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16 Facing God Wherever You Are James 5:12-18
 

16 Facing God Wherever You Are James 5:12-18

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Facing God Wherever You Are James 5:12-18 Adapted from a Tim Bond sermon http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/facing-god-wherever-you-are-tim-bond-sermon-on-prayer-general-50552.asp

Facing God Wherever You Are James 5:12-18 Adapted from a Tim Bond sermon http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/facing-god-wherever-you-are-tim-bond-sermon-on-prayer-general-50552.asp

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    16 Facing God Wherever You Are James 5:12-18 16 Facing God Wherever You Are James 5:12-18 Presentation Transcript

    • Facing God Wherever You Are James 5:13-18
      Adapted from a Tim Bond sermon
      http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/facing-god-wherever-you-are-tim-bond-sermon-on-prayer-general-50552.asp
    • It seems like James goes in a different direction as he starts closing out his letter. Maybe verse 12 is finishing up the section we studied last week before he moves on to another topic.
      James 5:12 NET And above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. But let your "Yes" be yes and your "No" be no, so that you may not fall into judgment.
    • Most Bibles I referred to showed verse 11 ended a paragraph, the 12th verse as a paragraph, & verse 13 starts a new one. I don’t know how the Greek language identifies paragraph changes or if it even has them.
      James 5:11 NET Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job's endurance and you have seen the Lord's purpose, thatthe Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
    • 12 And above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. But let your "Yes" be yes and your "No" be no, so that you may not fall into judgment.
      13Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises.
      Is verse 12 meant to stand alone or close out a portion of James teaching? In either case James continues his theme of living our lives facing God.
    • The Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary shows the 12th verse in context with the previous verses.
      And above all— as swearing is utterly alien to the Christian meek “endurance” just recommended.
      do not swear— through impatience, to which trials may tempt you. (James 5:10, 11) In contrast to this stands the proper use of the tongue. (James 5:13)
    • let your "Yes" be yes and your "No" be no— Do not use oaths in your everyday conversation, but let a simple affirmative or denial be deemed enough to establish your word. (JFB)
       
