James 5:12-20 - The Ordinary Christian Life
Speaker 1:0:00I asked this question here. In all seriousness, how many of you have seen something on, I had a phone call come through and it was a telemarketer. Have you ever talked to, you got a telemarketer, so what's your first thought? The second telemarket or starts talking to you on the phone? Marsha says she just hangs up, hang out and hang up in the first service. Jeanette who sits right about there says, don't say yes, they'll record it and use it against you. Don't answer. Well, how do you know not to answer a telemarketers phone call?
Speaker 1:0:43Caller ID. So what does it say? Does it say telemarketing? It says, it says caller unknown or I saw one the other day that said possible fraud alert on on a caller id. I thought that was pretty good. I was thinking, how do they know that Roxanne's visit where we going? I'm on that one. What is the what? What is our problem? What is the issue with telemarketers? They just keep calling because you tell him no, they keep calling you back. Um, and the first service my wife said, because they're invading your home. And then their phone call, is that what you said? Something like that? Yeah, I would say actually the reason why we don't mind it because we don't our, the reason we mind them is because we don't trust them and we don't really want people we don't trust in our homes or in our lives.
Speaker 1:1:54Is that, is that an accurate assessment? And we are, why don't we trust them? You don't know them and there's a, and then maybe we also have something else. Maybe we have history with other telemarketers that use the same techniques that have proven untrustworthy. Right. We've been taken to the cleaners and we don't know this person, but this is the question about the ordinary Christian life in my opinion. Most people I was, I was walking along in Colville the other day, right? Right past the singer of town and there was a couple of people sitting by a makeshift stand and they were witnessing for Jesus by, by, by putting pamphlets in front of people and people and I watched for a little bit and people were just walking by. Do you know why nobody knows? Knows that? Because relationship is and trustworthiness is how the Gospel is.
Speaker 1:2:55Fred, not through telemarketers, so to speak and read our text today. We're going to finish James this morning. Can you believe it? We're going to be done with the book of James, but before James leaves that he's going to deliver us a little text on how to be just to the ordinary Christian. Let's do that. Let's read that. This is from James a verse five chapter five verse 12 but most of all, my brothers and sisters never taken oath. I haven't, or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or now so that you will not sin or be condemned. Many of you will know this verse in an older translation. It says, let your yes be yes and your no be no but don't take outs. Now we hear that in our words. If you ever met anybody in your life that's signed their name, but their name wasn't any good, they just, they weren't going to keep their signature. They weren't going to. They promise they they just weren't going to follow through. If you've ever dealt with somebody like that, I uh, I share this anecdote, a little story about running my own business as a graphic designer. I had two clients that required me to sign a six sign a contract with them.
Speaker 1:4:22They were the hardest to get the money out of their signature. Wasn't any better than their word. Most of all brothers and sisters never taken out by having our earth or anything else. Just say yes or no. Uh, simply yes or no so that you will not sin or be condemned our interview. Here's the next one. Our interviews, suffering hardships. You should pray and I would just stop there for a second. That's what you should do as a Christian. If you're in relationship with Jesus and God and he's repaired that spot and you're sitting there and, and there's this fundamental cry right at the beginning of this be who you are. That your yes be yes and your no be no. Can you hear that? Be who you are. Well, who are we in Christ? We are people that when we're suffering hardships, when we're hard pressed, what do we do?
Speaker 1:5:22We pray, we talk to God and say, help. I need some help here. That's what we do. Number two, here we go. You should pray. Are you happy? There's your, if you look at this and it says, are you happy? I, this is almost where most spots, I'd almost like to just put a little mark and just put out in the margins. This thing. This is the same verse from acts or same word from acts 27 22 when Paula has been shipwrecked and they're all out, they're not had any food. The exact same word here is take courage. So do you email them to you in interview? Courageous? Are you bearing up under stress and your bearing up? You'd been a mega through, have you taken courage? Yes. What should you do? You should sing praises. That's just the standard reaction. So when something's going wrong and then you get through it, what?
Speaker 1:6:18What are you supposed to do as a Christian? Praise the Lord. That's what we're supposed to do. This is, this is the, the the how to be a Christian sort of book in this thing. The first thing you do is you be who you are. Well, who you are is you are, you are in Jesus. And so that will lead you to the spot where when things go wrong in the world and they will, you will pray and when things are going wrong, but then they turn around and ended up, okay, you're going to speak, you're going to praise God. Are you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you. We've spent some time doing that this morning when we say this, did you know that the reason why we say Lord hear our prayers and we all say that is we are all in agreement with that prayer.
Speaker 1:7:14Now I have a little habit and some of you have experienced this with me if you come up and I, I, I can't say I do it all the time, but I try. If you'd come up to me and you share a prayer concern with me, um, how many of you have done that and had me stop and pray right at that moment? Okay? So there's enough in here that that at least my habit is slightly taking on and in my life. But, but why do I do that more? First thing is, is you've shared something with me and I want to hear that. But I want to pray and I want God's guidance in what I'm going to say after the prayer. But also I find that I pray more often for things that I've already prayed for. So if I say, well, I'll pray for that later.
