Be Patient Until the Coming of the Lord – Part 1: Prayer & Works

Be Patient Until the Coming of the Lord – Part 1: Prayer & Works


James 5:7-11 ESV  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.  (8)  You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  (9)  Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.  (10)  As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  (11)  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.

  • I want us to consider, before diving into the rest of these verse, I want us to consider just verse 7 for a moment:

James 5:7 ESV  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.

  • Be patient until the coming of the Lord…
    • Be patient until the coming of the Lord…
      • What does that mean and what does it look like.
      • Because to some patience is almost a bad word…
        • A word we that carries around a lot of negative connotation…
          •  Because it is a word that is thrown at us as children to basically mean “Stop whining about being bored”.
          • “Are we there yet?” “No! Be patient!”
          • “When are we going to the park… you said we were going to the park” “Stop nagging me kid! Be patient”.
            • Honestly to me, as someone who HATES boredom and who’s mind is going a million miles a minute… I don’t like the word “Patience” because deep down inside it feels synonymous with boredom…
            • Like, church… there are people who spend thousands of dollars on fishing gear so they can go out and be bored for hours on end… and then maybe spend 5 minutes brining in fish…
              • I DON’T GET IT! They call it a hobby, I call it torture…
          • But is that what Biblical patience is? Is it the ability to wait without being bored… or without complaining of boredom?
      • Others seem to think patience is synonymous with passivity.
        • “Why haven’t you gotten a job yet?” “Well I am just being patient… you know… waiting for the right thing to come along… waiting on the Lord…”
          • “What?! No!” That’s not patience, that’s laziness… you are begging for money from others because you “can’t find a job” but you are not actually looking for a job…
      • No I don’t think Biblical patience is “sit around and do nothing until God does something.
        • And I don’t think Biblical patience is “Don’t complain about being bored”… I think it is something far different…
    • You see James knows that Patience can be misinterpreted, so he is kind enough to give us an example of the kind of patience he is talking about.

James 5:7-8 ESV  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.

  • We are supposed to be patient like a farmer is supposed to be patient for the rains and the harvest.
    • Be patient until the coming of the Lord like a farmer is patient for rains and the harvest…
  • Be Patient Until the Coming of the Lord.
    • Now I have four points for this series, so I am going to break it up into two sermons…
    • But let me tell you what these four points are so you know where we are going this morning and next week:
      • Point One – In Patience, Pray Down Favor
      • Point Two – In Patience, Do Work
      • Point Three – In Patience, Avoid Bickering
      • Point Four – In Patience, Remain Steadfast
  • And since we are going to start with praying down favor, let’s start by praying down favor over tis message, amen?
  • So, church… we all know that the Lord is coming back, amen?
    • We know that one day he is going to gather His church, the living and the dead, and we will join with him in glory, amen?!
      • And we know that that day is coming soon, amen?!
        • The Lord’s return is sooner today then it was when James wrote this letter.
          • The Lord’s return is sooner than it was yesterday.
          • The Lord’s return will be sooner tomorrow than it is today.
            • THE LORD IS COMING SOON.
  • But we also know that soon is a relative world…
    • He may not come this year.
      • He may not come next year.
        • He may not come this generation.
          • Now I tend to believe that I will see the coming of the Lord before I die, but I also know that many saints before me have believed that and been wrong.
            • So even if the Lord tarry’s and does not come in my lifetime, I still wait patiently and look forward to His return.
              • And the reality is church, until His return, we must live out my life in this present world.
              • And this present world is a world full of pain, and suffering, and persecution, and trials, and turmoil…
          • The enemy, his minions, the world, and our sin has done such a number on this world… So much so that our hearts cry out “Maranatha Lord Come Quickly”…
          • But we are called, through the suffering, and trials, and persecution… we are called to be patient… Like a farmer is patient for the rains and the harvest… let’s talk about that this morning…
  • Point one this morning: In Patience, Pray down favor.

