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James: A Faith That Works  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Because of our faithful God, we can have a faith that trusts.

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Introduction

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James 5:7–12 ESV
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
James 5:7–11 ESV
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
James 7-12
Look back at context in 5:1-6:
(4)Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you,
(6) You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. (ESV)
Probably not actual murder, but still not good.
Some are experiencing:
injustice (not being paid)
discrimination (rich passing over the poor)
undue hatred (righteous being murdered)
unfair treatment - by others and by God (righteous condemned)
We would call this suffering.
2 Things to know about suffering:
Consider the source of your suffering
There are different reasons why we may suffer:
As a result/consequence of things we do.
As a result of things done to us.
James is speaking about the latter
Context is
Poor being oppressed by the rich - exploiting their power — treating them unfairly
Don’t compare your suffering
We should not judge another’s pain
Pain is real to the one who feels it.
With the external pressures of being wronged, treated unfairly, dealing with a situation you don’t believe you deserve, James calls for PATIENCE.
(7) Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.

Patience walks us through suffering not around it. (7a)

(7) Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.
*How many of you are patient?
If suffering is the context for this section, then patience is theme. James uses this word four times - twice in verse 7, 8, 10
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. (ESV)
Patience = ‘The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.’
Patience is required as you go through something not around it.
The word ‘patience’ implies going through. In addition, James commands us to be patient until the coming of the Lord,
not until you’ve had enough
That’s not usually our first response though is it? Sometimes we are so focused on the removal of suffering that we never consider how to be patient through it.
that’s not usually our first response though is it? Sometimes we are so focused on the removal of suffering that we never consider how to be patient through it.
Why do we expect we will not suffer?
We live in a world that is under a curse of sin. - Not God’s original design.
While we don’t like suffering and we pray that God might remove the suffering from us James is telling us that I trust and faith when faced with suffering is patient
While we don’t like suffering and we pray that God might remove the suffering from us James is telling us that a Faith that Trusts is patient when faced with suffering
**James’ command to ‘be patient’ forces us to ask how we respond when something difficult comes our way. Is my first reaction fear, anxiety, anger, complaining? Or is it patience?
** Do I use all my time in prayer asking God to remove my source of suffering, or do I, after examining myself to see if it is a consequence of a choice, or after I have asked God to remove it and he doesn’t do I begin instead to ask God for patience to walk through it.

God is sovereign through the suffering. (7b)

For the Ancient Near East farmer everything about his life was tied to his crops, more specifically was tied to whether or not the rains fell
context of the early rains and the late range why did James point to the farmer and not a merchant? Some scholars suspect that perhaps James not following after his father Joseph had farming as an occupation. But either way I believe the farmer is used because that occupation serves as the best context for patience
The farmer cannot make rains come. The farmer, at least in that day, could not artificially water all of his crops. The farmer had no choice but to wait. And be patient.
this is so very hard for us like to control things. Patients can be difficult because it is a releasing of control. And we want to control things.
**Patience, or our lack of it, oftentimes reveals our desire to control the aspects of our lives.
The fruit is worth the wait ()
James 1:2–4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
One commentator wrote:
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.
** If we are patient, God can grow us. If we impatiently attempt to ‘take care of things’ on our own, we could easily miss out on God’s plan to make us more like Jesus.

Suffering should not be used as an excuse to sin. (9)

(9) Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. (ESV)
‘Grumble’ = groan, sigh
‘You don’t know what I’ve been through'
Stress often brings out our true character
ILLUST - Joseph in prison - Potiphar’s wife makes an advance - Joseph could have tried to justify his sin because of his suffering, instead; he revealed his character.
(12) But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (ESV)
Even in suffering our character should be evident 
Matthew 5:33–37 ESV
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
Psalm 66:10–14 ESV
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
**As we maintain a good character through suffering we display God’s character - missional
** How has your wife seen you handle the tough stuff at work? What have your kids seen when things don’t go well? What would have happened if Joseph had given in to Potiphar’s wife - the story would have ended there.
(8) You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (ESV)

The hope of God’s goodness gives strength in the suffering. (8,10-11)

