Notes: The church is called to prayer. If we can settle ourselves firmly on this foundational principle and actively pursue it we can be certain of understanding God’s purposes in this final portion of James letter. The church is called to pray for those who are sick. The sincere prayer of faith rests on the confidence that God is able to heal and that God is in sovereign control no matter the outcome.
Notes: At the close of his letter, James returns to the beginning and gives us practical teaching on how to face some of the trials we will undoubtedly live through: suffering, happiness, sickness, sin in ourselves and sin in others. Prayer in suffering and praise in the good times are his opening instructions.
Notes: James brings to his current teaching, the return of the Lord, one of his major themes in the letter; how we use our tongues. He instructs us not to swear and the admonition is just as relevant to us today as it was for 1st century Jewish culture.
Notes: The return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the great expectation for all those called by His name. The expectation is not whimsical or doubtful but sure and it is upon this surety that James instructs us to be patient. We are to be patient for our Lord’s return and patient with one another.
Notes: Having wealth is not a sin. Pursuing, gaining, and keeping wealth at the expense of others is. Using your wealth in a way that does not honor God is also a sin. In the next portion of his letter, James gives a stunning rebuke to the rich who do not honor God with the wealth He has given them.
Notes: James teaches us a sobering truth: our lives are as short as a morning vapor that comes right before dawn and disappears under the sun. No person can control how many hours they have left to live; every moment is under the care of God alone. To live our lives without this wisdom as central is a presumptuous sin.
Sermon by Jeff Wagner
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