by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 76 March 17, 1999 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:Believers are NOT to groan about what their fellow believers do that block their agendas.
Introduction:Last week we looked at the issue of the nearness of the coming of the Lord. We saw that nearness must be technically understood in view of God's perspective as given in the Scriptures--that man's life is just a vapour and that a 1,000 years is as a day--and that the biblical issue is the impact that expectation makes upon the thinking and actions of the believer. IF he allows the thinking of the ungodly [the notions that the passing of much time means that the promise is a myth, and that we are free to pursue our own lusts] to penetrate his mind, he WILL begin to act like the ungodly. The biblical promise of nearness is not to be taken in the human sense of temporal proximity; it is to be taken in the human sense of imprecise expectancy--not knowing when exactly, but expecting at any time. This is most clearly taught by Jesus in Matthew 25:14 and following.
This evening we are going to look into James' demand that we cease "groaning" about each other in view of his doctrine of imminency.
I. The Primary Significance of Imminency.
A. NOT temporal proximity.
B. RATHER inevitability.
II. James' Application.
A. The Judge stands before the doors.
1. The phrase "before the doors" is a metaphor of physical proximity to indicate inescapable inevitability.
2. The attribution of the concept "Judge" to the Lord brings in the issue of both evaluation and execution of the consequences of the evaluation.
B. The consequential instruction...
1. The command.
a. Stop the on-going practice of "groaning against" a brother.
1) The contextual limitations of this demand...
a) There are texts of the New Testament where "groaning" is legitimate.
i) 2 Corinthians 5:2,4 -- where the longing for the promise is the cause.
ii) Hebrews 13:17 -- where the faulty behavior of the brethren is the cause.
b) There are texts where not only is "groaning" legitimate, but further action must be taken...Matthew 18.
c) This context has to do with the competition that exists between brethren over non-biblical agenda issues.
2) The contextual significance of this demand...
a) One MUST begin to recognize the difference between what he wants as opposed to the divine agenda.
b) One MUST stop seeking his own agenda in competition with his brother.
2. The warning.
a. The presence of the Judge.
1) The Judge disallows anyone to take His place.
a) This means that it is HIS decision that must be executed.
b) This does NOT mean that believers are forbidden to make the decision(s) that are required for that obedience.
2) The Judge will render judgment according to the judgments executed by those who come under His judgment (2:13).