JOURNEY THROUGH JAMES #8: WE ARE FAMILY
(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
INTRO TO SPEAKER: Just celebrated my oldest son Caleb’s grade 12 graduation this past week.
THE HEART OF PASTOR JAMES:
“Of James, the brother of the Lord, we read the following: James, being considered a just and perfect man, governed the church with the apostles… He would enter into the temple alone, fall on his knees, and ask remission for the people, doing this so often that his knees lost their sense of feeling and became hardened, like the knees of a camel. Because of his holy life, James was called “The Just” and “the safeguard of the people.” (Foxe’s Book of Martyr’s).
- He was a good pastor who knew how to pray, and cared deeply for his people.
THE BIG IDEA: In this final section of James, we see a beautiful picture of the different seasons of life for the family of God: From suffering and sickness, to prayer, confessing sins and bearing one another’s burdens.
I. TO THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING: PRAY:
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” (James 5:13a, NKJV).
- Seven times in verses 13-18 we see the words pray, prayer and prayed.
- One of the books in the Bible is full of prayers (and songs of worship): Psalms.
- One of the main categories of prayer songs in the Psalms is songs of lament. Example:
- “1 To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” 4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:1-5, NKJV).
- It’s okay to be honest with God in prayer! Tell Him what you’re thinking and feeling.
- The example of Jesus: “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:41-44).
- When you are suffering, you can pray for God to take it away.
- But also pray: “If you won’t take it away, give me the grace to endure it.”
II. TO THOSE WHO ARE HAPPY: SING PSALMS:
“Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” (James 5:13b).
- EXAMPLE: My daughter Hannah is a good example of this – always singing and dancing and making music videos on her iPod. Rejoice in the Lord!
- It’s alright to be happy and enjoy celebrating life! Remember – there are seasons.
- This is where I like to live most of the time. Happy, joyful and celebrating.
III. TO THOSE WHO ARE SICK: CALL FOR THE ELDERS:
“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. 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.” (James 5:14-15).
- Let’s remember that the Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).
- Sometimes people adopt a victim mentality: “No one prayed for me or visited me while I was sick!” “Did you tell anyone you were sick?” “No!”
- If you’re sick, you need to tell someone and get them to pray for you!
- We will take some time at the end of the service today to pray for those who are sick.
- “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease… And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:1,7-8).
- Even if people aren’t healed on the earth, everyone who enters Heaven is totally healed.
IV. TO THOSE WHO ARE SINNING: CONFESS TO SOMEONE:
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a).
- Notice that sometimes sicknesses and suffering are a consequence of our sin – but not always. Sometimes it’s just a virus, or poor eating habits, or another reason.
- “A psalm of David. Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 3 When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude. 5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” (Psalm 32:1-5, NLT).
- But Jesus also said: “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Teacher,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him.” (John 9:1-3, NLT).
- The point: If you sin, confess your sins! “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
- EXAMPLE: The personal joy that I have experienced in my life when I have confessed my sins to brothers in the Lord who have prayed for me and shown me love, acceptance and forgiveness. No joy that compares to that!
V. THE POWER OF PRAYER:
“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.” (James 5:16b-18).
- Elijah is a great example of an ordinary person who prayed and saw miracles happen.
- “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:16b, NLT).
- So let’s believe in the power of prayer, and P.U.S.H: Pray Until Something Happens!
VI. HELP ONE ANOTHER:
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 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.” (James 5:19-20, NKJV).
- See the heart of Pastor James for the people in the church. He doesn’t want to see them wander away: theologically (believing wrong things), morally (getting into sin), or relationally (wandering away from church).
- The Apostle Paul wrote this similar challenge: “Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody.” (Gal. 6:1-3, NLT).
- We are family! We are all in different seasons of life.
- Some are sick or suffering, some are sinning, and some are cheerful.
- Let’s join hands together and help each other in our troubles and problems, amen?
CLOSING PRAYER: Pray for those who are sick, suffering or sinning.
Beausejour Community Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca
Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/