April 11-18, 2018 Patience for Patients

Who was James?

·         He was the half-brother of Jesus. 

·         He rejected Christ at first but became a believer after the resurrection.

·         He became one of the pillars of the church. (James, Peter, John)

·         Also known as James the Just because of his devotion to righteousness.

·         Martyred A.D. 62. He was thrown off the top of the temple in Jerusalem, then stoned and finally killed by a blow to the head from a club.

Book of James:

·         Dated between 44-49 AD which makes it the oldest book in the NT.

·         Written for Christians everywhere. They were dispersed after the stoning of Stephen.

·         Stresses Godly behavior, being uncompromisingly obedient to God’s word and justification by faith which leads to spiritual fruit causing good works.

Let’s look at James 1:1-8

James is discussing three things within these 8 verses.

First:

·         James 1:2-4—Endurance through Trials

o   Martyrdom of Early Church

§  Stoning

§  Crucifixion

§  Burning at the stake

§  Torture

§  Capital Punishment

§  Judith Perkins— “to be a Christian was to suffer.” (Early Church)

o   (So for them, endurance to continue in the faith was a life or death situation.)

o   Count it as joy:

§  Our first instinct when we face any opposition is to get frustrated, or to have a pity party.

§  We blame everyone else. But, what if we looked at it as an opportunity to grow in our faith? What is we saw it from a perspective of God trying to strengthen a weakness of ours?

§  Think about ways that you have been challenged lately in your personal life. Think of ways you could have reacted differently, that would have allowed you to grow in your faith and trust in God, rather than let your flesh flare up.

o   Testing Produces Endurance:

§  We all hate tests…it challenges your knowledge of a subject. I was bad about cramming.

§  God uses tests to grow us spiritually

·         Praying for patience, humility, contentment, etc.

o   God doesn’t just give us those things, He puts us in situations that will allow us to trust in Him and grow those specific things that we pray for.

§  Endurance allows us to continue

·         When we are just handed something we don’t appreciate it as much, or cherish it like we would if we had to work for it.

 

·         The more we are tested, the more endurance we have. The more endurance we have, the longer we can go without failing. The longer we go without failing, the stronger we get. The stronger we get, the more we can become like Christ. The more we become like Christ, the more we see these trials and tests in a joyful way rather than looking for an excuse to blame someone else.

·         James 1:5- Godly wisdom

o   Ask and Receive:

§  If you are unsure about something, pray about it. God is not going to get annoyed if you ask His opinion, even over the smallest things.

§  You guys have a lot of decisions on your plate, and even more looming in the future. Seek God’s wisdom and direction.

o   Wisdom over Instinct:

§  The more we ask for Godly wisdom, the more He will give us. The more wisdom we have, the humbler we will be. The humbler we are, the more we will depend on God.

·         Proverbs 11:2- “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

·         Our instinct tends to be about self-preservation. How can I keep myself on top? As Christians, we are called to put everyone else ahead of ourselves, and we can only do that with the wisdom that we receive from God, when we seek Him.

§  The awesome thing about these two verses is that it says that when we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us generously, or freely. The Creator of the universe wants to share His heart with us, we just need to ask. It says without reproach. This means that God is not going to be disappointed when we ask for His wisdom. He desires for us to seek Him out.

·         James 1:6-8—Don’t get Sea Sick

o   I get motion sickness pretty bad

§  Cars

§  Roller coasters

§  Dramamine and Bonine are my best friends.

o   When we pray, do we pray with the expectation that God is going to do something, or is it just because we feel obligated to do so?

§  When we pray, we need to have faith that God is going to move. It may not be how we want Him to, but we need to believe that God is going to give us an answer.

o   Doubting leads to lowered expectations

§  When we doubt, we trust God less. We begin to put the focus on what we can do as opposed to what God has planned.

§  We ignore godly wisdom when trials come and get ourselves in places that we don’t want to be. Our endurance is not where it needs to be.

§  Doubting in itself it not an evil thing. Sometimes our faith wavers when a bad thing happens, and when we face some serious trials. Where we need to be aware of our doubt is when it becomes disbelief. The thing I have learned about doubt is that many times it ends up strengthening our faith. It allows us to evaluate where we are spiritually and then humble ourselves and trust God again.

§  We may be this man who is like a spiritual wave. Our faith may swell to huge heights and then dissolve just like a wave when it hits the coast. But, as we trust more in God, and build that endurance, asking for Godly wisdom, our faith no longer crashes on the coast but continues to grow. So we no longer get spiritually sea sick but can have the confidence that God will move.

·         I want to challenge you this week to look at these trials and find ways that God is calling you to build endurance. For me it would be with my temper. I have a tendency to get frustrated with things when they don’t go the way I want them to, so pray for me that I would build endurance with that.

·         Pray for Godly wisdom. God said He would give it freely to those that ask. So, ask away

·         Finally, pray that God would strengthen your faith so that you would trust in Him and not in yourself.

               

 

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