December 11, 2016

Pastor Bernt P. Tweit

Old Testament Lesson; Isaiah 35:1-10

Gospel Lesson; Matthew 11:2-11

Sermon Text; James 5:7-11

I don't like waiting. I am not a patient person, just ask my family about that. We are impatient people, aren't we? We don't like waiting for things. When we are young, we can't wait to go to school. As we start to get a little bit older, we can't wait until we are out of school. We can't wait until we get our first cell phone. We can't wait to get our driver's license, and to get our first car. We can't wait to fall in love. And then, we can't wait to retire. We are impatient.

Two years ago, it was Packer Nation that was impatient with the Green Bay Packer's offense. Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback, simply spoke these five letters. “R E L A X.” Relax. Be patient. It will be fine.

As I was searching for a picture to put on the front of the bulletin cover, I came upon a picture of a lady, who is sitting on a trunk case, waiting patiently for her train to come in. Having found that picture, I thought it would be a good idea to go to The Madison Metro, East Transfer Point, Stop. So, I went there this week, and spent just a little bit of time sitting there, watching people. Some were waiting patiently for their bus to come in. Some were waiting impatiently, pacing back and forth. Some were rushing around at the last moment. And, some actually missed their connection.

Today, in our text, James encourages us to be patient people, not waiting for the train to come in, not waiting for the bus to come in, but be patient people, as we wait for the Lord's Coming.

Let's look at our text for today. Watch for the word 'patient', as James wrote it in these five short verses.

God's Word says,

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

This is God's Word.

In our text, James give us three examples of individuals, or people, we can follow in our being patient, as we await the Lord's coming.

       -The first example he gives us is that of the farmer. I know some of you are gardeners. During this last growing season, there were things you planted. Well, let me ask you, “If those things were not coming up as fast, or as quickly, as you wanted them to, did you plow over your garden and start over?”

The answer is, “No”.

Why is that? Well, a gardener, or a farmer, needs to be patient. Once a farmer plants the seed, everything else is out of his control. They need to wait for the rains to come. They need to wait for the sun to shine. They need to wait for the warmth of the earth to come up.

And so, James gives the example of the farmer. I will go so far as to say, a farmer shouldn't be impatient. If a farmer becomes impatient, maybe it is not the vocation they should be in. A farmer plants a seed, and then waits for God to do the rest of the work, until the harvest. When the rains come, the farmer is filled with joy.

When Jesus returns,

we will be filled with joy.

It is the farmer who waits for the precious, and valuable crop to come in.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what you and I are waiting for is far more valuable, and far more precious.

It is eternal life in Heaven.

And so, James says, “Look at the example of the farmer. Just as the farmer is patient, so you also be patient.”

James gives us the example of the prophets. He says it was the prophets who were patient in The Old Testament, in light of the sufferings they endured.

I can talk about many of the prophets, but I will just share a few of them with you.

       -Consider Elijah. Elijah was patient even though the king who was reigning over him, and the queen who was reigning over him, hated him. Ahab and Jezebel hated him, and threatened to put him to death. And yet, Elijah was patient in proclaiming God's Word in light of the suffering he was going through.

       -Jeremiah was another prophet who was patient, even though he was suffering in light of the message he was proclaiming. Consider what happened to Jeremiah. He was beaten. He was put into stocks. He was imprisoned. He was thrown into a muddy cistern. He was even proclaimed, or told, he was a liar, for the message he was proclaiming. And yet, even though all of those things were happening to him, Jeremiah was patient.

       -Here is what the book of Hebrews says, just generally, about many of the other prophets, and their patience. This is Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 36, and following.

“Some prophets faced jeers, and flogging. While still others were chained, and put in prison. They were stoned. They were sawed in two. They were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheep's skins, and goat skins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves, and in holes in the ground.”

Here is what Jesus said about those prophets.

“Blessed are you,

when people insult you,

and persecute you,

and falsely say all kinds of evil against you,

because of me.

Rejoice and be glad,

because great is your reward in Heaven.

For in the same way

they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

And so, there we have the example of the prophets who were patient in light of the sufferings they were enduring.

       -Then, James gives us the example of Job. If you were to type into a search engine, or Google, the two words “patience of”, do you know the phrase that would rise straight up to the top? It would be the phrase, “Patience of Job”. That doesn't come from The Old Testament book of Job, it comes from our text for today, from James chapter five, in which James talks about the patience of Job. Job was patient in light of the sufferings he was enduring. Job lost ten children, seven sons and three daughters. He had friends persecuting him. He lost his own health. He lost thousands of animals. And yet, in spite of all of that, Job was patient. His patience means he had long term faith, in light of the short term suffering he was enduring. Job trusted in the promises of the Lord, and he was rewarded for those promises.

