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Be Patient, the Lord Is Coming (Part 3 of 4)

James 5:7–11
Program

Scripture’s clear: Jesus will return—but no one knows the day or time of His reappearance. So what should we do until then? Hear about temptations to resist and the examples to emulate as we await His coming. Join us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.

From the Sermon

Be Patient, the Lord Is Coming — Part Two

James 5:7–11 Sermon Includes Transcript 41:02 ID: 2612

God Will Meet Our Needs

God Will Meet Our Needs

We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.

Depending on God does not conflict with working to earn our daily bread. Indeed, work and the ability to do it are part of God’s provision. If we doubt that, we should consider the fact that Jesus Himself worked. Even though He came from heaven and all things belong to Him, He labored as a carpenter for years, confirming the pattern that was laid out for humanity in Genesis (Genesis 2:15).

Similarly, the apostles, living by faith and wholeheartedly pursuing the growth of the church, worked diligently “night and day.” They refused to be lazy or to eat anyone’s food without paying. As ministers of the gospel, they did have the right to ask for help with provisions (1 Timothy 5:17-18); however, they took responsibility for themselves and practiced the trades they knew, serving as “an example to imitate” (2 Thessalonians 3:9).

In the midst of our own labors, we must recognize that we can abuse work in at least two ways: through either laziness or overactivity. The warning of Proverbs applies to us: “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4). Or, as Paul puts it, we must not be idle. But we must pay equally careful attention to the psalmist’s words when he says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil” (Psalm 127:2). Yes, we are to labor with our hands. If we aren’t working for God’s glory, though, we are left toiling at a feverish pace, yet in vain.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when we ignore the Sabbath principle. Nothing so reveals our unwillingness to take God at His word and to trust Him for daily provision as when we abuse the command to work six days and rest for one (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). Why do we think we need to work all day, every day? The answer is, quite frankly, because we struggle to trust that God will meet our needs. We must find our security not in our work but in the God who provides both the work and the means to carry it out.

In our materialistic culture, it is not easy to work faithfully while learning to be satisfied with our God-given lot. Take a moment to reflect on your own work, be it in the home, the field, the factory, or the office. In what ways are you tempted towards laziness? And in what ways towards overactivity? What will it look like for you to work hard and trust God? In a world ensnared by materialism, your contentment—in your work and in God’s provision—will be a compelling testimony to the divine love that alone provides true satisfaction.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

The Ten Commandments

1And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. 2The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.

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12“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15You shall remember that you were a slave3 in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

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Footnotes
3 5:15 Or servant

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotionals by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, 2022, The Good Book Company.

Cleanses

Cleanses

The blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin.

"Cleanses," says the text—not "shall cleanse." There are multitudes who think that as a dying hope they may look forward to pardon. Oh, how infinitely better to have cleansing now than to depend on the bare possibility of forgiveness when I come to die.

Some imagine that a sense of pardon is an attainment only obtainable after many years of Christian experience. But forgiveness of sin is a present reality—a privilege for this day, a joy for this very hour. The moment a sinner trusts Jesus he is fully forgiven. The text, being written in the present tense, also indicates continuance; it was "cleanses" yesterday, it is "cleanses" today, it will be "cleanses" tomorrow. This is the way it will always be with you, Christian, until you cross the river; every hour you may come to this fountain, for it cleanses still.

Notice, likewise, the completeness of the cleansing: "The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin"—not only from sin, but "from all sin." Reader, I cannot convey the exceeding sweetness of this word, but I pray that God the Holy Ghost will give you a taste of it. Manifold are our sins against God. Whether the bill be little or great, the same receipt can discharge one as the other. The blood of Jesus Christ is as blessed and divine a payment for the transgressions of blaspheming Peter as for the shortcomings of loving John.

Our iniquity is gone, all gone at once, and all gone forever. Blessed completeness! What a sweet theme to dwell upon as one gives himself to sleep.

Sins against a holy God;
Sins against His righteous laws;
Sins against His love, His blood;
Sins against His name and cause;
Sins immense as is the sea—
From them all He cleanseth me.

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.

Daily Bible Reading for July 23

Judges 6, Acts 10, Jeremiah 19, Mark 5

Midian Oppresses Israel

1The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. 3For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. 6And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord.

7When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, 8the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. 9And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

The Call of Gideon

11Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir,1 if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14And the Lord2 turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” 16And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.”

19So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah3 of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. 21Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.

25That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father's bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it 26and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” 27So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.

Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal

28When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” 31But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” 32Therefore on that day Gideon4 was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.

33Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. 35And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.

The Sign of the Fleece

36Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

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Footnotes
1 6:13 Or Please, my Lord
2 6:14 Septuagint the angel of the Lord; also verse 16
3 6:19 An ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters
4 6:32 Hebrew he

Peter and Cornelius

1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. 3About the ninth hour of the day1 he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. 6He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, 8and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter's Vision

9The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour2 to pray. 10And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

17Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate 18and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. 19And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation,3 for I have sent them.” 21And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” 22And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23So he invited them in to be his guests.

The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

30And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour,4 and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

Gentiles Hear the Good News

34So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47“Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

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Footnotes
1 10:3 That is, 3 p.m.
2 10:9 That is, noon
3 10:20 Or accompany them, making no distinction
4 10:30 That is, 3 p.m.

The Broken Flask

1Thus says the Lord, “Go, buy a potter's earthenware flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests, 2and go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. 3You shall say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 4Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, 5and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind—6therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth. 8And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its wounds. 9And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.’

10“Then you shall break the flask in the sight of the men who go with you, 11and shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, so that it can never be mended. Men shall bury in Topheth because there will be no place else to bury. 12Thus will I do to this place, declares the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth. 13The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah—all the houses on whose roofs offerings have been offered to all the host of heaven, and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods—shall be defiled like the place of Topheth.’”

14Then Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and he stood in the court of the Lord's house and said to all the people: 15“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, behold, I am bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their neck, refusing to hear my words.”

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Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

1They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.1 2And when Jesus2 had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed3 man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17And they began to beg Jesus4 to depart from their region. 18As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus's Daughter

21And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24And he went with him.

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32And he looked around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36But overhearing5 what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus6 saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

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Footnotes
1 5:1 Some manuscripts Gergesenes; some Gadarenes
2 5:2 Greek he; also verse 9
3 5:15 Greek daimonizomai; also verses 16, 18; elsewhere rendered oppressed by demons
4 5:17 Greek him
5 5:36 Or ignoring; some manuscripts hearing
6 5:38 Greek he
Today’s Bible Reading material is taken from McCheyne Bible reading plan and used by Truth For Life with permission. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

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