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Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1

Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1

Care to Convert - James 5: 19-20 -  Outline

I) A Statement that Presupposes Someone Needing Converting, vs. 19

A) A Statement concerning the carnal Christian, vs. 19a

B) A Statement concerning the caring Christian, vs. 19b

II) A Statement that Promises Something to the Converted. vs. 20

A) The promise of the caring Christian saving a soul from future death, vs. 20a

B) The promise of the caring Christian saving a soul from future deeds, vs. 20b

Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1

We have come to the end of the lessons from James, the half-brother of our Lord-Jesus Christ. James has taught us many lessons throughout his book, affectionately called religion in shoes. Many bible teachers refer to the book of James this way due to the practicality of his teachings. “James the just” had a practical down to earth view of how to live as a Christian.

He has taught many such lessons to his audience which from verse one we learned was to the scattered Jewish Christians, the diaspora-the dispersion, that he addressed. His teachings were concerning their behavior, or lack thereof in the church. He had to correct their shameless attitudes and their sinful actions throughout his letter. Right out of the gate he has to address their incorrect view of trials and temptations in chapter one.

James then deals with their improper actions concerning their attitudes of anger and their actions concerning the word of God. They were quick to be angry and spout off and slow to obey the word of God and James admonishes them to reverse that order. He follows up the admonishment of applying God’s word with applying God’s way for true religion. True religion or true spirituality is to take care of the needs of the orphans and the widows in the church and to keep oneself unspotted, from being contaminated with the sinful dirt of the world’s system.

In chapter two the half-brother of our Lord had to chastise them because of their showing discrimination in their services against the poor in favor of the wealthy. James then follows this hideousness up with a practical lesson on what it means to have true faith. Faith that doesn’t produce any service or spiritual works is dead, regardless of one’s confession or creed. He then proves his point with the examples of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son and Rahab’s shelter for the spies of Jericho.

From using one’s mouth for speaking a dead confession, in chapter three James then addresses using the mouth in sinful ways, including the destruction of those around them. He then finishes the chapter with a lesson between heavenly wisdom and hellish wisdom and how to distinguish the difference.

In chapter four, our instructor had to correct jealousies in the church, improper desires including worldliness and waywardness. Following that up with dealing with sinful judgmental attitudes and treatment toward their fellow church members and improper attitudes concerning their future and Who controls it. In the last chapter of this book, James attempts to comfort those who are being mistreated by the wealthy and admonishes them in how they are to respond. Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1

Instead of swearing oaths of revenge, he teaches them to be patient and wait for the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He follows this up with the status of the suffering, the satisfied and the sick brethren and what each is to do. Lovingly James then teaches them to confess their faults to each other seeking forgiveness from their fellow saints and their forgiving Savior. In doing so they will be made righteous and then they will be able to pray fervent and energetic prayers that will accomplish great things from God.

He then gives them (and us) the example of the fervent and effective prayers of that righteous prophet Elijah. James reminded them of Elijah’s prohibitive prayer that stopped the life-giving rain from above. This prayer resulted in three and half years of no rain. Afterwards, Elijah prayed a productive prayer that resulted in God opening the heavenlies and restoring the rain. Effective, fervent, energetic prayers of a righteous man with the same nature as you or me.

James is now going to conclude his letter to his fellow Jewish saints of Christendom. He will want to do what many do when they write an instructional letter to someone they are fond of. If a mother was writing to her daughter living across the State from her, she would want to finish with a final thought that she would want her daughter to walk away with after reading her letter. A sticking statement if you please.


This letter from James is no different. He wants to leave them with a lasting impressionable truth. One that will stay with them for some time. I think he hit the nail right on the head. James closed his letter with a synopsis of what he had been saying throughout. He finishes with a closing admonishment for believers to care enough to convert. That is the title of my message today: Care to convert. Our text is from James chapter five, and verses nineteen and twenty.

“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (vs. 5: 19-20).[1] James makes two statements about caring to convert. He makes his first statement in verse nineteen that presupposes someone needing converting and then in verse twenty, he makes a second statement that promises something to the converted. Let’s learn from that first statement in verse nineteen that presupposes someone needing converting.