      Read what John Gill's Exposition of the last part of verse 12 says.
      so that you may not fall into judgment; by the Lord; for either false, or rash, or profane swearing; for he will not suffer it to go unpunished;
    • see Exodus 20:7 NET "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold guiltless anyone who takes his name in vain.
      Some copies read, "lest ye fall into hypocrisy"; or dissimulation, and get into a habit and custom of lying and deceiving, as common swearers do; and so reads the Arabic version. (Gill)
       judgmentThayer Definition:1) an answering, 2) an answer, 3) the acting of a stage player, 4) dissimulation, hypocrisy
    • Now back to the beginning of verse 12. And above all (Thayer Definition: above-before; all-each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything)
      Sounds like what is said next we really need to pay attention to and make it a priority.
      do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. But let your "Yes" be yes and your "No" be no, so that you may not fall into judgment.
    • You will see James is teaching us what came directly from his brother, our Lord, Jesus’ lips.
      Matthew 5:33 NET "Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, 'Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.' (Lev 19:12)34But I say to you, do not take oaths at all — not by heaven, because it is the throne of God,35not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King.
    • 36Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. 37Let your word be 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no.' More than this is from the evil one.
      If we are living as Christ desires us to, is there any reason to swear by something? We should be known as truthful people of good character. So there is no reason to guarantee or reinforce our words by swearing on something to prove them true.
    • This is another case of living our lives facing God. He knows everything you say, even before you say it so your words ought to be true.
      Is swearing on something a sin? We find in the Scriptures God swore on Himself. I think more to the point James is warning us about getting in the habit of using oaths, swearing on something, as a rationalized avenue to lying.
    • Recently there has been much information in the media about the Islamic faith. You might have learned more about the Muslims in the past few years than you did all the rest of your life. They have “Five Pillars of Faith,” the binding rules of conduct in this very disciplined religion. One of those pillars is prayer. Five times each day, orthodox Islamic believers stop what they’re doing to pray.
    • Once in the morning, at noon, once in the late afternoon, once at sunset, and right before they retire for bed, they have prayer. The prayer is accompanied by a series of set positions including; bowing, standing, prostrating and sitting.
    • In the prostrating position they kneel, place their foreheads to the ground and offer their prayers toward their holiest city of Mecca, the home of Mohammad. It is quite a unifying ritual for them, knowing that all over the world Moslems are doing the same thing, bowing toward the same holy place.
    • As we read James 5:13-18 think of this Moslem practice of people, wherever they are and whatever they are doing, coming to a time of prayer. Now certainly our prayer is different. It is not a five time a day fixed ritual. Our physical position is not fixed, nor is our prayer directed toward Mohammad as our intercessor.
    • But there is something to be said for facing the same direction. Not toward a city or a particular holy place, but toward the one who created the universe. In the verses that we are looking at this morning James is urging us wherever we are, whatever our situation, to live our lives facing God in prayer. What a tremendous challenge!
    • James 5:13 NET Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up — and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
    • 16 So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months! 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest.
    • Don’t miss what James is saying here. No matter the situation, you need to be facing God, communicating freely with Him. Martin Luther said, “As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.” In this passage James highlights several different scenarios when we need to turn towards God in prayer.
    • Those who are in trouble
      13aIs anyone among you suffering?
      The word translated “suffering” is defined: to undergo hardship (Strongs) 1) to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles) 2) to be afflicted (Thayer)
      By sickness, bereavement, disappointment, persecutions, loss of health or property. The word used here refers to suffering evil of any kind (Barnes)
    • This is the time when there isn’t enough money to pay the bills. When the storm rolls through and throws your car all over the parking lot or destroys your home or business, James says pray. When your friend is acting like a jerk and destroying your friendship, James urges you to face God in that time of trouble. “When the rug is being pulled out from under your life, pray!”
    • That is not too difficult to understand, but notice what is not said. You can look all over the page, even all over the Bible, and you will not find the verse you would like to read. “Is any of you in trouble? Pray and God will take that trouble away!” It simply isn’t there, no matter how much we would like it to be.
    • As a matter of fact, remember
      James 1:2 NET My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.
    • Trouble is part of life, but in the midst of it we have a choice. We can allow God to use it to mold us into who He wants us to be, or we can allow it to beat us down into something less than God’s will for us. James says we choose the outcome of our troubles by turning toward God in their midst.
      “Is anyone among you suffering?
      He should pray.”
    • Those who are happy
      13bIs anyone in good spirits?
      We teach our kids to say “thank you” when they receive something from someone, but often we never learn to be genuinely thankful to the one who gives us everything. It is often the prayer of thanksgiving that we neglect.
    • When we are in the deepest of trouble, it’s not hard to remember to turn to God, but when we are on the mountaintop, we have a tendency to forget who gave it to us.
      Here we are reminded not to forget! He should sing praises!
    • You see, God does not want simply to be there to lift us up in times of trouble. He also wants us to acknowledge his blessing when He has provided it. We all have reasons to rejoice!
      There are people who have experienced God’s touch in so many ways. Some have been physically healed. Some have found purpose for their life when at one time they were living a drab and purposeless existence.
    • There are people who have relationships now that are deeper than they have ever experienced in their life, and it is all because of God’s touch on their life.
      Victor & Aja have a new baby to keep them awake at night, and the rest of us get to sleep through the night! There are all kinds of reason to be happy, and we need to be reminded, “Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise!”
    • In Victor & Aja’s case, they are happy knowing Alexis is a beautiful growing baby. I’m happy because when I’m lying on my bed upstairs I don’t hear Alexis fussing during the night. I don’t have to stay awake tending to her. I’m happy they are young & able to summon the energy to take care of that precious little girl.
    • Those who are sick
      14Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
