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A Mini-Series is a small subset of lessons from a major series which covers a particular subject or book. The class numbers will be in reference to the major series rather than the mini-series.
James 5:9 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:1 hr 5 mins 46 secs

Patience and the Plan of God; James 5:9


James 5:9 NASB "Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door."


In this conclusion of the epistle James returns to the major theme of this letter and that is the importance of patience and endurance in the facing of trial and testings in life. James begins verse 9 with a prohibition because apparently this was a problem with the congregation. This initial prohibition, "Do not complain," is ME STENEZETE [mh stenezete], a present active imperative second person plural of the verb STENAZO [stenazw]. This is an interesting choice of words. It means to sigh, to moan or to groan. It is used in Romans chapter 8 when the apostle Paul writes that the entire creation groans under the curse of sin. It has the idea in the New Testament when someone or something is in a state of suffering or adversity from which they desire escape or release. This isn't as strong a word as the English translators have chosen. "Complain" is too strong. It is a soft word and it deals with the typical response that come out of our mouth when we get hit with some outside pressure of adversity; it is a very mild word. What is the implication of that? It is that even the slightest negative insinuation about another person who we think (whether it is real or imagined, intentional or unintentional) is responsible for our troubles. This means that even the slightest negative response of blame on that person, the slightest sin of the tongue directed to that person, is just as bad as the worst. It cuts out any kind of response. James is saying don't even sigh in a negative way. This is a present active imperative, and the present imperative indicates that this is to be a characteristic in the believer's life, a habit pattern where he avoids this kind of behaviour. The second person plural means that it is addressed to every single believer. 


The doctrine of the sins of the tongue

1)  The sin nature produces three categories of personal sins: mental attitude sins, sins of the tongue, and overt sin. Psalm 34:13 NASB "Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit." Cf. James 3:6. The sin nature doesn't only produce sins, it also produces good works.

2)  Out of the list of the seven worst sins in Proverbs 6:16-19 three of them are sins of the tongue.

3)  Sins of the tongue are motivated by mental attitude sins such as pride, arrogance, bitterness and jealousy. Psalm 5:9 NASB "There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction {itself.} Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue."

4)  Unrestrained sins of the tongue are self-destructive and bring about triple-compound divine discipline. Matthew 7:1, 2.

5)  God protects the believer who is the target of the sins of the tongue. This is an extreme form of adversity under the category of people testing. Job 5:19.

6)  Control of the tongue or the absence of verbal sins is a sign of a mature believer who is living in the soul fortress.

7)  The sins of the tongue can destroy an entire congregation, so it is the duty of the pastor-teacher to warn the sheep against them. 2 Timothy 2:14-17. 


Believers are commanded to love one another.


John 13:34 NASB  "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." So the model is Christ's work on the cross. [35] "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."


John 15:12 NASB "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you."


John 15:17 NASB "This I command you, that you love one another."


Rom 13:8 NASB "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled {the} law."


Gal 5:13 NASB "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only {do} not {turn} your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."


Gal 6:2 NASB "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."


Eph 4:2 NASB "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love."


1 Pet 1:22 NASB "Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart."


1 Thess 3:12 NASB "and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also {do} for you."


1 Thess 4:9 NASB "Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for {anyone} to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another."


1 John 3:11 NASB "For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."


1 John 3:23 NASB "This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us."


1 John 4:7 NASB "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."


1 John 4:11 NASB "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. [12] No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."


2 John 1:5 NASB "Now I ask you, lady, not as though {I were} writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another."


This is what we call impersonal love, which means we don't have top know the person, we do not have to have a personal relationship with them in order to love them. We will always do what is best and what is in their best interests because we have objectivity in our souls from doctrine. That is why doctrinal orientation must precede impersonal love for all mankind. This is also why grace orientation must precede impersonal love for all mankind. As part of impersonal love we must develop and attitude of helping or serving one another.


Gal 5:13 NASB "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only {do} not {turn} your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."


1 Cor 12:25 NASB "so that there may be no division in the body, but {that} the members may have the same care for one another."


Gal 6:2 NASB "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."


This demands basic grace orientation. If you don't understand grace you can't love because grace means that God did everything for us, not seeking anything in return. There was no selfish motive, He did it all on the basis of who he is and His own character. To be able to love anyone or have any capacity for love you have to have a basic grace orientation which brings in humility, both genuine humility and enforced humility and a relaxed mental attitude. Remember there are four aspects to grace orientation. First, you have to realize that everything we do and have is due to who God is and what Christ has done for us. The second aspect of grace orientation is humility, including both genuine and enforced humility which is authority orientation. If you do not understand authority and the authority of God you will never go anywhere in the spiritual life. The next dimension to grace orientation is a relaxed mental attitude, so that when people say things or do things, no matter how obnoxious they may be, no matter how insulting it is, no matter how it hurts your feelings, you now have the ability to simply relax and let God deal with it. The fourth aspect is mastery of the details of life, which means whether we have them or not they are not the source of our happiness, stability or tranquillity. It is our relationship with the Lord.


Rom 12:10 NASB "{Be} devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."


Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation."


Phil 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;


1 Pet 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to {your} elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.


This brings in another of the stress-busters, which is impersonal or unconditional love for one another. First we build it with that basic building block of grace orientation. Then as you advance to a personal sense of eternal destiny you can develop, as you are motivated by personal love for God, impersonal or unconditional love for all mankind. This means that you can now exercise true forgiveness towards those who offend you. We are to exercise a true forgiveness which means we forgive and we don't hold that against them. That doesn't mean that you put yourself in a situation that you can be taken advantage of, if that is the situation.


John 13:14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." This was a visual representation of forgiveness.


Eph 4:32 NASB "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."


Col 3:13 NASB "bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you."


We are to have enough doctrine in our soul to be able to help those in our periphery to evaluate situations and apply doctrine.

We are to say and do things which promote an environment of spiritual growth in others.


Romans 14:19 NASB "So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another."


Rom 15:5 NASB "Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus."


1 Thess 4:18 NASB "Therefore comfort one another with these words."


We are to pray for one another.


James 5:16 NASB "Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." That is not public confession of sins; "one another" is just those believers in your periphery, and here it involves believers you have offended and simply going to them and saying you have screwed up, sorry I did that—apology.


As part of our expression of impersonal love we are to be hospitable. We are to open our hearts and home to other believers. It doesn't mean that every time someone comes through town that you should be the one to put them up but that there should be hospitality on the part of believers to one another.


1 Pet 4:9 NASB "Be hospitable to one another without complaint."


So we are to have an openness in our lives to other believers.