survive and verses 13 to 20
Is anyone among you suffering let him pray? Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick 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 sick and the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed since 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 in for 3 years and 6 months. It did not rain on the earth then afraid again in heaven gave rain in the earth bore its fruit. My brother's If anyone among you wonders from the truth and someone brings him back. Let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wondering Will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. Let's pray this morning.
God is we come to the end of your word through your servant James. Would you impress strongly on us the fact that we are in desperate need of you? The fact that without you God there is no hope for us. The fact that without you God and your forgiveness in your love and your grace, there is no salvation for us. impress on her heart Scott the fact that we need you but father I pray that as we look at this you would also impress on our hearts that we need one another. That we need each other to lift us up when we are weak that we need one another to confess our sins in our struggles to that. We need one another. When we are weak that we need one another when we are strong. Father would you be glorified in your people as we respond to your word? We ask this in Jesus name? Amen Church. We've been walking through the Book of James and we've been talking about how James cause us to engage with our faith to be active in living out the Christian Life that's been set before us to not take it passively but to engage and then we've been using this word fight that we ought to fight right without a fight in patients without to fight greed. We ought to fight our desires we engage with the world around us today. I want us to as we consider the last words in the Book of James. I want us to think we ought to be fighting together. There's a strong Temptation because we are where we are. to buy into a myth to buy into if I dare say it a lie. Because you are sitting in America because you are sitting in a church in America. You have been fed a steady diet of the Smith from the time you were young now, if you've moved here later in life, maybe you're not quite as bought in. But none the less there is a lie that we have been told. And that lies the LIE of Independence the LIE of the self-made man, the LIE of Independence that we could all on our own it regardless of anyone else be what we were created to be. James says that's not the case because as much as we need God right as Christians, we automatically say well, of course, we can't be fully independent. We have to rely on God, but we often times fail to recognize that even as we admit our dependence on God we fail to recognize that he is so set up the world that we need one another. We cannot be independent of one another. People ask me, you know, if if you follow Jesus, do you have to go to church? If you mean if you follow Jesus, do you have to show up at 10:45 wearing your Sunday Best pretend that everything's okay when everything's not okay? No, you don't have to do that. But if you want to follow Jesus, I believe James tells us here. I believe other passage in the New Testament would tell us it is essential. Did you reject Independence and that you gather with fellow Believers? It is essential that you do not try to walk the Christian path by yourself. It is essential. But you meet with live life with brothers and sisters who are pursuing the same ends essential I want to do away with the myth of independent. Tell me if you guys know the name Edmund Hillary.
Okay, how many of you know what he's famous for?
climbing Mount Everest Do you know anybody else associated with that?
Norgay Tenzing how many of you know Norgate n ziggs name? What you do now cuz Paul just spilled the beans on it.
No, it's so Edmund. Hillary was knighted. For being the first person to climb Mount Everest story for years. He was held up. As this example of this adventurous Spirit. He was held up as an example of what one man could do on his own through just determination and strength. He was held up as an example of Independence and yet Edmund Hillary himself would have never made such a claim. As a matter of fact, he was so committed to making sure that his Sherpa guide got credit that he refused to answer when reporters would ask him. Well who got there first you or send you
He refused to answer because he recognized something finally the leader of the Expedition. It was not Hillary but a man by the name of hunt told the reporters quit asking the question. They made it together. We want to in the west give credit to one who's the remarkable individual who set foot on Mount Everest first and yet Hillary and hunts recognized.
You never do it alone. It's always a team effort.
Church the Christian life is not a solo project. The Christian life is not just you and Jesus hanging out for the next couple years the Christian Life Is You And A Band of Brothers and Sisters around you affirming Christ together in pursuing obedience together. That's the Christian life and that's what James points is to get points this to this reality. And if you hear nothing else that I say today, which is a good possibility. I'm already seeing some of you nodding off might had a long day in the Sun or something. I get that if you hear nothing else hear this you need God's You need the people sitting around you. We need God and we need one another. As we try to follow Christ. The first thing that did James points is to remember he's coming to the end of his book and we he's talked about suffering. He's talked about persecution. He's talked about favoritism. He's talked about a whole lot of different stuff. But it how does he ends the ends by pointing us to the fact that we need God. Look at verse 13 is any among you suffering now we stop right there. And if you've got your Bible open in front of you which I would encourage you to do. I know I have the words on the screen. That's a crutch. Alright, grab a Bible in front of you. There may be one under the seat turn to James chapter 5 and look at what was before right? He says be patient therefore Brothers until the coming of the Lord right? He's talking about the fact that we're facing persecution. He's the warning the rich earlier. He talks about not boasting again about tomorrow. We talked about fighting and quarrelling. Right as we go back and look at the context here. He's talking about a whole lot of problems. And so here in James 5:13 when he says is anyone among you suffering the expectation is if we had just been reading through this and not taking three months to preach through it the expectations. We be thinking about persecution and we be thinking about fighting and we be thinking about all of these things that he's dealt with these problems and see what he says. Is anyone suffering would like walk me I can identify with all the stuff you've been talking about James James has here's the solution is any among you suffering persecution suffering Coral suffering. fights suffering poverty Let him pray. And this is this is the generic pronoun here. This is let them pray let that person pray. Let him or her so ladies you're not exempt from this. Is any among you suffering? Let him pray but it's entirely possible through this and they've gotten here to 2 chapter 5 verse 13 and they're like, you know what I'm not being persecuted. I've got everything I need. Nobody's fighting. I'm at peace. No, I'm not suffering. What's his prescription? Is anyone cheerful. Let him phrase. For James it all comes down to this. If you're suffering go to God, if you're not suffering go to God's it's the exact same prescription no matter what you face in life. You need God. If life is hard go to God if life is great go to God. That is James's message here. He covers the whole range of human possibility. Are you suffering go to God? Are you cheerful go to God the solution is always the same. It doesn't matter what you're facing in your life. Go to God. And we get that write Christian. Do you understand this? It's much easier to remember this when we're suffering. I admit much easier when were suffering be like, oh, yeah. I need to go to God. Sometimes we get happy and we get distracted by the thing that's made us happy and we forget about going to God but none unless we have a cognitive awareness if you've grown up in church and been around here for a while, you know this whatever you're doing focus on God.
Why doesn't the bookend there? If that's all we need whatever you experienced take it to God if that's all we need. Why doesn't James just wrap it up and I finished preaching. What would be the shortest sermon ever preached at Red Hills?
Because it's so easy to lose focus on God. It's so easy for you and me. To take our eyes off of him. I said it's easiest when we when we're happy, right? It's easiest. We're happy to forget about God, but it's possible when we're suffering to forget about God as possible when we're suffering to blame guy. No show of hands anybody been there. Wash your hands if you want to that's fine, too. Padres mine when we're facing hard times. It's tempting to take our eyes off of God and say why is this happening to me? When were happy it's tempting to take our eyes off of God and say look what I've accomplished.
So why doesn't the book in there because it's so easy for us to forget this but you know what we can't forget.
We can't forget the person in front of us. It's easy to forget God because if we choose to we don't see him right? It's easy to forget God because we can look at Cedar Breaks and we can stand in awe of it and yet not give credit to its maker. Right. It's easy to see the rain storm and the rainbow and not give credits. to The God Who made both but it's much more difficult to deny the existence of the person right in front of me. It's much more difficult to deny the existence of the person who comes alongside me when I'm suffering and says Hey brother is everything, okay?
Last week as I was free tonight. I confessed you guys. I don't always like preaching it's not my favorite thing to do.
The holy spirit's impressed on someone in this room to pray for me this week.
And to come and tell me that right before I get up to preach, which I wasn't really looking forward to doing today.
And if they look we heard some discouragement in your voice and so we prayed for you this week that God would give you. the strength that God would encourage you it's easy for me to lose sight of God. Enter forget in the mundane everyday. I've got to prepare a sermon this week. I have to preach they expect me to do this. It's easy to forget that the reason I do this is because God has called me but I can't forget a brother coming up to me and saying we prayed for this week's we heard you were the discouragement your voice. We need one another. We need one another cuz we can forget the God. We can't see but we can't forget the brother or sister that we can see we can't pretend they don't exist church. We need each other. And a culture that tells you that you are fine on your own that you are fine away from one another that it's okay. If you don't build relationships with people around you a culture that would tell you you are self-sufficient and independent is a culture that is lying to you and would rob you of a blessing. Of having that arm put around your shoulder. So James says we need God, but because we're tempted to lose side of him. We need each other to to remind us of God and that's where he goes in verse 14 is any among you sick? Now this frankly is one of the most confusing passages in the New Testament. And I will own that as your pastor and say this is one that sometimes confuses me. It says is any among you sick 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 I have so many questions at this point. Okay, so call the Elders of the church. We have Algeria for pastors here at the church. So if you're sick call for the Elders of the pastors of the church will pray over you but I'm not sure what to do with the oil honestly. Baptist tradition did not prepare me for this. Okay? If you know what this is all about, maybe enlighten me, but then look at what he says goes on to say and the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up.
