James 5 :7-10

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Patience Until the Lord Comes

Let us remember and not forget.  This past Tuesday September 11, 2001 America, witnessed the worst terrorist attach in history.   At 8:50 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 with 81 passengers, 9 flight attendants and 2 pilots aboard, headed from Boston to Los Angeles crashed into World Trade Center’s northernmost tower.  About 15 minutes later a second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, another 767 headed from Boston to Los Angeles with 56 passengers, 7 flight attendants and 2 pilots strikes the second World Trade Center, tower.

At 9:38 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 with 58 passengers 4 flight attendants and 2 pilots, heading from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, crashes into the west side of the Pentagon.   10:09 a.m. The second World Trade Center collapses.   10:30 a.m. the first World Trade Center to be struck collapses.

10:42 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 with 45 people aboard headed from
Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, crashes in Somerset County, Pa.   Apparently some of the passengers knew that the hijackers were going to crash this plane possibly into the white house or the capital building, and they heroically did something about it.

Although the total number of souls who perished in these horrific acts is still unknown the death toll could go as high as 6,000 people.  Mothers, Fathers, Sons and Daughters, company executives, janitors, teachers, firemen, police officers and shop merchants and alike were all suddenly whisked into eternity. 

Our President George W. Bush has shown great leadership, as the nation rallies around him.  In his address from September 11 he set the tone for a stunned nation when he spoke about our need to seek the Lord before any other resource.   And I quote.

“Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened.  And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, (it is) spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: “‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.’”

"Things are never going to be the same in this country again," said Alan Krauss, a 48 year old lawyer, as he watched the ruins of the Trade Center from a bluff in New Jersey. "This is the worst day in the history of our country, with the exception of the Civil War."

But his qualifier would prove unnecessary.  Until Tuesday, the bloodiest single day in U.S. history was Sept. 17, 1862, when about 4,700 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War battle of Antietam.  Pearl Harbor killed 2,388 Americans, and the first day of the Normandy invasion, killed 1,465.

This act of carnage is bringing a backlash that the terrorists most likely did not consider, our nation has become united in our purpose, united in our resolve, and more importantly I believe we will be united in prayer, repentance, and seeking God.  We hold to the promise given to Israel though Solomon.

2 Chron 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Leaders from around the world stand with us and together with God’s help we will overcome this evil terrine. 

Former President Clinton, traveling in Australia  "...we must send a clear and unambiguous message to the world that the people of America are completely, 100 percent united."

– Pope John Paul II, in a letter to President Bush  "I beg God to sustain you and the American people, in this hour of suffering and trial."
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin   "We understand the feelings of the American people better than anyone.  I want to tell the American people in Russia's name: 'We are with you.”

As we come together this Lord’s day to worship, we come with hearts that are seeking answers, hearts heavy and grieving for our people, and our nation.  Most importantly we have hearts ready to resolve our need for God.  This week I have found great guidance and comfort in the scriptures, to pray for those who were victims of this attack, to pray for the rescue workers, for the families and friends who’s lives will never be the same, to pray for our president, that he will be guided by God, and to pray for our nation that we would return to God.  Finally that the church would arise and bring forth the only real comfort that is found, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

This past week as I was seeking the Lord about what to preach on, I felt impressed to look back to the book of James to the very scriptures we would be considering this week in our ongoing studies in the epistle of James.  I find it comforting that the Holy Spirit would speak to this congregation from the very scriptures that we would be considering this week.

READ THE TEXT JAMES 5:7-10 PATIENCE UNTIL HE COMES.

The church that James is addressing is beginning to face trials of many kinds, suffering and persecution are mounting they are in dark days with darker ones ahead.  As we face dark days and our future is unsure, these same scriptures will guide us as we wait patiently for the Lord’s return.   When James wrote this some people were beginning to live like the Lord may never return, so he speaks these words near the end of his epistle to give them comfort and direction.   Three simple things he speaks.  Be patient, be watching, and be sure. 

