Parkland First Baptist Church
August 28, 2022
      • 2 Kings 6–10ESV

      • 2 Kings 11–17ESV

      • 2 Kings 18–21ESV

      • 2 Kings 22–25ESV

      • 1 Chronicles 1ESV

      • 1 Chronicles 2–5ESV

      • 1 Peter 5:7ESV

  • Our time in the book of James is coming to a close today.
    How have you liked it?
    Has it been convicting? Encouraging?
    It has been tough for me as I catch myself in situations addressed by James.
    James closes his letter as he began it, with a call to prayer.
    In 1:5, after an opening challenge about joy in trials and urges believers specifically to pray for the wisdom they need in becoming mature.
    James informs us that God will give generously that kind of wisdom without blaming us for our lack.
    In 4:1–3, James addresses the kind of selfish prayers that God does not answer.
    His confrontation is unmistakable: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (4:3 NIV).
    Prayer is an essential tool, but it cannot be used to manipulate God.
    Now in today’s passage, James describes effective prayer.
    He details prayer in several forms (praise, intercession, confession) and connects prayer with several other important spiritual disciplines (healing, confession, anointing, correction, praise, and mutual forgiveness).
    If we can say that James’s letter summarizes the work of faith, his conclusion focuses on faith’s finest work—believers effective in prayer.
    James 5:13–20 CSB
    13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. 17 Elijah was a human being as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit. 19 My brothers and sisters, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let that person know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

    Pray In Good Times and Bad Times Verse 13

    Christians need to pray in times of trouble and in times of joy.
    In times of trouble, it is easy to fall victims to self-pity, anger, or morbid introspection.
    Instead of that, James tells us to pray.
    Suffering includes physical and emotional stress that come with ordinary trials or spiritual difficulties.
    We are to “keep on praying” during those times.
    It’s not just a quick little prayer, but we must live in an attitude of prayer.
    On the other side of the spectrum is joy, happiness or cheerfulness.
    This not a giddy, flippant outlook, but a mood of cheer and optimism.
    These times of pleasant experiences in life can us to forsake God due to complacency or contentment.
    Instead, we should sing songs of praise to God.
    Now, this isn’t just music or a song, but rather it is an expression of words or thoughts of praise or thanks to God.
    When we face trouble we often lose our awareness of the presence of God due to gloom.
    Yet when we are elated we tend to forget God in the joy of our good success.
    Both darkness and sunshine should lead us to a consciousness of God.

    Prayer in Sickness Verses 14-15

    This verse is primarily referring to physical illness, though it could be mental or spiritual as well.
    The sick person is to take the initiative to call the elders, or those church leaders with the task of pastoring and providing spiritual leadership.
    They would come and pray over the sick person.
    This implies a painful or serious illness.
    They were to anoint the sick person with oil.
    The act of anointing with personal touch and contact served to strengthen the faith of the sick person.
    This refers to olive oil, which served as a symbol of God’s healing power.
    The oil had no healing power in itself.
    The key is prayer.
    There are two practical benefits of this fervent prayer.
    The elders would pray with more fervent prayer for the sick.
    The sick person could become more of the encouragement which could come from this time of prayer.
    This prayer is offered in faith is based on confidence that can and wants to heal.
    This verse does not imply that if a person has a sufficient degree of faith, God will automatically answer the prayer.
    Rather, it suggests that believers have a right to faith in all of life’s situations.
    Prayer can bring healing, but a lack of healing does not show that the one praying lacks faith.
    Though not everyone is healed, many in the NT weren’t, we must always understand that his and other promises of the Bible contain an implied condition.
    God will grant the prayer whenever it is according to His will.
    When God doesn’t immediately answer the prayer of healing, the prayer is still useful since it provides encouragement and help for the person who is sick.
    It is hard to pray and not see it answered, but we must remember God is sovereign in all things and His purposes are higher than ours.

    Prayers of Forgiveness Verses 15-16

    James closes verse 15 with “If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”
    This recognizes that some sickness may be due to sin.
    As the sick person examines himself, confesses his sin, and if that is the cause of the sickness, then he will be forgiven.
    However, not all sin produces sickness.
    Because God hears the prayers of penitent people and forgives sin, we should confess our sins to one another and pray for one another.
    In this context, the intent of the confession of sins is to experience physical healing, it seems that the sick person by confessing the sins is seeking the healing act.
    It is interesting to see that the entire church is involved in this praying.
    Secondly, the power to heal appears in the act of praying.
    Confessing means we identify the sin by its true name and call it what it is.
    We must acknowledge and repent of specific sins, not merely offer a general confession of guilt.
    Though this confession is tied to sickness and healing, the principle is easily extended to confession of sin in any of life’s situations.

    Effective Praying Verse 16 - 18

    There are two features of effective prayer here.
    First, prayer must come from righteous people.
    A person must have a living faith shown by an obedient life.
    Second, effective prayer must have energy or persistence.
    Effective prayer comes from the heart of a believer whose passion is to see the will of God worked out in life.
    James uses Elijah as an illustration for what effective prayer looks like.
    Elijah knew God’s will so intimately that he could understand the exact time when the divine purposes were to occur.
    When to pray for the start and end of the drought.
    This example of Elijah should encourage us to seek a closeness in our walk with God so that we know and follow His will.
    Cupp’s prayer requirements

    Reclaiming Wanderers Verses 19-20

    As James is thinking of confessing sins, I think his mind turns to those who wandered away from God and need to be rescued.
    To wander or stray from the truth describes someone who has made a serious error, either in doctrine or in Christian living.
    To bring him back describes someone who returned to Christ after having left.
    I think James is discusses professing believers.
    The reference to one of you suggests that those involved claimed to be Christians.
    The fact that the professing believer wandered away indicated a serious spiritual lapse.
    He’s not talking about professing faith in Jesus.
    It is a description of reclaiming a professing Christian who has wandered into sin.
    God’s grace has brought the wanderer home, and the backsliding is over.
    The question here is, how does God keep us in His family?
    How does He preserve our salvation to the end - eternal security.
    The answer James gives here is through you “the church.”
    Eternal security is accomplished through community.
    The church is one of the God-ordained means God uses to keep us faithful.
    God is sovereign, and He does the preserving, but He does it through the church looking out for, caring for, and loving one another to keep one another from sin.
    This is yet another reason we ought to be involved in the lives of others in the church.
    God has ordained brothers and sisters who will share life with you to keep you close to Him, to keep you obedient to His commands, and to preserve you until the Lord comes back.

    Application Time

    James has spent a lot of time urging us to have works that shows our faith in Jesus.
    Faith that works is ultimately aimed at giving great glory to Christ in our actions.
    What kind of difference does Christ make in your life?
    We need to show the world a radically different way to live so they might see our lives and give great glory to the One who saved us.
    Update commitment

    Let’s Pray!

      • James 5:13–20CSB