Summary: In this final section of James, we see a beautiful picture of the different seasons of life for the family of God: From suffering and sickness, to prayer, confessing sins and bearing one another’s burdens.
JOURNEY THROUGH JAMES #8: WE ARE FAMILY
INTRO TO SPEAKER: Just celebrated Caleb’s grade 12 graduation this past week.
THE HEART OF PASTOR JAMES:
“Of James, the brother of the Lord, we read the following: James, being considered a just and perfect man, governed the church with the apostles… He would enter into the temple alone, fall on his knees, and ask remission for the people, doing this so often that his knees lost their sense of feeling and became hardened, like the knees of a camel. Because of his holy life, James was called “The Just” and “the safeguard of the people.” (Foxe’s Book of Martyr’s).
• He was a good pastor who knew how to pray, and cared deeply for his people.
THE BIG IDEA: In this final section of James, we see a beautiful picture of the different seasons of life for the family of God: From suffering and sickness, to prayer, confessing sins and bearing one another’s burdens.
I. TO THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING: PRAY:
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” (James 5:13a, NKJV).
• Seven times in verses 13-18 we see the words pray, prayer and prayed.
• One of the books in the Bible is full of prayers (and songs of worship): Psalms.
• One of the main categories of prayer songs in the Psalms is songs of lament. Example:
• “1 To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, "Where is your God?" 4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:1-5, NKJV).
• It’s okay to be honest with God in prayer! Tell Him what you’re thinking and feeling.
• The example of Jesus: “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:41-44).
• When you are suffering, you can pray for God to take it away.
• But also pray: “If you won’t take it away, give me the grace to endure it.”
II. TO THOSE WHO ARE HAPPY: SING PSALMS:
“Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” (James 5:13b).
• EXAMPLE: My daughter Hannah is a good example of this – always singing and dancing and making music videos on her iPod. Rejoice in the Lord!
• It’s alright to be happy and enjoy celebrating life! Remember – there are seasons.
• This is where I like to live most of the time. Happy, joyful and celebrating.
III. TO THOSE WHO ARE SICK: CALL FOR THE ELDERS:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:14-15).
• Let’s remember that the Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).
• Sometimes people adopt a victim mentality: “No one prayed for me or visited me while I was sick!” “Did you tell anyone you were sick?” “No!”
• If you’re sick, you need to tell someone and get them to pray for you!
• We will take some time at the end of the service today to pray for those who are sick.
• “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease… And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:1,7-8).
• Even if people aren’t healed on the earth, everyone who enters Heaven is totally healed.