1.      BE PATIENT.

The Lords coming is at the door, it will be soon.  As Billy Graham spoke so well at the national prayer meeting, not one of the people in those airplanes, or one of the workers in the World Trade Center, the policemen, the firemen or those at the Pentagon, not one of them got up Tuesday morning and thought: “today will be my last day on earth.”  Yet in seconds thousands were whisked into eternity.   We are to be patient until his coming. 

Rom 2:7  To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

Church, be patient and be persistent in life as we look for the Lord’s coming.  Be patient and as Jesus told us we are to occupy, to abide until the Lord returns. 

Two questions seem to loom on peoples hearts in the shadow of this act of terrorism.  First “how could a loving God allow this to happen?  The question is real, the answer is complex yet we know that the world around us is fallen and ruled by sin.  The heart of all mankind is sinful, far from God.   Events like this should show us the folly, evil and stupidly of sin.  How could a loving God allow this?  We may never understand the depths of his sovereignty, but we may also never understand the depths of his mercy, how could a loving God send his son to die in my place. 

The second question that has been posed to me: “is this a sign of the end times?”  Does it fit into the prophetic time clock?  Some would say it does, others would argue that it doesn’t.  Here is what I know.  Jesus said.

Mark 13:8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

Our text tells us to be patient for the Lord’s return, Jesus says to know that those days will be like a woman in labor, the horror of that day will be increasing in intensity and frequency, troubles will grow worse and worse.  The Apostle Paul tells us the same thing.

1 Thess 5:1-5 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,  for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

Again like a woman in labor but also like a thief in the night.  The signs of Lord’s coming will build up in frequency and intensity, and then suddenly just like the lives that were lost on those planes, the Lord will come.  Paul gives us some major clues to the puzzle when he says, people will be saying peace and safety, thinking things are great when destruction will come.  How many thought the world was not relatively safe Tuesday morning?  How many trusted in our nations greatness that we are safe and at peace?   Paul tells us when the Lord returns, for those walking in the light it will not catch us off guard.  

I wanted to see what David Wilkerson’s Time Square Church had to say about all this, so I got on the Internet and listened to about a four minute message that one of the associate pastors gave.  I was blessed and humbled as he told that over a month ago the Holy Spirit spoke to their church that something big was going to happen in New York, they were so impressed that they shut down many of their feeding programs and began to save food and bottled water.   And they were ready for action, before the collapse of the buildings they were already handing out sandwiches and water to the police, firemen and masses of people running from the building.   That very night there church was full at their normal prayer session and hundreds of people committee their lives to the Lord. 

Be patient until His coming.  What does that men?  Be living for him, Jesus said to occupy until he returns, be living each day in such a way that you will always be ready for his return.  Be that his return in your death or his return for the church when we are raptured out of here.  In a twinkling of an eye those who are alive, shall be changed and be caught up to be with the Lord forever.   What gives us this patience? 

TURN TO PSALM 46

Oh what great comfort and direction there is in this wonderful Psalm it assures us that there is no element, natural or man-made, that God is not aware of and in control of.
God is Our Refuge and Strength against the elements of nature:  floods, droughts, volcanoes, earthquakes, and alike.  Many may ask, "Where is God in all of this?"
God is in control of the elements of nature. He dried up a path through the Red Sea and Israel walked on dry ground.  He drowned an entire Egyptian army in the exact spot.
Jesus calmed a sea that threatened His disciples. Mountains shook and rocks split at His death.  What can we say about the threat of nature when we are helpless?   "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

God is also our Refuge and Strength against nations.   America’s motto says it all, "In God We Trust."  We have helped nearly every nation in the world at one time or another.
Not all of them have offered friendship in return. Many nations will not ally with us because of our history of allegiance to Israel.   Some nations have declared war on us openly, others through terrorist acts such as this past week.  

Yes we have boasted a strong and powerful defense system, they are necessary and have helped us maintain our peace and freedom in America.  Yet that is not what has made this nation great, it is our faith.  We are a nation founded on the principles of God, all men created equally in the image of God.   What can we say to the threat of national forces upon us?   "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." 

