“But The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Patience”      James 5:7-11        June 4, 2006

 

SI:  This summer studying the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

“Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .”

This morning let’s consider the fruit of patience.

 

INTRO:  Man in store, saw woman with 2 year old in shopping cart—

   wanting cookies, Popsicles, candy bar—and having temper tantrums

 

“Patience, Missy, patience.  Half-way through the store.”

   “Patience, Missy, patience.  Just on more aisle to go.”

   “Patience, Missy, patience.  We’re almost out the door.”

 

I want to compliment you on the way you spoke to your daughter, Missy.

   My daughter’s name is Francine.  I’m Missy!

 

“Be patient, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.”

   What is patience and why is it so important? 

Patience is simply suffering for a long time without lashing out.

   This word in King James Version translated “long-suffering.”

   That’s what patience is—suffering for a long time without lashing out

   with your actions, words, or thoughts at people, circumstances, or God.

 

Impatience is not a minor flaw.

King Saul’s impatience with God’s command made him take matters into his hands,

   ignore God’s timetable, offer unlawful sacrifices—for that, kingdom taken away.

Moses’ impatience with Israelites let him to strike rock in anger—

   for that he was not able to enter the Promised Land.

 

Impatience is not a minor flaw—it’s treason against God.

   Saying—God, Your plan for my life stinks. 

   Your timetable is stupid.

   It’s raging at the sovereignty of God.

 

Lashing out at the people He has put in your life—

   slow clerks, mean bosses, incompetent co-workers,

   unresponsive husbands, nagging wives, demanding children

Lashing out at the circumstances He has planned—raise that you don’t get,

   wedding bells never hear, wrecks, accidents, illnesses, delays, setbacks.

At it’s heart, impatience says:  I want God to serve me.

   I have my agenda for my life—God better deliver. 

 

Patience is the opposite:  Saying, I live my life at God’s pleasure.  

   I will accept whatever He has planned for me.

Patience is not indifference.  Not saying, “I don’t care.”  “Whatever.”

   Patience called long-suffering. 

   Christians suffer, but in that suffering, patient—because trust God.

 

Patience fruit of Spirit, it is an aspect of the divine nature planted in you

   when born again, it’s an aspect of the mind of Christ, aspect of holiness.

Patience is inseparable from love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness.

   It’s in there—but it has to grow, it has to bear fruit.

 

How do you cultivate this seed of patience?  Same time, pull up weed impatience?

   Look at James 5.  Three great examples of patience.

 

If you want to grow in patience you must . . .

 

1.  Look at the farmer.

2.  Look at the prophets.

3.  Look at Job.

 

Let’s do that. 

 


MP#1  Look at the farmer.   (Read vs. 7  “See how . . .”)

To understand this example,

   have to understand weather and agriculture in ancient Israel.

 

Summers there are scorching hot and very dry—there is no rain during summer.

   Then, around October, it starts to rain. 

   These rains called the autumn or former rains.

   They soften the ground that had baked hard during summer.

After autumn rains, Israelite farmer would plow, sow winter grains, wheat, barley.

 

Grain would grow during cooler, wetter winter months.

   But farmers would be looking forward to the spring rains, April, May.

   These sometimes called the “latter rains.”

These spring rains swelled the grain, made it good and ripe.

 

If the spring rains were delayed.  Farmer might become impatient.

   Start thinking—if spring rains don’t come, if I wait too long to harvest,

   then my fields are hit with a wave of dry summer heat, I’ll lose crop.

But if I harvest now, even though will be inferior grain, better than nothing.

 

James says the patient farmer waits—no matter what, waits for spring rains.

   Not going to harvest until God sends the spring rains.

 

Now in your own life you may feel like that farmer waiting for spring rains.

   There is an area in your life that is very dry.  Not looking very promising. 

   Thinking that if you don’t make something out of this, stuck with nothing.

Patience means that you don’t lash out and disobey God,

   ignore His instructions, ignore His promises.

Affirm that you are going to do things His way and trust His timing.

