“Patiently Endure Until He Comes”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of James 5.7-11
James 5. We’re preaching through the book of James and we’ve come to the 5th chapter of James’ letter to persecuted Christians. While we were sitting in relative comfort Easter Sunday, in Pakistan at least 75 people were murdered and more than 340 injured. The devastation was caused by a suicide bomber. He was targeting Christians celebrating Jesus’ resurrection and then detonated his explosive vest at a park in Lahore. The attack was carefully planned, knowing full well that that many of the dead would be women and children.
That is just one of several terrorist attacks that have taken place in that country this year alone.
According to the 2016 Open Doors World Watch List, more than 100 million Christians are currently being persecuted globally. A minimum of 7000 Christians were killed for their faith last year which is up from 4000 the year before, and just 2,000 before that. That’s the minimum; it’s difficult to track the statistics.
And that doesn’t include the murders in Iraq, Syria and North Korea, where violent persecution of Christians is normal. North Korea, the report says, is still the most difficult place in the world to be a Christian.
Open Doors notes that never before have so many Christians been fleeing persecution.
And it’s during times like this that Christians look for Christ’s return. Christians have been looking for Christ’s return ever since he ascended back to the Father.
After Jesus died and was raised from the dead, after he appeared to his disciples on many accounts, he ascended back up into heaven. The cloud received him out of the disciples sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky two men in white clothing said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Jesus himself said that as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
You remember he predicted his resurrection … don’t forget he is also predicted his second coming.
And the Lord’s second coming is a great comfort in the midst of persecution. Persecution!
That’s what the very first readers of James’ letter were going through. Let’s read James 5:1-11…where first we have the persecutors, the wicked rich … James 5:1-6
And then the persecuted in verse 7-11.
First damnation for the persecutors…
James 5:1–11 1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.
[Now encouragement for the persecuted v. 7..Because their persecutors will be persecuted…]
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
The wicked rich of verses 1-6 are persecuting the faithful believers of verses 7-11. Judgment upon the wicked rich persecutors is meant to be an encouragement for believers who are suffering. James is saying to the believers, “those who persecute you will be judged!”
With persecution becoming more of a reality each year for many of God’s people, I’d like to preach that we “Patiently endure until He comes.”
Now, you may or may not be persecuted, but you may be experiencing some difficulty and you’ve wished that Jesus would come back because of your difficulty.
How are we to respond? If you’re persecuted, you should know that those who are persecuting you will be judged. But this morning, even when times are tough, you must endure: Be patient until He comes.
James mentions the coming of the Lord three times, in verses 7, 8, and 9.
And that is a comfort for you who are persecuted. The Son of Man is going to come back and judge your persecutors. The Son of Man is going to come back and comfort his people.
We have a responsibility until He does come. Be patient, v7. Be patient, v. 8. Be patient, v.10. Endure, v. 11
Patiently endure as you wait for Jesus’ coming.
And the word used for Jesus coming here is used a total of 15 times in the New Testament referring to Jesus’ second coming. For example, in …
1 Thessalonians 4:15–16 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
This word coming emphasizes Christ becoming once again present, visible. It can refer to the arrival of a king in all his glory. … “Here he is!”
And those who are being persecuted and those going through deep waters may long for Christ’s return. We long for the king and judge, that he rule and reign over us. When Christ is near, all is well.
And so no matter your tough time, take this to heart…
Be patient until He comes (v.7)
James 5:7 7 … be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.
EXP: James’ readers are suffering at the hands of the wicked rich. They should be patient when mistreated. Why? Because the wicked rich will be judged. When will they be judged? At the coming of the Lord.
Therefore, be patient brethren until the coming of the Lord. Though your trial seems too much to bear, brethren, be patient until the glorious arrival of the King of kings and the Lord of lords!
“Look, they will be judged. So you can endure this!” God won’t let them get away with this!