And this creates all sorts of questions in my mind. Why is any Christian? ever dead
if God says that if you pray they will be raised up.
How come people die? if Christians are praying for them not to
we face this in our own body this week one of our dear members passed away yesterday.
Carol Davis too many of you know Michelle Osborne who plays the piano there family is here Larry Davis passed away yesterday. I prayed with Larry and ask God's healing Did I not have faith was that the problem? Where is James saying something else? King James is saying something else. Because even if I didn't have faith, I know some of the people that prayed for Larry Davis and they are faithful people. If anybody's Faith was going to save somebody Larry Davis was going to be saved. Instead Larry Davis gets to be with Jesus right now while the rest of us are stuck with each other.
James is not saying this is going to heal every physical infirmity. This is going to mean that no Christian Never Dies. We need to recognize that the New Testament is written in a language and it language. Is not always as precise as we want it to be wind wind James Wright is any among you sick? We need to understand what he's saying. They're there are multiple words that James had access to that he could have used here in in is he's writing this down. Just like an English right? We get this I can say I'm sick. I can say I'm on well, I I can say I've got an infection I can use any kind of word to describe it and you know what I'm saying. Something is wrong with this dude, you're already saying that something's wrong with this dude, right? We use language in that way and the word that James uses here is a word that is used elsewhere in the New Testament for the idea of weakness, and it could very just as easily read is any among you weak? Let him call for the elders among you struggling in your face, right? It's just got done saying hey, look are you suffering look to God. Are you cheerful look to God and he saying now but sometimes you get to that point in your life where you just can't look to God. Are you at the point where you're doubting the reality of your face? Are you at the point where you don't know if God is really who he is claimed to be by your church. Are you at the point where you really don't know if these things you've heard about Jesus are true. Are you struggling with your faith are you weak? Are you at the point where you're like, I can't even pray because I'm not sure that I believe this. James says it's that moment of weakness where you need your brothers and sisters to come and to pray for you. You need those who are strong in the faith to come in for a and the prayer of faith will save the one who is weak and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, they will be forgiven what James is pointing us to is not a promise of immortality not a promise of perfect health for the Christian who receives the prayers of somebody with a special gift of healing what James is pointing as soon as the fact that when we get to the point where we can't even Pray when we can't even praise because we are weak he sang. That's when you need your brothers and sisters to come alongside you and say I'll pray for you. I'll praise with you. This is why we need each other. Because we all get to that moment of weakness that moment of doubt. We're like, I don't even know if there's a God that I can pray to.
That's not somehow making you weak. In regards to your status before God that doesn't make you a less than it simply makes you aware of the fact that you do need God. More than that you need your brother and sister. And so if you're here this morning and you are struggling with doubt and if you're here this morning, and you say it's been weeks since I've prayed because I don't know if I believe anymore. James has a prescription for you. Ask someone who's stronger to pray with you before you ask somebody to pray for you. This is what he says and then he goes on and he brings in this idea.
Of what about Sin? Sin has been defined as is doubt. Right every time we send it is a doubting of the reality of God every time we see and it's a doubt of the righteousness of God of the Holiness of God. And so James recognize if some of these people are weak in their faith and they can't even Fraser. They can't even pray. They need these others to come and they need to recognize that their sins can still be forgiven even that sin of Doubt even that sin of that they committed when they're like, I'm not sure if I believe this I'm just going to kind of test out the waters over here. James says look that sin can be forgiven. If any of them have sinned if their doubt has led them to send it will be forgiven. Then. He says in 4/16 therefore confess your sins to one another now. This is the point where every American Heart in here is like
I am independent. I confess to God and no other.
