In this powerful sermon, Jonathan Youssef reveals how to live in a world fraught with uncertainty. Preaching from the book of James, Jonathan reminds us that while we may live in some of the most uncertain of days, we worship a sovereign God who is good.
Hello, my friends today. You’re gonna have a special treat and a special message from my son, Jonathan, Michael use if he’s going to talk about living in the world of uncertainty. While we have confidence, uncertainty in the Lord. You don’t want to miss this message and you really want to download it even after you hear it because it’s gonna continue to bless you throughout the week. God bless. What has been your reaction to the lie that we are in control of our own lives coming up next church, gonna sing all together? Let me hear you christ foundation the rock shake. Never been more. I put my faith in jesus. Yes, he’s there. Let me down shout it out. Mhm You are see I’m gonna sing this in confidence and remembering that truth that the Lord doesn’t fail. He can’t be defeated to sing this together. The rain can win blew. My house was spilt on you say you, I’m gonna make it rains. Came yeah, came sick. I’m going to make rock rock on me. Just everything. Mhm Mhm Sure, you know, the church praise the Lord most days have uncertainty these days seem to be covered in them. So the question is, how do we live in uncertain days? Well, thankfully, we don’t have to watch the news for answers. It’s here in the letter from James. These last sections can sound very disjointed and disconnected as if James is just writing thoughts down on paper and it certainly can feel like that. I think there is some threads that hold this together and it’s my job to navigate us through these verses. So what is it that James wants us to know about this life? And and how does he say we are to live it first. James wants us to know that life is uncertain. As we noted at the beginning, That’s not necessarily our problem today. We were very uh we’re very hyper aware that there’s uncertainty. But here’s my question to you, what has been your response? Your reaction to all of the uncertainty that we have faced this year? Has it driven you to desire more control? Or less control over your life and your circumstances? Has it given you a perspective that life is short? Or has it made you live as if you are invincible? Have the events and the uncertainty made you more aware of the injustice in our world. Have the events and uncertainty revealed the nature of suffering in general, across all people. Because these are the things that James is pointing out in his letter, we are we are just being confronted with them in a greater way. So what has been your reaction to that lack of control you now have? Because James is telling his readers to stop buying into the lie that we are in control of our own lives, in the sense that we go and we make our plans and and and we presume that everything will go as we planned or or as we anticipate it will Verse 13. Now listen you who say today or tomorrow, we will go to the city will spend a year there carry on business and make money. Why do you not even know what will happen? You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. Listen, he’s not saying do not make plans. He’s not saying stay at home and and live in fear. He’s saying the problem is that in our planning we often forget that life is uncertain. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We act like we can plan our lives when we don’t even have control over the next few minutes. We put ourselves in the driver’s seat when we live that presumptive life. Then James goes further verse 14, What is your life? What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Look at how short your life is. Not only are our lives unpredictable, there are also short. How many of you can name your great great grandparents? That’s only four generations. It’s not a tremendously long amount of time. The mist that appears and then just like that it vanishes. I’ll ask you again, have the events and and the uncertainty given you a perspective that life is short or has it made you live as if you are invincible. At this point, we want to say, ouch, James uh ease up brother. Some of us are a little fragile, but James wants us not to live in denial, but to face reality, He continues on in Chapter five with another. Now listen, now listen, you rich people, we’ve been wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted and moths have eaten your clothes, your gold and silver are corroded, their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look, the wages you failed to pay, the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self indulgence. You have fattened yourself in the day of slaughter, you have condemned and murdered innocent men who are not opposing you. Here we run into an issue, Well, we actually run into a lot of issues, but here we run into a particular issue and here’s the issue is James talking to the non christian outside world when he addresses these people. And I say that because a lot of the commentaries disagree on, on who he’s talking to hear. Some argue that there’s reason to believe that he’s talking to the outside world and that in verse seven, he hammers on the injustices of the rich over the poor and then he says a transition of be patient, therefore brothers, but I think it would be unwise to leave it that way and I agree with those who who think it’s for everyone because James wrote this letter to all the churches and there most certainly would have been wealthy people in those churches. And because there are injustices in our world that we are very well aware of. And just because we just as we can be guilty of wanting control in our lives, as in the previous section that he just went through. We can be guilty of injustice towards other. We can use money as our savior. It gives us a false sense of self sufficiency, jesus says, do not lay up for yourselves, treasures on earth that can be destroyed