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The Truth That Saves

"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."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's day! We're so glad to have our brothers and sisters from around the world here with us today. Please know, that we continue to lift all of you up in our prayers. We would ask that you would do the same for us. We appreciate those of you who have been sharing our website with all of your family and friends. May we continue to share God's Word with all those who need to hear, for Christ's sake and God's glory.
Our security is in God, in the new covenant commitment of God to produce in us the faith and the obedience and perseverance we need to endure to the end and be saved. God is the Father of them that believe, so long as they believe. That is our security.
No Christian ever came into the Faith with a determination to stray; but Christians do stray. That said, the children of God are led astray by false teachers. 
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank You for Your Word for us today. Convict our hearts and reveal those to us the people we need talk to within Your church. Lord, bind this truth to our hearts, seal it, cause us to be faithful. Remind us that we have a tremendous responsibility of turning a sinner from death to life. Reveal to us those whose hearts You have prepared, and give us an opportunity to witness for Christ. O' give us the great joy of turning a sinner from death to life. May it be for Your glory and Christ's sake.
 In Jesus' name we pray

Today's Message: The Truth That Saves
Open with me your Bibles to the book of James, as we conclude our study of this wonderful epistle, these final two verses, we find the most touching and comforting counsel, which I believe express the objective of James’ entire letter.  It’s the perfect conclusion to all the teaching of James. 
Throughout his epistle, James has given us a series of tests, we’ve taken these tests of faith, and its highly likely that we've not gotten the results we were hoping for. And, I would imagine that few of us, have even gotten a passing score. That's why we all need God's amazing grace. through God’s grace, He’s given us each other. He’s given us each other for the purpose of remediation. As believers, we are responsible to help restore straying sinners to the truth. If the sinner turns away from his sin, he will escape death and will be in a relationship with Christ, that covers all his sins.
The emphasis of this passage, is primarily directed at a person who is within the assembly of the church; who outwardly names the name of Christ, but inwardly is lost. Those who outwardly seem to respond, but no transformation of heart ever takes place. A proclivity for wandering often marks the people of God. Praying for the straying is a vital part of ministry.
Just because somebody isn't going to church does not mean they are no longer a Christian, it may well be a sign that something is wrong. I believe that we need to be vigilant, and pay attention to the people in our lives. Noticing when they do not seem like themselves, out of character behavior as well as signs of wandering away from faith.  
I believe that these lessons stand as a constant reminder of God’s truth for His people. 
I invite you to follow along with me as I read, to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for what the Spirit of God has to say to us. Listen for the voice of our Lord. James 5:19-20.
"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."
As he closes his letter, he makes one more appeal to salvation appeal. However, this time, he’s not calling to the unsaved, he’s calling to the Christians to pursue the unsaved. This is a call to evangelism. 
As Christians, we are called to a ministry of restoration. God will use us as a sounding board while the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of those who are struggling. He begins verse 19 with "My brethren," I'm sure you will recall, he has used it many times in this epistle, sometimes to refer to those who are his brothers in the flesh, the Jews and other times, he uses it to those who are his brothers in Christ.  
Like much of James' writing, there has been much debate over these two verses. Some assume that James is talking only about believers. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t some within that term brethren who are not genuine. I believe that he is using the term to draw them into an intimate circle.
As I am sure you will recall, in chapter 2, verse 1, he uses the same term, first in a sentence. In both of these cases, it indicates a sharp break in the thought. In other words, there is a sharp break in thought between verse 18 and verse 19. Most translators agree; that’s why they create a paragraph at verse 19. There’s no connective linking the last two verses with the prior passage to make them one continuing thought. He's not speaking about the need for the elders of the church to be involved in praying for the Christians who are weak and weary, or those who have been persecuted for their faith.That's not what he's doing here.
He's moving on to how believers are to treat those in their fellowship who fail the test of genuine faith. I believe that's clearly indicated when he says "if any among you." If we look back at verse 13, he begins "Is anyone among you" where he talks about those who suffer and he tells them to pray. It was the believer who suffers. And, in verse 14, it is the believer who needs spiritual strength to be infused through the prayer of righteous men.
Now, in verse 19, he's talking about the believer who needs to be drawn back to true salvation by the rest of the fellowship. I believe that he emerges into this final thought at the end of his letter, because this been the primary theme of his whole epistle. Those who have less than genuine faith. He's not calling on believers to examine themselves, he is calling on them to pursue those people who have, failed the test. Here, he's talking about going after those people who give evidence of not being genuinely saved.
We all likely know people who talk about being saved, honoring Christ, who are living in overt sin. These are the people that James is concerned about. James appeals to the heart of the one who is less than genuine and to the hearts of those who are genuine, who care about those who are less than genuine. In other words, he is calling us to God's Search and Rescue team. 
Before we can help someone, we need to understand the evidence, to see whether or not their genuine. Therefore, "My brethren" is an all-encompassing statement in which he is referring to the whole church. "if any among you strays from the truth," who shows that they weren’t genuine. That's the first evidence. The word "to stray," is the Greek verb "planēthē," from which we get the word "planet" which is a wandering body.  It means to deviate from the correct path, to get off course. The term is used a many times in Scripture, to refer to physical wandering, and to refer to spiritual drifting. It is frequently used to refer to the spiritual condition of the unsaved. 
Jesus, in Matthew 22:29, said "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God." He's talking about the condition of the unsaved. And, in Titus 3:3, the Apostle Paul said "For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another." Many times in Scripture, we see it being used to refer to the condition of the unsaved.
These are the people, who have claimed to believe for a while, yet they live and act contrary to the will of God. Their life is a willful rebellion against the truth of God. They have heard everything, they know the Scriptures, yet their hearts are hardened to the truth. 