God is All Powerful, He is not surprised by what happens on planet earth.  He knows tomorrow better than we remember yesterday.  God has blessed nations and built them up and He has removed His mighty hand and allowed them to fall again.  One day He will send his Son Jesus Christ to bring lasting peace.   God is With Us - He is Our Strength and Refuge!   He tells us to be patient.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God"

We seek his face and he guides us.   First be patient like a farmer, planting, praying for rain, observing the crops, weeding, fertilizing, and then comes the harvest.  But not only be patient, but be watching.

2.      BE WATCHING.

Like the Apostle Paul told us be aware of the times we live in and with patience watch your life.  James says, stand firm.  Do not be moved by the terror of the times, do not be moved by false teaching, do not be moved by the society we live in and the relatively easy life we have.  Stand firm in your faith, stand firm in your life with Christ.  Stand firm and be watching.  What are we watching for?  Are we watching for some supernatural signs?  Are we counting acts of terror?  Are we watching for some man, the Anti-Christ?  No!  We are to be watching for Jesus Christ, and not just his coming but also his working.  Watch where the Holy Spirit is guiding us, as the church.  What the Lord wants me/ wants you to do as his ministers.  

We are called a priesthood of believers, we are all his ministers and need to be following where he is guiding and leading us as his church.    I think more then watching for the signs of the times, even though we just read the Lords coming will not catch us unaware, more then watching the news, watch for his working.  What would the Lord have me do?  How would he have me live?   Many of these basis questions are answered in the scriptures, love my wife, respect your husband, honor the king, love your neighbor, live in holiness.  Watch what I’m doing, watch for where he is leading in ministry Jesus said to be watching and be ready.    Those who are watching are not just sitting around casually observing things rather we are active.   Like a soldier who is on guard duty, you don’t just have one eye opened rather you are busy doing the right things that will help you know if the enemy is coming and help you defeat him. 

Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We are actively watching as we bring are prayers, our request and our thanksgiving to the Lord and this wonderful promise will be ours, he will guard our hearts and our minds from the anxiety that this world and its problems brings.   Important scriptures for these times and they show us just how we are to be still and know he is God.  We give him our request, our praise, and he gives us peace in the mist of the storm    James tells us to be patient and be watching, then finally he tells us:

3.      BE SURE (BE SURE, THERE WILL BE JUSTICE.)

“The Judge is at the door.”  For the barbarians who would kill and maim innocent people, they already know there is justice.  They are already condemned to hells fires.  For those innocent people who were victims of this tragedy, well for them too there is justice.  They too will be judged by God, they too will have the same scales of justice used. 

Another question that comes out in these times is: “what should we do as a nation?”  Should we retaliate?  Should we nuke em?  I do not know.  For us as individuals the word of God is clear, bless and do not curse you enemy, if he slaps you on one cheek, turn to him the other.   But for a nation, a land that God has blessed, protection of our borders and our way of life is another question.  When Israel was attacked, when they were invaded by foreign powers, not only did the Lord allow them to retaliate, but he gave them the battle plans and often sent his angels to help them destroy the invaders.   So what should our nation do?   Nuke em?  Well, the bible teaches:

1 Peter 2:13-14 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

1 Tim 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-  for kings and all those in authority….

God has established the authority in our nation, we are to pray for them, that they might hear from God and be led by God and know how God would have them act.   So we pray for our president, our congress, our leaders, and we pray that they might be submitted to God and that he would guide them and lead them in every decision that they make. 

Back to our studies on James, follow the flow with me, James tells us, don’t grumble against one another, rather live for Christ because his judgment is sure, his judgment like his coming - is at the door.  It is a sure thing, his judgment of those who are not his and those who are, he will separate them as a Sheppard separates sheep from goats, the sheep will receive the blessing because of obedience and faith.  The goats will receive his wrath because they have not believed in the Lord.   Are you ready for his coming?  If you were about to be whisked into eternity how would it go?

Now we are in going to participate in communion.  As we partake of communion, it is a time to examine our hearts, and our lives, so I encourage you look inside, see what the Lord is speaking to you.  If you need prayer come and we will pray, if you need to ask Christ to be your Lord come and we will pray. 

TURN TO 1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-32

Series: James  -Through the Bible
By: Rich Lammay
Title: “Patience Until The Lord Comes”
Scripture: James 5 :7-10
Date: September, 2001

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