 

Let me relate this to the words I gave our high school graduates two weeks ago.

One of the most important decisions you will make is who you are going to marry.

   Some of you are going to find yourself in this situation—

   all your friends are getting married, one by one, but you aren’t.

 

And you don’t have any hot prospects.

   That’s going to hurt.  You are going to suffer. 

   You’re going to want to get married and that’s a good thing.

 

Temptation will be not to wait for God’s spring rains.

   Tempted to be impatient and rush things.

You meet a man or woman—nice family, good job, attractive—

   but she’s not a believer, he’s not a believer. 

 

You know what the Lord says about that—don’t you? 

   Do no be yoked together with unbelievers.  Marry in the Lord.

But impatience says—this is your last chance, don’t marry, may never marry.

   This person is not a Christian but that’s better than nothing.

   Like a farmer getting impatient, thinking spring rains never going to come.

Grain is shriveled now.  Not perfect.  But if I wait, might not get anything.

 

Be patient.  Don’t lash out at God by marrying outside faith.

God will send the spring rains.

   “As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains,

   like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:37

Does this mean that if I wait for a Christian spouse I will get married?

   Only God knows your future.

 

But what does He promise you?  “I will come to you like the spring rains.”

   God will come to you. 

   He will give you all that you need for your life to be full of joy.

   He will bless you with fruitfulness.

Going to trust Him?  Patiently wait for the spring rains?

 

Others here who are suffering in other ways.

   Has to do with troubling person.  Decisions about money.

   You know what God wants you to do.

But you want to take matters into your own hands. 

   Be patient.  Live in obedience to Him.  Spring rains will come.

 

Those of you who haven’t waited for spring rains.  

   Disobeyed Lord’s commands.  Not believed promises.  Rushed things. 

   And you are suffering the consequences.  Shriveled grain.

 

Take heart.  Jesus never rushed things.  Always waited for Father’s perfect timing.

   “My time has not yet come.”  When came, went to the cross.

You are united to Jesus Christ.  His life yours.  His obedience yours, patience.

   Your impatience paid for by his death on the cross.  Forgive.  Move on.

MP#2  Look at the prophets.  (Read vs. 10  “Brothers, as an example . . .”)

What caused prophets’ suffering?  Elijah’s, Jeremiah’s, Daniel’s?

   People.

 

Prophets called to preach to people of Israel, Judah, sometimes foreigners.

   Message—God’s judgment coming because of sin and hard hearts.

   Repent, turn to God, He will forgive and pour out His mercy and forgiveness.

   They preached the Gospel. 

 

How were they treated?  Wow!  So grateful for concern.  No.  Heb. 11

   “Some 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

   sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of

   them.  The wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”

As a group, held before Christians as an example of patience, long-suffering.

   Preached the Gospel to people who were cruel to them.

 

This brings us to one of the most difficult applications of patience—

   being patient to people who have done you wrong, continue to do you wrong.

One kind of challenge to be patience in dry seasons of life, another people in face.

   The tendency that rushes into your heart is to get even—

   or at least to defend yourself in such as way that you put the person in his place.

 

Should a Christian defend himself?  Good question.  Another topic. 

   But if start qualifying James’ teaching, will lose impact of what he is saying.

   Question should not be:  How can I defend myself.

   What gave the prophets patience?

 

The Gospel gave them patience.

   The prophets preached Gospel to themselves before preached to people. 

   They knew that they were sinful and wicked than ever dared to admit.

   They knew that in Christ, more loved and accepted than they could ever hope.

The realization that God had been patient with them, made patient with people.

 

Isaiah—vision of the Lord in His holy temple.  Overwhelmed by sinfulness.

   Woe is me.  I am a man of unclean lips.  But God cleansed.

Jonah running from God, complaining—God’s grace.

   All prophets—sinners whom God has dealt with patiently.

  

If you say—I just can’t bear this person.  Injuries she done to me intolerable.

Jonahs, Isaiahs, Daniels would ask you:

   Do you think what this person has done worse that what you have done to God?

