Tuesday, May 05, 2009

James 5:19-20


The last two verses of James are so powerful to me. It's all about restoration and recovery! James sets up the blueprint for GOD'S RESCUE SQUAD: 19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 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.

The probability of straying from the truth is anticipated here. We must start here. People will stray. In fact, it may be better to start from your own heart. You have the capacity to do almost anything, any time, anywhere! We must not be surprised when a believer strays from the truth! It will usually come in one of two flavors: COMMISSION-Playing God! OMISSION-Leaving God out!

This straying might be based upon an opinion-opinions are usually man-made add-ons. Be careful of embracing another's opinions. Straying might be based upon specialists-experts and gurus and bible teachers that seem right. Or, this straying might be based upon dilution-watered-down.

Along with the probability of straying, there is the possibility of saving that person for the sake of Jesus and His kingdom. If one strays and one turns him back, he will actually be saving his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. I am reminded of Galatians 6:1: 1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load.

Restoration is encouraged by those who are spiritual. Restoration is not a popular theme throughout the churches; shooting the wounded is more like it. Yet restoration is at the very core of salvation. It's almost like we must sneak salvation back into the churches.

NOTE an effective progression here might be to express the balance of compassion for people and commitment to truth. COMPASSION FOR PEOPLE is experienced when you: 1. Go to him only after you look at yourself (Gal 6:1, 7). 2. Go to him personally-(Matthew 18:15). 3. Go to him for what's best for him/her. The word restore has to do with mending that which is broken or putting something back that was out of joint.

NOTE it is not "rebuke" him or "reject" him, but restore such a one. Restoring a brother or sister is like bringing back to them the practical application of salvation to their souls. It's being a friend. A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you've forgotten the words!

RESTORATION requires that you be like Jesus-full of grace and truth-have a compassion for people and commit to the Truth! Start with Grace and Side with the Truth!

No doubt there are all kinds of relationships around you who are candidates for a rescue using the spirit of restoration. As you are aware, you will find yourself saving lives wherever you go.

The most common straying and the most strategic restoration revolve around the same issue-a personal focus on your relationship with Jesus. Paul was concerned when he wrote to the Corinthians: "I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, that your minds might be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus." That is the ultimate straying-leaving Jesus out of your life equation.

Therefore, the most important thing you can do to restore someone is to reintroduce him back into a relationship with Jesus. This relationship may begin at any level-seeking, walking with or loving Jesus. Just encourage them to get to know Jesus without any religious baggage. It's Jesus plus nothing!