Motivation Because of the Lord’s Coming (James 5:7-11)

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“Motivation Because of the Lord’s Coming”

(James 5:7-11)

Series: Living the Faith [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

April 29, 2018

Introductory Comments:

Do you all remember last week’s sermon? James spoke very harshly against the greedy rich. He said things like “eat your flesh” and “day of slaughter.” It was intense!

In today’s passage, James seeks to offer more comfort and encouragement. 

He’s sort of coming full circle back to the message he had all the way back in chapter 1. 

Remember in chapter 1 he said, “2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4) [on screen]

He’s continued this theme throughout the letter, understanding that those of us who are in Christ may have to go through trials and difficulties if we are to stay faithful to the end of the race we are running in the Christian life.

Now, he seeks to encourage us again. 

Let’s look at this passage together today and see if we can learn from the Word of God. 

Read the Passage

Read James 5:7-11

7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.

9 Brothers and sisters, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!

10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Let’s pray together.

(Prayer)

Illustration: I’ve mentioned to you all before that I use to be a runner. I hope to get back into the routine of running again soon. I was never a marathon runner (which is 26.2 miles), but I did run a 10-mile race about a year ago. When I run a race, I focus on two things: First, I remember that there is an end to the race.  At some point, this thing will come to an end. Second, I focus on the next step right in front of me. What am I doing right now to help me get to the end? I don’t worry about all that I have ahead of me, I worry about what I have to do right now to finish the race. You must be focused and patient to run a 10-mile race. 

In the same way, James is telling us that for many of us, this may seem like a long race; this thing we call the Christian life. However, we must remember that there is an end in sight, and we must focus on what God is doing in us right now. 

The Lord is coming at some point; there is an end. That knowledge should give us the motivation to keep going. 

This morning let’s consider three actions we should be led to as a result of our knowledge that the Lord is coming again. 

First, . . .

I. The Lord’s coming should lead us to be patient (verses 7-8) [on screen]

James says in verse 7, “be patient until the Lord’s coming.”

Well, why do they need to be patient? What have they been experiencing?

Let’s not forget what James mentions they’ve been through:

They’ve gone through various trials. 

They’ve wrestled with actually living out their faith and not just listening to it. 

They’ve sorted through discriminating against others and being discriminated against. 

They’ve learned that their faith is dead if they don’t really live it out. 

They’ve had to struggle with what they say and what is said against them. 

They’ve heard that their will must be less important than the will of God. 

They’ve been oppressed by the greedy rich and have been warned not to oppress others. 

They’ve gone through a lot!

James says it’s going to take patience to live their lives for Jesus. 

What is required of them is the opposite of what we heard last week about the greedy oppressors. They are not patient. They are greedy and selfish and in a hurry to build up more for themselves. 

James says, not so with you. You should be patient as you look forward to the return of Jesus. 

James gives them this practical example to look to for patience. He says, “See how the farmer waits.”

Has anyone been a farmer, or helped out with farming?

We had tomatoes at our house in Kentucky. We planted those bad boys and had to wait, and wait, and wait.  Even when they were growing big and tall they still didn’t produce fruit right away. We had to wait for them to turn into a plant, then produce flowers, then produce tomatoes. It took forever, it seemed like. 

James says the farmer waits “for the precious fruit of the earth.” 

He waits for the early and the late rains. The early rains help the seed take root and the late rains help sustain the plant until the harvest. 

How much more should we wait for the precious fruit from God!

The fruit that we have coming to us when we harvest what we have sown and grown in our Christian life is eternal pleasures in the presence of our God and Savior!

Every heartache will be removed, every fear eliminated, every tear dried, every sickness healed; hate will be overwhelmed by love, rejection will be trumped by intimacy with our God, evil will be slaughtered by holiness, Jesus will crush the head of Satan forever, and we will dwell in paradise with Jesus and those who are His followers. 

The fruit that will come to us is worth the wait!

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8, “18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” [on screen]

So, James says, “you also must be patient.”

Just as the farmer is patient, we must also be patient. 

(pause)

Then, he says, “Strengthen your hearts.” Why? “Because the Lord’s coming is near.”

Even though life is difficult: strengthen your hearts because the Lord’s coming is near!

Even though we may suffer trials: strengthen your hearts because the Lord’s coming is near!

Even though at times we may not know how to live for the Lord because we lack godly wisdom: strengthen your hearts because the Lord’s coming is near!

Even though we may be oppressed by others: strengthen your hearts because the Lord’s coming is near!

Even though we may struggle with temptations that arise from desires that still lurk within us: strengthen your hearts because the Lord’s coming is near!

Even though we don’t always act the way that Christians should act: strengthen your hearts because the Lord’s coming is near!

Strengthen your hearts because the Lord’s coming is near. 

(pause)

The Lord’s coming should lead us to be patient. 

Second, consider this action . . .

II. The Lord’s coming should lead us to be humble (verse 9) [on screen]

Let’s see where we find humility in this verse. 

Look at verse 9 again. 

9 Brothers and sisters, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!

James says very clearly, “Do not complain about one another.”

