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Every fourth of July my family, like many of you, go to watch the fireworks show.
Some years we get adventurous and go to 2-3 of them but most years we have just sit behind Wendy’s with the Joneses, and ate Frosty’s while watching them.
They moved so this past year we went up to Yreka and watched them in a Tractor Supply parking lot.
My favorite fourth of July’s though were growing up and watching them on the beach in Cape Cod, where I grew up.
We’ve been able to take our kids there at least once, I think, to see them there.
But for most people the anticipation is the finale!
You’re waiting for it and wondering if it’s gonna be amazing, like the Lake California one or a let down.
But either way it’s usually a really cool experience to watch the last few seconds of a fireworks show!
So, here we are.
Like the end of the fireworks show, we’re getting to the finale of Jame’s letter.
And it’s not disappointing, although it is convicting… again.
But aside from being convicting it should really give us a motivation and a hope that would wake us up to the awesome reality of our eternal future!
James starts to end his letter, in this section, in a similar way in which he started.
In the beginning he encouraged us all to be steadfast under trials and to see them as a way we grow to be made perfect, lacking nothing.
In this ending section, James tells us to stay steadfast in the faith, but not because of momentary trials, instead stay steadfast because of the Lord’s return.
In his opening of the letter he talks about a crown and reward for enduring trials as we stay steadfast in the Lord.
Here, James specifically mentions the great anticipation of the Lord’s coming and that there will be precious fruit, compassion and mercy of the Lord.
I disagree with Martin Luther, the great evangelist and theologian from long ago, when he said James was a letter that was not up to standards like Romans.
James’ letter is so practical, as well as filled with core truths, the way he ends it is proof.
The Lord’s coming was the core doctrine of the early church and it still is for us today.
I pray that as we get into the Scripture today you would allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and act in your life as we dive into some major truths and encouragements that will, I believe, help you grow in your faith.
Let’s pray
Psalm 61:2 says “Lead me to the Rock, that is higher than I.”
say it together...
Psalm 61:2 says “Lead me to the Rock, that is higher than I.”
I want us to keep that in the back of our minds as we dive into our passage today.
Patience (James 5:7-9)
In Palestine the early and late rains were very important to the farmer.
Early rain was late October and early November, without them the seed would not germinate.
The late rain was April and May, without these rains, the grain would not mature.
So just as the farmer waits patiently for the needed rains, as Christians we are to anticipate and patiently wait for the Lord’s Coming.
During this time of waiting James is telling us to not waist time on judging others or grumbling, complaining or bickering back and forth about useless issues.
Instead we should love and share Christ with people in anticipation for Jesus’ return!
The New Testament uses three words to describe the second coming of Christ.
Matthew 24:3
Matthew 24:27
Matthew 24:37
Matthew 24:39
1 Thessalonians 2:19
1 Thessalonians 3:13
1 Thessalonians 4:15
1 Thessalonians 5:23
2 Thessalonians 2:1
1 Corinthians 15:23
1 John 2:28
2 Peter 1:16
2 Peter 3:4
Parousia is the word for someone’s presence or arrival.
It could also be used to describe when there is an invasion of a country by an army or the visit by a king or governor to a province of his empire.
William Barclay says, “Jesus’ second coming is the final invasion of earth by heaven and the coming of the King to receive the final submission and adoration of his subjects.”
2.) The second word the New Testament uses to describe the coming of the Lord is epiphaneia.
Yes, this is where we get the word epiphany.
The two ways this word was often used was to describe the appearance of a god to the worshipper or when an emperor is appointed power over Rome.
So when this word is used regarding Jesus, it refers to His second coming who is God appearing to His people, both for those who are waiting for Him and for those who are not.
3.) apokalupsis (a-pock-a-loop-sis)
This is where we get the word apocalypse from.
The word apokalupsis refers to the unveiling or laying bare of something.
When it is used of Jesus it means his second coming is the laying bare of the power and glory of God upon men and women.
So we can get a picture that the second coming of Jesus is three things.
The arrival of the great King.
It is God appearing to His people and taking His eternal throne.
It is God displaying over the whole world His fullness of heavenly glory.
These truths are so important for us to understand as we unpack what the coming of the Lord is.
Many get so confused by what this means but Scripture makes it so clear for us.
So we understand the concept of the coming of the Lord but are we supposed to play a part in all of this, or do we just sit and watch "Fixer Upper or reruns of Friends” all day?
The first thing we need to understand is that no one knows the time of Jesus’ coming.
In fact, neither does Jesus.
Matthew 24:36
When we try to make a guess or put a date on the Lord’s coming we truly have no idea.
2 Peter 3:10
2 Peter tells us that at His coming, He will be like a thief in the night, no one will even know.
It will be as unexpected as that lightning/ rain storm we had on Friday night… what was that?!
Now that we see that it will be unexpected, let’s look at our part:
We must constantly be on watch
2. We must not become forgetful.
3. We must prepare for His coming.
Romans 13:11-14
4. When Jesus comes we should be found in fellowship.
So you better always come to church, just kidding.
But here Peter urges us to love one another and offer hospitality to one another.
5. Lastly, we are encouraged to urge others to abide and trust in Christ.
James transitions from urging us to have patience in the coming of Jesus’ return to having patience in our suffering.
I was reading a book this past week and came across this concept called the 50/20 principle.
It comes from Genesis 50:20 and it offered me some good insight and direction as I face suffering or hardship.
The 50/20 Principle:
This specific passage is at the end of Joseph’s life.
Joseph was a man from the Old Testament who was beaten up by his brothers and sold into slavery.
He eventually got out of slavery and worked his way up the ladder in order to be second to Pharoah.
His realization toward the end of his life was that the stuff he went through may have been hard but it was all to bring about growth and strength later in his life.
Have you experienced this in your life, I’m you are right now with something?
God refines us through suffering, He has done this even through the prophets before us.
Verses on James 5:11...
About Job...
Persecution and suffering for the Christian is a given.
That is a promise from the Lord.
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