As promised we will be starting a new series here at COCT. I will be going step by step through my sermon preparation here on the blog. Hopefully some of you will learn a few things that will help in your personal study. Additionally, my site stats dont lie; I get quite a few hits on Saturdays and the most hits are on sermons that I have posted. This may be due to the fact that people have the time to read them on the weekends, but my guess (since the numbers are pretty convincing) is there may be a little bit of plagerism going on. This series may not put a stop to that, but maybe it will lead to exegetically based plagerism. We will be studying together James 5:12.
As I am preparing to preach a passage the first thing that I do is read over the text in English praying my way through the passage. This step usually begins either late Sunday night, or early Monday morning. In this step I simply try to take the passage in, and let the Holy Spirit use it in my life. During this time I read through the passage that I will be preaching on, as well as immediate and greater context. I try my best not to be thinking about outlines or commentaries in this step. I try mainly to think about Jesus and what I can learn from this text to be more like Him. I must admit that this step often leads to much convitction, and it is not all that unusual that my time concludes with a prayer of repentance for unholy thoughts and desires. All in all I usually spend about a half hour to an hour on this step. Here is the text of James chapter 5 (remember our passage for this series is James 5:12):
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you. Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 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. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.