Summary: Whatever situation you are in – good, bad, or somewhere in between – you will only find what you’re looking for when you bring that situation to God.
James 5:12-16 Oct. 3, 1999
Living in Expectation of the Return of Jesus
Reacting to Life’s ups and downs
Main Thought: Whatever situation you are in – good, bad, or somewhere in between – you will only find what you’re looking for when you bring that situation to God.
The verses that we are going to look at this morning are found in James 5:11-16. Please turn there, and let’s read those verses [read passage] I have struggled a great deal this week over how to present this portion of the Bible to you today. I studied the passage, I looked up many verses that talk about subjects that are spoken of in this passage, I looked in some different books to see what different authors had to say about the passage, I even called another pastor friend of mine to get some wisdom on what the passage means. From each source of information, I gained a little bit more wisdom, but I still don’t feel that I have all the answers as to how to accurately and once-and-for-all interpret and apply everything that is spoken of in these verses. There are some passages in the Bible that as a pastor, you wish that you could just skip over. Some pastors do skip passages because they don’t want to create controversy and don’t want to ruffle any feathers. That would be the easy way out though, and I’m not one who likes to take the easy way out when it comes to the Bible. It would be easy too to interpret this passage as many of the churches right here in Bridgeport and Clarksburg would. They would take it to mean that anyone who desires healing from any ailment, small or great, just needs to come before the church for the pastor to anoint them with oil, and that they will be healed. That would make me very popular to most people. We could put up on our sign “Healing services to be conducted on Sunday”, and we would have to put out all those extra chairs that we have on the back porch because there would be so many people here either desiring healing or wanting to see a healing happen. But I don’t believe that this kind of practice would fit with the teaching of the passage.
I debated too with the idea of doing two separate sermons on this passage. On one Sunday, I considered doing a sermon on what this passage means theologically. By theology, I mean simply that we would discuss what the passage says and means. Theology is what I believe about God and His world. We would take it apart piece by piece much like what we have been doing with the book of Genesis on Sunday nights. Then on the next Sunday, we would consider the same passage and see what it says to us practically. And by practically, I mean something that I can use in my everyday life. But then I reasoned that a theological message would be a message for your mind, and most people receive little encouragement from a message for the mind. A message that is solely theological in nature is something that is reserved for the classroom. Besides, it’s awfully hard to separate theology from practical living. My theology, my belief system, tells me that God is holy and that I am sinful. The way that that works itself out in my practical life is that I better get forgiveness for my sins and purification from my sins if I hope to live in the presence of a holy God for all eternity. What I believe about God and His world has an awful lot to do with how I live my life. Because of that, we will look this morning both at what the passage means – its theology – and how it applies in my life today – its practicality or application.
As we go through this passage, and once we conclude this morning, it would be easy for you to think that we are talking about healing as our main subject. In fact, tomorrow morning, when you go to work, a Christian friend may ask what you talked about in your service yesterday. The temptation will be to say that we talked about healing. But if you answer that way, you will only be partially correct, and you will have missed the more important point of this passage. As you listen today, and when you leave, here’s the main idea that I want you to consider: Whatever situation you are in – good, bad, or somewhere in between – you will only find what you’re looking for when you bring that situation to God. The natural way for us to deal with life’s situations, whether good or bad, is to deal with them on our own. James wants us to get in the habit of making our relationship with God something that is so intertwined in our lives that whatever happens on a daily basis, we talk to God about it first just like we would our best friend or our spouse.