Sermon by Dr James A McCullen
DEALING WITH SIN IN THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE.
James 5:16-20  (NASB)
(16) 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.    {17} Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.    {18} And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit.   {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.
 

INTRODUCTION
The following is the account of the conversion of Ty Cobb, that all-time great who played 3,033 games and for 12 years led the American League in batting averages. For four years, he batted over 400.

On his death bed, July 17, 1961, he said, "You tell the boys I'm sorry it was the last part of the ninth that I came to know Christ. I wish it had taken place in the first half of the first."

Everyone must deal with the sin in their life. It is imperative for a person to come to Christ for salvation like the story of Ty Cobb. But what about a Christian, and their sin. This text speaks to the subject of a Christian dealing with sin. They must be ones who are:

1. Confessing Sin. v 16-18

2. Converting Sinners. v 19-20 a

3. Covering Sin. v 20 b
 
 
 

1.    Dealing with sin . . The Confession of Sin. v 16-18  
(16) 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.    {17} Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.     {18} And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

EXPLANATION

A. The . . Proclamation related to the confession of sins. v 16 a
        1. confess 5:16
Strong's # 1843 exomologeo (ex-om-ol-og-eh'-o); from 1537 and 3670; to acknowledge or (by implication of assent) agree fully: KJV-- confess, profess, promise. ***. exon. See 1832.

Phil 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (KJV)

                a.    Contrast Homologeo This is a very interesting study.  See the addendum at the end of
                       this sermon.  Called Gleanings
(Rom 10:9-10 NASB) that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; {10} for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

        2. faults KJV sins NASB 5:16
Strong's # 3900 paraptoma (par-ap'-to-mah); from 3895; a side-slip (lapse or deviation), i.e. (unintentional) error or (wilful) transgression: KJV-- fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass.

Strong's # 3895 parapipto (par-ap-ip'-to); from 3844 and 4098; to fall aside, i.e. (figuratively) to apostatize: KJV--
 

B. The . . Pathway related to the confession of sins. v 16 b

". . . to one another, and pray for one another, . . . "

1. Story of three preachers confessing their faults. On e was a gossip and couldn't wait to tell
 

C.    The . . Promise related to the confession of sins. v 16 c
". . . so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

        1. healed
Strong's # 2390 iaomai (ee-ah'-om-ahee); middle voice of apparently a primary verb; to cure (literally or figuratively): KJV-- heal, make whole. (DIC)

        2. effectual
Strong's # 1754 energeo (en-erg-eh'-o); from 1756; to be active, efficient: KJV-- do, (be) effectual (fervent), be mighty in, shew forthself, work (effectually in). (DIC)

Strong's # 1756 energes (en-er-gace'); from 1722 and 2041; active, operative: KJV-- effectual, powerful. (DIC)

Strong's # 2041 ergon (er'-gon); from a primary (but obsolete) ergo (to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication, an act: KJV-- deed, doing, labour, work. (DIC)

        3. prayer of a righteousness man. v 16
Strong's # 1162 deesis (deh'-ay-sis); from 1189; a petition: KJV-- prayer, request,

Strong's # 1189 deomai (deh'-om-ahee); middle voice of 1210; to beg (as binding oneself), i.e. petition: KJV--

        4. Accomplishes Much. availeth
Strong's # 2480 ischuo (is-khoo'-o); from 2479; to have (or exercise) force (literally or figuratively): KJV-- be able, avail, can do ([-not]), could, be good, might, prevail, be of strength, be whole, + much work. (DIC)

Strong's # 2479 ischus (is-khoos'); from a derivative of is (force; compare eschon, a form of 2192); forcefulness (literally or figuratively): KJV-- ability, might ([-ily]), power, strength. (DIC)

D.    The . . Proof related to the confession of sins. v 17
        Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.

        1.    v 17 prayed pros toward and wish
Strong's # 4336 proseuchomai (pros-yoo'-khom-ahee); from 4314 and 2172; to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship: KJV-- pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer.

Strong's # 2172 euchomai (yoo'-khom-ahee); middle voice of a primary verb; to wish; by implication, to pray to God: used 5 times 3 times, wish KJV-- pray, will, wish.

