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#15 Never Give Up

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                                 “NEVER GIVE UP

                       (A Series on the Book of James)

Westgate Chapel 05/15/05                                     James 5:7-12

Proposition:      Life in the Holy Spirit means that you never give up on God, yourself or others.

i.    introduction

-     GOD is doing one thing in the world today….He is building His Church.

-     BY “Church” the Bible means born again people, gathered in local congregations, who love God and out of hearts of deep gratitude….serve Him.

-     BY “building” the Church, the Bible tells us that God’s goal is…

      “…that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27)

-     THE internal motivation for Ephesians 5:27, is the love of God at work in us that constrains us to be like Jesus.

-     THE power that makes us look like Ephesians 5:27, is the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells every born again Christian.

-     AND the urgency to look like Ephesians 5:27, is the fact that Jesus could return at any moment and following His return will be the judgment.

-     NOW, while I don’t believe that God intends judgment to be a motivator to godly living….it is certainly a reality of God’s Word that we neglect at our own peril.

-     IN the 6 verses of James 5 that we will be studying today….the return of Christ and the judgment that will follow is mentioned 4 times…as you will soon see.

-     THE early Church lived in a daily awareness that they were in the last days (see and explain PP slide).

-     THE belief that Jesus could come at any moment provided them an urgency concerning holy living

-     AN example of this sense of urgency is 1 John 2:28,

      “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

ii.   never give up

-     WELL, what is the image of Christ in the mirror of James 5:7-12 that warrants four references to the coming of the Lord and judgment?

-     WHAT subject could possibly be that urgent to have the back drop of four warnings that Jesus could come back at any moment?

-     IT must be adultery, or stealing, or lying, or maybe murder!

-     NO!

-     THE subject on the heart of James in James 5:7-12 is impatience.

1.   Impatience concerning growth and results in your life.

2.   Impatience concerning people in your life.

3.   Impatience concerning suffering.

4.   Impatience concerning the purposes of God in your life.

5.   Impatience concerning the commitments you and I make in haste.

-     PATIENCE is one of the fruit (evidences) that you are living the Spirit-controlled life in Galatians 5:22.

*     Patience is very closely linked to trust…in the love of God, the purposes of God and the power of God at work in you.

*     Patience is very closely linked to humility…the willing surrender of your life, agenda, gifts, timetable and ego to the control of God.

-     THE Greek word translated, patience, or endurance, six times in as many verses, has three shades of meaning:

*     Endures delays.

*     Bears suffering.

*     Never gives up.

-     JAMES has some very important things to say about patience in James 5:7-12 (page 1199).

 

1.   BE PATIENT RE: RESULTS IN YOUR LIFE

-     THE first statement James makes about patience has to do with results in your life.

-     WHAT kind of results?

-     ALL kinds!

*     Growth/results in your life.

*     Growth in your profession.

*     In your spouse.

*     Finding a spouse.

*     In your finances.

*     In your marriage.

-     AND to illustrate his point, James uses the farmer.

-     LOOK at verses 7-8 with me.

      “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”

-     MOST of what the farmer does, at least in the early stages of a crop, is working with the unseen.

-     HE prepares the soil…and doesn’t see anything of the crop.

-     HE plants the seed….and doesn’t see anything of the crop.

-     HE fertilizes and cultivates and weeds…and doesn’t see anything of the crop.

-     AND in Israel, the farmer doesn’t see any growth or results for all of his work until the early and the latter rains….then the maturation of the crop happens relatively quickly.

-     IF the farmer got impatient and started digging around the plants before the rains to see how things were going…he would ruin his whole crop.

-     AND a great deal of the work that the farmer needs to do is done without visible reinforcement of progress, growth or results.

-     BUT he has to work anyhow…and trust God anyhow for those elements of a harvest over which he has no control (like rain and sun).

-     AND James says, “You too be patient and strengthen your hearts…”

-     AND the word, strengthen, literally means “establish.”

-     ESTABLISHING your heart in God is the opposite of fretting and running from one fix to the next to try and create progress in your life.

-     WORK hard, like the farmer, and trust God for the growth you desire in your life right now.

-     IMPATIENCE is sin…and the reference to judgment is a reminder from James that God takes all sin seriously.

 

2.   BE PATIENT RE: PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE

-     THE next principle is found in verse 9,

      “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”

-     THIS verse is about the people in your life, especially those who test your patience.

-     WHEN you are going through some stuff, and you are upset and frustrated with your life, the easiest thing to do is take it out on others.

-     AND the word, complain, means to murmur about each other, when you are….

*     Enduring delays in your life…at the hands of people.

