Read : v7-11
Last week we looked at what James had to say with regard to warnings concerning wealth and our attitude toward riches. Tonight the warnings continue, but these warnings concern our patience. Five different times in these verses, God calls upon us to be patient.
'Well, I just couldn't take it anymore and I lost my patience!' Have we ever said something like that? That is an ungodly way to behave. Does that sound harsh to us tonight? Ungodly? Certainly it is ungodly for us to be impatient. Patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit as Paul relates to us in Galatians 5. So when we lack patience or lose patience it is contrary to how God would have us behave.
Remember James deals with our behavior as believers…this book is not just theological but it is practical. God warns us not to lose our patience, but to BE PATIENT
I. Be Patient For The Lord Is Going To Come Again. v7a
A. Time and again Scripture declares in no uncertain terms that Jesus Christ is going to come again and return to earth.
1. Christ is coming again to reward every person for his work.
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works" (Matthew 16:27).
2. Christ is coming again to separate the sheep from the goats.
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats" (Matthew 25:31-32).
3. Christ is coming again to judge both the living and the dead.
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick [living] and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom" (2 Tim. 4:1).
4. Christ is coming again to execute judgment upon the unbelievers or the ungodly of the earth.
"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him [the Lord]" (Jude 14-15).
5. Christ is coming again to judge believers.
"For we [believers] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10).
B. The Scripture clearly declares how believers are to live in light of His coming.
1. Believers are to occupy themselves, be busy in serving the Lord until He comes.
"And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13).
2. Believers are not to slack up one bit or lack a single gift until Christ returns.
"So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:7).
3. Believers are to be without spot and unrebukeable when Christ returns.
"That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 6:14).
4. Believers are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously, and godly until Christ returns.
"Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:12-13).
5. Believers are to live so as not to be ashamed before Christ when He returns.
"And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming" (1 John 2:28).
II. Be As Patient As The Farmer. v7b-9
A. The farmer is a good example of the kind of patient waiting believers must have.
1. The farmer plants his seed and patiently waits for the early rain to germinate the seed and the later rain to ripen the crop.
2. The farmer looks forward to the day of harvest with great expectation-so much so that he does all he can to protect the glorious day of harvest.
3. Why does he labor so diligently? Endure so patiently?
4. Because his eyes are fixed upon the great day of harvest.
B. Believers must "establish" their hearts. (8)
1. The word means to set upon; to fix upon; to make fast
2. We must set our hearts upon the Lord's coming, for His coming is near.
3. The idea is that it is drawing ever so close and can happen at any moment.
4. We must focus and set our hearts upon His return-be looking for it every day just as the farmer looks for his great day of harvest.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58).
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9).
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
C. Believers must not complain, murmur, and judge other believers. (9)
1. We must not complain about our situations, and we must not blame each other for what happens to us.
2. This is one thing God will not tolerate.
3. Note the Scripture: if we complain, murmur, and grumble, we shall be condemned.
4. And, "behold, the judge stands before the door."
5. The Lord will judge all believers who complain, murmur, grumble, and judge others instead of conquering the trials and temptations of life.
6. And His judgment is at hand, right at the door, ready to be executed against men.
"Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer" (1 Cor. 10:10).
"Do all things without murmurings and disputings" (Phil. 2:14).
III. Be As Patient As The Prophets. v10
A. The Prophets are to be our examples.
1. James is saying, "Look at the prophets."
2. Look at those who have gone before you-men and women who believed and hoped in God and bore witness to God.
3. They faced all kinds of trials and temptations, but they patiently endured. combated and conquered them all.
B. The prophets patiently endured all the trials and temptations of life.
1. They stood fast, held onto their faith in God.
2. They refused to give in and to question and moan and grumble against God.
3. They continued to proclaim the salvation and hope of God for the world-continued to believe and to speak up for God despite the terrible trials and temptations that swarmed in upon them.
"And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name" (Acts 5:41).
"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:17).
"Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25).
IV. Be As Patient As Job In Suffering Trials And Temptations. v11
A. Few people ever suffer the trials and temptations of life as much as Job suffered.
1. He suffered utter bankruptcy-the loss of all his property, livestock, and employees-and then, in the severest blow of all, he lost all of his sons in an accident.
2. In addition to all this, his wife fussed at him because he refused to complain and curse God for destroying their lives.
3. But note this: Job never gave in to the trials or temptations.
4. He never forsook his faith in God.
5. He did not understand all that was happening to him, but he refused to turn against God.
6. He stood and patiently endured it in the name of God.
"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15).
"Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high" (Job 16:19).
"For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25).
B. Job kept his eyes fixed upon the end, that is, upon the Lord and the great hope of the Lord.
1. The Lord carried Job through all his trials and temptations by blessing him with the very presence of God Himself-with the compassion and mercy of God.
2. Job endured; therefore, we count him blessed or happy.
3. The believer is to bear the afflictions of trials and temptations by focusing his eyes upon the end, that is, upon the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. As we do, the compassion and mercy of God will flow both upon and through us.
5. God will deliver us with His very own presence.
6. He will deliver us through all the trials and temptations of life, giving us the most victorious life imaginable.
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him" (James 1:12).
"For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully" (1 Peter 2:19).
Patience = longsuffering = enduring all things. This is not what the flesh wants to do. The flesh wants what it wants and it wants it now! God wants us to be patient. He gives us several examples of patience. Is patience a word that describes our character or our behavior? God desires that we be like Jesus.
Read: Romans 15:1-6