Speaker 1:8:01I often being human, forget, and I'm sorry to say that, but none of you have ever forgotten to pray for something that you've, that you said you would pray for heavier. But if I stop and I pray right at that moment, then I remembered better to pray later. So not only did I not lie to you about saying I would pray because I already did. I also remember to pray longer and better about it. It comes into my consciousness more this way. Remember is the, is how to be an ordinary Christian. We, uh, in our Bible study this last week, we had this Fabulous Bible study discussion in First Thessalonians. Some of you know that it took us a year to get through Collagen's. Um, Wednesday nights last week we covered half of verse.
Speaker 1:8:54As Bill said, we only had an hour and a half. So we got half a verse. But one of the things that came out in that discussion was the number one description of what Christians do and they live is they witnessed that the word in the Bible for witness in the original Greek is martyr. Because you knew that now we think of martyrs of people that have suffered greatly and at for their witness. But actually the word just means witness that they just talk about it. God's done stuff for you and you're going to talk about it by two testimonies. Something is established. The word for testimonies in the Bible is marked Herion or martyr is the witness. Now, we've added other meanings to it over the years that now it means that that you've been, you've suffered greatly. But when Jesus said it, you will be my witnesses. He said, you're going to share. That's what he meant. Now you're also going to share in his struggles. He said that too, but I just want to make sure that you're here. This, that we are witnesses and sharing in this thing. But here we go. We're going to, we're going to continue along in the text. Are you sick? You should call for the elders to come and pray for you. And 19 new with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick and the lord will make you well.
Speaker 1:10:29I want to make sure that when we hear this, I want to say it just exactly the way that this commentary did. Okay? When we, when we read the Bible and it says pray for them and they'll get well. Um, in our world there is a group of people that have said, well says pray and there'll be, well, don't go to the doctor. You don't need the doctor. Have you ever heard that Christian scientists sort of do that and some other groups, you don't need a doctor? Um, that is not what's going on. Let me, let me read this to you. Our Turret tendency to read ancient healing narratives as if we're reading the New England Journal of Medicine is the way we do that. Did you recognize that this is not the New England Journal of Medicine? We do. We read scriptures kind of backwards all sorts of times. Do you know they did this in the Bible Study Group?
Speaker 1:11:25Do you know, uh, we ask when we regenesis we ask how, how did God create when God said, why did God create? The whole question of genesis is about why not? How he's not answering, how his answer on why. In the same way when we look at revelation and by the way I'm being interrupted in what my normal plan for next year and I believe be studying revelation on Sunday mornings. I said, there's, there's some people doing this, but most people, I'm just going to warn you, it's not what you expect. Because most people read revelation and say when, and the question of revelation is who not when it's not about, when it's about who is Lord and who is the end of the stuff. And so when you change that little angle, if you asked that question differently. So when you read narratives on healing, don't hear them saying, well, this is the way you get.
Speaker 1:12:29We do this. And it happens. What he's saying is, is that you are a whole human and the whole humans have bodies and spirits and you need your spirit and your body to be praying and being healed and, and you need both. But there isn't any promise that you're going to be perfect in this world and that aren't you glad that the promise isn't that you'll be perfect, but that it'll be worth it. That's quite a different promise. Anyway, so we get this thing, Jesus says this, this is an example from mark to your sins are forgiven to a paralytic. Do you remember this spot? He's, he's in a room full of people and the people are carrying a friend and on a mat and they can't get to him because the houses fall. And so they go up on the roof and they dig a hole in the roof. That's how you want people to come into your house. I know I've heard you say that.
Speaker 1:13:27Just take a, take a skus on, just cut a hole and go right through them like mess cause that would make a mess anywhere. But they do. They drop them in there and Jesus says, take up your mat. Your sins are forgiven. And everybody in the room goes, how can he say that? Isn't that the story in Matt? How can he say your sins are forgiven. You rise up and walk and Jesus knows what's going on inside them. And he says, what's easier to say you're healed or your sins are forgiven. And the reason he says that his is the people grumbling can't say either of those things and make it happen. They can't but he can't. And so on. The authority that can forgive sins and heal key can do that. Now what does healing look like? That is a very complex question and I am more than willing to have that with people that want to have what the local healing looks like outside of this room.
Speaker 1:14:33Sometime you can meet me, we'll talk about it, we'll go have coffee. But here's the thing. Normal Christians when they're sick, call people together to pray for them. That's what they do. What? What are the other things? Remember when they're pressed, when things are going, what do you do? Well, what happens when you pray? When things are going wrong? Sometimes God gives you different ideas on how to solve things and then what happens when things had been going along and they start doing right? Whether you do praise when you're sick, what do you do? You call people together to pray for you. That's what we do here, isn't it? We pray and here you go, and if you've committed, sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results and ask her this question.
