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Patience

James 5:7-12  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Patience

Remember that James is still speaking to suffering saints when he wrote the words, “be patient.” These Jewish Christians needed to hear that message repeatedly. This was his counsel at the beginning of this letter and now as his letter comes to a close it is still the same message, “be patient.” God is not going to right all the wrongs in this world until the return of Jesus, we who await his return must patiently endure hardship. Three times James reminds us of the coming of the Lord. We do not expect to have everything easy and comfortable in this present life. says “In this world ye shall have tribulation.” We must patiently endure hardships and heartaches until Jesus returns. The coming of the Lord Anticipates an end to all exploitation and suffering. Consequently, the oppressed should exercise self-control in their reaction to their oppressors (; Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Real faith produces genuine patience. This is the blessed hope of the Christian. James turns to instructions about how to endure suffering, develop a reliance on God, and work with another. How can Christians experience this kind of patient endurance as we wait for the Lord to return? To answer that question James gives us 3 encouraging examples of patient endurance.
The farmer
James turns to instructions about how to endure suffering, develop a reliance on God, and work with another.
Consider the farmer as one who has patience. In the climate of Palestine the early and the late rain were a unique feature. The early rain came in October, preparing the soil for the seed and helping the seed, once planted, to begin the process of germination. The late rain, in March and April, swelled the grain and guaranteed a good crop. In It reads he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. The illustration fits well not only at this point in the letter but also into James’ characteristic way of thinking. James’ doctrine of the Christian life is a doctrine of process or growth, and patience is its central requirement. We neither drift into holiness nor are we taken there by some heavenly visitation; we grow to holiness and, like every harvest, it is a process.
The Farmer
5:7 until the coming of the Lord Anticipates an end to all exploitation and suffering (; ). Consequently, the oppressed should exercise self-control in their reaction to their oppressors (; ).
The Message of James The Fruitfulness of Patience (5:7–9)

The farmer sets out to obey the laws of God as they are built into the way things work. He plants his seed at the appointed time, in the appointed conditions, and having done so he waits, for there is no other way to harvest-time.

In the climate of Palestine the early and the late rain (7) were a unique feature. The early rain came in October, preparing the soil for the seed and helping the seed, once planted, to begin the process of germination. The late rain, in March and April, swelled the grain and guaranteed a good crop. The illustration fits well not only at this point in the letter but also into James’ characteristic way of thinking. It was at this very point that he opened his letter. Faith meets life’s tests and, through patience (and not without it), grows into full maturity of settled character (1:2–4). James’ doctrine of the Christian life is a doctrine of process or growth, and patience is its central requirement. We neither drift into holiness nor are we wafted there by some heavenly visitation; we grow to holiness and, like every harvest, it is a process.

