Summary: This is message 31 in our series in James. This message continues the teaching concerning our call to help restore the wayward.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Faith’s Response to the Wayward” Pt 2
James prescribed a process whereby those struggling in any of multiple areas of life can find renewal, healing, help through the mutual confession of sin and faithful prayers of the church family.
Is anyone among you weak? 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 one who is weak, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
Last week we specifically addressed the privilege of helping those who have stumbled, wandered or fallen return to a healthy walk and avoid further destruction and devastation from sin.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:14-20
Multiple passages address church family interaction. Many of those passages address interaction and ministry to the fallen.
I want to explore several key passages today in order that we might find further instruction and motivation to minister to one another.
James pointedly addressed numerous issues in life all thought his letter.
Grumbling under trials.
Partiality and prejudice
Stumbling in many ways
Hearing but not doing the word.
Phony or dead faith.
Friendship with the world.
Blaming God for temptation
Quarrels and fighting
Pride and arrogance
Insensitively to the poor
James encouraged the ministry of prayer and confession because it works and because it has great value to the individual and the church.
Let him know with certainty that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Whoever seeks to minister to the wayward embarks on a difficult but rewarding venture. The key point to understand is that all of us stumble in many ways. All of us wander from the path at some time. That straying from the path can be intentional of unintentional. It may the result of deception.
1. Do everything you can to regularly strengthen and encourage one another.
Hebrews prescribes preventative measures. The writer warns against an unbelieving heart. He warns against failure to really trust God and fall into sin.
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13
The prescribed prevention is regular mutual encouragement. Sin causes deception.
Regular mutual encouragement prevents sin. I believe that mutual encouragement is the life blood of a healthy body. The Greek term comes from a combination of the verb “to call” and the preposition “beside”.
The word means to be by the side of another; to relieve and support; to give solace, consolation, and encouragement. But there is always an underlying meaning to the word. There is the idea of strength, an enablement, a confidence. It consoles and relieves a person, but it strengthens him at the same time. It charges a person to go out and face the world.
It communicates the idea of urging or imploring someone to do the right thing.
It was used to describe a pleading for help. It describes coming along side another with positive words of encouragement. It describes someone coming along side in troubled times not just to console but to strengthen. It references someone sent to advocate on our behalf; like a lawyer. Not one English word communicates all these ideas. The translators translate the same term by “urge, beg, comfort, exhort, encourage, advocate, counsel, help, ask. The noun and verb appear nearly 150 times in the New Testament. God does it. People practice it. God commands the church to practice it toward one another. Jesus does it. It is the central function of the Holy Spirit. The instruction to come along side one another appears all thought the New Testament. This coming along side does three things.