James 5:1–12 ESV
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
Whereas patience is the releasing of control while in the midst of suffering, ‘steadfastness’ is the ability to remain strong under the suffering, and steadfastness comes when we establish our hearts.
Establish = to make strong
Same word used to describe Jesus as he prepared to go to Jerusalem.:
Luke 9:51 ESV
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
For the coming of the Lord
Why? God is coming soon(?)
This was written nearly 2000 years ago. How can Jesus’ return be ‘at hand?'
Christians have always lived with the very real hope that Jesus could return at any moment
Christians do not wait for something, but for Someone
We’re not waiting for an event to happen, we are waiting for a Person to be with.
ILLUST - waiting for Christmas (here and gone) and waiting for marriage (here and keeps going!)
2
If eternal life is the guaranteed, what kind of suffering on this tiny blip on the line of eternity could alter its value?
This is not to diminish the amount or weight of your suffering. It is to try to get an eternal perspective of suffering.
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 ESV
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
This was written nearly 2000 years ago. How can Jesus’ return be ‘at hand?'
(10) As an example of suffering and patience
VSS 10-11
Ex - Prophets - Suffered while serving God 
God called them to it
Ex - Job - suffered even though he had served God
God grew him through it. 
How many times does the push of trials push us in closer to God?
(10) As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Isaiah - tradition holds he was sawn in two.
Jeremiah -
Jeremiah 1:7–8 ESV
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
Thrown into a well
Ezekiel - Wife died
Hosea - wife left him, and committed adultery.
These men were not doormats - they spoke out against the evil that was happening around them.
(11) Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.
Through their patient suffering they were used by God to deliver his message to the people of their day as well as to you and me thousands of years later.
Matthew 5:11–12 ESV
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
James 1:12 ESV
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (ESV)
Job
One of the richest men - loved God - good guy
God called them to it
- ‘Now there was a day”. . .
All of his oxen and donkeys were stolen and the servants watching them were killed (save one)
Ex - Job - suffered even though he had served God
‘While he was still speaking’. . . All his sheep (with the servants) were literally burned up.
‘While’ . . . Camels stolen - servants killed
Windstorm caused a house to fall and crush all of his children.
His days only get worse from there.
gets sores all over his body
wife stops supporting him - ‘Curse God and die.’
His friends proceed to tell him how it is his fault
Job begins to lament his own life and question God about what he has done to deserve this.
God grew him through it. 
The New Bible Commentary 5:7–11 Summary on Patient Endurance

In the OT story Job is not very patient, for he complains a lot, but in the Jewish stories that were circulating in James’s day, Job is represented as a perfect example of patient endurance. In fact, one of these stories The Testament of Job, uses perseverance as the theme for the whole book. James’s readers would have recognized the story.

Job 38:1–3 ESV
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Job 38:1-
God fixes Job’s perspective then shows Job his provision (over Creation).
God humbles Job then shows him he is held.
Job 38:39–41 ESV
39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40 when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket? 41 Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food?
Job 38
Job 39:1–3 ESV
1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does? 2 Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, 3 when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young?
Job 39:1-
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
‘Purpose’ = telos = completeness
The completeness of Job’s trials was to see God as he is.
Job 42:5 ESV
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;
Job 42:
ILLUST - my struggle with anxiety and panic - even though I serve God, this is what I get?! Realization came that had God NOT allowed this struggle in my life, I would not know him like I do. I would not have experienced his peace had I not first experienced my anxiety (Bible verse - Do not worry. . . ), I would not have known him as a God who answers prayer in the same way had I not needed to so desperately cry out to him.

Conclusion

James 1:2–4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
As we prepare to share in Communion.
Consider the source of your suffering
Held’ by Casting Crowns
There are different reasons why we may suffer:
As a result/consequence of things we do.
As a result of things done to us.
James is speaking about the latter
Context is
Poor being oppressed by the rich - exploiting their power — treating them unfairly
Don’t compare your suffering
We should not judge another’s pain
We cannot use our pain as an excuse
Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands
If you are suffering, you are going through something that is troubling you, causing you pain - doesn’t matter the degree - pain is pain - come forward for prayer.
James comes full circle in this passage to talk about perseverance/patience through suffering.
James 1:2–4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Be Patient
‘patience’ =
R. J. Knowling expresses their respective meanings very exactly when he says that patience is the self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate against a wrong
J. A. Motyer, The Message of James: The Tests of Faith, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985), 172.
2(3) Examples
Farmers
Prophets
Job
The New Bible Commentary 5:7–11 Summary on Patient Endurance

In the OT story Job is not very patient, for he complains a lot, but in the Jewish stories that were circulating in James’s day, Job is represented as a perfect example of patient endurance. In fact, one of these stories The Testament of Job, uses perseverance as the theme for the whole book. James’s readers would have recognized the story.

Establish your hearts
‘steadfastness’ =
steadfastness is the temper which does not easily succumb under suffering.
J. A. Motyer, The Message of James: The Tests of Faith, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985), 172.
For the coming of the Lord
Christians do not wait for something, but for Someone
The New Bible Commentary 5:7–11 Summary on Patient Endurance

The point is that God has not forgotten the Christians James is writing to. He cites Pss. 103:8 or 111:4, noting God’s compassion and mercy. God is not trying to make life hard for his believers, but is instead showing his mercy in assisting them to develop character and put their investments in heaven, where they will last forever.

Conclusion
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