The gospel is worth dying for isn’t it? Jesus seemed to think it was when He walked this earth to the cross. Why is it that we have a hard time with this idea when it pertains to the Christian life? Suffering is a part of Christian life…….at some point in time each and every one of us will face some form of suffering in this life when it comes to the gospel. I sincerely don't say this to make you feel unhappy or sad; I say this because the Bible says so! Jesus said remember I have overcome the world “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33. Peter said rejoice in your suffering “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13. It’s part of the Christian Life “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22. Paul says we have the Spirit of power and love and a sound mind in the gospel. In 2 Tim 1:7-8 he says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,” Martin Luther said "They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?" Jerry Bridges says “One thing we may be sure of, however: For the believer all pain has meaning; all adversity is profitable. There is no question that adversity is difficult. It usually takes us by surprise and seems to strike where we are most vulnerable. To us it often appears completely senseless and irrational, but to God none of it is either senseless or irrational. He has a purpose in every pain He brings or allows in our lives. We can be sure that in some way He intends it for our profit and His glory.” Paul said all who desire to live godly will suffer “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Tim 3:12
Remember! James book is all about….Persevering in your Christian walk. Walking worthy of your calling! This is just another series of tests on how we’re going to deal with each and every situation that gets put in front of Us? Think about what James has spoken about so far as he comes to the end of his letter……Count it all joy........blessed is the man who endures temptation, God gives grace to the humble. The Lord says…….Draw near to God (draw near to His overcoming grace and power) The Lord hasn't left us alone to handle it or face it on our own! "I will never leave you, or forsake you" Heb 13:5. This is where that hope worth dying for comes into play for the Christian. I need not to fear anything. James tells us even though we are going to face suffering. James says wait patiently! Why? Because the day is at hand and He is coming to receive us unto Himself. James gives us 5 practical views to Patiently Endure trials
ANTICIPATE THE LORD’S COMING WITH PATIENCE (V7 - V8)
He is coming back again, so be patient! Coming is an important New Testament eschatological term, this is referring to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. 1Thess 4:14-17 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." See if we focus our attention to this Truth, persecution or trials will not seem so big! John MacArthur says "the realization that things won't always be as they are now, that believers are headed for "the city... Whose architect and builder is God", this provides great hope for those undergoing persecution. For that reason, the more persecuted a church is the more eagerly it anticipates the return of Jesus Christ; conversely, an affluent, indulgent, worldly church has little interest in the Lord's return". He endured beatings and being spat upon "then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands" Matt 26:67. Reticule and mocked "and having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying "Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?” Luke 22:64. He was hated by many "if the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:18. Remember what Luther said ……....but apply those truths to your heart this morning!!
- This is our great hope
- This is what we anticipate
- This is what we are to wait patiently for
The church's greatest hope is the arrival of Jesus Christ when He comes to bless His people with His presence.
RECOGNIZE THE LORD'S JUDGEMENT THROUGH HOLY LIVING (V9)
The Judge is standing at the door Christ the Divine Judge is portrayed as ready to throw open the doors and burst onto the judgement scene. Paul says He will bring every hidden thing to light………He is at the door! 1Cor 4:5 “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.” That's something that is worth taking note of or pondering over! He will reveal everything that is hidden. Do we as Christian's have anything hidden? James says “don't complain, brethren, against one another. What is James saying to these believers? Living with difficult circumstances can cause believers to become frustrated, a sense to lose their patience and complain. Complain means to groan within oneself, or to sigh, it describes that is internal and unexpressed, its a bitter, resentful spirit! Paul says to the Philippian believers not to complain in the light of the day of our Lord's return. In Phil 2:14-17 “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” He is coming again………continue in your walk by living holy. So we can say with Paul "I have not run in vain or labored in vain" so patiently wait and anticipate His coming, through holy living
FOLLOW THE LORD'S SERVANTS AND BE ENCOURAGED BY THEIR EXAMPLE (V10)
Be encouraged by believers that were and endured unjust suffering “Spoke in the Name of the Lord” means this represents all that He (the Lord) is, does, and wills. The prophets were God's spokesman. Jeremiah endured opposition through his ministry. In Jer 18:18 “Then they said, "Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us attack him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words." Moses had to put up with the stiff-necked, rebellious Israelites who left Egypt. Exo 17:3-4 “And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, "Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?" So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!" John the Baptist cousin of the Lord Jesus Christ, was faced with much opposition. Matt 14:3-5 “For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. Because John had said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.”......And the end result was John's head! In Matt 14:9-11 “And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.”These are only a few of many who have been persecuted and endured great tragedy and trials. This is to encourage us…….. as we again, wait patiently for the Lord's return. As the Hebrew writer says, let us run the race, let us patiently what for the author and finisher of our faith. Heb 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Are we willing to do the same? He did it for us; can we do it for Him?