Point One – In Patience, Pray down Favor

James 5:7 ESV  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 know, I find it interesting, but I had brother Jodi on my heart this week, and I reached out to him and asked him how I could pray for him.
    • Now for those of you who don’t know, Jodi is a farmer here in Iowa… you would think as an Iowa church we would have more farmers… but Jodi is our resident farm expert.
      • When I asked him what to pray for, Jodi said “pray for rain, the corn could really use it”.
    • You know the funny thing about rain is… you can’t control it… it is either going to rain, or it isn’t… you can’t control it, but God can!
      • And God can decide weather to send us a favorable harvest and send down lots of rain…
      • Or he can say “Nope, no rain for you”.
    • And we can’t control God, but we certainly can petition God can’t we? We certainly can pray for favor.
  • Later this past week, after talking to Jodi, I sat down to write my sermon… and wouldn’t you know it, it is all about farming, waiting for the harvest and waiting for rain.
    • Now Jodi did not know all of that, but I wanted an expert opinion… I asked “Is there anything you can do to speed up a harvest… to make a harvest come in faster”.
    • “Like if you plant corn in may, is there anything you can do to make it come up faster… to make it be ready to harvest in July instead of September or October?”
      • He said there is no way to speed up the harvest… even if you plant earlier it is not guaranteed to come up faster…
      • So I asked him “Once it is planted, there is nothing you can do but be patient”.
    • He said “Actually there are some things to do… it won’t speed up the harvest… but there are things you can do”.
      • “Do tell, what should you be doing between planting and harvesting?”
    • Jodi said “Well, you should sit around anxiously… wringing your hands… worried that the harvest won’t come in”… NO! He didn’t say that.
    • He said “After you plant the crop you should spend every waking moment watching Netflix and Disney plus, and sports on the weekends”… wait… no that’s not what he said either…
    • What he actually did was he gave me a small list of things that farmers do between planting and harvesting… and one of the things on that list was “Pray for rain”.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  (7)  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  • Don’t be anxious about anything… the harvest WILL come in… Jesus WILL come back… but in the meantime we can still do something while patiently waiting… we can pray with thanksgiving… letting our request be known to God.
    • On Tuesday Jodi asked for prayer for rain… and on Wednesday morning it was pouring rain…
      • I texted him “Your welcome” because I think I am funny… but really I can’t take credit, because I don’t control the rain… God does… but at the same time, as Jodi pointed out “The prayer of a righteous man avaliath much”… did you know that verse is from James… and it is about Elijah… it is about Elijah praying for RAIN!

James 5:16-18 NKJV  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  (17)  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  (18)  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

  • Elijah prayed for 3 and a half years that it would not rain, and it did not rain… then he prayed that it would rain, and it rained and the earth produced it’s harvest… the prayer of a righteous man avaliath much!
  • As a Christian, not only can you, but you SHOULD pray for favor.
    • We are in a world full of suffering and pain… But Jesus says pray “God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
      • Well in heaven there is no suffering.
      • In heaven there is no trials.
      • In heaven there is no tribulations.
      • In heaven there is no persecution.
          • No more pain, no more sorry, on more financial stress or worries, no more sickness, no more tears…
          • I pray for favor, as we wait for you… favor in our jobs, in our lives, in our finances, in our health, in our relationships, and most of all, favor in our faith that we would grow to be more like you.
      • Now praying this way does not ignore the fact that Satan is still real, sin is still real, the consequences of sin is still real…
      • We are not unaware of the workings of the evil one… but we should still fervently desire God’s will in earth as it is in heaven… we should still seek His favor, even as the enemy tries to destroy it.
  • Pray for rain church!
    • But I want to present something else to you as we pray for favor…
      • You see the funny thing about praying for rain is… the rain feeds the weeds just as much as it feeds the harvest.
        • What then, do we not pray for rain because it will bless those who persecute us… of course not… in fact, we pray all the more…

Romans 12:14 ESV  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

  • Now on the surface, this seems like one of the most selfless verses in the Bible… but honestly, it is self serving too.
    • Because if I pray that the weeds would be watered, I also know that the crop will be watered…
    • This is the concept that God was teaching the Israelites during their 40 year exile in Babylon…
      • You know that verse Jeremiah 29:11?

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

  • You are going to be stuck in exile for 70 years… but be patient, God has good plans for you after that…
    • But that is not what I want to preach on… the verse I want to show you is four verses before this one… it is this shocking command from God… where God says “You are to be captive in Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar… so therefore pray for blessings upon Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar”.

Jeremiah 29:7 ESV  But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

  • God says “Pray favor over the place you are exiled, for in it’s welfare you find welfare”.
    • Your stuck in prison, ok, Father let this be the best prison that has ever existed… father bring the rain.
    • Your stuck in a job with a hostile work environment and grumpy boss “Father I pray that my boss and coworkers would be blessed, bring this company and all who are in it favor… Father bring the rain.
    • You are stuck in Indiana away from your friends and family at a church where the only one worth his salt is the youth pastor… “Father bless this city, and this job, and bless the pastor of this church that he may find favor, because this is my church! Father bring the rain!”
      • Ok, that was oddly specific one… but they know what I am talking about…
  • Whatever situation you find yourself in… even if it is a bad situation… pray favor… because the same rain that waters the weeds waters the harvest. Father bring the rain!
    • Now this brings me to point two… in Patience, do Work!