In chapter 1, verse 18, he talked about the fact that we were brought by the word of truth. In chapter 3, verse 14, talked about lying against the truth. When he's talking about the truth, he's talking about the gospel message, the Word of God. The first evidence of a false faith is departure from the gospel truth. They depart from the doctrine. 
Jesus said in John chapter 8, verse 31 "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine." Allow me to point out, that is not characteristic of a true Christian, they will never going to reject the truth of the gospel. They may fall into sin, but they are not going to wander away from the saving truth. 

Notice verse 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 second evidence is they get into the error of their way. They have gone into rejection. The key to this verse is the phrase "his way." It means going the way of his own lifestyle, his own pattern of living, his own path, his own kind of life, rather than ways of God. So, the first evidence is an errant theology and the second evidence is an errant lifestyle. Those are the evidences. If you see a person like that, they have wandered from the truth of God. An errant lifestyle is the best evidence of a demonic faith, because false theology and corruption are inseparable.
Someone who drifts away from the gospel message and denies it, living a a lifestyle that is contrary and in rejection to the principles of God’s Word,  that's the evidence. Also note worthy is James calls this person a sinner, that's important. Look at verse 20 again "who turns a sinner from the error of his way."
The term "sinner," is only used in Scripture only of an unbeliever, only of the unregenerate. In fact, one who openly, defiantly disregards the law of God and ignores His standards of morality.
Psalm 1:1 says  How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!" And, in verses 5 and 6, "Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish." I don't believe you can make it any clearer than that!

