Summary: James is asking us to take responsibility for our brother or sister in Christ. This simple, yet powerful thought is one that Jesus introduced when he spoke about discipline in the church, and Paul would later right after James concerning the need to both
THE NECESSITY OF CORRECTION IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH
INTRODUCTION: Throughout our study of the book of James, we have seen that this book is a practical guide to living the Christian faith. James has not tried to dilute any aspect of that kind of living; whether easy or hard, James has proclaimed it to us. One has to wonder what kind of place the church of today would be if we practiced the principles laid out for us in James.
As we come to our final message in the book of James, these last two verses are sobering. James is asking us to take responsibility for our brother or sister in Christ. This simple, yet powerful thought is one that Jesus introduced when he spoke about discipline in the church, and Paul would later right after James concerning the need to both discipline a believer who was unrepentant, and to also restore those caught in sin (with the underlying thought that confession and repentence had been sought). So this morning, I would like to delve into both the message of James in these last verses, as well as their implication for the church.
THE REALITY OF THE WANDERING BROTHER
“one of you”
Reference to every believer
No one is immune to wandering
Just as no one is immune, we are also guardians of each other in this regard
The Scope of Wandering
Word has several meaning, all of which are applicable
Lose our way
Missing the path
Serious departure from the faith
Hebrews 3:12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
The ways we can wander: -- like the four soils of Luke 8
We can wander by refusing to accept truth – HARD SOIL
We can wander by only accepting the easy stuff – SHALLOW SOIL
We can wander by rationalizing truth – INFECTED SOIL
We cannot wander – FERTILE SOIL
We are to remain true to truth – both doctrinal and moral
WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT TRUTH:
WHAT TRUTH IS, ….
1. TRUTH IS TO BE BOTH LIVED AND BELIEVED
John 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
2. TRUTH IS CHRIST’S TEACHING
John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 18:37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
3. TRUTH IS THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
WHAT ARE RESPONSIBILITY IS WITH TRUTH, …
1. WE ARE CALLED TO OBEY TRUTH
Galatians 5:7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?
2. WE ARE CALLED TO SPEAK TRUTH
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
3. WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE TRUTH
2 Thessalonians 2:10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
4. WE ARE KNOWN BY DOING TRUTH
1 John 3:18-19 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at r
est in his presence
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WATCHFUL BELIEVER – “to bring him back”
We need to do more than discern when someone wanders.
We need to do something about it when someone wanders We are to look after other believers
Spiritual concern for others is EVERY believers responsibility
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
The goal is to reclaim and restore
Sometimes this is done by confrontation
Sometimes this is done by discipline
The goal is to promote spiritual maturity