A Portrait of Salvation
2 Kings 5:1-15
In our passage today we are forced to deal with many things about God that stretch our understanding. We just get to the place where we think we are starting to understand God and then He throws a passage like this at us.
In this passage we have God giving Syria success in battle against His chosen people Israel. We have God turning His back on His people and coming to the aid of foreigners. We have God including a Gentile who is unclean in His covenant.
We leave the land of Israel and enter a pagan nation. We step into Syria to the north, a heathen, pagan nation surrounded by darkness, a place of idolatry, and blindness. Naaman’s healing is a portrait of what God would later do through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is a classic picture of the love God has for those in darkness. We get a glimpse of God’s sovereign work in salvation. At times God shows grace, even to His enemies. Read More
Digging Wells and Planting Churches
As we live the Christian life, we must remember that it is a life of faith in Christ and a life dependant on Him. Believing in the unseen with as much trust as in the things we can see. It’s a life of living in this world but longing for the next. It’s loving those around us but supremely loving Christ. It’s also a life of discontent with what the world has to offer because we believe the true and everlasting treasure is Jesus. Living a life of faith is vital for the Christian. Paul is a great example of someone living in this world but longing for the next.
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,  for we walk by faith, not by sight.  Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 2 Cor. 5:6-9 (ESV)
One way we manifest walking by faith and not by sight is when we acknowledge our complete dependence on the Lord. We do this best when we pray. Prayer is the keyhole that we look through catching small glimpses of the world to come and longing to be there. As we speak with the God of the universe in prayer, He begins to change our worldly focus to an eternal focus. The more we get God’s vision for our lives, the more the unseen comes into focus and the more the seen begins to loose its grip on our hearts. Read More
An All-Round Ministry
James 5:13-20 (ESV)
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.  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.  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.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  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.  Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back,  let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
James has already made the connection between the physical and the spiritual. The Church is to have a ministry that has both in mind. Spiritual matters are the priority but physical matters are important as well and many times it’s hard to separate the two. Both impact the Church. Read More
While You Wait Pt. 1
James 5:1-12 (ESV)
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.  Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.  Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.  Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.  You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.  You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
 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.
 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
There are times when I am more patient than others. When things are going the way I want them to go I’m patient. When things are going another direction I’m less patient. I’m not where James is yet.
In 46 AD when James wrote this letter to his friends at his church who were being persecuted for their faith, he knew what they needed most. He knew that they needed to be encouraged to endure trials in a God honoring way, he knew they needed to be warned about sin, and they needed to be encouraged to be patient. Read More
The Crisis of Sovereignty
James 4: 13-17
We saw earlier in chapter 4 of James the truths relating to quarreling and fighting among Believers. James’ conclusion to this was we fight because we have misguided passions that are constantly at war. Our own selfishness is the sole cause of fights and arguments among God’s people. When this happens we have traded the eternal for the temporal or we could say we are walking by sight and not by faith. To use the words of Christ, we are not laying up treasures in heaven but have settled for rotting decaying treasure. We’ve set our sights too low.
James takes us a step further and shows us what happens to our thinking the more we live with misguided and twisted affections. Read More