Summary: The coming of the Lord. What a great and wonderful day it will be when our Lord Jesus returns. Until He returns, we are called to be patient. In this passage, James gives us the seventh test of our faith--the patience test.
1. Patience has natural evidences
2. Patience has eternal consequences
3. Patience has a cloud of witnesses
The coming of the Lord. What a great and wonderful day it will be when our Lord Jesus returns. We just finished celebrating the first coming of Jesus when He came as a tiny, helpless Baby in a manger. He was born into the most humble circumstances imaginable. And things didn’t exactly get better for Him, did they? He was raised as a simple carpenter. He preached a message that wasn’t listened to. He lived a life that wasn’t followed. And He died a death that wasn’t deserved. Jesus’ first coming wasn’t exactly what the Jews expected. It wasn’t what they were expecting, because they were expecting a king. They were expecting a king who would come in all His glory and splendor. As Isaiah said, He would rule and reign with a rod of iron. But that’s not how He came the first time. He didn’t come that way the first time, because God’s plan was for Him to come as a suffering servant. His plan was for Him to come as a Lamb to the slaughter. His plan was for Jesus to provide the only perfect sacrifice by willingly offering Himself on the cross of Calvary. But that wasn’t where it ended. Because after three days He emerged from the tomb alive. And He lives today. Jesus was resurrected that we might be resurrected. Because He lives, we have the hope that though we were dead in our trespasses and sins, we might be made to live again—victoriously and eternally. And we also have the hope that one day Jesus will return for us. Before He was betrayed and crucified, Jesus comforted His disciples with these words. The apostle John records Jesus’ words in John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Jesus said, “I will come again.” But this time, it’ll be a whole lot different when He comes. This time He will come as a victor. This time He will come as the conquering Bridegroom, ready to victoriously claim His bride. Paul tells us of this wonderful time to come in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, he wrote, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Oh how we should long for that day! Lord, when is it going to come? How long do we have to wait for Your return? No matter how many ways we ask the Lord that question His answer is always the same—be patient. Patience goes completely against our human nature, doesn’t it? I think it does especially in our society. We can’t stand to wait on anything. I heard a commercial on the radio the other day that jokingly said they were developing a new kind of pop. They said this new pop was going to be so convenient that when you went to the convenience store to buy it, you would actually be able to walk out of the store 30 seconds before you walked in. We are an impatient people, aren’t we? I read a poem about patience this week. I’m not a poet, but this one struck home for me. “Patience is a virtue. Possess it if you can. Found seldom in a woman. Never in a man.” Well, by the grace of God, I want us to change that this morning. I want us to pass this seventh test of our faith this morning. I want us to walk out of this place passing the patience test. In order to do that, we’re going to look at three reasons we are to have patience. The first reason is that patience has natural evidences. Look with me at all of verse 7: