the people of Philippi. Great things happened while they were there. People were being saved.

*Then Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown into prison. Why? -- There was a young woman in that city, a slave able to tell fortunes, because she was possessed by a demon. Paul cast the demon out. And her owners were furious when they realized they couldn’t make money any more from her fortune-telling.

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