   Aren’t you glad God is patient with you and hasn’t cut you off?

 

Even though most people did not respond to the words of the prophets—

   God had His chosen people in Israel.

Used the patient proclamation of the Gospel by the prophets to reach them.

   Lord still works that way today.

 

When I preached on this subject four years ago, ran across interesting story

   of Richard Weaver—coal miner, lived in Shropshire, England, 1800s.

Violent man, brawler, but converted through testimony of his wife.

   As a Christian his patience was tested by another miner named Tom.

   Once in mine, Tom took coal cart from boy.  Richard took back, gave to boy.

   He and Tom got into an argument.  Listen to what happened in Richard’s words:

 

Then said Tom: “I've a good mind to smack thee on the face.”  “Well,” I said, “if that will do thee any good, then do it.”  So he struck me on the face.  I turned the other cheek to him, and said, “Strike again.”  He struck again and again, till he had struck me five times.  I turned my cheek for the sixth stroke; but he turned away cursing.  I shouted after him: “The Lord forgive thee, for I do;” and “the Lord save thee.”

 

This was on a Saturday; and when I went home from the coal-pit my wife saw my face was swollen, and asked what was the matter with it.  I said: “I've been fighting, and I have given a man a good thrashing.”  She burst out weeping, and said, “Oh, Richard, what made you fight?”  Then I told her all about it; and she thanked the Lord I had not struck back.  But the Lord had struck, and his blows have more effect than man's.  Monday came.  The devil began to tempt me, saying, “The other men will laugh at thee for allowing Tom to treat thee as he did on Saturday.”  I cried, “Get thee behind me, Satan;” and went on my way to the coal-pit.

 

Tom was the first man I saw.  I said, “Good morning,” but got no reply.  He went down first.  When I got down, I was surprised to see him sitting on the wagon road waiting for me.  When I came to him he burst into tears, and said: “Richard, will you forgive me for striking you?”  “I have forgiven thee,” said I.  “Ask God to forgive thee.  The Lord bless thee.”  I gave him my hand, and we went each to his work.

 

Look at the prophets.  Prophets of the Old Covenant, of New Covenant.

Men and women who were patient with fellow man

   because knew God’s patience with them, knew messengers of Gospel. 

What about you?  Who are the maddening, hostile, exasperating people in life?

   Are you lashing out at them—actions, words, thoughts?

No—I’m a person captured by the Gospel and transformed by it.

   I have an accurate view of myself—a sinner, saved by grace, recipient of patience

   I’m going to be a patient conduit of that good news.

 


MP#3  Look at Job.  (Read vs. 11  “You have heard of Job’s . . .”)

James draws attention to two things in Job’s story.

   1.  Job’s perseverance or patience.

   2.  What the Lord finally brought about.

 

Job wasn’t very patient.

When he lost everything he did say

   “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

When friends try to explain things. 

   He argues.  Calls miserable comforters.

Says things like:  I curse day was born.  I despise my life.

   He challenges God.  You’ve done me wrong God!

 

Read the book of Job—see lots of impatience. 

   He lashed out with words, thoughts at people and at God and himself.

But what happened?  After Job has lashed out, God spoke. 

   Do you know who I am, who you are?

   Job listened.  Still suffering, but became still, patient, bowed before God.

 

Patience not a personality trait born with. 

   Some people more easy going.  Not fruit the fruit of the Spirit.

Divine nature planted in you by Holy Spirit. 

   Mind of Christ, holiness.  Grows.

   Talking about sanctification.

 

Of course you are impatient.  Old man is still in there.  Even Job was impatient.

   But the Lord won’t leave you in that condition. 

   He will complete what He began.

   Draw near to God.  Pray to Him.  Listen to Him. 

He’s a patient God, His attributes will grow in you.

 

James also says—Look at what the Lord finally brought about.  Lord merciful.

   What did the Lord finally bring about?

Made all things right and new in Job’s life.

   Opened the floodgates of heaven:  wealth, flocks, herds, children, honor.

   This is an OT foreshadowing of new heavens and new earth.