UNDERSTANDING THE LORD'S BLESSING THROUGH ENDURING PATIENCE (V11)
God will bless those who endure such trying times. James gives the upright Job as a great example, he in endured great hard ache and trials
- Lost everything
- His livestock
- His help
- And most of all his children
- To top it off he was faced with bitter wife along with 3 friends who were self-righteous
- And if that wasn't enough he had boils all over his body from head to toe
We can learn a lot from Job's life! Why? Because he is just like you and me today. A sinner who needed the a Savior like you and me. If Job can get through his trying time so can you and me. This should encourage us to persevere through our tough times today or what lies ahead tomorrow. God's blessing does not come to people who do great things, but to people who endure great things for His glory. Those who will receive the greatest blessing in the life to come are those who have endured the greatest suffering in the present world. Matt 20:20-23 "Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom." But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able." So He said to them, "You will indeed drink My cup (You will follow me, and you will partake of my afflictions, and will suffer as I shall)., and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” Remember what the Lord said Matt 25:33-34 “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:" The hope of future blessing should encourage and motivate us as we patiently endure in this present age! Remember what James said in the first part of his letter “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12. Paul said this is a crown that can never be destroyed........Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." 1Cor 9:25. Patiently waiting and enduring trials mean nothing in the big picture of things. The reward is eternally secure in the arm of a God who loves us so much He sent His only Son to die for the wickedness of this world!
REALIZE THAT THE LORD HAS A PURPOSE (V11)
- It strengthens the believer
- It draws the believer closer to the Lord
- It is a way to receive His compassion and mercy
Full of Compassion and Mercy is full of pity, very kind, tender hearted, never ceasing tender mercy and compassion. Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.” This is what it means by His sovereign compassion towards us, Not only does He cast it into the deepest sea, But He removes it as far as the east as to the west. Ps 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”Enduring trials is nothing in compared to what the Lord Jesus endured for us! He has shown us great mercy, He as show us great love, even when we dead in our sins We have received this love by the death and resurrection of His only begotten son. He allows us to endure and to learn patience because He is full of compassion and full of mercy. Compassion means extremely compassionate: - very pitiful. Mercy means benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves His voluntary expiatory sacrifice in the shedding of His blood, under Divine judgment upon sin, and through His resurrection, Christ has become the Mercy Seat for His people. Listen to these two words put together in a promise of God’s character Ps 145:8-9 “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.”
He is coming to receive us unto Himself! James gave us 5 practical views to Patiently Endure trials
- Anticipate His coming
- Recognize the Lord's Judgment
- Follow the Lord's servants
- Understand the Lord's blessing
- Realize the Lord's purpose
He has given us this and allowed this in our lives for His glory! What a blessing that is. “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,” Phil 1:29. This is part of our Christian Life…….. it prepares your heart for what is yet to come! A Heavenly home stead for all eternity. As Rev 21:6-7 promises “And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” John described this further by saying in Rev 21:22-24 “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.” Nathan Busenitz says “As Believers, a Christ centered hope must be the foundation of our lives. Hard times come and hard times go, but God's promises are forever.” As Matt Chandler said during his cancer treatments “the good news of the gospel is not all my hurts go away. It’s that Jesus is enough regardless of the hurts.” We must endure with Patience, because this is the Last Days and our victory is found in Jesus Christ our Lord!!............And He is worth dying for!