Faithlife Sermons

Sermon Tone Analysis

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