Sermon Notes- 03.01.20, Pastor Rafael-James 5: Transactions with Heaven
James 5:13-18 ESV
In this the final chapter of his letter to the church, James brings up 4 different prayers:
1. Prayers when suffering – Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
2. Prayers for the sick – Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church.
3. Prayers for the sinner – Pray for one another, that you may be healed.
4. Prayers for the nation/world – Elijah prayed that it might not rain.
We are a praying church, but my prayer is that we become praying people.
- James calls us to BE ABOUT IT in being steadfast, not giving up, acting what we say we believe, removing our biases AND favoritism, and in having self control in what comes out of our mouths. James now challenges us to BE ABOUT PRAYER!
Theologian N.T. Wright compares prayer to seeing someone build a musical instrument. If you have never heard music, if you have never heard an instrument being played, you will view the building of this instrument as a huge waste of time and energy. What can this be accomplishing? Yet those who have been moved by music or love to play an instrument would see it as PURE GENIUS!
N.T. Wright says, “To someone with no idea of God, of there being a world other than what we can touch and see, prayer looks at best like an odd superstition and at worse like serious self-deception. Fancy just talking to yourself and thinking it would make a difference to anything! But almost all human traditions, right across history and culture, have been aware of other dimensions which seem mysteriously to intersect with our own.”
How many of you have received a specific answer to prayer?
It is a vital part of our life giving relationship with Jesus.
It is the full access to our Lord’s character and provision.
James begins the closing of his letter addressing the reality of life, and more specifically of the Christian life. Jesus reiterated this fact, “In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33
- In Chapter 1 he talked about enduring the trials of life. ALL TRIALS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL.
• In Chapter 1 James encouraged us that “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy”.
James does something different. HE ASKS US TO PRAY!!!
- James says that if you’re suffering, you ought to pray.
- James is aware that in times of suffering we may question the goodness of God.
- In times of suffering we can get in a mindset of blaming God. Or, asking why has He let this happen? Prayer connects us back to faith and trust in the goodness of our Father!!!
Has this ever happened to you? Questioning God’s goodness, blaming God, and can’t trust Him?
James lets us know that healing is available through prayer.
- Verse 14: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
- Sick – astheneó: to be weak, feeble
- Usage: I am weak (physically: then morally), I am sick.
James says to “call for the elders of the church”.
- Elder – 4245 presbýteros –a mature man having seasoned judgment (experience).
- This person is “standing in the gap” because he has HISTORY WITH GOD.
- He knows Him and is, therefore, able to pray from faith and confidence when we just cannot.
- Verse 15- “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
- Some translations read “and the prayer of faith will heal (or make well)”
- The Greek word here is “sṓzō“
- 4982 sṓzō (from sōs, “safe, rescued”) –deliver out of danger and into safety; used principally of God rescuing believers from the penalty and power of sin – and into His provisions (safety).
- This is important to understand because some have arrived at the conclusion that if someone is sick in their body, and they get prayed for and they’re not healed, then the prayer was not offered in faith.
- “Sṓzō” it’s not only a physical healing…”deliver out of danger and into safety”
Verse 16 James encourages us to “pray for one another.”
- It is important that we realize we are to pray for one another that we may be healed.
- iáomai – (ee-ah’-om-ahee)- “to heal” draws the attention to the Lord, the supernatural Healer, i.e. beyond the physical healing itself and its benefits.
When we pray for one another we are drawing attention to God as the supernatural Healer!
- James has told us not to: have biases towards one another, use hurtful words towards one another, or fight one another. NOW, tells us to PRAY for one another!
- It is difficult to pray for one another and not care for one another, not LOVE one another.
- Jesus invited us to love one another as He had loved us. What kind of love is that?
Verse 17- “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
- 1 Kings 17 & 18
- Elijah goes up to the Mount Carmel to pray
- SEVEN times He sent his servant to look towards the sea to see if he sees anything in the sky. Until, a cloud as small as a man’s hand appeared.
- At that point he told the servant to tell the king that rain was coming.
James tells us that Elijah was a man with a nature like ours!
Before reading this for the first time I thought God couldn’t use someone like me.
- He can only use people Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Elijah, or Mary.
- BUT Elijah was made in the image of God, just like me.
- God is no respecter of persons (no favorites).
- He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He did before, He can do again.
How many times do we give up before the answer comes?
How do we find resolve to keep praying, and to keep believing?
We are in a season as individuals, as a church family, and as a nation when we desperately need to increase our transactions with heaven.
• We are in a season when we desperately need to UNLOCK heaven!
Would you commit to praying just a few minutes more than before?
If you are not praying at all – Pray a couple of minutes.
If you are praying a few minutes a day – increase it by a few more minutes.
If you are praying a lot – Pray for God to reveal to you the level of your transaction.
James 5:7NLT- “Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.”
- We plant in waiting.
- Seasons bring harvest.
- It is a process, and it takes time.
Often times we view transactions with God as trying to get something from God rather than recognizing we are building relationship with Him. We are learning how He thinks, moves and acts.
- How has history with Him grown your prayer life?
- What is an area you struggle to trust Him with?
- Who needs prayer today for healing?