“Faith’s Pursuit” – James 5:19-20

September 1st, 2013

James 5:19-20

“Faith’s Pursuit”

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Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”  — Luke 19:10

 

Background Information:

  • The assumption throughout James’ epistle is that there will be those who identify with the church, but have dead, nonsaving faith.  Here the writer calls on those with true saving faith to pursue such people.  This is nothing less than a call to evangelism within the church.  (John MacArthur, MacArthur NT Commentary: James, 284)
  • While James did not specifically name prayer in these verses, the implication is there.  If we pray for the afflicted and the sick, surely we must pray for the brother who wanders from the truth.  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Mature, 172)
  • The many particular errors he has catalogued (misuse of the tongue, jealousy, desire for social status at the expense of brothers and sisters in the faith, disputatiousness, false teaching concerning faith and works) can be summed up as markers of wandering ways.  (David P. Nystrom, The NIV Application Commentary: James, 319)
  • In these last two verses of his epistle James stresses the corporate responsibility Christians have toward one another.  They not only should confess their sins and pray together; they also should exercise spiritual care that is mutual and beneficial.  This care should be administered to the individual believer through private counseling and to the church through the preaching of the Word.  (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: James, 182-83)
  • (v. 20) But whose soul and whose sin?  The Greek is completely ambiguous at this point, allowing either phrase to be applied to the one who has sinned or the one who has converted the sinner.  (Douglas J. Moo, Tyndale NT Commentaries: James, 189)
  • (v. 20) James says that when a Christian brings a wanderer back to the truth he will not only save him from death but will also ‘cover over a multitude of sins.’  The verb here translates the Greek kalupsei, which literally means to cover over so that no trace can be seen, and is deceptively important because, although it is used in many different contexts, it is also one of the Bible’s great salvation words, speaking of God’s gracious covering over of man’s sin by the sacrificial death of Christ.  (John Blanchard, Truth for Life, 402-03)
  • These two verses form a fitting conclusion to the book of James.  They express James’ primary objective in writing his epistle: to confront those in the assembly of believers who possessed false, dead faith.  As already noted, the epistle does have an evangelistic emphasis, but one that is mainly directed toward professing believers in the church.  James wrote, as did John in his first epistle, to call professed believers to examine their faith and make sure it is real.  He was deeply concerned that no one be deceived about his salvation.  (John MacArthur, MacArthur NT Commentary: James, 283)

 

The questions to be answered are . . .  Why in the world would James end his letter in this abrupt and obligatory manner?

 

Answer:  Because James, like his older brother Jesus, does not see faith and obedience as an end in itself but also as a means of bringing lost souls back to the truth (reality) so they might be saved and made righteous (have a right relationship with God, nature and people).

 

“Man is the strangest of all animals.  He is the only animal that runs faster when he’s lost his way.” —  Rollo May

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Recalculating

 

The church is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded. — Chuck Swindoll

 

What parting message does James want his audience to hear as he closes his letter?:

I.  There is an objective truth that must be continually discovered and followed to enjoy life and righteousness. (Jas 5:19; see also: Ps ch 1; 16:11; 18:30-32; 25:5; 86:11; ch 119; 128:1; Jn 2:19; 8:31-32; 17:17; Acts 2:28; 1 Tm 3:15; Jas 1:18; 3:14; 1 Jn 2:22; 4:3; Jude 1:3; Jesus 128 x’s “I tell you the truth” {NIV})

 

We cannot gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles, and we cannot expect our lives to be right if our doctrine is wrong.  (John Blanchard, Truth for Life, 397)

 

Those who reject God’s Word also reject the principles of godly living it teaches and shun the only power for obedience.  Truth and virtue go together, as do falsehood and evil behavior.  Despite any outward profession of faith they might make, those who live in open defiance of God’s revelation in Scripture do not belong to Him.  In the poignant words of Jesus, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Lk 6:46).  If they do not repent, such people will one day hear from Jesus the shocking words “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Mt 7:23).  (John MacArthur, MacArthur NT Commentary: James, 286)

 

“Truth” refers to the whole body of the gospel, both the system of truth as well as the moral obligation to it (1:18; 3:14).  The term is used in the same manner by Jesus (Jn 8:32; 16:13), Paul (Gal 5:7; 2 Thes 2:10), and John (1 Jn 3:19).  (Vernon Doerksen, Everyman’s Bible Commentary:  James, 138)

 

James has written about a God who is personal and good; he gives good gifts and gives them generously (1:5, 17).  James has also written about a God who is absolute; his word is true and his judgments are supreme (1:18; 4:12).  In this context, it is possible for human beings to know absolute truth.  It is also possible to “wander from the truth” and to be brought back to the truth.  James understands this wandering especially in moral terms; his passion is for righteousness, not merely correct doctrine.  “Truth is a way to go, a way of life” in both OT and NT thinking (Davids 1982: 199).  (George M. Stulac, The IVP NT Commentary Series: James, 187)

 

Truth and life belong together.  There is a way of life which matches and which grows out of the truth as it is in Jesus, and which cannot be had in any other way.  It is one of the crowning follies of the present time that people think they can have Christian standards without Christian convictions.  But it is beaten into second place by the folly of church leaders who think that they can deny, or acquiesce in the denial of, biblical truth and still maintain, in the church and in society at large, Christian moral virtues.  (J.A. Motyer, The Message of James, 210-11)

 

“The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you miserable.”  —  Barry Stevens.

 

II.  To help another rediscover and follow truth saves them from death and covers the sins of both the wayward sinner and the one restoring another  (Jas 5:20; see also: Dt 30:17-18; Ps 32:1; 85:2; 103:12; Jer 31:34; Ezek 3:16-21; 33:9; Micah 7:19; Mt 16:6-12; 18:12-17; Lk 15:10; 19:10; Acts 3:19; Rom 6:23; 1 Cor 5:1-11; 15:33; Gal 5:7-10; 1 Thes 1:9; 2 Thes 2:10; 1 Tm 4:16; Heb 2:3-4; 3:7-15; 4:1, 6-7; 5:12-6:9; 10:26-27; Jude 1:23)  

 

James finishes his letter with one of the greatest and most uplifting thoughts in the NT; and yet one which occurs more than once in the Bible.  Suppose a man goes wrong and strays away; and suppose a fellow-Christian rescues him from the error of his ways and brings him back to the right path.  That man has not only saved his brother’s soul, he has covered a multitude of his own sins.  In other words, to save another’s soul is the surest way to save one’s own.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: James and Peter, 133-34)

 

It has been said that those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves; and certainly those who bring the lives of others to God cannot keep God out of their own.  The highest honor God can give is bestowed upon him who leads another to God; for the man who does that does nothing less than share in the work of Jesus Christ, the Savior of men.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: James and Peter, 134)

 

When a wanderer is brought back to the truth, a multitude of sins is covered, however vast the multitude may be.  However great the defection, however persistent the rebellion, however grievous the sin, however serious the error, however damaging the action, however erroneous the belief, however distant the drift, when God forgives he forgets.  God’s forgiveness is complete and intractable.  His own word is that “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isa 43:25).  (John Blanchard, Truth for Life, 403)

 

It is an often overlooked truth that Jesus spoke more of hell than He did of heaven.  (In Matthew alone He spoke of hell in 5:22, 29-30; 7:19; 8:12; 10:28; 13:40-42; 18:8-9; 22:13; 23:33; 25:41, 46).

Those with false faith, who have chosen their own way over God’s, must heed the warning of Prv 14:12 or be damned: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”  The deeply serious threat the sinner faces is spiritual death–eternal separation from God in hell.  (John MacArthur, MacArthur NT Commentary: James, 288)

 

In Luke’s gospel Jesus counseled His disciples, “If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him” (Lk 17:4, my emphasis).  Later Jesus told Peter, in the aftermath of Peter’s boast that he alone would remain faithful to Jesus, that he too would deny his Lord: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Lk 22:32, my emphasis).  That’s exactly what James is talking about.  He has said (see Jas 4:7-10) that repentance is a way of life for true religion.  Now he commends the practice of enabling others to repent and thus be spared the dangers of unforgiven sin.  (J. Michael Walters, James, a Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 210)

 

The Lord blesses faithfulness.  When we fulfill our God-given duties, we gain assurance of our salvation (1 Tm 4:16).  Further, God often treats us as we treat others.  If we pursue God’s grace for the forgiveness of others, he will forgive us (Mt 6:14-15).  But we do not earn salvation by working to restore a sinner.  (Daniel M. Doriani, Reformed Expository Commentary: James, 204)

 

The action of the high priest on the Day of Atonement was to cover (kaphar/kippur) the sins of the people by sprinkling blood on the atonement cover, the lid of the ark (Lv 16:15-16), and James is drawing on that image.  What is not so clear is the identity of the one who is saved from death, and of the one whose sins are covered.  The NIV has made an exegetical decision on the first matter, clearly indicating that it is the wanderer who is saved from death.  This is a sound decision theologically, as it comports with the thrust of James and with the theology of Ezekiel.  It is also a good decision grammatically, although the grammar would also support the idea that the one saving the wanderer is also saved by that action.  (David P. Nystrom, The NIV Application Commentary: James, 320)

 

Solomon says that love covers sins, as hatred proclaims them.  For they who hate burn with the desire of mutual slander; but they who love are disposed to exercise mutual forbearance.  Love, then, buries sins as to men.  James teaches here something higher, that is, that sins are blotted out before God; as though he has said, Solomon has declared this as the fruit of love, that it covers sins; but there is no better or more excellent way of covering them than when they are wholly abolished before God.  (John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of James, 362)

 

The real trouble with man in sin is that he always wants to understand.  The ultimate sin of man is pride of intellect.  That is why it is always true to say that “not many wise men after the flesh, not many might, not many noble are called.”  The wise man after the flesh wants to understand.  He pits his brain against God’s wisdom, and he says, “I don’t see.”  Of course he doesn’t.  And Christ says to him, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).  If you think that with your mind, which is so small when you compare it with the mind of God, and which is not only small but also sinful, and perverted, and polluted, and twisted–if you think that with the mind you have you can comprehend the working of God’s eternal mind and wisdom, obviously you do not know God, you are outside the life of God, and you are lost.  The first thing that must happen to you before you can ever become a Christian is that you must surrender that little mind of yours, and begin to say, “Of course I cannot understand it; my whole nature is against it.  I can see that there is only one thing to do; I submit myself to the revelation that God has been pleased to give.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapter 5, 251)

 

Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son makes a similar point.  The prodigal son had no leg to stand on, no possible basis for spiritual pride.  By any measure of spiritual competition he had failed, and now he had nothing to lean against but grace.  God’s love and forgiveness extended equally to the virtuous elder brother, of course, but that son, too busy comparing himself to his irresponsible sibling, was blinded to the truth about himself.  In the words of Henri Nouwen, “The lostness of the resentful ‘saint’ is so hard to reach precisely because it is so closely wedded to the desire to be good and virtuous.”  Nouwen confesses:

I know, from my own life, how diligently I have tried to be good, acceptable, likable, and a worthy example for others.  There was always the conscious effort to avoid the pitfalls of sin and the constant fear of giving in to temptation.  But with all of that there came a seriousness, a moralistic intensity—and even a touch of fanaticism—that made it increasingly difficult to feel at home in my Father’s house.  I became less free, less spontaneous, less playful. . . .

The more I reflect on the elder son in me, the more I realize how deeply rooted this form of lostness really is and how hard it is to return home from there.  Returning home from a lustful escapade seems so much easier than returning home from a cold anger that has rooted itself in the deepest corners of my being.