by moth and rust, but store up treasures in heaven. That moth and rust cannot destroy. Not only is James saying not to let your money and your possessions possess you. He’s also highlighting the injustices in this life. Yet another element leading to uncertainty in this life. He tells those who are wealthy, the guilt that comes with carrying out injustice which stems from that hunger and that desire for wealth and possessions. And so you take advantage of the workers. He’s also showing us that this world is full of injustice. So let me ask you again, have the events and the uncertainty of this year, made you more aware of the injustice of our world. And now I might add of your own carrying out of injustice and that could apply to any area of life, Then verses 7-20. James looks at suffering in general and sickness and and there’s no denying in the in this letter of James that there’s no hint that we will escape the troubles in life once we’ve become a follower of Christ. right? Consider it pure joy my brothers. When you experience trials of many kinds. He’s not saying ah brothers, there will be no trials of any kinds now that you put your trust in christ. That’s just not true. But what we’ve been given is a new lens through which we can see life and we can understand the trials that come that we face. So what do we do then? Now we know we know that these are realities. What do we do? How do we live in this uncertain short and difficult life? This is the most happy and upbeat sermon I’ve ever done. How good it is that we get to remember good things one. James wants us to remember who is sovereign. We’ve already seen that. James says that this life is uncertain and short. We can make plans, but but we really have no idea what’s going to happen even a few minutes from now, how shall we live then? Should we go with the flow and and and refuse to make plans? No James says here is what we should do in chapter four verse 15. He says. Instead, you ought to say if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that again. James is not against planning. But James says that our planning should always realize that God may have other plans. He’s not saying that we should just tack on this pious sounding phrase to whatever we say all of the Lord wills. No no no it’s bigger than that. He’s asking us to acknowledge our limitations, to acknowledge our ignorance, to acknowledge our frailty, to acknowledge our dependence. And that God has the ultimate say about what’s going to happen in our lives. We can trust God because he’s good and he is sovereign. All of us should have this heart attitude. It’s only when we comprehend the sovereignty and goodness of God that will be able to handle the things we cannot control. It is only when we comprehend the sovereignty and goodness of God that will be able to handle the things we cannot control. Because behind the seeming randomness of life is a God who is in control. Even when we are not we are part of an eternal story that we do not control. Let’s never think that we control the the wholeness of it. Let us trust him in the everyday details of our lives because he knows what he is doing. Mm. That’s the first way we can handle uncertain times. Trust God because our days are not uncertain to him. Second trust God’s justice patiently versus 7 to 9 of chapter five. And I’m gonna read from the E. S. V. 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 also be patient establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another. Brothers so that you may not be judged. Behold the judges standing at the door. We’ve already established that life is full of injustice. How can we put up with all the oppression and inequity in our lives? It’s still a question that we wrestle with today. We live in a world of injustice and James has just talked about, finished talking about the way that the day laborers are exploited by the bridge. It’s wrong and James is very clear and speaks very clearly about it. James gives us one of the most powerful resources that have helped some of the most oppressed groups in the world to not only survive but to live with hope. What is it is the justice of God. God will bring justice for the oppressed. He will stand against the oppressor, he will right all wrongs. Every case of injustice will eventually be brought into his courtroom where justice will finally and completely be done. If you’re looking for a central strategy against bitterness in your heart. It is to rest in the truth that God will see that justice is done. But let that still be a warning to you Romans. Chapter 12 tells us never to avenge ourselves, but leave it to God vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord. For us to the contrary. If your enemy is hungry, feed him if thirsty give him something to drink for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good suffering requires patience, patience for final judgment, final justice, patience for all suffering in life. A patience with one another. Which James makes a particular point of when he says in verse nine, Do not grumble against one another brothers, so that you may not be judged. And he gives us the the imagery of job and and and the profits that given us illustrations of patience and steadfastness. And it always makes me think of hebrews. Chapter 11 of all the by faith people listed out. And then the author of hebrews goes on to say, and what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon. Barack, Samson jep to of David and Samuel and the prophets who through faith conquered kingdoms and forced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions quenched the mighty in war. Put army foreign armies to flight and some of the ones we don’t hear about as much women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release so that they may rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned. They were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword, they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated of whom the world was not worthy, wandering about in deserts and mountains and in dens and caves of the earth and all these though commended through their faith did not receive what was promised. They were steadfast and patient because they knew and they trusted in the character of God. Listen, job was not clued into the conversation that was taking place between God and satan. He didn’t know all that was taking place that the fact that that satan actually had no real power other than what was allowed him by God. But Job knew the character of God and he trusted in the character of God. If we are going to grow in spiritual maturity as James wants us to then we need to grow in our knowledge of God’s character. And then in verse 12, James gives this very direct statement about not swearing by heaven or earth, let your yes be yes and your no be no. And it feels a little bit misplaced. But essentially just because times are uncertain just because there are great injustices that are going on in our world. It is not an excuse for the believers to lack integrity, let your word be your word be people of integrity when everyone else is doing and saying whatever it takes to get by for that is the christ like model and finally commit to your community. These last verses are obviously a call to the christian community to pray for to love And to support one another. And what a great ending to the reminder of the importance of our church community. The vital role we play in one another’s lives. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray, is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises anyone among you. Sick call the elders to pray and anoint with oil. Is anyone of you? Anyone among you wandering from the truth, go after them. We need to be praying for one another. Days like today’s are beyond uncertain. What greater need could we have than the fellowship and the community of people whose lives have been transformed by the grace of God than the lives of people who understand and have made a commitment to christ and his church because we cannot grow in spiritual maturity on our own. We have to be supporting one another. We need to be confessing our sins to one another. We need to be holding one another accountable. Otherwise we will look like the rest of the world grasping at straws trying to control the uncontrollable, having an incorrect view of our longevity contributing to injustice. Listen to these words from Justin martyr and early church theologian and a letter written to emperor antonius pious, we formerly rejoiced in unclean nous of life, but now love only chastity before we used the magic arts, but now we dedicate ourselves to the true and un begotten god before we loved money and possessions more than anything. But now we share what we have and to everyone who is in need before we hated one another and killed one another and would not eat with those of another race. But now since the manifestation of christ, we have come to a common life and pray for our enemies and try to win over those who hate us without just cause. We may live among dangerous enemies and we may live in some of the most uncertain of days. But we worship a sovereign god whose character is good. We worship a god who works out his perfect justice in his timing. We worship a god of grace who not only provided himself as a sacrifice, which atones for our sins, but he has also provided for us. A community in which we can grow and learn more about this sovereign gracious god of truth and justice. A community where we are loved, cared for and prayed for because we are loved by him. So let’s rejoice in that There’s a battle raging as never before for the hearts and minds of the next generation. Only 18% of millennials find Christianity relevant to their lives a vital part of our vision. 2025. Initiative is reaching the next generation with biblical truth. Leading the way launched a podcast to reach the next generation. Candid conversations with Jonathan yussef. Dr Yousef’s youngest son addresses the deepest questions and needs of the next generation, visit L T W dot org slash candid to subscribe as the eyes of the world focus on the latest flood of calamities. The most urgent may not be the most visible to the average person. For decades we have seen an erosion of christian values but today we are experiencing a world gone mad. Christ followers are being edged out of cultural and political influence. Cultural norms are shifting. What can we do in a world hostile to Christianity. Dr yusef presents a seven part plan providing practical steps on how to be a godly influence in our society and how to take a stand for our faith in a culture aggressively opposed to the truth of christ. You can read how to be a champion for truth and biblical principles. You can purchase your copy of hope for this present crisis from Leading the way, find hope and encouragement within the pages of this practical guide, contact us today to purchase hope for this present crisis, Get a copy of this timely book today. Yeah, check out Leading the ways smartphone app with the Leading the Way app. You can watch recent episodes of Leading the way, listen to sermon series as well as read special daily devotionals written by Dr Yousef, you can even watch leading the way live events on your mobile device. Just search for leading the way on your Apple android or amazon fire device to download the app today passionately proclaiming uncompromising truth. Leading the way with Dr Michael Yousef thanks you for your faithful support through your continued prayers and gifts. Yeah, Grace, that word has been used and abused has become a word to mean whatever the person wants it. To mean. This series of messages is going to be challenging to every one of us. You will see how the grace of our Lord overrules even the most blatant failure. You can learn the fresh how to cherish the grace of our Lord, jesus, christ instead of wallowing in your pain and guilt. Next week on leading the way.