Until the Lord ComesRev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., February 19, 2017
Part of the James series.
You could just about ask any Christian what his or her favorite Biblical subject is, and the answer would likely be the Second Coming of Christ. I can still remember the chills that would run down my spine as a young believer whenever our pastor would announce that he was preaching on this beloved topic. Just reading about this truth in the Word, hearing my pastor peach about it with passion and excitement, and imagining what it would be like to witness our Lord’s return seemed to make my steps much lighter.
Now, let’s flip the coin over, so to speak. If our favorite topic is the return of Jesus, then what is our least favorite one? Many of us might answer immediately with the word patience, or perhaps, endurance. The first subject gets us thinking about our deliverance from the trials and adversities and evils of this lost world. The second prompts unpleasant thoughts of struggle and long periods of waiting in the midst of such trials. The two seem diametrically opposed. I think of that warning we often give to one another: be very careful about asking the Lord to teach you patience! For the development of this virtue implies that we must endure and wait, often through very unpleasant circumstances.
But in James 5:7-8 we encounter something very interesting. The brother of our Lord links these two seemingly opposite subjects together. You can see this in the first few words of verse 7—“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.” By doing this, James is teaching us that these two subjects belong together in the life of Christ’s disciples. Jesus is certainly “coming.” Therefore, we must all “be patient.”
On Sunday, we will explore more fully this connection between the promise of our Lord’s return, and the necessity of patient endurance.
In the meantime, here’s a suggestion for you to get you ready for the message. See how many references to the Lord’s Second Advent you can find in the New Testament. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the answer! Then, see how many references to patience, or endurance, or longsuffering you can locate.
7Be 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. 8Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11Behold, 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. (KJV)