The spiritual games we play, many of which begin with the best of motives, can perversely lead us away from God, because they lead us away from grace.  Repentance, not proper behavior or even holiness, is the doorway to grace.  And the opposite of sin is grace, not virtue. (Philip Yancey; What’s so Amazing About Grace?, 205-06)

 

III.  James and his older brother Jesus are compelling us to lovingly seek the lost and bring them back to the Way of truth and/or reality. (Jas 5:19-20; see also: Mt 9:13; Lk ch. 15; 18:13-14; 19:10; Rom 5:8; Gal 6:1-2; 1 Tm 1:15; 2 Tm 2:25; 1 Pt 4:8)  

 

The responsibility of caring for the wanderer is matched to the more searching responsibilities of spirituality, gentleness and personal vigilance.  The person who seeks to rescue a fellow Christian who has strayed from God must himself be walking closely with him.  (John Blanchard, Truth for Life, 399)

 

This backsliding is also dangerous to the church.  A wandering offender can influence others and lead them astray.  “One sinner destroys much good” (Ecc 9:18).  This is why the spiritual members of the church must step in and help the man who has wandered away.  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Mature, 173)

 

What are we to do when we see a fellow believer wandering from the truth?  We should pray for him, to be sure; but we must also seek to help him.  He needs to be “converted”–turned back into the right path again.  Do believers need to be converted?  Yes, they do!  Jesus said to Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Lk 22:32).  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Mature, 174)

 

Where there is love, there must also be truth (“speaking the truth in love” says Paul in Eph 4:15); and where there is truth, there is honest confession of sin and cleansing from God.  Love not only helps the offender to face his sins and deal with them, but love also assures the offender that those sins, once forgiven, are remembered no more.  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Mature, 174)

 

Just as leaders of the flock can help people’s physical well-being by personal visits, confession, and prayer, so they can help people who are spiritually ill by courageously intervening in the lives of these people who are sliding into hell.  This is never any fun.  People who are turning their backs on God and his Word will probably want to do the same to God’s messengers.  But mature Christians have learned to say “I am my brother’s keeper.”  (Mark Jeske, The People’s Bible: James, Peter, John, Jude, 52)

 

By its very nature, a church is a group of people who care for one another in practical ways.  Apart from that kind of loving care, the church is a fantasy.  Throughout James’ epistle, the health of the Christian community–the church–has been ever-present in James’ mind.  He knows that the ability of his readers to lovingly embrace the disposition of Christian caring will determine their long-term success in solving their difficulties.  (J. Michael Walters, James, a Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 209)

 

He has made no attempt to deny their troubles or gloss over them as if they are not significant.  He knows all too well the destructiveness of their attitudes toward one another.  But he wants to show them a more excellent way.  It is the disposition of caring community, a community where people lovingly watch over one another, not in order to show themselves superior by pointing out the failings of others, but so that all the members will enjoy the privileges of God’s abundant grace together.  The call to true religion is always a call to genuine community.  (J. Michael Walters, James, a Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 210-11)

 

Christians disagree over whether or not it is possible for people to lose their salvation, but all agree that those who move away from their faith or who are not genuine in their profession are in serious trouble and need to repent.  The point of this verse is clear, though:  we are to bring the wanderer back–not debate whether or not the person would be lost if we didn’t.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary; James, 146)

 

Paul told the Thessalonian church regarding a disobedient Christian to “warn him as a brother” (2 Thes 3:15), and to the Ephesians he gave his own personal example: “Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31; cf. Col 1:28).  There are times when we must prayerfully undertake confrontation.  (Kent Hughes, James, Faith That Works, 280)

 

If truth is available, and if death does so threaten us, then love demands that we call each other to repentance.  If I turn a fellow sinner from sin, I save that person from death and cover over that sinner’s multitude of sins.  (George M. Stulac, The IVP NT Commentary Series: James, 188)

 

James wants his readers to see the urgency of bringing people to repentance.  This is why he has written so severely to people whom he loves so dearly as “brothers.”  He has persistently called them to turn from sin.  He concludes his letter saying, “I have called you to repentance; now you do this for others.  Hold each other to righteousness just as firmly as I have held you.”  (George M. Stulac, The IVP NT Commentary Series: James, 189)

 

Nothing is better or more desirable than to deliver a soul from eternal death; and this is what he does who restores an erring brother to the right way:  therefore a work so excellent ought by no means to be neglected.  (John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of James, 361)

 

