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Jesus Has An Answer In All Our Circumstances

James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:08
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A senior pastor is visiting a young Sunday School class. In an effort to build rapport with the children, he asks them this simple question, “What is brown and furry with a big bushy tail?”
The children just sit there staring at him.
He sits quietly for a few minutes waiting for one of them to answer. Sheepishly a child in the back raises their hand and the pastor calls on them. The child replies, “I know the answer is Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”

Historical/Cultural Context -

The book of James was written by the half-brother of Jesus. The Son of Joseph and Mary. Written in the early 40s. He wrote to primarily Jews who were Christians, as at this time it was so early in the spread of Christianity that it had not been widely adopted by non-jews, also known as Gentiles. James encouraged his readers to live consistent Christian lives in the midst of persecution for their faith in Christ.

Biblical Text -

James 5:13–20 NKJV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 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 sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

-[Prayer]-

Life Principle - God Has An Answer In All Our Circumstances. Whether in Cheerfulness, sickness, suffering or Sin.

Life Point- Sick, Suffering, or Cheerful?

Exegetical -

James 5:13–16 NKJV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 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 sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Homiletical -

Here we come to the close of this letter to the Christians. James gives us some practical application and some questions for the believer to ponder
Are you suffering? Is it mental suffering? Spiritual Suffering? Or physical Suffering?
It doesn’t matter which of these it may be.
So what are you supposed to do about it? Are we to seek counseling, a doctor or a pastor?
All of these things are not wrong to do, but our first reaction is to pray. Go to the great physician.
No matter the illness, it affects both the person and the fellowship of the believers.
Remember we are all in the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:26 NKJV
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
The next question is, “is anyone cheerful?”
Are you cheerful?
What usually happens when someone is cheerful about something? They tell someone! The tell everyone!
For too often though we forget the most important part. The first thing we should do is thank God, and sing songs of praise to Him.
i.e. we should worship him in love and in joy.
Are you sick?
Our first reaction, depending on how sick you are, is to go to the doctor. You should do this, but don’t forget to follow scripture. The Great Healer still sits on the throne.
James 5:14 NKJV
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.
We are told to call the elders of the church.
Who are the elders of a church?
The Greek word means those who are in authority and accountable to God.
Does this mean an older person? Sure, it can.
Does this mean someone in their 30s? Sure, it can.
What is in view here is not the age of the person, but their sphere of spiritual authority. Their spiritual age as it were.
Some say the elders are the deacons of the church. The deacons can be that, however, not always. Isaac Adams breaks this down for us in a succinct, generalized way. He says, “Deacons aid the unity of the church by attending to physical, administrative matters while the elders are focused on oversight over the entire congregation through their work of teaching, praying, shepherding and leading.”
So it would be those who have both spiritual authority and responsibility for your souls. This is the pastor of the local body of believers for sure; and could be a deacon or other men who are teachers of the Word and meet the qualifications of a Biblical elder.
We are to call for the elders of the church and be anointed by them with oil and be prayed over.
There is a lot of imagery here. The first thing to note is that the person wants God’s help in overcoming the particular sickness.
The word anoint means to rub on a liquid too poor over.
In the old testament it is an image of pouring oil over someone head and it runs down.
The anointing oil was or seen as something or someone to be set apart for God. It represented God’s Holiness and His presence on the person or the article that was anointed.
The anointing oil was usually olive oil.
During this time, and before this time, olive oil and other oils were used a healing balm because it would cover a wound or sore and prevent bacteria to enter. Which would promote healing.
All of this to say, just because you prayed for healing doesn’t mean you don’t take your medicine. Many people have died because they thought they were healed and stopped taking their medicine.
God is the creator of both the physical and the spiritual, the natural and the supernatural. He will use both means in healing someone if it is in His will.
James 5:15 NKJV
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
This is not a verse that means everyone whom the pastor or elders pray for get a supernatural healing. It is a generality. Meaning, generally speaking. It doesn’t always happen, but in a lot of cases it will happen.
The part that says, “and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” It was common thought during this time that if you were in sin, your sin is what made you sick.
It could be the reason, i.e. doing an immoral act will sometimes transfer a disease. However, this is not always the case. I would say the majority of sickness is not caused by sinful consequences.
Either way, the humility and repentance of the individual who is sick would allow them to be healed, whether that healing is physical or spiritual, healing would take place.
James 5:16–18 NKJV
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Speaking on sin, James tells us that there needs to be healing in the body of Christ. Someone may have ticked you off, well that needs confession and healing. Perhaps you need to clarify any perceived slights with someone before it becomes a root of bitterness to your soul.
Someone is saying, ok pastor I get it. I have sinned against someone and need to make it right.” Or “Someone has sinned against me, and I need to make it right.”
The question is asked then, how public should our confession of wrongdoing be?
That depends on how public your sin was.
For example, you started gossip against someone then you need to get up and confess it to everyone because everyone heard your gossip.
Maybe you cheated someone about a transaction and no one knows about it, because they don’t even know. Then you need to take them the money you owe them and apologize just between you and them.
Here is an example: I was staying late on Friday, I know me staying late who would have thunk it? At the school. Apparently someone felt like I blew them off, when they had a computer problem. You know what? I don’t even remember the conversation, not really. I get hallway tackled about compute problems all day long. I even have teachers who try to interrupt me while I am teaching to have me look at their laptops. So, unfortunately no I don’t remember doing that.
More than likely, which happens all of the time, I was thinking about something; either scripture or computer code, who knows, and they asked me for something and I didn’t hear them or answered and had a weird look on my face. Either way the perceived slight sat there and festered until they decided to do something about it and actually talk to me. From there it was a simple matter of miscommunication. I apologized for the slight and let them know they need to talk to me sooner so they don’t spend that unwanted time in being upset about it.
That is not something that needed to come up in front of everyone, but was something that needed to happen none-the-less in order to bring healing to the body of Christ.
James now tells us that Elijah was a man like use and he prayed to God with all his might and God answered both prayers. So if Elijah can do it, how come a born-again blood-bought child of God can’t?
Matthew 11:11 NKJV
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
You see, John was the greatest of the Old Testament Prophets. They had the Holy Spirit around them, but not in them. They did not enjoy the same relationship with God the Holy Spirit as we do today, during this dispensation of Grace. There is an intimacy not known to those of the Old Testament like we have the privilege, after the cross, of experiencing today.
If you are saved then you can ask God, being assured He will answer your prayer in 3 ways. Yes. No. and Not yet. Yes the time is now and it is God’s will. No it is not God’s will. Not Yet. Meaning it is God’s will but no His timing.

Life Point - Find Yourself In Sin?

Exegetical -

James 5:19–20 NKJV
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Homiletical -

These two little verses have so much misunderstanding attached to them it could make your head spin.
James 5:19 NKJV
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,
First of all, James calls these people brethren. Meaning they are of the household of faith. They are true believers. As such, they will persevere to the end and be saved.
Second, they have wondered away from the truth. Meaning they didn’t purposefully walk away they just kind of meandered and one decision lead to another and it seemed good to them. They wondered away from the Truth of Jesus Christ. The Gospel and/or true scriptural teaching. Or they got caught up in sin.
Proverbs 14:12 NKJV
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Galatians 6:1 HCSB
Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted.
James 5:20 NKJV
let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Actions have consequences.
Everything we do has a consequence, whether it is felt by us or someone else, there is a consequence. Turning someone who is a believer away from their sin into repentance when they have been overtaken by sin, or meandered into it. Will stop or cover a multitude of sins.
There is sin that leads to death.
1 Corinthians 11:30–31 NKJV
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
This is the willful Christian who has been shown the error of their ways and now knows full well the error of their ways, and yet will not turn from their sin.
These Christians are in danger of God physically taking them out of this world. They will be dealt with at the Judgement Seat of Christ.
Or, if they are no longer able to help the Kingdom in a positive way, God may just shelve them instead of taking them out of this world.
We are warned about this in the book of Hebrews, as well as other places.
Hebrews 10:26–39 NKJV
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
In this situation we were told earlier in James not judge such a one. We don’t know that maybe down the road they will repent. This is God’s job to judge not ours.
All of that to say, if we see someone of the faith who is a truly born-again-believer falling into sin it is our responsibility to show them the error of their ways and in so doing we stop them from committing more sin and we may even save their physical lives here on earth.

Life Principle God Has An Answer In All Our Circumstances. Whether in Cheerfulness, sickness, suffering or Sin.

Call to Action – altar call….

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