Pure, Steadfast Patience
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.
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.”
Therefore: This connects to the passage we just spoke about. The reality that Jesus is coming back. This should inform the way that we live our lives.
This hearkens back to James condemnation of the rich in the previous passage, because they have murdered the righteous person.
This is James command to Christians who are facing such things.
Be Patient: This is one of the hardest things that we have to do at times.
What does it really mean? Waiting for something to happen.
What are we being patient until?
Until the coming of the Lord: Waiting for the Lord to return.
This is what we are hoping for and what we need to have faith in.
He gives the example...
“See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains.”
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it:
Farming is not a fast process.
You prepare the ground.
You plant the seed.
You nurture the plant.
You let it grow.
You receive the benefit.
What we see in this example is an example of how we should think about our time as Christians.
Patience doesn’t mean doing nothing, it means doing what must be done and waiting for the intended result.
The farmer does not stare at the field and wait for the crop to appear in the basket. They do what must be done, and are patient until the harvest is ready.
In the same way, we have been given clear commands on how we should live in this life as we patiently await the return of our savior.
Until it receives the early and late rains:
There is an understanding of what comes before the harvest.
We must understand what will come before.
This is where patience comes in.
The Bible has clear indications of the signs that will occur before the return of Christ.
Even when we see those things occur, we must still be patient.
When we see these reminders we must be even more diligent in fulfilling the work that must be done.
When we bake cookies, we must be patient until the timer goes off. The timer going off however is a reminder to act or else they will burn.
In the same way we must remember to act when we see the things Christ has told us to watch for occur lest we be surprised by his return unprepared.
“You also, be patient”
In the same way we are called to be patient.
Patience requires faith.
Belief that what is coming will happen and is worth waiting for.
Lindsey Wilson Football Game Against Campbellsville my Freshman year.
We must believe that Christ is coming back, and that must be something that motivates and shapes our life.
So we have Faith that Jesus is coming back. The patience comes in when that informs the way we life until he does.
If you believe that someone is going to do something for you, you don’t settle for something less than in the meantime.
(Same with farmer) Seeing a workout plan through requires patience. You will not see results in one day.
Believing that the results will come if you wait.
Patience means living consistently.
Living in the imminent reality of what you are hoping for.
Holding onto what you have not already attained.
(Same with farmer) Continuing with the workout plan idea, you must put in the work daily until the results come.
Patience means waiting.
This is the obvious one, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Waiting for something is hard, especially when that thing is something we really want.
VIDEO: Aliza waiting for the candy
“As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”
The prophets spoke about a hope that was to come.
They believed God. They had faith that what they were proclaiming on behalf of God was true.
The lived Consistently. They lived their lives as though what they were speaking about was true.
They waited. They didn’t get to see the result of what they hoped for, but they still waited on the Lord. And he fulfilled his promise in Christ Jesus.
Patient, as they did not see the hope fulfilled that they spoke about.
They believed it would come, and it was worth giving their lives for.
Like the prophets… we must also be steadfast.
“Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
Establish your hearts:
Set up securely, strengthened.
As opposed to hearts that are easily swayed by the world.
The roots of various plants. (Poison Ivy, the bush at my old house, trees)
Don’t be showy with no root, be steadfast first.
For the coming of the Lord is at hand:
We have all seen the movies where something is coming toward a group of people, soldiers, passengers, people in the middle of a weather event. What do they say?
Brace yourselves! Prepare for impact!
That is what James is saying!
Establish your hearts! the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Be firmly rooted in the salvation you have believed in. Don’t be moved by anything at all, because your hope will soon be realized.
Picking a “safe” time to go to the bathroom at the movies. James is saying that this is not the time to doze off, get distracted, or be moved. Pay attention.
Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.
“Behold we consider those (prophets) blessed who remained steadfast.”
What did “those” face that they remained steadfast throughout?
Persevering through difficulty:
Threats of death (or actual death)
The abandonment and scorn of all the people.
Isolation and loneliness.
Steadfastness requires dependance on God.
“You have heard of the steadfastness of Job,”
Reminder of all that Job went through.
Lost all of his family
Lost his wealth
Lost his health
“and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
What was the purpose of the Lord in these situations?
The display of his goodness and glory through these situations.
Explain the compassion and mercy of the Lord.
Job was restored.
The prophets hope has been revealed.
The Lord’s compassion and mercy is why we must be steadfast and patient.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
The Lord’s patience with sinners is the reason that he is slow in coming. He delays not wishing any should perish but that all should reach repentance.
We must be patient as we wait for the coming of the Lord as He as been patient with us.
The result of this patience for those who believe in Christ is compassion and mercy.
For those who will not repent, it results in their judgement.
“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged”
This is reminiscent of previous passages.
Taming the tongue.
Not speaking evil about one another.
The implication is that if we grumble against one another, we will be judged.
This animosity and division among the body of Christ is emblematic of a heart that has not been redeemed.
A heart that is focused on loving and serving Christ. That is focused on patiently awaiting his return and accomplishing the task that he has given has no time to grumble against his fellow workers.
“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 condemntation.”
A step in our purity is in the truth of our word.
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.
Our word should be good enough in and of itself.
We should put away falsehood and deception and cling to the truth.
These words are indicative of a call to purity in the face of our returning savior.
This was part of the purpose for which Christ died for us.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
James is reminding us of the Lord’s coming and is seeking to address issues related to our purity and righteousness.
Notice the call here:
Taming the tongue
Truthfulness in speech
These are high callings of purity.
Many letters are filled with constant talk about the worldly sins that we need to hav put to death.
James letter seems to assume the believer has already done this. That the “lists of sins” that Paul frequently mentions are already dealt with.
Now James is focused on the fulness of sanctification.
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
This is what he is seeking to call believers into, purity of speech.
These are the removal of any and all blemishes.
We have moved passed the “big bad” sins, and are focused on making sure that we do all we can to present ourselves without spot or wrinkle to Christ.
Why do these things matter?
Because the judge is standing at the door.
“Behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”
We will be judged by how we live. This reminder to live purely is because we need to remember that Christ the Judge is standing at the door.
Reminds me of Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Context of passage:
Rebuke of church
Call to repentance.
This is more reminiscent of Revelation 22:20
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
When the judge comes through the door. When Christ returns, will he find you ready?
Believers will be judged by what we do.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Not for salvation, this is bought by the blood of Christ, but to give account of what we have done.
We will be rewarded for what we have done.
each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
What James is saying in this passage is that we need to continue to remember the coming judgement and to order our lives accordingly.
The question that we all must answer today, is are we living lives that are ready for the coming judgement?
The first question you must answer is do you have a relationship with Christ?
If you do not, you do not need to be patient today, but rejoice that God has been patient with you.
You stand condemned because of your sin already, but there is forgiveness in Christ Jesus.
If you do have a relationship with Christ, are you ready for the return of Christ?
Are you ready to give account for your life?
Are there things that you need to follow him in obedience on?
Are you living patiently and expectantly?
Are you steadfast or easily swayed?