“If…someone should bring him back.”  Erring members of the church are not necessarily passively waiting to be brought back to the truth.  They are not like sheep that have gone astray and are waiting patiently for the shepherd to rescue them.  Tactfully reproving a person who is wandering from the truth is one of the most difficult tasks in the work of the church.  Numerous pastors, elders, deacons, and church leaders have yielded to the temptation of placing erring members on the inactive list of the church rolls.  Yet with loving concern, the church must seek out those who are wandering from the truth and urge them to come back.  (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: James, 183)

 

Nobody will ever get better because you force them to.  You can’t rescue people who aren’t ready to be rescued.  The best thing you can do for them is to let them go and trust God to take care of them.   (Bill Perkins, When Good Men are Tempted, 89)

 

CONCLUSION/APPLICATION: What insights might we contemplate to better implement this lesson with which James leaves us?:

A-  Beliefs not aligned with truth causes one to stray and suffer absence of real life. (Ps chps 1,19, 119; 43:3; Mt 13:1-23; 22:29; ch 23; Jn 8:31-32; 10:10; Rom 1:18-25; 2:8; 1 Cor 10:12; 13:6; Gal 2:14; Ti 3:3; 1 Tm 4:3; 1 Jn 1:6-8; 2:4)

 

The straying of sheep is a familiar metaphor of people’s going astray (Isa 9:16; Ezek 34:4-5; Heb 5:2; 1 Pt 2:25).  “Among you” denotes that the erring person is a member of the body.  The term “stray” can be understood as deliberately going astray of one’s own will or of being led astray by external forces.  Perhaps both have happened: the external forces have exerted their influences, and the individual has chosen to wander away from the truth.    (Vernon Doerksen, Everyman’s Bible Commentary:  James, 137)

 

The one who is straying is a “sinner”; he has wandered from the truth.  “His way” and “the truth” (v. 19) are contrasted.  An individual either walks in God’s truth or in his own way.  (Vernon Doerksen, Everyman’s Bible Commentary:  James, 138)

 

Choices and actions that lead us towards denying the lordship of the living Christ carry us away from the truth.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary; James, 144)

 

Stewardship is more than setting up soup kitchens and overnight shelters.  It is good and right that we reach into the river of despair and rescue people who are drowning.  But it is time to move upstream and see who’s throwing them in.

 

B-  Beliefs must become convictions that result in action (deeds/works) if real life is ever to be obtained.  (Ps 15:1-3; Ezek 14:6-11; Mt 25:31-46; Rom 6:1-7; 1 Cor 5:1-5; Gal 5:7; 2 Tm 2:17-18; Heb 2:1; 3:10-13; 10:26-27; Jas 2:17; 2 Pt 2:15)

 

The Hebrew mind, and especially that of James, never separated the intellectual from the behavioral, or the doctrinal from the moral, as the Greeks did.  Truth was something people did (Jn 3:21, NASB).  (Kent Hughes, James, Faith That Works, 276)

 

Luther’s Smaller Catechism “Lord’s Prayer” The First Petition:

Question:  How is God’s name kept holy?

Answer:  God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it.  Help us to do this dear Father in heaven!   But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us.  Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

 

C-  Beliefs will never become convictions without both the work of the Holy Spirit and empirical evidence.  (Ps 119:30; Isa 9:14-16; Dan 12:3; Jn 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 2 Cor 2:5-11; Gal 6:1-2; Eph 4:15; 2 Thes 2:10-13; Heb 6:4-6; Jas 1:18; 2 Pt 2:2, 20; 1 Jn 5:6)

 

We must therefore take heed lest souls perish through our sloth, whose salvation God puts in a manner in our hands.  Not that we can bestow salvation on them; but that God by our ministry delivers and saves those who seem otherwise to be nigh destruction.  (John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of James, 361)

 

Though we cannot convert them, we must labor to do so.  Though we cannot save them from death, we must strive for their spiritual welfare as if their eternal destiny rested with us.  Though we cannot cover their sins, we must follow the example of the Son of God who can do so, and hold nothing dear to ourselves and no sacrifice too great if only they are saved.  For the local church of which James speaks is a fellowship of concern.  (J.A. Motyer, The Message of James, 214)