Point Two – In Patience, Do Work

James 5:7-8 ESV  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.  (8)  You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

  • James is a book about ACTION. It is a book about good WORKS… so I think it is fitting that James uses a farmer when talking about patience… because there is still a job to do between planting and harvesting…
    • In fact James is referencing the book of Deuteronomy here. You see James says the farmer must wait for the early and late rains… this is what Deuteronomy says:

Deuteronomy 11:13-15 ESV  “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,  (14)  he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil.  (15)  And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full.

  • The early and late rains are NOT promised without condition.
    • They are NOT a guarantee.
      • In fact, even with that rain on Tuesday, Eastern Iowa is still in what the National government calls a sever drought…
      • Sometimes it just doesn’t rain… why?
        • Well according to Deuteronomy as far as God’s people are concerned, it only rains when you obey the commandments of God.
        • So if we, as God’s people, we who KNOW GOD and know what we ought to do… if we do not do it, James says it is sin… but not only that, it may cause a drought… a drying up of God’s favor, a drying up of God’s blessings… we must DO THE WORK of the gospel, or else we may find ourselves all dried up.
  • What work must we do, well there are three glaring commands that Jesus gives us:

Mark 12:28-31 ESV  And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  (29)  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  (30)  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  (31)  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

  • So there is two commands from Jesus: Love God, and Love others… what is the third command that should dictate our lives?

Matthew 28:19-20 ESV  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  (20)  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • Here is the instructions to all Christians… Love God with all your heart… the first 4 of the 10 commandments are wrapped up into that law… Love God with all of who you are… Love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.
    • 1st Commandment: God is the only God, if you are worshiping a false God, you are not loving God.
    • 2nd Commandment: Make no false idols… if you are making false idols to worship instead of or in addition to God, you are not loving God with ALL of yourself.
    • 3rd Commandment: Don’t take God’s name in vain: if you are using God’s name as a swear word, or treating the Character of God poorly, are you really loving Him?
    • 4th Commandment: Keep the Sabbath day Holy… is it so much to ask that one day a week be set aside as holy unto God? You say you love Him but you can’t give Him a seventh of your week?
  • So we love God with all our heart… but we also love our neighbor as ourself… think of the other commandments, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal… How can you be loving your neighbor if you are sleeping with their wife, stealing their things, and then plotting to murder them?
    • BUT MORE OVER… How can you love your neighbor if you don’t want them to go to heaven? That is where the great commission is.
    • The great commission is GO!
      • Go and make disciples.
    • Not “Stay and wait for Jesus”
    • No! it is “Go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them”
      • Yes we are patiently awaiting our Lord Jesus.
      • Yes we are enduring suffering of this present Lord.
      • NO we don’t just get to sit around and do nothing!
  • When I asked Jodi “What do you do between planting and harvest” other than praying for rain he said “You can put down more fertilizer, work on controlling the bugs, and try to take care of some weeds… but most of all, you must get prepared for the harvest!”
    • In fact, to quote him exactly he said “Get ready for the harvest, that’s the big one”.
  • Did you know the Bible calls the Rapture a harvest? If you went through Revelation with us, you know that… When Jesus gathers His church both living and dead, it is called a great harvest.
      • Are you leading people to Jesus?
      • Preaching the Gospel?
      • Praying for people’s salvation?
      • Inviting people to church?
      • Discipling others?
      • Being discipled?
        • Is the Kingdom of God on earth accomplishing more since you joined it… or are you just a bump on the log waiting for Jesus to come back?
  • Guy’s we have work to do, we have to do it…
    • And I know some of you are tired… and weary… and hurting…
      • But the harvest is coming one way or another… are you getting prepared for it… or will it catch you by surprised.
  • In patience, church, do work… get yourself ready for the harvest.


  • I want to close with this… unlike a corn harvest, the harvest of Christ may in fact be able to be speed up, in one way and one way only… leading people to Jesus and preaching the Gospel to all the world.

2 Peter 3:9-13 ESV  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  (10)  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.  (11)  Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,  (12)  waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!  (13)  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

  • Did you catch verse 12? Waiting for and HASTENING the coming of the day of God…
    • What can we do to Hasten the day of God? What can we do to hasten the return of Christ?
      • Well, we know that Christ will not return until the Gospel is preached in the whole world…
      • So, we can preach the Gospel…
        • It is why, ultimately, we are sending Rebecca to Japan… and it is why we preach the Gospel every Sunday here:
  • Gospel Call
  • Listen, I don’t know where you are at in life… if you are in a season of suffering, or a season of abundance… but I want to pray favor and patience for you…
    • Bless the church, end with Aaronic Benediction


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