a Test Series – James 5:12-20
Intro: “It’s for your own good!” How many times have you heard that? How many times have you heard someone say it is for your own good that you do that? Brush your teeth, wash your hands, sit up right at the table, take your elbows off the table, don’t stare, chew with your mouth close, cover your mouth when you cough, don’t talk back to your mother. As we come to a close in the book of James he takes serous the importance of “Praying without ceasing.” And it is for your own good! This is the test.
Last week we learned from James to be patient and endure—keep your eyes fixed upon the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. How do we do that? PRAY!
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 Text: James 5:12-20
“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment. 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 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.”
Application: The challenge to pray.
We are taught to pray, we need to pray and we must pray! There will never be a great move of God in this or any congregation until the people first learn to pray! “It is for your own good.” The challenge to prayer comes when we don’t understand the subjects for prayer, the strength of prayer and the source of prayer.
The introduction into these challenge’s gives way after vs. 12 which warns: “let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment. James already explained how powerful and destructive the tongue is, lest we forget! “Do not swear!” What more needs to be said “it is for your own good.” Swearing or cursing is common today, so common that it has tragically become an acceptable practice in society. It is tragic because of what Scripture says about it: "Above all things, my brothers, swear not at all." Swearing and cursing do not make a matter more believable; they really make a matter more suspicious. A person swears something because his character or the matter is questionable. What an indictment of depravity! Yet swearing and cursing are the acceptable habits of men. James is telling us it is time to grow up! “It is for your own good!”
1st challenge to pray is the subject:
1. Subjects for Prayer: vs. 13-15
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 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. 15 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. I have mentioned often the word affliction; this simply means to endure hardship: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 The first subject or focus of prayer is dealing with affliction. I will always remember this recent anniversary our church had, because I experienced an affliction. Some of you might not know I fell, and I must tell you I felt like I saw what was happening and knew it was going to hurt before my body hit the ground. Affliction can and does hurt and sometimes we know it is going to hurt before we hit the ground.
Another subject for prayer is sickness. When we or others are sick, we are to call out their names in prayer. God is a healer! Why would Scripture tell us to anoint the sick with oil? Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, of His presence. The oil helps the sick person to focus and concentrate upon the presence of the Holy Spirit and His power. Oil is also a symbol of God's care; it is the oil of gladness. Add a little faith and see it grow. We tend to forget we are to be cheerful in the Lord, showing the world that there is joy in the Lord—the joy of assurance and confidence in the eternal salvation and life that Christ provides.
2nd challenge to pray is for His strength:
Strength for Prayer: vs. 16-18
“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. 17 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. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
According to James, Elijah was not perfect, but was subject to the same passions that afflict us all. However, God used Him to do great things through the prayers of faith. Elijah stood against King Ahab and his Baal worshipping & Idolatry by praying for a drought that would plague the land for three years, not even dew would be present on the ground. This is God’s power not man. When Elijah prayed again God mad it rain. DO YOU NEED IT TO RAIN?
We are also to pray for one another in the family of God. We have a duty to one another to pray fervently (passionately) about the needs, burdens and lives of our fellow believers. “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Faith is what gives prayer its strength and effectiveness. God answers prayer, but He does so in response to the faith of His people. James makes it clear that faith is an essential ingredient in effective praying; “let him ask in faith.”
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22 (NIV)
When Hudson Taylor went to China, he made the voyage on a sailing ship. As it neared the channel between the southern Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra, the missionary heard an urgent knock on his stateroom door. He opened it, and there stood the captain of the ship. “Mr. Taylor,” he said, “we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen, and I fear they are cannibals.” “What can I do?” asked Taylor. “I understand that you believe in God. I want you to pray for wind.” “All right, Captain, I will, but you must set the sail.” “Why, that's ridiculous! There's not even the slightest breeze. Besides, the sailors will think I'm crazy.” Nevertheless, the captain finally agreed. Forty-five minutes later he returned and found the missionary still on his knees. “You can stop praying now,” said the captain. “We've got more wind than we know what to do with!” if you need something from God, then it must be asked for in faith. God does not simply respond to our asking, it is our faith that moves God into action. There is strength in prayer are you on your knees. “It is for your own good!’
3rd challenge to pray is for the source:
3. Source for Prayer: vs. 19-20
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 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.”
What is the source for prayer? We know the source, don’t we? “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 If there is a need, God will meet it: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” If there is a fear, God will replace it, if there is a burden, God will lift it, remember: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
If there is a need for someone to be saved, God will deal with them, if there is a sin, God will forgive it – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
There is no mistake with this last topic in these last two verses in the conclusion of this book dealing with the test of life. The topic is Backsliding: This is speaking of believers, “brothers, if any of you stray from the truth, walk in the way of error” “SOMEONE must turn him back” When this happens, the believers of the church are to seek to convert him, that is, to lead him to repentance. What a descriptive picture: loving one another so much that as soon as a believer slips into sin we take him by the hand and we turn him around and lead him to repent. What a different place the church and world would be if we loved one another so much that we actually did this! How desperately such a ministry of recovery and restoration is needed today!
Your class has taken 21 weeks there is your materials to past the test.
God promises to hear us and help us! God doesn't always answer prayers to our liking, or on our timetable, but He does answer the prayers of His children.
Conclusion: I love to have fun with words, and I believe there are several words that can come out of the word Good. Go, Do, God. Just to name a few; throughout the book of James God has told us to Go, go out into your community and share the gospel, The book of James makes it very clear we are to be more than just a hearer of the Word, we are to do! And when you do, go and hear God’s voice: “Consider it all a joy!”
Illustration: “I wish we had a hot water bottle.”
A missionary family in Africa years ago had 2 small children. The second being born after they arrived on the mission field. The youngest was sickly and needed much care. It had to be wrapped in blankets most of the time to ensure that it stayed warm enough. The mother was heard to say, over and over, “I wish we had a hot water bottle.” Her thinking was that with a hot water bottle, she could place it next to the child and provide it some heat. After a few weeks, a package arrived from England. In that package were several items that were sent to the family anonymously to help them in their new location. Among the items, there was a hot water bottle. The mother thanked God, but couldn't recall having prayed for it. As the last of the items were taken out of the box, the oldest child came to her mother and said, “Where's my new baby doll?” Her mother responded, “There isn't a doll in here.” The little girl asked them to look again, and when they did, under all the packing material was a little, new baby doll. The mother asked the girl how she knew there was a doll in there. She said, “Well, when I asked God to send a hot water bottle for the baby, I asked Him to send me a dolly.” This story becomes even more remarkable when we stop to consider that this package had to travel to Africa first by ship, then by pack animals until it reached the family. It began its journey some 6 months before the baby had been born and before the little girl had ever begun to pray for those things! What a God we serve! You need a hot water bottle, or maybe a Dolly?
In : Sermon
Tags: "life is a test series" "book of james"
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