We have been instructed about the difficulties facing believer –
From within – we have been given God’s Word to measure our faith, our conduct, our humility –
From without – temptations, troubles, trials. Now we receive –
VI. Instruction on the Coming of the Lord James 5:7-11 God reveals His –
A. Grace – patience to wait on Him. James 5:7,8
Do not be distracted from that which is most important – knowing and doing God’s will.
These believers had grown up under the teaching of the Scriptures. They understood that God’s faithful people looked at the former rain as a promise of the latter rain.
Deuteronomy 11:13-15 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
God is reminding them again that His blessing of salvation will come to completion – He has saved them and just as sure as the latter rain followed the former, He is coming for them. His working in them is toward one purpose – He has saved them from the penalty of sin and His coming will save them from the power of sin which will lead to being saved from the presence of sin.
Revelation 21:23-25 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
James instructs the believers to –
1. Present themselves – 5:7a Give your life with all that it involves to the Lord –
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
We are not sitting like patients in a waiting room to be called in to see the doctor – we are serving “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” Therefore we are to –
2. Patiently serve – 5:7b
The Lord again illustrates this truth with the example of the farmer who works out God’s plan in his life: prepares the ground, plants the seed, following the rain he tends the plants, after the latter rains the plants mature and the harvest is prepared.
There are times that this work is difficult and slow.
Jeremiah 4:3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
God told the Jews to break up the hard ground so that the seed could be sown. It takes work, patience, and reliance on the Lord.
3. Prepare for His coming. James 5:8
2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
They need to be prepared because in His –
B. Mercy – judgment is waiting. James 5:9
Mercy is God not giving us that which we deserve – He witholds judgment, but He will not forget judgment – He is at hand! He is at the door! The Imminent return of the Lord.
We are to remember that the Lord is Judge and that we as believers are to walk worthy of His calling –
Romans 12:19-21 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 John 2:28 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.
C. Justice – Judgment is sure. James 5:10,11
1. The Trial of Job. James 5:11
Remember that this was the earliest book and Job’s testimony was known.
a. His righteousness
1). The condemnation of the accusers.
2). The confession of Job.
b. His reward. “…Have seen the end of the Lord…”
1). The responsibility of Job to pray for his friends.
2). The restoration to Job of that which he lost.
2. The trust of the prophets. James 5:10 “…and having not seen…”
Their trust was steadfast through their trust and by the example of others.
The Lord is coming! He has given us His grace, His mercy, and His justice. He has taught that we should trust Him and serve Him faithfully. Have you trusted Him today?