The Book of JAMES
James J. Barker
BE PATIENT THEREFORE BRETHREN
- Five times in
this passage we find the word "patient" or "patience" (5:7, 8, 10, 11).
- Patience is so
important that James begins this epistle with it and he ends with it (cf.
- "Patient" means
capable of bearing affliction with calmness (5:10, 11). Matthew Henry says this means to "bear
your afflictions without murmuring, your injuries without
- "Patience" is
the capacity of calm endurance, even under great
- One preacher
said "patience means to stay put and stand fast when you’d like to run away"
- Pastors often
feel like running away (and unfortunately many do), but God wants us to stick it
- The motive for
patience is the coming of the Lord (5:7-9). God is going to straighten
everything out when the Lord returns, so in the meantime, we must be
- James gives
three practical examples of patience:
THE HUSBANDMAN (FARMER) –
- Farming takes
patience. Crops do not appear overnight and farmers have no control over the
- Too much rain,
or not enough rain, or an early frost -- all these things can kill the crops.
Therefore, the farmer must be patient. "Behold, the husbandman waiteth…"
- Soulwinning and
church-planting is like planting seed. We sow, we pray, we wait, and God gives
Corinthians 3:7 says, "So then neither
is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the
- "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing
precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves
with him" (Ps. 126:6; cf. Luke 8:11-15).
church-planting, missions work, building a Sunday School class, praying – all
- The early rain
(October-December) would soften the soil, causing the seed to germinate, and the
latter rain (February-April) would help to mature the harvest and bring it to
- Back when I
first started this church, I used to go out knocking on doors every week night
(except Wednesday). People on the street used to ask me what I was doing and I
would tell them that I was breaking up the fallow (dormant, left untilled or
unsown, inactive) ground (cf. Jer. 4:3; Hosea 10:12).
- I would ask
them when was the last time someone passed through with Gospel tracts (obviously
excluding the cults) and they would say "Never."
- So the Lord began to teach me patience, but I still have
a long way to go. The apostle Paul said, "And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap we faint not" (Gal.
- We are to establish our hearts: "for the coming of the
Lord draweth nigh" (5:8). Is your heart established? Too many Christians have
their hearts filled with worldly pleasures. The Lord is coming back; we need to
get busy serving Him.
- Our Lord said, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the
night cometh, when no man can work" (John
- We are not to "grudge" (5:9) or murmur or complain. This
type of behaviour hinders God’s work.
- "Behold, the judge standeth before the door" (5:9b). God
is in control. Let’s allow Him to run His church. He has given us instructions
on what we are to do – it’s all right here in the
THE PROPHETS WHO SUFFERED AFFLICTION - (5:10,
- The so-called
"prosperity preachers" teach that once you are converted you should never get
sick or encounter any difficulties. But we know from experience and from
Scripture that this is not true.
- Paul says,
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II
- Many of the Old
Testament prophets had to endure great trials and sufferings. Micaiah is not
a well-known prophet. Not as well
known as his contemporaries, Elijah and Elisha.
- You may recall
that King Ahab hated him. First
Kings 18:17 says that when Ahab saw Elijah, he said unto him, "Art thou he that
troubleth Israel?" And King Ahab hated Micaiah too, because
Micaiah was faithful to God, just like Elijah. He would not compromise. He declared the truth to wicked King
- So after all of
King Ahab's false prophets ("about four hundred men") were finished with their
foolishness, King Jehoshaphat turned to King Ahab and said, "Is there not here a
prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?" (I Kings
- But Ahab
replied, "There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire
of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but
evil" (I Kings 22:8a).
- And then King
Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say so" (I Kings
- Then we read in
I Kings 22:24 that Zedekiah, one of Ahab's false prophets, went and smote
Micaiah on the cheek, and said, "Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me
to speak unto thee?"
- It took great
patience for Micaiah to endure that (cf. James 5:10).
- All of the prophets were mocked and falsely
accused. Many of them were
arrested, tortured and killed.
- Our Lord said to the scribes and Pharisees,
"Ye are the children of them which killed the prophets"
- Jeremiah was arrested, accused of being a traitor, and
thrown down a pit. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den
- But they kept on speaking "in the name of the Lord"
- Hebrews 11:35-38 says, "Others were
tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better
resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea,
moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,
were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and
goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not
worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of
- The reason the churches in America are so weak is the
pulpits are weak. And the pulpits
are weak because the preachers are afraid of "suffering affliction" (James
THE PATIENCE OF JOB
- Job is a good
example of patience (Job 1:13-22; 2:7-10). Job suffered greatly, but he never
turned from God and his patience was rewarded in "the end" (5:11; cf. Job
- Matthew Henry
says, "The prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the
righteous have in all ages been a very great trial to the faith of the people of
- We see this in
- There can be no
mountain tops without first going through the valley. A young Christian asked an
older friend to pray that God would give him patience. The older man got on his
knees and prayed that God would send the young man tribulations and afflictions
and pain and problems…when the young man said: "Stop! Why are you praying this
for me?" The wise old man showed him Romans 5:3 – "But we glory in tribulation
also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience."
- And James 1:2,
3 – "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations
(trials); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh
under stress often leads to swearing. As Christians, we must choose our words
- There are many
similarities between the book of James and the Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord said, "But I say unto
you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the
earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the
great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make
one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for
whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" (Matt.
- There was in
Colorado a number of years ago a man by the name of William McPherson, who
had both of his eyes blown out and both of his arms blown off at the shoulder in
a mine explosion.
- The doctors
told him he would soon die, but they were wrong and he
- Having no
fingers or arms with which to read Braille, he had a special table made, and he
learned to read Braille with his tongue, spending all night learning to read one
- The Braille
Bible consists of 20 huge volumes. Mr. McPherson read the Bible through four
times with his tongue. Oftentimes his tongue became so tender it would
- Brethren, that
is patience! "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord"