Summary: A faith lived in the hope of the imminent return of Christ.
Foolproof – A Study of James
WAITING Faith – James 5:7-20 Sunday AM
Insert: It is exciting to know that Jesus is coming back soon. We must be prepared. There’s a phrase – Practice makes perfect. We need a little Rapture practice.
Recap: For 12 weeks we’ve been studying James seeking to understand the difference b/w authentic faith and artificial faith. We’ve come to see that authentic faith is God-centric and is refined in times of testing, while artificial faith is self-centric and crumbles in times of testing. Having made his point, James concludes his faith epistle w/ one final encouragement – be all you can be until the Lord’s return by living today as if Jesus was going to return at any moment.
Trans: In finalizing his letter, James offers (5) encouragements for living in the shadow of Jesus’ return. He calls all believers to be PREPARED, PATIENT, PRECISE, PRAYERFUL, and PASSIONATE.
I Be PREPARED for the Lord’s Return v. 7
Note: Anticipation – do you remember the Heinz ketchup commercials where the kid waits for the ketchup while the song ‘Anticipation’ plays in the background. The message was simple: the best things in life are worth waiting for.
Note: James says Christ’s return is the only thing worth waiting and living for and that we must live each moment in the anticipation He might return.
Verse: 7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.
Word: coming (parousia) This is an important eschatological term that means more that just coming. It conveys the idea of God’s presence or arrival. It is a promise of Jesus’ bodily return. Jesus has promised that one day He will return for His people to redeem them and to establish His kingdom.
Note: The idea is that by living in the hope of Christ’s return, believers are to lead godly lives that will not be ashamed upon His return.
Insert: It doesn’t matter if you’re pre, post, pre-wrath, or pan-trib (it’s all going to pan out in the end). He’s coming and He’s coming soon – at any moment.
Insert: This past week there was an interesting article on the front page of the USA Today entitled, America gets an ‘F’ in religion. The article was about the religious ignorance in America today in the wake of international tension interjected w/ religious indifference. It said that 60% of Americans can’t name (5) of the 10 Commandments and that 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married. The article says that America’s woeful level of religious illiteracy damages our democracy and more.
Note: It’s true. There is more at stake than just our democracy – eternity hangs in the balance! This article is a sad statement about the condition of the souls of men in the wake of the imminent return of Christ.
Note: Which brings up important question – what preparations must be made for Christ’s return? There are TWO. Some people think the only necessary preparation is to have received Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, but that would be only partially correct. While it is the most essential issue w/ regard to eternity, God also expects His people live each day in anticipation that he might return that very day. How are you living?
Note: Let’s be honest. Most people live for the moment stashing away stuff that’ll have no place in the economy of eternity – obtaining the whole world, but forfeiting their souls. If Jesus returned this moment, would He say, “Well done!” or “How dumb!” The King is coming; he’ll either be Lord or judge?
Insert: The Parable of the Talents. Two men live each day like the Master is going to return, while one man lives each day in fear of the next.
Verse: Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few… "Not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ Then will I declare to them, ’I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of iniquity.’ Mt. 7:13, 21-23
II Be PATIENT with People and Circumstances v. 7-11
Verse: 7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, b/c the Lord’s coming. 9Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge standing at the door! 10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.