Let me make this very clear: the Bible says that you should not complain about your brothers and sisters in Christ. Period.

When you complain about each other you are disobeying the Holy Word of God and you are in sin. 

Are we listening, church?  We are sinning when we complain about one another.

(pause)

Let me confess to you all that I am guilty of this sin and I am repenting to you all publicly of my sin. I have complained about my brothers and sisters in Christ and I need to stop. 

Please call me out when I do this, and please call each other out when you do this.

We must stop. 

James points out the seriousness of this when he says, “Look, the judge stands at the door!”

He tells us not to complain so that we will not be judged. 

He says, “the judge is at the door.”

Illustration: Do you remember in school when the teacher stepped out of the room for a moment and everyone started acting the fool? Then, all of a sudden someone would say, “Here she comes.” Everyone straightened up and acted properly. If the teacher is at the door you act properly. 

The Lord’s coming is near, in fact, James says He is at the door. 

We must live in obedience because God sees us and He desires that we live lives devoted to Him, and that we live in obedience to His Word. 

Because the Lord is coming we must not complain. 

When we complain the focus is on what we want. How we like things. We are taking on a selfish focus. 

Instead, we should seek a posture of humility. 

We should think less about ourselves and instead have an outward focus of love. 

Our focus should be on loving God, loving the Church, and loving others. 

We don’t have to focus on loving ourselves; for most of us, that comes quite naturally. Rather, we should turn that love outward towards others. 

Do not complain against one another so that you will not be judged.

The Lord’s coming should lead us to humility. 

Finally, . . .

III. The Lord’s coming should lead us to endure (verses 10-11) [on screen]

James points us to two very famous examples from Jewish history: the prophets and Job. 

Look at verses 10-11 again with me. 

10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

First, take the prophets. 

It seemed like if you were an Old Testament prophet you were more likely to suffer than you were to not suffer. 

They always had a difficult message, that was delivered to difficult people, under difficult circumstances. 

Yet, they endured!

They endured because they trusted the Word of the Lord. 

They endured because they knew God was in control and He was worthy to be obeyed. 

Second, James mentions Job. 

Job endured more difficulty than almost anyone in the history of our world, yet he was faithful to God throughout his trials.

Job endured. 

He endured because He knew God was worthy to be praised no matter the circumstances.

He believed in the sovereign majesty of God Almighty!

James reminded us that the outcome of Job’s suffering was good. 

James’ point with these two examples is to remind his readers that they can trust God until the end. 

They should endure and trust the Lord!

Because of the Lord’s coming, we know that He will make all things right in the end. We can endure because we can trust Him. 

The Lord’s coming should lead us to endure. 

Concluding Thoughts:

Again, let us reflect upon the words of chapter 1, verses 2-4. 

“2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4) [on screen]

As we think of the Lord’s coming, let’s think about being motivated to become complete as we look forward to His coming.

James is encouraging us here. He is giving us comfort. You can do it! Hang in there!

Let us be patient, let us be humble, and let us endure. 

Our bottom line is simply this: 

Bottom Line: Let the Lord’s coming motivate you to become complete.  [on screen]

(repeat)

The knowledge that Jesus could return at any moment should encourage us, should comfort us, and should motivate us to live for Him; to become complete. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. Ask yourself what impact the coming of the Lord has in your life.  [on screen]

Does it matter to you at all that Jesus will return one day?

Do you really believe He will return?

Does it cause you comfort? Fear? Indifference?

Answer that question this week. 

  1. Undo a recent complaint.  [on screen]

This could be a personal complaint from you or a complaint from someone else. 

If you personally complained, repent of that and make it right. Undo your complaint as best as you can. 

I guarantee you that there is someone else complaining in the church. Trust me!  Therefore, you can undo that complaint by offering encouragement to someone to overshadow someone else’s complaint. 

We need less negativity, selfishness, and complaining. We need more encouragement, compliments, and humility. 

Be humble. Be gracious. Be like Jesus. 

  1. Come up with a plan for endurance.  [on screen]

Going. Back to my running illustration, they have an endurance plan called “Couch to 5K.” Now, here’s a secret, you don’t just jump off your couch and run a 5K (which is 3.1 miles).  You gradually build towards that point as you build endurance. 

What’s your plan to build yourself up in spiritual endurance? 

Make a plan! Ask God to help you! Ask a trusted friend to help you. Speak to one of our pastors to help you. 

Closing:

The Lord is coming. Be comforted. Be ready. 

Are you ready?

If Jesus were to come back today would He be pleased with you and me?

Are you ready to come face to face with the living God?

(Gospel Presentation)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – Only Trust Him

Benediction:

Hey church, I want to remind you all about VBS Training coming up this Saturday, May 5, from 9 AM – 12 PM in the Ministry Center Fellowship Hall. This is for all people who have signed up for VBS and for anyone who is still interested in learning how they can serve. Best of all, lunch will be served at the meeting!

Also, I hope you’ll be here tonight as we continue our series called “On Mission Every Day.” Tonight we’ll be discussing, “The community required for the mission.”

Let’s dismiss by singing the Doxology. 

(Sing Doxology)

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