Summary: We need to patiently endure as we wait for the soon coming of our Lord Jesus.
HANG IN THERE!
Text: James 5:7-12
1. Illustration: Several years ago, an experiment on endurance was conducted at the University of California at Berkeley. The experiment involved placing Norwegian field rats in a tub of water, where they were forced to swim until they grew exhausted and finally drowned. During the first experiment, the researchers discovered that on the average, these rats were capable of swimming for over seven hours before drowning.
A second experiment was conducted, exactly like the first but with one exception. This time, when a rat was getting too exhausted to swim any longer, the researchers would remove the rat from the tub of water for a few seconds, then put the rat back into the water to continue swimming. These rats were able to swim for almost 20 hours before perishing.
The researchers concluded that the rats in the second group were able to swim so much longer than the first group because of one factor: they had HOPE. They had experienced a rescue---and what kept them going was the HOPE that they would be rescued again.
2. One of the things that separates Christianity from all other religions and philosophies around the world is hope. We have hope for today, tomorrow and for eternity.
3. Romans 15:4 (NLT)
4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
4. But our biggest reason for hope is the promise that Jesus is coming back for us to bring us to be with him forever. We call this our "Blessed Hope."
5. In our text today, James tells us to have
A. Patient Anticipation
B. Patient Disposition
C. Patient Imitation
6. Let's stand together, out of respect for the Word of God, as we read James 5:7-12.
Proposition: We need to patiently endure as we wait for the soon coming of our Lord Jesus.
Transition: First, James tells us to have...
I. Patient Anticipation (7-8).
A. Patient As You Wait
1. Illustration: One day a man was praying and he said, "Bless me with patience. Not opportunities to be patient, I've had plenty of those and they don't appear to be working. The actual patience..."
2. In our text today James talks about us being patient as we wait for Jesus to come back. In v. 7 he says, "Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen."
A. The believers are to be patient even in the midst of injustice.
B. The Greek word translated "be patient" (makrothumesate) basically means "be longsuffering." Just as God suffers long with difficult people, believers are to do likewise (1 Thessalonians 5:14) (The Complete Biblical Library – Hebrews-Jude, 243).
C. The believers need to endure, trust in God through their trials, and refuse to try to get even for wrongs committed against them.
D. But patience does not mean inaction. There is work to be done—serving God, caring for one another, and proclaiming the Good News.
E. There is an end point, a time when patience will no longer be needed—the Lord’s return. At that time, everything will be made right.
F. The early church lived in constant expectation of Christ’s return, and so should we. Because we don’t know when Christ will return to bring justice and remove oppression, we must wait with patience (see 2 Peter 3:8-10).
G. As an example of patience, James talks about the farmer who must patiently wait for the precious harvest to ripen. Patience must be exercised and developed between the rains.
H. Even non-farmers have plenty of opportunities to develop patience. The waiting for the arrival of a baby, starting a new job, finishing school, waiting for a loved one’s visit, slowly improving health during a prolonged illness—all these situations try our patience.
I. We will exercise patience as we concentrate on the end result of our waiting. God’s way is seldom the quick way, but it is always the complete way (Barton, 1090).
3. Then James adds a word of encouragement for us. He writes in v. 8, "You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near."
A. Instead of being like the rich people of verse 5 who have “fattened” their hearts on the wealth of this world, believers are to allow the assurance of Christ’s return to help them be patient and take courage.
B. To "take courage" means to strengthen, make fast, to set firmly so the heart will be unshakable.
C. Whatever the circumstances, James encourages us to be rock solid in our faith and to have a faith-inspired joy that permeates every part of life.