Dear friends in Christ, James, in God's Word, wants you and me to be patient, because the reward we have is just like Job. It is the reward of everlasting life, with our Savior, in Heaven.

Well, as we have seen these examples of the farmer, the examples of the prophets, and the example of Job, in our text for today, and to be patient in light of what they were enduring, what is it that we, as God's people, are to avoid?

James tells us to avoid grumbling.

Knowing we are patiently waiting for the Lord's return, as God's people, we should avoid grumbling. We should avoid gossiping about other people. We should avoid being verbally abusive to other people. We should avoid being judgmentally critical of other people, as we wait for the coming of the Lord. We all can say to ourselves, “This applies to me, because I have gossiped. I have been judgmentally critical of other people. I have been verbally abusive to other people.”

Well, what good news can we find from our text, so we can know our sins are forgiven? James concludes our text for today by saying,

“...the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

In light of our sins against God, it is the Lord who is 'compassionate' and 'merciful' to you, and to me.

The word 'compassion' simply means, 'to have sympathy for'. Jesus, our Savior, has sympathy for you, and for me, because He has walked in our shoes. He knows what it is like to live on this earth. And yet, Jesus did it without sin. He has sympathy for you, and for me.

It is not just sympathy for you, and for me, but it is also 'mercy' for you and for me. God's 'mercy' simply means, 'He forgives us, even though we deserve a punishment'.

God in His love for you, and for me, sent Jesus to be our Savior.

       -It is Jesus, our Savior, who came, and took our place.

       -It is Jesus, our Savior, who came, and went to the cross for us. Through Jesus, our Savior, God can share His 'mercy' with us. He forgives us, even though we deserve His wrath, and punishment.

In light of all of that, God asks us to be 'patient', as we wait for the Lord's coming. It could happen today, ten years from now, a hundred years from now, but, sometime in the future. No matter when it is, we need to be 'patient'.

I want to close by sharing with you a mother's patient prayer. It is a true story that happened back in the 1800's.

There was a mother by the name of Sarah Richly. She was traveling from England to Australia. Her son (I am not going to share the name, until the end) had left 15 years before that to join The British Military. She had not seen him for 15 years.

She was now sick, and was dying. The prayer she was praying was that she wanted to see her son one more time, before she died.

So, off she went, on the ship The City of Leeds, from England to Australia.

While that was taking place, there was a young man who got on a boat in Sidney, Australia. (Sidney is in the south east corner of the continent.) He traveled on the ship over to Collier Bay, which is on the north west side of the continent. (So, he was going to go half way around the continent, to the other side.)

This is what happened to that young man, while he was going from Sidney to Collier Bay.

He left on the ship known as The Mermaid. The Mermaid ran aground. Well, another ship came by. It was The Swiftsure. He got on board of The Swiftsure, but The Swiftsure ran into some rocks. So, he got on another boat, know as The Governor Ready. It was that boat that started on fire. So, he got off of that boat, onto The Comet. The Comet began to sink, because it was taking on waves! So, he got off of The Comet, and he went on The Jupiter. The Jupiter ran into a reef. He got off of The Jupiter, and got on the ship, The City of Leeds.

After he got on the ship, The City of Leeds, a doctor came to him, and said, “There is a woman on this boat who is sick and dying. She just has one request. She wants to see her son, before she dies.”

The doctor looked at the young man, and asked, “Will you just play the part? Just pretend you are her son, and she will be happy.”

The young man said, “What is her name?”

The doctor said, “Her name is Sarah Richly.”

The young man said, “That is my mom! I am Peter Richly.”

He went through five shipwrecks to get to that boat. Her patient prayer was answered!

She saw her son,

and she recovered from her illness!

Jesus is coming. We don't know when Jesus is coming, but God, in His Word, encourages us, and pleads for us to be 'patient', as we wait for the Lord's coming. We have seen the examples of the farmer, the prophets, and of Job. They were 'patient' in light of the sufferings they were enduring. May we be a people who is 'patient' in waiting for the Lord's coming.

I will close with this little thought, to reflect on, during the course of this week. Where in your life do you need 'God's patience'? Let us pray that during the course of this week, and the rest of this life, as we 'patiently' wait for the Lord's coming, we ask Him to be 'patient' with us, first of all, so that we can be 'patient' with others in our lives.

God grant this to us, for Jesus, our Savior's sake.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, shall be now, and forever more.