Summary: Prayer is the outworking of faith. And faith is the foundational characteristic of the believer. Here are some very practical ways to practice our faith in our church family.
Passage: James 5:13-20
Intro: In the post-game comments of several of the bowl winning teams, there was a common thread.
1. they talked about their team as family.
2. interesting that when people want to find the highest image for teamwork, support, love, they use family.
Il) studies have shown that the motivation behind many street gangs is the desire to replicate family for young men and women who have none.
3. shouldn’t surprise us that family is so highly thought of, since it was God’s original intent, before the Fall.
4. throughout Scripture, family is the main image; God as Father, church as Christ’s bride, use of family language.
5. 14 times in 1 John, apostle calls his hearers “children”, 8 of those “dear children.” And he includes himself too
6. now we are in James, and he uses the word “brothers”
7. and here at the end of his epistle, he is gives us some very practical principles for living in this family we call the church.
8. the church may not act like family, or even see itself as family.
9. but the Biblical picture is family, and when the church works like a family instead of a business, great things will happen.
10. The church is a family, so…
I. Our Father is Always the Center
1. in any family, the parents are the glue, and a godly father the teacher, provider, protector.
2. so when there is a need, that’s where the children go.
Il) I remember a little poem from a Readers Digest decades ago, correspondence between a son at college and his dad concerning money. “No mon, no fun, your son.” “Too bad, so sad, your dad” Today would be a text message.
3. v13 details this kind of relationship
4. in trouble=an ongoing situation that is troublesome. Unemployed, relationship problem, health issue.
5. prayer is the normal solution
6. same is true if things are going well. We recognize the source and respond with thankful praise.
Il) when our kid gets a good grade. A job, accepted to college, finds a godly spouse, we celebrate!
PP Romans 12:15
7. A family prays together, a family rejoices together.
8. but that prayer or that rejoicing recognizes the center of our family, of our life.
9. God is our provider, our healer, our very present help in trouble.
10. and the activities of prayer and praise and worship and not religious duties or obligations, but the natural heart- initiated actions of the children of God.
11. we run to His arms when we are in trouble, we dance into His presence when things are going well.
12. God is the very center of our family lfe
II. When Persistent Sin Leads to Sickness, We Humbly Seek the Intervention of God’s Appointed Family Leaders
1. I think that is the longest point I have ever had!!
2. now I have to explain myself quickly before you all leave.
3. this verse is problematical, because we want it to mean God will heal every illness if we ask Him right, but practically, it doesn’t work that way.
4. if the sick person remains ill, we blame it on the lack of faith of the elders or the person. Let’s break this down.
5. word for “sick” is a common NT word meaning “to be weak, sick”
6. quite a few times, used of spiritual weakness,
PP I Cor 8:9
7. or a sickness caused by sin.
PP 1 Cor 11:29-30
8. let me be very clear in saying that not all sickness is caused by sin!!
9. but in this passage, I believe the weakness/sickness is sin-caused.
10. what is the person to do? Call for the elders, who are the disciplinarians of the body.
11. (Warren Wiersbe says they call them to come, because they are under discipline and are not allowed to come to church.)
12. but he calls them, and they pray and anoint, and the Lord raises the person up. Why?
13. because he has confessed his sin, repented of it, and the disciplinary hand of God seen in illness has been lifted.
14. vv15b-16 clinch it for me.
15. if caused by sin, sin forgiven.
16. v16, inset the “therefore”, or if you can’t, recognize that the pattern for James is principle, example, then application.
17. discipline has the purpose of leading to agreement with God, turning away from sin, and restoration to spiritual health.
18. and that is exactly the picture here, administered through the human agency of godly men, who really act as the mothers of the church.
19. that is, they administer the principles of the Father in every day life.
Il) “church board” or “board of Directors” is not the Biblical model. Elders are the undershepherds of the flock, exemplify8ing the heart of the Great Shepherd.