        2.    v 17 Prayed is used again and translated earnestly. Pray, Pray.

ILLUSTRATION
A famous psychiatrist was leading a symposium on methods of getting patients to open themselves. The psychiatrist challenged his colleagues with a blatant boast: "I'll wager that my technique will enable me to get a new patient to talk about the most private things during the first session without my having to ask a question."

What was his magic formula? Simply this: He began the session by revealing to the patient something personal about himself -- a secret with which the patient might damage the doctor by breaking the confidence. However questionable we may regard the doctor's manipulation, it had its desired effect: It released the patient to talk.
 

ILLUSTRATION
London held its breath in June 1987. While working on a building site, a construction foreman thought his workers had hit a cast iron pipe while using a pile driver. After picking up and then dropping the huge object, they realized the pipe looked like a bomb. It was -- a 2,200-pound World War II bomb, one of the largest the Germans dropped during the blitz which killed more than 15,000 Londoners. After evacuating the area, a 10-man bomb disposal unit worked 18 hours before deactivating the seven-foot device.

Unconfessed sin, like an unexploded bomb, can rest in the heart of an individual -- or in a church. Unless it's deactivated through forgiveness, it can detonate and cause great damage. -- Moody, 5-5-91
 

APPLICATION

We Christians need to confess our sins.  We believe we confess to the Lord,  and forgiveness comes from the Lord.   This verse tells us to confess our sins EXOMOLOGEO,   that means to openly,  and discrettly confess sins to those who care about you and can help you.

Do you have a friend to whom you could go and relate to them about the sin in your life?
 
 
 

2.    Dealing with sin . . The Converting of Sinners. v 19-20 a  
{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,. . . "

EXPLANATION

A.    Convert the sinner from their . . Drifting. v 19 a
            My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, . . . "
                1. Strays. v 19 err
Strong's # 4105 planao (plan-ah'-o); from 4106; to (properly, cause to) roam (from safety, truth, or virtue): KJV-- go astray, deceive, err, seduce, wander, be out of the way. (DIC)

Strong's # 4106 plane (plan'-ay); feminine of 4108 (as abstractly); objectively, fraudulence; subjectively, a straying from orthodoxy or piety: KJV-- deceit, to deceive, delusion, error.

Strong's # 4108 planos (plan'-os); of uncertain affinity; roving (as a tramp), i.e. (by implication) an impostor or misleader; KJV-- deceiver, seducing. (DIC)

(1 John 4:6 NASB) We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

(Mat 18:12 NASB) "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?

B.    Convert the sinner from their . . Destruction. v 19 b -20 a
        ". . . 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,. . . "
        1. Turn Back. convert
Strong's # 1994 epistrepho (ep-ee-stref'-o); from 1909 and 4762; to revert (literally, figuratively or morally): KJV-- come (go) again, convert, (re-) turn (about, again). (DIC)

Strong's # 1909 epi (ep-ee'); a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the det.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.:

Strong's # 4762 strepho (stref'-o); strengthened from the base of 5157; to twist, i.e. turn quite around or reverse (literally or figuratively): KJV-- convert, turn (again, back againselfself,, about). (DIC)

Strong's # 5157 trope (trop-ay'); from an apparently primary trepo (to turn); a turn ("trope"), i.e. revolution (figuratively, variation): KJV-- turning. (DIC)

(Luke 22:32 KJV) But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

        2. v 19 err
Strong's # 4105 planao (plan-ah'-o); from 4106; to (properly, cause to) roam (from safety, truth, or virtue): KJV-- go astray, deceive, err, seduce, wander, be out of the way. (DIC)

Strong's # 4106 plane (plan'-ay); feminine of 4108 (as abstractly); objectively, fraudulence; subjectively, a straying from orthodoxy or piety: KJV-- deceit, to deceive, delusion, error.