Let me just say that you have bottle lie. When you say I don't need to confess my sins to any man, this is a good Baptist thing, right the Baptist. This is kind of the whole Reformation centered around this that you didn't have to go to a priest to get Absolution from your sins. You don't have to go confess your sins to a priest. rights
wrong Peter says that we the people of God are a kingdom of priests a holy nation, right? The believer is a priest not a pastor not some dude in fancy clothes hidden behind a screen. That's not a priest a priest. Is you Christ follower. And we do need to confess our sins to one another. We do need to confess our sins to our brothers and sisters. Why because it's really easy to not confess them to God. It's really easy to doubt whether or not that was sufficient to doubt whether or not confessing my sin to God was what was needed. But you can put some reality to it. You can put some concrete down when you confess your sins to one another now, does that mean that we're going to have an open mic later in the service and let everybody just confess their sins the whole group? No, just to set your mind at ease. I saw some of your Gathering stuff up to make a break for the door. But it does mean that you should be connected with the people around you. You should have the level of relationship with some Christian brothers and sisters that you're not afraid to do that with certain people. That there's a story about three men and and they're all part of the same church, but men in church, we don't go in for that whole, you know conversation touchy-feely kind of stuff. That's not our thing. But these guys go out camping and as they're talking and is there looking at the sky they start just getting real with one another guy's you don't talk about getting you get real with another guy when it's not, you know, haha, you know slap him on the back, but when you're actually having a conversation these guys start having that conversation one of them says, you know what, I just got to tell you guys I've been struggling with pornography. And it's it's been a real issue in my life. And I need you guys to pray for me that I would that I would be able to get over that. Yeah, the guy says I'll pray for you and I should just tell you guys now. I've been ripping off people in my job. I've been stealing money from customers billing them for stuff. I didn't do. And that's really bad and God's really convicting me about that. The third guy says well, look, I'll be praying for both of you guys and I just got to tell you I really struggle with the sin of gossip, and I can't wait to get home.
When we confess our sins to one another we need to do so in the context of relationships built on trust. We need to not just broadcast our sin because our sin is not what is meant to be the focus. The Forgiveness of God and Christ is meant to be the focus. So don't we don't want to create kind of this, you know confession culture where it's whoever can say the dirtiest nastiest things about themselves gets all the respect. No, we want to have relationships though with people who we can go to and say Here's what I'm struggling with. Would you pray for me and who we can look at and say ask me this question asked me if I'm struggling with that next time you see me has to be built on a relationship of trust though. But my question is, do you know your brothers and sisters well enough to even have that kind of trust. Have you gotten involved with the lives of somebody in your fellowship in your interaction, or do you just come on Sunday morning and sit? Have you intentionally sought other people out in this congregation to build relationships with them that you might be able to confess your sins and hear their confession and pray for one another and encourage one another when you're weak. Do you have those kind of relationships or is your Christian faith simply one of showing up on Sunday morning and then going and doing your thing. The rest of the week James is calling us to a lifestyle. Whereby we open our lives up to the people around us. We develop relationships of trust trust takes time. We get to know one another we enjoy meals together. This is one of the reasons why we do small groups here. We're taking a break for the summer. Some of the small groups are still meeting even though the church didn't tell him to
It's great. Actually if you guys get together outside of this place and start building relationships and connecting with one another. That's awesome. Because that's what James is calling us to be like this be the kind of people who have relationships built on trust centered in Christ focused on encouraging one another when you're weak when you're down cast when you're not even sure you believe do you have somebody you could confess that to and not fear but they would say you'll only get that if you start building relationships with the people who are following Christ around you have that kind of open life might have that kind of connection within the body that says not waiting for the church to tell me I can get together. I'm going to get together with some people. Okay, that's what that's recite about. He gives us a really interesting example here. He says Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. He just got done saying confess your sins to one another pray for one another pray for the weak faith of the person who comes to you says, I don't know if I believe anymore pray for that person pray for the person who says I'm struggling with this sin this doubt of Christ being Lord pray for that person. And he says the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. And then he says the example of this would be Elijah and Elijah has an interesting example because there is a ton of examples of Prayer in the Bible. There are a ton of examples of people who prayed and God moved and yet James pics Elijah praying for rain after 3 and 1/2 year draft. He says looking Elijah a man just like you and I a man who was Florida man with sin a man who was just human like you and I are just human like the people sitting around you are just human look around at each other real quick. They're just humans. You just people that got problems just like you do we got doubts just like you do and James has look at Elijah. He's just like us you just like us he has the same passions is actually the the translation. He's got the same passions that we do. And yet when he prayed The land received rain after three and a half years. He chooses this is an example because when we build relationships when we open our lives up to the people around us when instead of church being something we do on Sunday at someone and some people that we are all through the week when we're family with the church. He says when that's the relationship and when we feel weak when we feel dry when we feel parched like land at haven't seen rain for three and a half years and we go to a brother and sister we confess our down our sin and we say pray for me. Will receive that kind of refreshing rain on our soul. Will receive just that same thing you and I walk through periods of spiritual drought walk through periods where we just feel dried up inside spiritually. James says Elijah prayed for some dried up ground and it rained and he says to you and I when you confess your sins when you build relationships of trust with people you ask them to pray for you. God will send that kind of refreshing to you when your spiritual life feels dry when the word of God is Dusty in your mind. Go and ask somebody to pray for you receive the refreshing that comes when a brother or sister encourages you by praying for you. That's James is life that he's prescribing for the church one that recognizes we need God. But we need each other to we need prayer when your pastor does not feel Joy in preaching. I need prayer that I might be refreshed in this act, but I'm not the only one in need of refreshing when it's been weeks since you've prayed. Don't just try to grit your teeth and go and Frey. Go to brother and sister say hey, I'm just not praying. Would you pray for me to do that and watch God transform and bring you Joy to you in prayer when you say, you know, what? I don't even like studying the Bible. I don't go to Sunday school because the Bible is just boring to me right now. I love the singing we do but I can't stand it when that guy gets up to talk.