 

When we reach out to rescue the one who is perishing in sin, we seek to save his soul.  We see a sinner in danger of dying an eternal death and about to be excluded from eternal life.  We must remember, however, that God uses us as instruments to restore the spiritual relationship between God and man.  Salvation, then, is and remains God’s work.  We are only fellow workers for God (1 Cor 3:9).  (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: James, 184)

 

The hearts of the two brothers were the same.  Both sons resented their father’s authority and sought ways of getting out from under it.  They each wanted to get into a position in which they could tell the father what to do.  Each one, in other words, rebelled but one did so by being very bad and the other by being extremely good.  Both were alienated from the father’s heart; both were lost sons.  (Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, 36)

 

Here’s the problem:  we put men to work in the church duplicating tapes, and they think they are duplicating tapes.  They are not!   They are creating lifeboats that can rescue drowning souls!  They are forging swords that can pierce the darkness that binds the captives.  Every usher and parking lot attendant, every teacher and team leader must see himself as a link in a chain going back to Christ Himself, a foot soldier in the army that is transforming the world.   That’s the power of vision, and without it men perish!  (David Murrow; Why Men Hate Church, 159)

 

You don’t need the Holy Spirit if you are merely seeking to live a semi-moral life and attend church regularly.  You can find people of all sorts in many religions doing that quite nicely without Him.  You only need the Holy Spirit’s guidance and help if you truly want to follow the Way of Jesus Christ.  You only need Him if you desire to “obey everything” He commanded and to teach others to do the same (Mt 28:18-20 NIV).  You only need the Holy Spirit if you understand that you are called to share in Christ’s suffering and death, as well as His resurrection (Rom 8:17; 2 Cor 4:16-18; Phil 3:10-11).  (Francis Chan, Forgotten God, 122-23)

 

D-  Jesus, as truth personified, came to provide you access to both the Holy Spirit and the empirical evidence necessary to know the Way; and encourages you (a follower of Christ) to do the same for the sake of others. (Mt 22:16; Mk 1:17; 12:14; Lk 1:16; 19:10; 20:21; 22:31-32; Jn 1:14, 17; 8:31-32; 14:6; 18:37-38)

 

If doctrine becomes our emphasis, we are being led astray.  We are not changed by doctrine; we are changed by seeing Jesus (2 Cor 3:18).  Anointed teachings are essential for the nourishment of the Christ that is being formed within us, but whenever a truth becomes our focus, it will distract us.  For this reason Satan often comes as an angel of light, or “messenger of truth.”  Truth can deceive us.  Only in the Truth, Jesus, is there life.  He did not come just to teach us truth; He came to be Truth.  (Rick Joyner, There Were Two Trees in the Garden, 81)

 

Fundamentally, our Lord’s message was Himself.  He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel.  He did not come merely to give bread; He said, “I am the bread.”  He did not come merely to shed light; He said, “I am the light.”  He did not come merely to show the door; He said, “I am the door.”  He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, “I am the shepherd.”  He did not come merely to point the way; He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  —J. Sidlow Baxter

 

William Walsham How gave poetic expression to this truth when he said,

The captive to release,

To God the lost to bring.

To teach the way of life and peace–

It is a Christ-like thing.   (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: James, 186)

 

Worship point:  Think about what a hassle it is to try and restore one who is lost.  Think about what a hassle God had to go through to restore you.  Then worship Him for the patience, mercy, grace, forgiveness and love He demonstrated to restore you.

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Strive to be like Jesus whose sole purpose was to seek and save those who were lost.

 

 

Quotes to Note:

No man is so far advanced along the Christian pathway, so knowledgeable in the Scriptures, so experienced in Christian service, so prominent in church affairs, that he is beyond the reach of Satan or the treachery of his own heart.  The deadly subtlety of sin should constantly drive us to our knees.  (John Blanchard, Truth for Life, 395)

 

To save another from spiritual death is indeed the greatest thing one human

can do for another!  (Kent Hughes, James, Faith That Works, 278)

Christ: lost seeker

 

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