It reminds us of the martyred believers at the throne in heaven in
Revelation 6:10–11 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.”
God will avenge. He will judge them at the coming of the Lord in His great power and glory.
Be patient until then! That’s James’ command.
Until Jesus returns, be patient. Exercise patience as you wait for the Lord to come. Someone who is patient in suffering will endure through the trial and they will actively wait for Jesus’ coming.
APP: Wait, and watch for Jesus’ return. “Hold fast, until I come.” Be empowered by His promise to come again. Submit to God’s will in His word and circumstances. And brethren don’t take revenge on your persecutors.
Romans 12:19 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
ILL: It’s time to illustrate patience and Pastor James gives us his…verse 7…
James 5:7 7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. [now he illustrates] The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. Verse 8… you too be patient.” For James’ first readers in Israel, the early rains are in the fall; late rains are in the spring.
The Israelite farmer waits for the harvest. Before the harvest comes, he has to be patient as well for the rain to come.
Just like a farmer is patient for his harvest and for the rains, so also the Christian going through difficult times must also be patient and wait for the coming of the Lord.
For a farmer in the first century, there’s not much you could do after you plant your seed. I suppose you could pull a few weeds, but you can’t worry about it. Just pray and wait. You’re not in control. If you worry about things you can’t control, farming is not the job for you. You have to submit to God’s control. God controls the weather. And at the right time, he alone gives the harvest.
You can’t have the harvest in the middle of the growing season. No use being impatient about it … What are you going to do, run out there in the middle of July the growing season and scream at the crops … “Grow! grow, you silly plants, grow!!!” It’s no use!
ILL: By the way, from what I remember reading, both the Farmer’s almanac, which, I hear, no wise farmer follows, and the weather men, whom you really can’t rely on either, say that it’s going to be warm and dry this spring and summer. It could be another rough summer.
Just like you have to be patient with the weather if you’re a farmer, so also you’ll have to be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Times might be tough, but you have to wait. You can’t change God’s timetable on the weather or on His return.
“Oh, when’s the rain going to come?” says the farmer. “Oh, when is the Lord going to come?” says the troubled believer. Many feel the Lord has really delayed His coming. But there will be a harvest. The Lord will come back.
Look, if you were a farmer and you knew you had a large harvest coming, how would you live? If you knew that you had a large harvest coming, you’d be patient. You’d actively wait. And you’d be ready at the right time of the harvest. You’d be actively waiting, planning the right time to harvest that bumper crop!
As a Christian, James 5:8 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
James doesn’t mind repeating himself: Jesus is coming back! It’s near, he says. “Well,” says the scoffer, “It doesn’t seem near, it’s been 2000 years!”
But if you look at the history of salvation since Adam and Eve, we’re definitely still in the “near” phase. The “last days” the Bible says, began when Jesus came the first time and… when He was on earth, He himself didn’t know how long these last days would last.
Plus, and you could turn to 2 Peter. 2 Peter chapter 3 … beginning in verse 3 … Peter tells us that God’s view of time isn’t ours… This helps us understand the nearness of Jesus’ return…
2 Peter 3:3–9 3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Because with the Lord one day is like 1000 years and 1000 years like one day… because that’s true, the Lord comes back on his timetable. So, really, with the Lord, creation has only been around for maybe a week! Now, back to James 5.
So, the Lord’s coming is near. The first century church expected Christ to come back in the their lifetimes, no doubt. But in reality, the nearness of Christ’s coming is on his timetable.
ILL: Near is a relative term. It compares. My youngest daughter Pazli turns 2 at the end of this month. She doesn’t know it, of course, but if we said her birthday was 1 month away, we could say it’s near. But she can’t say that. She’s only been alive for 23 months. 1 month is 1/23 of her life. 1/23 of your life if you’re 40 years old is almost 2 years. That’s quite a difference.
ILL: A cat has kittens her tummy for some 8 or 9 weeks. A housefly’s whole life is just a few weeks. Let your momma cat tell your houseflies, “The time when I’ll have kittens is near.” But the fly will be dead by then! But sure enough, from our viewpoint, the birth was near.
So it is with Christ. He tells us His coming is near, but it’s on His timetable. The apostles didn’t predict it would be in their lifetime, but they sure expected it to be.
As you wait for His return, James 5:8 … strengthen yourself. Strengthen yourself in your difficult time. To strengthen yourself means to get ready for hard times; prepare your heart spiritually for rough times.
ILL: What shipmaster sees rough waters ahead and doesn’t prepare his boat? Or what pilot sees turbulence on the radar and doesn’t divert his flight and prepare his crew?
Rough times are ahead. The world ain’t getting any better? Are you equipping your children to live in a world hostile to the faith? Strengthen yourself and your family!
APP: What does it mean to strengthen yourself? Don’t deny the Lord just because you’re suffering! Those being persecuted are especially tempted to deny the Lord. If you have become a partaker of Christ, you will hold fast to your confession firm until the end. So don’t deny Him; it could mean you’re not saved at all! Strengthen your heart in difficult times.
How are you going to strengthen yourself? Read your Bible! Pray, pray and pray… fellowship with God’s people, encourage each other! When I hear you encouraging others, I thrill inside. Strengthen the hands that are weak from difficulty. You have great friends in this house this morning, you know that? Lean on us and we’ll lean on you.
TRANS: Encourage each other, but don’t grumble against each other! Verse 9…
Don’t grumble against others (v9)
James 5:9 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.
Just like if you were a farmer expecting a bumper crop, you’d know how to live. So also, as you await the glorious Lord’s return, you should know how to live: don’t complain against each other. Be patient for the Lord to return. Be patient also with those you love. “Don’t complain against each other!”
The frustration of difficult times can wear down a believer’s spirit and tempt you to be impatient. You can end up getting angry, and complain and grumble against those you love, either those in your family or those in the church.
ILL: The most notorious complainers in the Bible where the children of Israel themselves even after God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt through His mighty miracles. But now they are in the wilderness, a desert. That’s not easy!
Question: Had God already clearly demonstrated he was supernaturally taking care of his people at this time? Yes! He provides food, water, and covering miraculously for them.
It wasn’t easy, of course. But it was a test as to whether they would trust the Lord or not. And sometimes help came just at the right moment.
At the edge of the Red Sea they hear the thunder of galloping horses, and with the Egyptians in their review mirrors, they say to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness?” But the Lord divides the Red Sea and they escape.
But later, the people complain against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” But the Lord miraculously provides water.
Later… The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to Moses and Aaron, “Would that we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
But God miraculously provides the manna. Later…
The people quarreled, fought with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
And again, the Lord miraculously provides water.
They were going through a big trial, and the temptation to grumble and complain was too much and they collapsed under the pressure. It was a test: were they really trusting the Lord or not? Even though God was doing miracles on their behalf, they still complained against Moses, and really against the Lord himself.
Paul applies another complaining Israelites story to us in…
1 Corinthians 10:10 Don’t grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
God judged thousands of these complainers with a plague. And so James can say to us in verse nine “do not complain brethren against one another so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the judge is standing right at the door.”
He’s coming back; be found waiting and watching for Him; not beating down His servants with your complaining, lashing tongue.
“the judge is standing right at the door” and He hears all.
So grumblers and complainers … it’s a wonder, have you trusted Christ for salvation? Like the patient farmer waiting for his bumper crop and lives like he is, are you a Christian living like you know that Christ could return at any moment. He could return today!
Does Christ’s return affect your life in the way that you live? Is the Lord’s return mrely your theological hobbyhorse that divides you from other well-meaning believers, or is it a feature of your worldview that shapes how you live your life?