   When Christ comes and makes all things right, wipes away all tears.

 

Remember how James introduces this subject of patience?

With an appeal to Christ’s second coming.  “patient until the Lord’s coming”

   “the Lord’s coming is near.”  “Standing at the door”

Ultimately, the only way you will grow in patience is to have a vivid

   belief in the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection, and the new creation.

 

Because it is by believing that one day every tear will be wiped away,

   that you are going to be patient when you shed tears now.

By believing that one day everything will be made new,

   that you are going to be patient with the brokenness of this old world.

 

Grow in patience by looking at your present suffering,

   by faith draw a line to great promises of Christ.

Exactly what Paul did, “

   “This present suffering is not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed . . .”

   Only a patient person can say that.

 

Iran has been in the news a lot lately.  There are Christians in Iran.

   They have been systematically crushed by the Islamic fanatics.

In the 1980s there was a Christian Iranian pastor named Mehdi Dibja,

   who was in prison 10 years awaiting trial, last two years in a small box.

   His crime was converting to Christianity.

Finally came to trial in 1994, Rev. Dibja made his defense.  Read a portion.

 

With all humility I express my gratitude to the Judge of all heaven and earth for this precious opportunity, and with brokenness I wait upon the Lord to deliver me from this court trial according to his promises. I also beg the honoured members of the court present to listen with patience to my defence and with respect for the name of the Lord. 

 

I am a Christian, a sinner who believes Jesus has died for my sins on the cross and who, by his resurrection and victory over death, has made me righteous in the presence of the holy God. The true God speaks about this fact in his holy Word, the gospel. 

 

They say, 'You were a Muslim and you have become a Christian.' No, for many years I had no religion. After searching and studying I accepted God's call and I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to receive eternal life. People choose their religion but a Christian is chosen by Christ. He says, 'You have not chosen me but I have chosen you.' From when? Before the foundation of the world. 

 

The God of Job has tested my faith and commitment in order to strengthen my patience and faithfulness. During these nine years he has freed me from all my responsibilities so that under the protection of his blessed Name, I would spend my time in prayer and study of his Word, with heart-searching and brokenness, and grow in the knowledge of my Lord. I praise the Lord for this unique opportunity. 'You gave me space in my confinement, my difficult hardships brought healing and your kindness revived me.' Oh what great blessings God has in store for those who fear him! 

 

Therefore, I am not only satisfied to be in prison for the honour of his holy name, but am ready to give my life for the sake of Jesus my Lord and enter his kingdom sooner, the place where the elect of God enter everlasting life, but the wicked to eternal damnation. May the shadow of God's kindness and his hand of blessing and healing be upon you and remain for ever. Amen.

 

Court released him but four months later he was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered.

What did the Lord finally bring about?  World would say—a tragic end.

   Christians completely different—glorious fruit of patience in suffering

   Who knows, until books are opened at judgment, effects of that fruit.

   For Rev. Dibja life not a tragic end. 

 

Not over.  With Christ, all tears gone.

How vivid is your faith in Christ’s second coming?  Hope of heaven, new creation?

   Afraid our thoughts are so much tuned to the world, captured by it.

   When things go wrong, can’t tear our eyes away and look to glorious future.

   Able to say with Paul—this present suffering not worthy?

 

CONC:   The fruit of the Spirit is patience.  Wonderful fruit.

Manifestation of the divine nature in you.  God is patient.

Demonstration of the mind of Christ.  Jesus was patient.

Key facet of holiness.  Holy Spirit who implanted it and causes it to grow.

 

Be patient in difficult circumstances.  Trust God’s providential care.

   “Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.”

 

Be patient with difficult people.  Believe the Gospel.

   You are an exasperating sinner, loved and accepted by a patient God because

   of the work of Christ on your account.

   You are a conduit of that patient love.

 

Be patient until the end.  Keep your eye on Christ’s coming.  You will see him.

   Alive when he returns, go to meet him at death.

   And he will wipe away all your tears. 

   And make all things new.