Speaker 1:15:37How many of you as an ordinary part of your Christian life can fos the things you've done wrong to somebody or to God? There are people here that is part of the ordinary Christian life because you've done something wrong, but you're in a restored relationship with a person that forgives sin and part of the ordinary Christian life is, I blew it. Can you forgive me? That is part of the Christian life. Now remember when we started this off with a little note about integrity. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. What does it mean to be a Christian? Well, it means that when you're, when you're struggling, you asked for help. When things are going well, you sing praises. When you f when you blow it, you ask for forgiveness. That's just an ordinary part of a Christian life.
Speaker 1:16:36There's more, there's more to this, right? I didn't want to skip over this moment here in this text, the earnest prayer of a righteous person and I'm going to have you feel like you're a righteous person. I got to tell you something. This also, you really all need to just come Wednesday night cause you can get this. One of the reasons people don't witness about Christ all the time as they don't feel able. I'm going to share something with you. You're not. He is able, when you witness about what Christ has done in your life, you're not saying, I did all this stuff for Christ. You're saying Christ did all this stuff for me. I'm not able. He's able.
Speaker 1:17:27I'm not righteous. He is righteous. But then he puts that righteousness inside of us and it starts to take root and it says the prayer of a righteous person. So not just your right and righteousness that accomplishes this stuff. It's God's righteousness in you that accomplishes the prayer and great power and wonderful results. Now it goes into an example. Asia was a human just like us, and yet when he prayed earnestly, well, he didn't just pray for whatever. He prayed for what God wanted him to pray for. I want to get that little stipulation in there. I really want a new car isn't maybe what God's asking you to pray for, but when he prayed earnestly, way that rain would not fall, none fell for three and a half years and then when he prayed again when he was told by God the pray for that the sky sitting down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
Speaker 1:18:31My brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from that and bring about the forgiveness of many sense. Every one of the commentaries I read on this was being very careful to tell me that this was not about evangelism, but this was about coming alongside somebody that was wandering away and directing them back that it was all about restoration of the relationship. But I have a little correction for you to think about if you're making that distinction between evangelism and people wandering overlay. It's all about restoration. The whole reason Jesus came to earth was to restore the relationship that we had or could have with God into its proper function. First Peter Four 10 that blood covers a multitude of sins.
Speaker 1:19:31That as the concept here, that when you come alongside somebody and they stumbled, you don't go stay down. He say, here, let me help you up and and your love. That guides them back into a restored relationship. Whether that is evangelism or whether that is apologetics, which is a fancy term, meaning arguing for the faith. Or maybe you're just coming alongside and wooing somebody back into this relationship that they want sell deer. Then maybe don't. That is love restoring and covering a multitude of sins. Now that's the end of the text today, but what did I start with as tele evangelists are telemarketers, right? Well, the Christian form of telemarketers is tele evangelists. Those are people that you don't know, that you have no relationship with, that are not trustworthy, and all of the world knows it because they don't live ordinary, normal Christian life in front of people.
Speaker 1:20:36Do you want to be believed that that when you talk about Jesus, then this is how you learn. People will see your life and they'll match it up with your words and your simply will be yes and your simple no will be know and they'll look at you and Jesus is amazing. Yes he is. That's the correct thing. Jesus is amazing. Now I invite you into this, into this thought that the Holy Spirit in you has one ministry, one style of ministry. He is essentially the spotlight of God. So if you went to the Washington monument and it was night, it's all lit up. How many of you have ever seen a monument all lit up? Maybe not the Washington monument, right? They got these cool spotlights. Did you stop and stare into the spotlight and go, that is the coolest spotlight ever.
Speaker 1:21:35You didn't. The spotlights hold ministry. A Holy Spirit's home ministry is go look at Jesus. What did Jesus look at? Jesus. That's who. That's why I'm pointing at. Look at Jesus. He's done stuff for me. I invite you to join in the Holy Spirit in you, invites you to become a spotlight for the work of Jesus, not your own work, not what you do because you are not able, you can't convert anybody. God does that. God calls people back and he might use you to do that. But it all comes into the spotlight ministry. But before you can have a spotlight ministry that works, you have to be who you say you are. And that's what being a Christian is about. Right? So what does being a Christian about? Well you don't say one thing and then never do it. You let your yes be yes and your no, no.
Speaker 1:22:31You become, you begin to have integrity. And by the way, when things are going bad for you, you go help. I need help. You don't try to do that on your own. You're asked for prayer and when things are going great, you don't take credit for it. You say, God, thank you for getting me through that, that I couldn't have got through on my own. And when you're sick and you need healing, you asked for prayers. And when you have food forgiveness, you go, I need forgiveness. And then the righteousness of those prayers that are in you because that's built out of the righteousness of Christ just begins to go pop in front of other people, ordinary Christian life, to some of you might go, that's pretty amazing. If I, when I see those people. That's amazing. Yes, the ordinary Christian life is incredibly amazing to people that have never seen, it may not be the telemarketer for Christ that were Heather, the friend that says, I've got a friend that can help. That's the ordinary Christian life. You pray with me, Lord, may we know you better constantly. Maybe get to know you in prayer and in praise. May we live since Sir and lives of integrity in your precious name. Amen.