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About-Him.Com Devotional 01-14-2012

Anticipating Our Lord's Return
An Expository Study of the Book of James

Last week we covered James 5:1-6 where the apostle vigorously condemned the Jewish nation for their greed and repression of laborers, in their pursuit of riches. He predicted the coming destruction of Jerusalem and subsequent slaughter. Their riches would be of no avail (Lu. 12:20). In verse 7, he comforts the brethren and urges them to be patient as they look for the return of the Lord from heaven.

Text: James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

There is no doubt that James was basing his warnings concerning the destruction of Jerusalem on the discourse of Jesus in Matthew 24. Perhaps he had heard the Master speak directly. He encourages the suffering saints in Judea to be patient as they wait for the coming of the Lord. The Lord did show Himself true to His word when He came in a spiritual sense to exercise judgment on the Jewish nation. History records that one million Jews were slain and one hundred thousand taken captive and dispersed throughout the world. Yet not one Christian perished. God provided a way of escape and they were able to escape across the Jordan to a city named Pella. We may not be sure just how the end times will play out, but we can rest assured that believers will escape God's wrath (1 Th. 5:9).

When the small window of opportunity to escape arose, they didn't have time to gather their goods. They had to leave immediately, thus fulfilling the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:17:18.

Perhaps some at that time were expecting Jesus to return to consummate the end of the age. Well, it didn''t happen then, but it will happen. We are still looking for His return. Much of Matthew 24 was fulfilled at that time but some remains to be fulfilled.

As the apostle Paul told us, we in these last days are indeed living in perilous times (2 Ti. 3:1-5). We have lived under the cloud of possible nuclear annihilation so long that we are immune to any warnings. Perhaps as we see Iran - who has threatened to wipe Israel off of the map - about to get the bomb, we should pay closer attention?

I've studied many scenarios concerning the coming of Jesus, but I refuse to set my feet in concrete concerning any scheme, be it pre- trib, mid or post trib. They all leave questions to be answered. One thing I know: He is coming! I can't tell you the day or the hour, but I can say with confidence that He is coming. Why? Because He said so (Re. 3:11, 22;7, 22;12)!

Text: James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Peter in his second epistle (2 Pe. 3:1-10) tells us that in the last days there would be scoffers who would question if the promise of the Lord's coming was even true. He reminds us that God has reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, for this present world, just as He did for the world before the flood.

Unlike us, God lives in eternity. To Him, time is just a brief moment. A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. In other words, time as we know it doesn't enter into God's thinking. He is very patient, because He doesn't want to see any soul perish. Nevertheless, the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, and the very elements of this world will be burned up with fervent heat.

John 3;16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Text: James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

The Christians to whom James was writing were undoubtedly suffering. They were a minority in a country torn by war and social unrest. I don't think that Christians in the western world can began to contemplate what suffering is all about. We're a bit like the church of Ephesus whom Jesus condemned. Perhaps if we lived in Haiti, we would have a different perspective? Or how about China or a Moslem country?

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Text: James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

As an example of the prophet's sufferings, Jeremiah was placed in a miry pit up to his armpits. Daniel was placed in a den of lions and tradition says that Isaiah was sawn in two. Jesus said that if we are one of His, we can expect hardship and persecution. Actually, we've suffered so little suffering and persecution for being Christians in this country, it should cause us to wonder why not?

Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you [from their company], and shall reproach [you], and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man''s sake.

John 15:18 ¶ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.

Text: James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Endurance is the key. It has not been our lot to suffer for the Lord, but if circumstances demand it, we must be willing as we wait for His return.

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

1Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

I remember an old retired Pastor from years ago.. Every service, out of respect, he was allowed a few minutes to exhort and I remember this one line that he never failed to say, "If He doesn''t come today, I'll look for Him tomorrow."

We can't go wrong, thinking like that.
Somebody Has Said
"One thing about change hasn't changed: it still fascinates some people, frightens others, and provides a good living for a prophetic minority." -- Warren Wiersbe

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Don and Marie Spooner
About Him! Ministries

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