OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time together by singing hymn #7 "Sing Praise to the Lord."
MEMORIZATION & DISCUSSION
- Prior to this, James has just dealt with those who are rich and abusive, and doesn't refer to them nor treat them as brethren. Now, in contrast, James is addressing the brethren who have been suffering because of the abuse they have been receiving. In light of their suffering, James encourages these saints to be patient and wait for the coming of the Lord.
- We must be patient with one another in our waiting. We ought not to sin by complaining against one another in light of Christ's imminent return - James reminds us of the truth that the Judge is standing right at the door. This motivates us to keep their minds focused on the hope of Christ's return with a clear conscience, rather than focusing on worldly or selfish interests apart from Christ.
- Examples of God's prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord, but endured through suffering with patience:
- We may not suffer in the same manner as the prophets today, but as Christians we still regularly receive ostracizing or ridicule. In times of suffering like these, we should follow the example of the prophets and strengthen our hearts with hope and trust in the Lord.
- Those who endure are blessed. For example, despite all of the hardships, losses, and sufferings he faced, Job endured them all with patience and hope in the Lord. Job was not entirely perfect, but he was faithful and praised the Lord, waiting upon Him. "The LORD game and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).
- If we are not enduring through suffering ourselves, we can come alongside those who are suffering and bless them, helping to meet their needs, praying for them with compassion, and pointing them to a longing and hope for the Lord and His return.
- The issue that James makes in this section is not necessarily an issue of oath taking, but honesty. James is simply telling God's people to be dead honest, so that our words can be trusted. Even in suffering and under pressure, we should always be straight shooters and answer honestly and truthfully, rather than hastily or rashly making oaths or promises that we know cannot be fulfilled.