AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH - November 13, 2005

THE DIVINE YEARNING THAT BLESSES

AND PROVIDES THE PREMISES OF HOLY LIVING

Sermon Notes

 

I  

Wealth Means you Have Means - but are you mean ? James 5:1-6

Wizened selfishness amassing wealth is a weapon against you, a witness to your heart. If this isn't rich in mercy and kindness, what is the use of a bulging bank balance ? James presses the principle: Did you bilk someone, guilefully cheat, reap what was theirs by your cunning devices ?

"The cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord", for the righteous Lord loves righteousness.

 As Proverbs 21:15 has it:

"It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity."

Psalm 11:7 has this:  

"For the righteous LORD loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright." 

Indeed, He loved it so much, fit companion of truth and reliability, that Christ became a propitiation for sin, that GOD MIGHT BE JUST and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus (Romans 3:26), providing demonstration of His righteousness, as of His mercy and love (Romans 5:8, Titus 2:13, 3:4-7). Even when on business bent, HE remains straight, holy!

Never imagine that God is like a succulent plant,  easily broken from His base. As Psalm 89:14 declares: "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne: mercy and truth go before Your face." The Communist stress on justice was not wrong in this, that it is a vital reality; it was wrong in that it was based on fraud, mounted on deception, abused for power and deployed for deceit. They are not the only marauders whose words are not matched with their deeds, merely the most murderous.

A March 4, 2004 Bulletin magazine set out some figures regarding the meticulous Soviet records, and they thunder like devastating, ear-crunching wild music for the wickedness of man, not only against the Jews, but against this or that sector of the Lithuanian people in particular, as now Hitler sought to exterminate Jews as if lice, and then Russians, in their 1944 occupation, sought retribution. Many in that land were by carefully sifted report, apparently keen to help Hitler do appalling things to Jews, because the latter had found some preferability in the first Soviet occupation, to almost certain death. The jaws of man's isms were ruthless, heedless in drunken spasms of diabolical heartlessness, their feet in free fall on the groundless abyss, without Christ; and without Him, they devoured, cursing mercy, moving like robots without it.

When death is on the prowl, even a tiger is preferable to a cobra unseen. Both these madcap false messiahs, part of the prediction of Christ show by their abuse of it, the importance of justice. How the Communists flayed and in what numbers, those who had been in any way related to the former regime, justly or unjustly, and how Siberia was burdened with the blighted! Far from this in spirit, instead living by and with mercy, peace and pardon, then let us, ourselves,  seek to practice justice, seeking what is good and wise and right, in spirit, in word and in deed; and to show mercy, alight with its divine warmth (James 2:13). Those who honour God, He will honour: so walk with Him, in the honour of His glorious presence.

II  

Fretfulness Means you lack Patience - digging up seed  James 5:7-12

Instead of the grabbing which lies near to war, there is the grace which lies near to patience. It is for anyone who would mention Christ to realise that here we have black and white, right and wrong. Do not erupt, goes the message of James, but be patient. Imagine yourself a crop - don't go researching the germinating seeds or running about to assert yourself,  as if unstable: stay right in the ground of faith, Jesus Christ!

Remember the endurance and suffering of the prophets - why should you imagine it different for you ? Nor is it a mere endurance test, for with it comes the blessing of the countenance of the Lord, whom to know is better than ceaseless and milling millions at any time! as I Peter 1:5-8 and experience alike declare.

Be patient, then, and do not falsely accuse others, grumble, or swear on this or that: a 'yes' or 'no' suffices for truth lovers.  Truth is truth: don't add oaths to it.

 

III  

Sickness Means you need Access - and seek the Lord for mercy

If sickness strikes, there is a remedy which God may at will apply. Pray if sad, sing Psalms when cheerful.

There is a method for sickness - the Lord may intervene where the specific faith is given. Sins that may have contributed, can be forgiven.

Confess your faults to each other, donít be highminded, pray for one another, knowing the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. As to prayer, perfect partner of patience: take an example from Elijah. Rain or NOT rain for the nation were part of the testimony of truth in the specialised mission given to him. God is not limited, and nothing is too hard for Him. There is no weight He cannot lift for the humble (4:10).

 

IV    

Salvation Means mercy for you,
and through you as you present the Gospel

Then comes the eruption of your springs into the life-giving waters from you, because of Him, that may reach to others (John 7:17ff., James 2:13). They rise up (John 4:14), sent from Him, and their flow is like that of a mountain stream, capering in purity and joyfulness. How beautiful and blessed to win others to Him, who is the Lord's Christ and not another (Luke 2:36, II Cor. 11),  bringing joy to heaven and filling the very air about you with mercy! Prayer therefore is the order of the day, join together in prayer, seek His face and do not languish (Psalm 27:8), for the days have an end, and time is near for His return: realisation needs to be now.

James is eminently practical, a beautiful aspect; but one thing is most clear about Christian living. If you say it, mean it, do it, and as you have it, use it and be meaningful in your Messiah, like an arrow in a shaft. Being sent, move! Moving, wait on the Lord; waiting, be prepared, being prepared, act. In the end, it is the Lord who acts for those who wait upon Him, remembering Him in His ways, rejoicing before Him (Isaiah 64:5) while intent on alignment with His ways. As to the latter, do you do less for your car ? As to the joy, does a young man have less in his bride at the altar ? But this, it is a wedding indissoluble and a joy for ever II Timothy 1:9-10.