TRANS: James concludes with 2 illustrations of endurance…The OT prophets and Job are both examples of patience…
First, the prophets. James 5:10 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Are you going through some deep waters? Do you feel like your life is in the pit? Take the prophets, for example… Jeremiah who was literally thrown into a pit. An empty water well, filled with mud; Jeremiah sank into the mud. An Ethopian man rescued him. All for speaking out the message God gave him.
Ezekiel, Daniel, Micaiah in 1 Ki. 22, Moses experienced persecution from the Israelites, David, Elijah…
All of these men spoke in the name of the Lord. When you raise your voice and you speak God’s words to people, suffering can come. But the prophets were faithful, they endured, and God rescued them… if not in the next life.
How God’s people have suffered! Hebrews 11 tells that many faithful men and women were “stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. 39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised.”
But they were faithful until death, and they received their full reward…keep on speaking in the name of the Lord! Speak in His name; give others the glorious gospel that God has sent His Christ to die and be raised from the dead for all who seek Him and find Him, they are rescued from the wrath to come …
and take Job as an example…
James 5:11 11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
Job has a whole book dedicated to him in the Old Testament, right before the P – salms. Job is a godly man. He was blameless and upright and feared God and turned away from evil.
He has a beautiful family, seven boys and three girls. He was a very wealthy man, too: 7000 sheep, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and many servants. And he had his health too.
But when the angels came to present themselves before God, Satan comes as well. God knows what Satan is up to, and asks, “have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him. He is upright and he fears God.” Satan now considers Job and God allows Satan to take everything Job has, except spare his life.
And before you know it, a message arrives to Job and it says the Sabeans have taken the oxen and the donkeys and killed his servants. A second messenger comes and says fire came from heaven and consumed all of Job’s sheep and his servants. And another messenger comes and the Chaldeans have stolen his camels and killed his other servants. The fourth messenger comes and all of Job’s children died when their house fell in on them.
Finally, Job himself was given boils all over his body.
But Job didn’t curse God, but instead He mourned and wept, and fell to the ground and worshipped…
He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
And after some fruitless encouragements from his friends, in the end, God restores to Job double what he had before, even more children and he saw four generations.
Job endured and God blessed Job. He didn’t deny or curse the Lord, like his wife wanted him to, bless her heart … He remained faithful under intense pain. Job is blessed; spiritually prosperous. We honor a man like that for his endurance.
Won’t you endure as well? The outcome of endurance for Job was great reward; now, you may not get any additional camels out of the deal, but God rewards those who persevere under persecution…
Jesus says … Matthew 5:10 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of James 5.7-11
Have you been truly blessed by God? Are you spiritually prosperous? If you were tried in court as to whether or not you were a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Behold, the judge stands at the door… And his coming is imminent. When you appear before him, will he look on you as one of his own? Will your life give evidence that you have been born again? Have you trusted him? Have you asked him to cleanse you … to forgive you of all of your sin?
Christ has died for you! He’s been raised on your behalf for you and His own glory. “And because He lives, you can face tomorrow.” Because He lives, your endurance for His name is rewarded.
If we lived in a persecuted land, like Pakistan, would you have come to church this morning? Does your life give evidence of the saving kind of faith?
For those saved and you’re not experiencing persecution, do you long for Christ’s return?
If you ever been out late at night during a lightning storm, you know the awe and how startled you feel…the boom! that you can feel in your chest… When out of total blackness the entire sky is filled with brilliant light… When a giant streak of lightning flashes from the East and of the West and illuminates all things hiding in the darkness…
So will the coming of the Son of Man be. Nothing will be hidden, all will come to light.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come! “Surely,” the Groom replies, “I come quickly.”
Are you downtrodden? Let the nearness of Christ’s joyful coming speak patience into your soul.
Have you been tried this week and failed? Confess and strengthen your heart again. “Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” Be watching, and waiting. The time of our labor is almost done; our rest is coming when the Lord descends from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God.
Patiently endure, for His coming is near.