      When there is sickness in the family, It is never a happy time. Think back when one of your family members was running a fever. There might have been trips to the doctor.
    • The family prayed about the illness during the day and at night. There was prescription and non-prescription medicine taken, along with some cool baths to lower the body temperature. So, was it the medicine that brought healing? Maybe. Did the loving care received at home heal? It couldn’t have hurt. Was it God who brought the sick one back to health? I have no doubt in my mind.
    • God is the author and initiator of all healing. James in these verses is calling for us to recognize that fact by facing God, whether it is in trouble or in times of happiness or in times of sickness. We are called to look to God.
      James goes on a little farther when he talks about praying in times of sickness and gives us some procedures to follow. Notice he says that the sick person should summon the elders.
    • At one church someone asked why the Elders weren’t doing what they were supposed to do. That was kind of an open-ended question, so the Preacher asked the person to be more specific. This person was asking why the Elders didn’t follow the instructions in this passage. The Preacher really couldn’t tell him why, so at the next Elder’s meeting he asked if there had been any requests by members of the congregation to be anointed with oil and have prayer. There hadn’t been.
    • I’m sure Emmett would encourage you to feel free to call him to pray with you when you need healing. Now certainly he is a very busy man so he can’t travel around and pray for every sniffle and sneeze, but I’m sure there is a genuine willingness to pray for your healing, both spiritually and physically. It is the Elder’s responsibility to lead this congregation in the process of facing God, and surely he would love to do that. Take advantage of it.
    • It is my prayer one day we would grow to the point of having several Elders again.
      After the sick person or their family takes the initiative to contact the elders, they are given specific instructions about what they are supposed to do.
    • First, they are called to anoint with oil. Second they are to pray over them. We need to recognize what this is all about.
      In the Bible there are two terms used for “anoint.” One is used to refer to anointing of ceremony.
      When Samuel anointed Saul and David with oil to declare them King, the Greek translation usesa particular word for that anointing.
    • In this passage it’s a different word altogether. It is the same as the word used when the women took spices to Jesus’ tomb so they could anoint him. It is also used when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume. And again when Jesus sends out the 12 and They cast out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. Mark 6:13 NET
    • It is the word sometimes used for medicinal purposes. It could have been just as easily termed “rub him with oil.” That makes sense. Would the women just put a dab of spices on Jesus? It seems to me they would rub it over his body. Do we think Mary just put a drop of perfume on Jesus feet? Again, I envision her rubbing it on Him. Is it plausible the 12 could have rubbed oil on the sick?
    • After doing what was medically needed, James says that they should pray over the sick person. This is not some otherworldly procedure where the Elders of the church function in some mystical role.
      It is them serving, helping and praying.
    • I am confident Emmett prays regularly for our congregation, both corporately and for those individuals with specific needs. Every time we get together we do it and I know that it happens otherwise also. If you want Emmett visit your bed and give you a rub down with oil next time you are sick, you just need to get your request in.
    • You better hurry, though, because I’m guessing that after this sermon there is going to be a waiting list. Seriously, though, it would be great if more people called to have the elder pray with them at times of trouble and sickness. But I am afraid we’re reluctant to call because we have lost sight of the fact that our church is a family. In our world we have become so individualistic that we don’t involve others in our lives.
    • And there is something wrong with a faith that does not recognize the need to have others there to help out. Sometimes we need the encouragement of others to turn our face toward God, when we are in trouble, when we are happy, and when we are sick. James says in all those times, turn toward God.
      Notice what James says happens when we are obedient in this matter.
    • 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up — and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.
    • 17Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months! 18Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest.
      Wow, that’s a bold statement. At first blush you can’t help but recognize that it is not always the case that a person we pray for is made well. The fact of the matter is, every person is born into this world terminal.
    • If every person we prayed for was made better, none of our friends or family would ever die. However, God does amazing things when people are prayed for. In our small group we always spend a considerable amount of time sharing prayer requests and lifting them up before God. I know there are those who could share of God’s healing work that has taken place when medicine was out of options.
    • What James is saying is, don’t make prayer your last resort when there are no other options. Face God in your illness and no matter what happens, He will provide healing.
      Tony Compolo tells a story about being in a church in Oregon where he was asked to pray for a man who had cancer. Compolo prayed boldly for the man’s healing.
    • That next week he got a telephone call from the man’s wife. She said, "You prayed for my husband. He had cancer." Compolo thought when he heard her use the past tense verb that his cancer had been eradicated! But before he could think much about it she said, "He died." Compolo felt terrible. But she continued, "Don’t feel bad. When he came into that church that Sunday he was filled with anger.
    • He knew he was going to be dead in a short period of time, and he hated God. He was 58 years old, and he wanted to see his children and grandchildren grow up. He was angry that this all-powerful God didn’t take away his sickness and heal him. He would lie in bed and curse God. The more his anger grew towards God, the more miserable he was to everybody around him. It was an awful thing to be in his presence.
    • But the lady told Compolo, “After you prayed for him, a peace had come over him and a joy had come into him. Tony, the last three days have been the best days of our lives. We’ve sung. We’ve laughed. We’ve read Scripture. We prayed. Oh, they’ve been wonderful days. And I called to thank you for laying your hands on him and praying for healing.”
    • And then she said something incredibly profound. She said, "He wasn’t cured, but he was healed." (Tony Campolo, "Year of Jubilee," Preaching Today Tape #212)
      God is in the business of healing. But folks, the only way we are going to see his work in our lives is if we live out our days facing Him.
    • In our best days and our worst days, when we are on top of the mountain or in the lowest valley, God longs for us to live in fellowship with Him. Prayer gives us that opportunity. Do you live out your life facing God? You can.
      For some it means you have to turn around. Repent. We are going to offer a song of invitation. This is a song for you to respond. Not just for salvation or church membership. If you want prayer, don’t hesitate to come forward.