*     Bearing suffering in your life…at the hands of people.

*     Tempted to give up…on other people.

-     THIS kind of impatience focused on others and accompanied by complaining, not only is useless (tell me what good ever comes from it), but it is sinful and will incur the judgment of God.

-     THE opposite spirit is to speak always only good of each other….which takes trust and humility.

 

3.   BE PATIENT RE: RELIEF FROM SUFFERING

-     FOR the next lesson about patience, look at verses 10-11a with me,

      “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We count those blessed who endured.”

-     THE prophets of the Old Testament were, almost to the person, men and women of God who were looking for relief from suffering.

-     THEY were looking for relief because very seldom do people really want to hear the word of the Lord.

-     THEY want their ears tickled.

-     THEY want to hear that they are OK.

-     THEY want to hear that God is willing to overlook their sin.

-     THEY want to hear that in spite of their choices in life, everything is going to be OK, that there will be no consequences to face.

-     AND a prophet is usually sent by God when the people need to be called back to God, back to a passionate love for God, and to purity of life.

-     SO as a result prophets almost always suffer.

-     AND if they allowed themselves the luxury of self-centered, self-indulgent impatience waiting for relief from their suffering….the trumpet of God would not be sounded.

-     INSTEAD, they were patient in suffering…

*     Enduring delays.

*     Bearing suffering.

*     Never giving up.

-     WHY? Because they trusted in God and humbled themselves to His purposes.

-     AND they were counted as blessed by God!

-     SO, the main goal of my life is not to avoid or get relief from suffering….but to find out first what God is doing, and be patient in the middle of it.

 

4.   BE PATIENT RE: THE PURPOSES OF GOD

-     WHICH leads directly to the lesson in the last half of verse 11,

      “You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.”

-     WHAT were the dealings of God in Job’s life?

-     GOD was teaching Job one thing….that God is God and Job was not.

-     AND because Job endured in that lesson….and had the sense to shut up when God started to speak to Him….He received the greatest of all gifts….to see God.

-     AND when you read the Book of Job, and all that he went through, how in the world could any of that be construed as the “compassion and mercy” of God?

-     BECAUSE seeing God for who He is and being in a growing intimate fellowship with Him….is more important than Job getting his boils healed or his house back.

-     AND in the end, Job ends up with more blessing than He had at the beginning, when God baited Satan concerning Job in order to take Job to a place he would otherwise not have gone.

-     AND when we have patience in our suffering (not resignation), and put our trust in God and submit to Him….we are in a better position to be aligned with His purposes.

-     BE patient to wait on the purposes of God in your life, especially in the face of suffering.

*     Enduring delays.

*     Bearing suffering.

*     Never giving up.

 

5.   BE PATIENT RE: MAKING COMMITMENTS IN HASTE

-     THE last lesson on patience is found in verse 12.

      “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.”

-     WHAT does this have to do with patience?

-     THE best answer is in Luke 14, where four different people “said” they wanted to be a disciple of Jesus, but when the test came, they had other priorities to attend to.

-     THEY were impatient and hasty in a commitment to discipleship they obviously didn’t mean.

*     One man had said yes to the initial invitation, but when it came down to it, he said, “I have a piece of land and I really need to spend time inspecting it.”

*     Another had also said yes, initially, but when it came down to being Jesus’ disciple, he had a new delivery truck that needed his attention.

*     A third had also said, yes, in haste to the invitation, but when it came down to it, he was a no-show because he had just gotten married and said his marriage was a priority.

-     THE context of the Book of James is the call to costly discipleship.

-     AND it is sin to make hasty and impatient commitments to the Lord…only to bail on them when it comes down to it.

-     LIVE out the commitments you have made to the Lord….it is the test of your discipleship.

*     Enduring delays.

*     Bearing suffering.

*     Never giving up.

 

 

iii.  conclusion

-     REMEMBER, the Word of God is NOT a list of do’s and don’ts to grit your teeth and follow.

-     THE Word of God is a mirror of your relationship with God.

-     IN it you see the image of God and the values of the kingdom of God.

-     AND in it you see the reflection of your life and how it looks in comparison with the image of God.

-     AND where you and I see discrepancies (and we are bound to see discrepancies), we look away from the mirror and are driven back into our intimacy with God to repent and seek the grace to change how we live.

-     THAT is why it is so important that you have a daily discipline of looking into the mirror of God’s Word….and recording what He says to you in your True North journal.

-     THAT is why it is so important that everywhere the Word of God is taught and preached here at Westgate Chapel…we tell you the whole truth and not just what is calculated to make you feel good.

 

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