Strong's # 4108 planos (plan'-os); of uncertain affinity; roving (as a tramp), i.e. (by implication) an impostor or misleader; KJV-- deceiver, seducing. (DIC)

(Heb 5:2 NASB) he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;

        3. Save his soul from death. v 20 b

ILLUSTRATION
It's interesting to me how Jesus looks at men. He does not only see what a man is; he also sees what a man can become. He sees not only the actualities in a man, he also sees the possibilities. Jesus looked at Peter and saw in him not only a Galilaean fisherman but one who had it in him to become the rock on which his church would be built. Jesus sees us not only as we are, but as we can be; and he says: "Give your life to me, and I will make you what you have it in you to be."

Once someone came upon Michelangelo chipping away his chisel at a huge shapeless piece of rock. He asked the sculptor what he was doing. "I am releasing the angel imprisoned in this marble," he answered. Jesus is the one who sees and can release the hidden hero in every man. -- William Barclay's Commentary on the Gospel of John
 

APPLICATION

This is a very insightful passage.  All of us need someone to help us when we error in our ways.
The book of Jude has a helpful word to add here.

Jude 1:22-23   22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting;    23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.   (NAS)
 
 
 

3.    Dealing with sin . . The Covering of Sin. v 20 b  
". . . and will cover a multitude of sins."

EXPLANATION

A. The Love of . . Christ will cover. Rom 4:7 KJV
        Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
            1. v 20 cover

Strong's # 2572 kalupto (kal-oop'-to); akin to 2813 and 2928; to cover up (literally or figuratively): KJV-- cover, hide.

Strong's # 2813 klepto (klep'-to); a primary verb; to filch: KJV-- steal. (DIC)

Strong's # 2928 krupto (kroop'-to); a primary verb; to conceal (properly, by covering): KJV-- hide (self), keep secret,

B. The Love of . . Christians will cover. v 20

(1 Pet 4:8 NASB) Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers
a multitude of sins.

(Prov 10:12 NASB) Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.
 

ILLUSTRATION
The words of Dag Hammarskjold -- Secretary General of the UN in the mid and late 1950's throb with wisdom:

You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal,

1. You cannot play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth,

2. You cannot play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind.

He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds.
 

APPLICATION

1. Confessing Sin. v 16-18

2. Converting Sinners. v 19-20 a

3. Covering Sin. v 20 b

Addendum
Recently in a study of the word confess in James 5:16, I gleaned an interesting truth. The word here in not HOMOLOGEO as occurs in 1 John 1:9. We know the above word means to say the same thing. There is an interesting difference in the word translated confess in James 5:16. The word EXOMOLOGEO caries an additional idea of public confession. As I researched this further, I found more interesting observations. Note Strongs definitions and the different verses that use these two GREEK words.

Strong's # 3670 homologeo (hom-ol-og-eh'-o); from a compound of the base of 3674 and 3056; to assent, i.e.  covenant, acknowledge: KJV--con- (pro-) fess, confession is made, give thanks, promise.

Strong's # 3674 homou (hom-oo'); genitive case of homos (the same; akin to 260) as adverb; at the same place or time: KJV-- together. (DIC)

Strong's # 3056 logos (log'-os); from 3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e.Christ): KJV--

Matt 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (KJV)

Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also
confess before the angels of God: (KJV)

John 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. (KJV)

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: (KJV)

Acts 23:8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. (KJV)

Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: (KJV)

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (KJV)

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. (KJV)

1 John 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (KJV)

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

This is a deceiver and an Antichrist. (KJV)

Strong's # 1843 exomologeo (ex-om-ol-og-eh'-o); from 1537 and 3670; to acknowledge or (by implication of assent)   agree fully: KJV-- confess, profess,

Strong's # 1537 ek (ek) or ex (ex); a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds),   from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote):

For #3670 See above

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall  confess to God. (KJV)

Romans 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. (KJV)

Phil 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. KJV

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual  fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV)

Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name
out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (KJV)
 

From the verses listed, I make the following observations:

1. A person can confess Christ privately. Rom 10:9-10

2. If one confesses privately they will later make it public. (John 20:38)

3. Christ will confess privately and publicly those who confess Him. Matt.10:32, Rev 3:5

4. Someday all lost people will confess Christ publicly but it will be too late for salvation. Phil 2:11

5. The confessing of sins mentioned in James 5:16 is public so; this verse does not support the
    confession of sin to a preacher or priest.
 
 

 

 
 
 
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