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Author:Dr. Wes Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Tasmania
 Tasmania, Australia
Preached At:Mission Smithers -- Fort Babine
 Fort Babine, British Columbia
Title:Jesus Christ is coming to save us from hard times
Type:Mission Sermon
Text:James 5:7,8 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Life in Christ

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Jesus Christ is coming to save us from hard times

Beloved congregation,

Do you know what it's like to have hard times? If you think about it, things are pretty good for us here in Babine. Though sometimes people will make fun us when we want to live a Christian life, we do not get beat up or killed for being Christians. I have a friend who is a pastor in the far-away country of Indonesia. Last week, a bunch of people came to his church and were going to try and beat him up. They were going to beat up all the people in the church. Thankfully, the police came and nobody was hurt. My friend lives in a country where Christians are beat up all the time. Their church buildings get burned to the ground. Those are people who have hard times.

When James wrote his letter, he was writing to people with hard times too. There were rich people who would make life hard. They would have farms. They would get people to work on their farm. They would say, "You do the work first, and then I'll pay you." The people would do the work and then the boss wouldn't pay them. Meanwhile, the rich people were still having a good time with all their money. The poor people would get used by the rich people. Then they would get even more poor.

In our text for tonight, from James 5:7-8, God tells these people that they have to think about the Lord Jesus. When they have these hard times, they have to remember that Jesus Christ is coming back. When he comes back, he will save them from the hard times. The Lord Jesus will make everything right again.

Since the Lord Jesus is coming back, there are two things that God tells his people to do. These things are also for us. The first thing he says to us is: "be patient." That's in verse 7 and then again in verse 8. We sometimes say that to our kids too: "Just be patient." What does it mean? Here it means that we stay strong through the hard times. It means that we wait with peace in our hearts. When hard times come, we keep living a Christian life, keep following the Lord Jesus. James uses the picture of a farmer. He says the farmer has to be patient. The farmer plants the seed and then he has to wait for the rain. There is nothing he can do but be patient and wait. So, says James, "You too, be patient." Just like that farmer who has to patient, you be patient until the Lord comes back.

In Galatians 5, patience is mentioned as being a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Those who believe in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them. He will help us to have this patience. He will help us to fight against the opposite of patience: losing our faith and taking things into our own hands. Getting all worried and upset. God wants us to hold on, even when we have bad times. That's why He tells us here: be patient until the Lord's coming.

The fact is: the Lord Jesus Christ will come back. We do not know when. It could be anytime. If he comes back while you are still alive, he wants to see you being patient. He wants to see you holding on and following him. He wants to see you waiting for him to come back and not taking things into your own hands when you have hard times. That means, if somebody does something against you, you don't go after them to get back at them. You pray for them and do good to them. Paul says it in a different way in Romans 12:19-21, "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.' In doing this you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." God will take care of making everything right. Your job is to be patient and wait for that day. Wait patiently for the Lord Jesus to come back.

That's the first command the Lord gives to us in this text. The second command is in verse 8, "stand firm." This was first written in Greek and what it says there is, "Make your hearts strong." There are going to be troubles and hard times. If we have a weak heart, then those troubles will make us fall. When hard times come, we will say, "Forget about being a Christian. It's too hard. Nothing good comes to me anyway. I'll just live the way I want to. I have nothing to lose." God says that you can't think that way. You have to make your heart strong because the Lord's coming is near. If he comes back in your lifetime, he wants to find you following him. He doesn't want to find you doing your own thing. He wants to us to make our hearts strong even if he doesn't come back while we are still alive. We could die at any time. Tonight may be our last night. God might call one of us to meet him tonight. That's why we have to make our hearts strong in the Lord Jesus.

We could take these words about making our hearts strong in Christ and apply them to Wit'at Reformed Fellowship too. Sometimes we look and say, "There are no people here. God is not hearing our prayers." But let's stop and think about it. We have only had services here for two years. In two years, God has heard many of our prayers. He has brought at least four people who come to our services regularly. God is blessing this ministry. We don't have lots and lots of people, but we have a start. As a small mission church, we have a lot to be thankful for this weekend (and always). And even if we think these are hard times, we have God's Word to us tonight: be patient and stand firm until the Lord's coming. Some day the Lord Jesus will want to know: "Where were you on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings? Were you with the Lord's people? Were you standing firm? Or were you slipping and sliding all over the place doing your own thing?" God's Word to you tonight is this: stand firm. Make your heart strong in the Lord. Don't do your own thing and go your own way - go His way and follow Him!

All of this is part of the whole message of the Holy Spirit in the book of James. As we've been going through this book, we've heard about how God wants us to be perfect. He wants us to be whole people. Patience is part of that. It says in James 1:3-4, ".you know that the testing of your faith produces patience (or perseverance). Patience (or perseverance) must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete (perfect!)m not lacking anything." This is the call to you who believe in Jesus Christ. This is what we are becoming in Jesus Christ, even as we are sinners today who fail so often. Jesus Christ is at work in our lives. He is taking our whole life for Himself. As He does that, He wants you to go along with His work. So, tonight, commit yourself to those two things: when things are hard, whether with your own life or with Wit'at Reformed Fellowship, number 1: be patient, and number 2: stand firm. Keep doing those things until the Saviour comes back or until He takes you to Himself. AMEN.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

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