Summary: The fifth and final sermon in a series through the book of James
In one of his books, James Emery White tells of the Russian-American comic, Yakov Smirnoff’s, initial response to the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He said, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country!"
Wouldn’t it be great if conception and childbirth were that easy? Maybe not. Wouldn’t it be great to just add water to our spiritual births and voila instant spiritual maturity! However, it isn’t that easy, is it?
The spiritual growth and maturity that we have heard from the pages of James the past two months comes from a long-term dedicated commitment to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to grow out of spiritual infancy into mature spiritual adulthood.
Two weeks ago, I concluded with a question, ‘What kind of a Christian do you think you would be called at the end of your life?’ and I shared from L. Durham’s sermon, ‘What Punctuation Mark Best Describes Your Life?’ five types of Christians. They were (Overhead 1):
A QUESTION MARK Christian
A PERIOD Christian
A HYPHENATED Christian
A COMMA Christian,
Or an EXCLAMATION POINT Christian
I want us to keep that question in mind today as we conclude our series in the book of James. Pastor Travis Moore’s sermon theme of ‘Show Me Your Faith’ from his sermon ‘Jet Tour through James’ has served us as a thematic guide in our walk through this important book. Today, as the bulletin indicates, the challenge and encouragement to us is to Show me your faith… by your spiritual maturity.
Pastor Jim Mooney, in a sermon entitled, ‘Marks of a Mature Person’ has echoed several of the same themes that we have heard presented over the past four sermons and, when it comes to this segment of James, he makes an important observation: (Overhead 2)
A MATURE PERSON IS PATIENT AND PRAYERFUL
He says, ‘[James is] saying, ‘Be patient and be prayerful.’ He gives the illustration of the farmer. If anybody has to have patience, it’s a farmer.
He does a lot of waiting. He plants a seed, waits, prays, hopes, expects ... he waits. There are no overnight crops. Just like a farmer has to wait, sometimes we have to wait.
Mooney goes on to say, ‘We have to wait on God in answer to prayer. We have to wait on God for a miracle. We have to wait on God to work in our lives. We have to wait. Patience is a mark of maturity. The only way you learn patience is by waiting.’
He concludes with, ‘We must be patient and prayerful toward one another. My children are finally learning the difference between "No" and "Not yet". For a long time they thought that "not yet" meant "we’re not going to get to do it". They thought it meant No -- it just means Not yet. Many times God will say to you, "Not yet." He doesn’t mean "No". He doesn’t mean He’s not going to answer your prayer. He just saying, you’ve got to wait, I want you to develop, to grow.’