April 8, 2019

‘First Responder’ has sort of become a buzz word in the last couple of years. When I grew up we just called these people policeman, firemen, or a concerned helpful citizen.  Now a first responder is a person with specialized training who is among the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency, such as an accident, natural disaster, or terrorist attack. First responders typically include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters, rescuers, and other trained members of organizations connected with this type of work

James has been talking about a First Responder which he calls Real faith. Real faith responds to what is going on around it because Real faith is faith in action. We will close out the Book of James and our look at Real faith by looking at Real faith’s first response in each of the following situations.

James 5:13 (NLT) — 13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.

In a crisis situation Real faith’s first response is to pray, to talk to the one who is able to do something about the crisis. In regards to happiness the first response of Real faith is to praise the Lord. In both situations the first response of Real faith is to go to the Lord. I guess that should always be our ‘first response’. After all didn’t Jesus say, “Come to me…” Matthew 11:28.

James 5:14–15 (NLT) — 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

In sickness Real faith responses by going to the elders whose first response is to go to the Lord. Do you get the idea that the Lord should always be our ‘first response’? In regards to committed sin Real faith first responds with confession. According to these verses the Lord then responds with healing and forgiveness. Don’t you just love these responses? When you plant a response you harvest a response. Plant a good response.

James 5:16 (NLT) — 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Unconfessed sin can be a barrier which prevents a person from being healed. Life is all about relationships. A good relationship is more important to the Lord than a physical healing. A prayer is powerful because it is prayed to the All Powerful One! Prayer doesn’t heal, doctors don’t heal, only God heals. John 5:14 (NLT) — 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” Keep praying and don’t give up. And remember you are righteous because of the blood of Jesus shed for you on the cross.

James 5:17 (NLT) — 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!

We can have as close a relationship to God as Elijah had. In fact we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! The key to Elijah’s prayer was that he was praying the will of the Lord. God had told the people if they served idols he would withhold rain from them until they repented and turned back to him.
Deuteronomy 11:16–17 (NLT) — 16 “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods. 17 If you do, the Lord’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the Lord is giving you.John 15:7 (NLT) — 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!

Stay in the Bible and pray the word. As you are reading and some of the words seem to jump out at you be first responder by stopping and meditating on them and praying them.

James 5:19–20 (NLT) — 19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

This definitely is a first responding situation for Real faith. There can be no greater emergency situation than to rescue someone from wandering from the truth.

And so the book of James ends just as it started, with Action. But that is what Real faith is.

Be Inspired Hilltop!