Proverbs 11:31 says "If the righteous will be rewarded in the earth, How much more the wicked and the sinner!"
"Sinners" is always used to characterize those who are outside the kingdom, those who are lost.  In I John 3:8, he says "the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning."
Then, look at verse 9, "No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." That doesn't mean we don't ever sin, but when we do, we no longer enjoy it, we are condemned by it and we immediately confess our sin before God and repent. Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, is a child of the devil. A a sinner cannot be a Christian.
Look at I John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us."
So, I believe that its clear, James is speaking about those who have chosen a lifestyle of wickedness. Those who live a lifestyle inconsistent with everything the Word of God teaches. Therefore, in order to help them, we must understand the evidence. The second things is we must recognize the threat. I believe that as Christians, we had ought to be compelled by what is at stake.  That person's soul. Their soul is being threatened by, look at verse 20 again, "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." He who turns a sinner from error of his way will save his soul from death! Eternal death.
Paul says in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Because those who teach the Word of God are so afraid of speaking truth, so afraid of being characterized as intolerant, unpopular or offensive, they are quietly letting people go to hell in self-deception. The time is drawing nearer, folks, we ought to be waking people up to the truth, not sitting idly by watching it happen. We are living in age where Christians seem to minimize the importance of sound doctrine and even speak against it as something that divides us and goes against Christ’s commands to love one another.
There are many people who have never stepped foot in a church, and you probably know a few of them, as I do. That is why we need to take the message of gospel to them. As followers of Christ, we are responsible for sharing the gospel and allowing the Holy Spirit to work within their hearts. Doctrine and knowing what the Word of God says isn’t all there is to being a Christian, a life of obedience to His Word that follows, is a tremendous part of Christianity. Anyone can say the words, it takes true saving faith to live it out in reality. You can know everything there is to know about the Bible, about Christianity and still turn your back on Jesus Christ. The entire point is this, you don’t have security in anything until you have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:1-2, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?"
The Apostle John writes in Revelation 21 verse 8, "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." 
Open up the book of Matthew, Jesus taught more about hell than he did about heaven. In chapter 5; chapter 7; chapter 8; chapter 10; chapter 13, 18, 22, 23, 25, you will find Jesus talking about hell; about eternal death; about punishment; about a fire that burns forever; about weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth. Jesus is talking about the seriousness of the sinner’s situation. Unless it is dealt with, sin just keeps accumulating. However, it only takes one to send a person to hell.
In Psalm 5:10, David writes "Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You."
Paul says in Romans 2:5, "But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." 
Beloved, it's not only the elders job or the pastors job to turn a sinner from the error of his way. Look at the verse again, "let him know that he who turns a sinner." James is saying that we all have been given the task, it's general. If you were reconciled by God, then you have the ministry of reconciliation.
Look at II Corinthians 5:18-19, "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."
We can wander around passively, hoping the Lord will send us someone to evangelize. Or we can start with the people we love and care about and go after these people. And, it ought to start with the people who have professed to know Christ, that have gone astray. Those who are living outside the Word of God. 
Jesus said he came to seek and to save the lost, if we are following Christ as a pattern for our life, should we not be doing the same? If you want to bring joy to the heart of God, and it starts with bringing someone to Christ, it comes through salvation.
In Matthew 18, Jesus said "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. [For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]

"What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish." 

In His parable, Jesus wanted to show that the Kingdom of God is accessible to all, even those who were sinners or strayed from God's path. He rejoices over the one who was lost and is now found, he rejoices over it more than the ninety-nine who did not go astray.

 So, the ministry of reconciliation demands a knowledge of the goal, the evidence, the threat, the instrument, and lastly, the goal. The goal is to turn him from sin to God. It the verb "epistrephó," in the New Testament, it’s used for all kinds of turning. Physical turning, mental turning, turning from disobedience to obedience. It's often used to refer to turning to God in salvation. And, I believe that is James intent here.

It's the same word used in Acts chapter 3 verse 19, which says "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."

It's used in I Thessalonians 1, and I Peter 2 and II Peter 2, in reference to salvation. The goal is clear, turning them from sin, in order that they may be saved. That's the goal. Because God, in His grace, forgives the multitude of sins.

In Closing..

The true biblical doctrine is that genuine salvation is not a human decision, but rather God calling the sinner to Himself, it is God changing the sinner’s heart, raising him from spiritual death to spiritual life. 

It is this new life, which God imparts, that results in a new way of living. No longer living for his own selfish pleasure, but yielding to Jesus as Lord and seeking to live for His glory.

When we learn to accept our mutual responsibility to care for one another, to hold one another accountable, and to keep one another walking in the Jesus way, we will then, save one another from death. It all comes down to submit therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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