Go to a brother and sister say would you pray for me that I might find refreshment in the word of God that I might find joy in bringing the very word of God into my heart that I might find a spring of Living Water welling up to eternal life in the pages of God's word. We all get to the point. Where were dry and some aspect or another of our faith. You don't want to pray we'll go to somebody and ask them to pray for you to want to pray. We don't want to read will go to somebody and say pray for me to buy joy in this we don't want to share our faith. We're scared go to somebody and see would you pray for me that I might have gospel Christ honoring boldness to proclaim the word. I feel like that's calling me on Mission, but I don't really want to go. Would you pray for me whatever aspect of your faith that you're feeling that dryness and go to a brother or sister and say would you pray for me? And this is the good good news that James ends his letter with that refreshment comes and then he gives encouragement verses 19 through 20. Why we need one another my brother's if any among you wonders from the truth and someone brings him if somebody's faith is weakening and their wandering into sin, but they go and they confess their sin and you pray for them. And someone brings him back let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. So church sometimes it's your heart. That's dry. Sometimes it's your feet that are wandering. And you need to go and you need to confess your sins to a brother or sister that you trust that you built a life with the relationship with ask them to pray for you. Sometimes you're the brother or sister who's being asked to pray and James gives you this encouragement. When you do that when you pray when you when God uses you to bring that person back you need to understand the magnitude of what you've done. You need to understand that the god of the universe has just worked through you to bring the soul back from death. And to cover a multitude of sins God is inviting you if your dry and you're broken find what you need both in him. And in the people around you if at this moment God is your joy in your comfort and you are strong in him. And somebody comes and says would you pray for me? Recognize that this is an amazing testimony to what God can do even through a sinner like you. Did he can use you to bring someone back whether we're dry or broken weather? We're strong right now and finding joy in the Lord. We need the good news that James is proclaiming. And just so we don't miss it here as we close out the Book of James. We need to make sure we understand what that good news is. The gospel. What is the gospel? What is the good news? God created the world and he loves his creation. We his creation rebelled against him and said thanks. Anyways, God we're going to handle it from here and we proceeded to make a mess of things. And God was well within his rights at that point in time to write us off. To throw up his hands and say well I tried. Let him have the consequences instead. He said no, let me demonstrate my love for them by sending my son to die for them. Let me send one who never send to take on the sin of those who send that they might take on The Inheritance do his name, which is eternal life.
That's the gospel that we are called to In Christ and we need that gospel if we've never responded to it. We need that gospel if we've been sitting in church for 80 years and we believed it for the last seventy. We still need this gospel to remind us of the work that God has called us to to remind us of the work that he's done in us and the work that he brings us to do in one another we need to be reminded of the Gospel that this is house in discovered that this is how death is Concord. through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ Works through his people we need God. We need one another and I'm normally at this point I would say we're going to respond and song we're not going to do that just yet. We've just heard from the word of God a call to confess our sins to one another a call to pray for one another. And here's the thing. I have no prophetic gift to know where you're at right now. To know what your need for the gospel is to know if you are the person who's never believed in Christ. You've never trusted Christ. I don't know if that's where you're at. I don't know if you believe in Christ, but you're really struggling with doubt right now. That's not given to me to know. But you know. You know if you're sitting here and you are finding joy in Christ right now, you know, if you are sitting here in Jesus is your lord right now, you know. James calls us to action he calls us to fight he calls us to fight to go.