James is still addressing suffering saints when he wrote, “Be patient.”Real faith produces genuine patience. These Jewish Christians needed to hear that message repeatedly. James exhorts his readers to be patient in suffering in light of the Lord’s coming. In the climate of Palestine the early and the late rain (7) were a unique feature. The early rain came in October, preparing the soil for the seed and helping the seed, once planted, to begin the process of germination. The late rain, in March and April, swelled the grain and guaranteed a good crop. The illustration fits well not only at this point in the letter but also into James’ characteristic way of thinking. It was at this very point that he opened his letter. Faith meets life’s tests and, through patience (and not without it), grows into full maturity of settled character (1:2–4). James’ doctrine of the Christian life is a doctrine of process or growth, and patience is its central requirement. We neither drift into holiness nor are we wafted there by some heavenly visitation; we grow to holiness and, like every harvest, it is a process.
Why is the farmer so patient, because the harvest is worth waiting for. “In due season we shall reap if we faint not.” Galatians
Why does the farmer wait so long, because the harvest is worth waiting for. “In due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” James pictures the Christian as a spiritual farmer looking for a spiritual harvest. Verse 8 says you also be patient establishing your hearts. Our hearts are the soil and the seed is the word of God. There are seasons to the spiritual life just as there are seasons to the soil. Sometimes our hearts become cold and wintry and the Lord has to plow them up before he can plant the seed. He sends the sunshine and the rains of his goodness to water and nurture the seeds planted, but we must be patient to wait for the harvest. Keep in mind that the farmer does not stand around doing nothing; he is constantly at work as he looks toward the harvest. During that waiting, they must confirm their faith. They must not blame one another for the troubles of the situation in which they find themselves—for, if they do, they will be breaking the commandment which forbids Christians to judge one another (); and if they break that commandment, they will be condemned. James has no doubt of the nearness of the coming of Christ. The judge is at the door, he says, using a phrase which Jesus himself had used (; ).
The Prophets
James is still addressing suffering saints when he wrote, “Be patient.”Real faith produces genuine patience. These Jewish Christians needed to hear that message repeatedly. James exhorts his readers to be patient in suffering in light of the Lord’s coming. In the climate of Palestine the early and the late rain (7) were a unique feature. The early rain came in October, preparing the soil for the seed and helping the seed, once planted, to begin the process of germination. The late rain, in March and April, swelled the grain and guaranteed a good crop. The illustration fits well not only at this point in the letter but also into James’ characteristic way of thinking. It was at this very point that he opened his letter. Faith meets life’s tests and, through patience (and not without it), grows into full maturity of settled character (1:2–4). James’ doctrine of the Christian life is a doctrine of process or growth, and patience is its central requirement. We neither drift into holiness nor are we wafted there by some heavenly visitation; we grow to holiness and, like every harvest, it is a process.
The Prophets
The Message of James The Blessing of Steadfastness (5:10–12)

First, we have reason to expect in our experience the sort of suffering which requires patience (10). We see it exemplified in the prophets, who were highly privileged but not protected against the strains of life. They had a special place in God’s plans as they spoke in the name of the Lord. But, as C. L. Mitton notes, ‘faithfulness to God’s commands so far from giving them immunity from suffering actually involved them in it’. Their privilege and their trials went hand in hand. Jeremiah (11:21) was hunted by the men of his home town specifically because they wanted to stop him from speaking in the name of the Lord. Ezekiel suffered painful bereavement as the setting in which he delivered his message (24:15ff.). If Daniel had not suffered deportation we would never have heard of him (1:3–6) or benefited from his ministry. Hosea’s marriage breakdown was in itself the Lord’s word to and through him (1:2–3). Privilege and suffering, suffering and ministry just belonged together in the lives of the prophets.

The example that James uses from the OT prophets should encourage us to read more about these hero's of faith. The better we know the Bible the more God can encourage us in the difficult experiences of life. The important thing is that like the farmer we keep working and like the prophets we keep witnessing, no matter how trying the circumstances may be.
Job
We consider blessed those who have persevered. But you cannot persevere unless there is a trial in your life. There can be no victories without battles; there can be no peaks without valleys. If you want blessing, you must be prepared to carry the burden and fight the battle.
The Message of James The Blessing of Steadfastness (5:10–12)

The story of Job is an example of faithful steadfastness, but even more of divine purpose. The blessedness which came to him eventually was not a ‘fairy-tale ending’ in which all lived happily ever after. It was the objective of God from the start: above all it was the enrichment of knowing God more fully. This is where Job puts his finger, and James also. Doubtless neither would discount or despise the earthly prosperity which the Lord gave to Job, for this too is part of his compassion and mercy (Jb. 42:10ff.). But Job’s own word is this: ‘I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee’ (42:5). His new knowledge of the Lord was as vivid as the replacement of hearsay by encounter. James too brings out, not the blessings the Lord bestows, but the knowledge of the Lord himself, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful, for, as the Lord Jesus said, ‘eternal life’ is to ‘know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent’ (Jn. 17:3).

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