In this statement James tells us something concerning the carnal Christian. “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth....” “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth...” (KJV).[2] This is a statement concerning one who has been born again and has erred or wandered away from the truth. I like the way Robert Young translated the original Greek: “Brethren, if any among you may go astray from the truth, and any one may turn him back....”[3]

There are some who believe that James is writing about unbelievers here. One of their main arguments is his referring to these truth wanderers as sinners in verse twenty and to the result of their wandering leading to death: thanatos. The word for sinners is hamartōlós, ham-ar-to-los'[4] and can refer to several different sins or sinners and the demeanor of their action. Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1

Depending on the structure of the sentence and the grammatical contextual usage, the word could refer to the un-regenerate – the sinner who has never been saved. This is the word the Apostle Paul used in Romans chapter five, verses eight and nineteen referring to all mankind being born as sinners.

However, here in James it refers to someone who has been or maybe is pre-eminently sinful. James used the same reference in chapter four in admonishing the carnal, worldly minded believers to humble themselves, cleanse their hands and their hearts in repentance and then draw near to God (vs. 7-8). He was addressing fellow Christians there and there is no logical or grammatical reason why we shouldn’t conclude the same thought here as well. Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1

The other reason I feel strongly that James is referring to carnal Christians here is because of how he addresses them: Brethren – adelphos: a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection. A Christian let alone a Christian elder certainly would not refer to sinners in such an affectionate manner.

This same word can refer to an adult, a young person, an old person or of either sex. The NIV translates it this way: “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth...” (emphasis mine).[5] I would say that is very accurate and leaves little if any doubt that James is referring to someone who has been saved and has strayed or wandered away from the truth; someone who is not devoting their attitudes and actions under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we Christian’s Master.

My Brethren

James used this affectionate term brethren 17 seventeen times throughout his letter referring to the diaspora, the believers of the twelve tribes scattered about most likely from the persecution they received after accepting Christ as their Savior, their Messiah. Why would his reference to brethren take on a different meaning unless there were some sort of grammatical or contextual change that would determine the difference?

He just finished with addressing his fellow saints about suffering, sickness and prayer. He then admonished them to repent of their congregational sins and confess and seek forgiveness of their fellow saints and their forgiving Savior. He is completing his letter to his fellow saints with one final thought attached to a series of thoughts beginning in chapter one and culminating in chapter five.

Just what is a carnal Christian? What does he or she look like if they were sitting right next to you? Would they have a big “C” with a question mark following after their every move indicating they are carnal? How would we tell if a person was a carnal believer? Who or what defines a carnal Christian. Dr. David Jeremiah stated: "In Scripture we read of two kinds of men--the spiritual man controlled by the Holy Spirit, and the "carnal" man who is ruled by his passions."[6]+

This carnal man is further defined by the unregenerate – the unsaved and the regenerated - those who have received Jesus as their Savior and have yet to surrender and allow Him to be “Lord” over their passions and desires. If we didn’t know their faith history, we might even think that they might need to be saved. How many of us have witnessed to one we thought needed salvation just to hear them say, “Oh! I’m saved, I’m a Christian” to our shock, our unbelief because of the lack of any Christian fruit showing from their life branches.

These brethren that James is referring are those who once were involved in church attendance and Christian growth but have fallen away, erred and wandered away from the truth, the truth of the word of God, the truth of congregational living and the truth of a spirit-filled and a sanctified life.

What causes believers to not grow in their faith? What makes a man or what leads a woman to wander away from the truth? What are some of the reasons church members back slide, remain stagnant, content without a yearning for more? The Bible gives us a few of the reasons for this. Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1

Proverbs 19: 27 chapter nineteen, verse twenty-seven tells us that ceasing from the Word of God produces carnality and waywardness. “Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge” (emphasis mine). A lack of being consistent in God’s word stagnates growth.

Love of Money

Love of Money

Also, the love for money and material things will shorten your spiritual ruler. The Apostle Paul told his preacher disciple this in 1st Timothy chapter six: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (vs. 10, emphasis mine).

Not desiring a steady diet of the Word, love and greed for money and material things and then, believing false teachers, false doctrine, vain babbling s that are contradictions to the true faith. Paul explained this to Timothy in both his letters (1st Tim. 6: 20-21; 2nd Tim. 2: 16-18). And the Apostle Peter echoed this truth in his second letter in his closing remarks in chapter three. “ Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked...” (vs. 14-17, emphasis mine). Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1

Failing to stay in the Word; having an unhealthy desire for money and material things; adhering to false teachers and false doctrines all create an atmosphere for any believer to not only not grow in their faith, but cause them to back-slide to carnality. I would be amiss if I didn’t also include personal failure and lack of understanding of Who God is and how He operates.

People get saved and everything is great. Life is a huge bowl of fresh and juicy peaches . . . until . . . he or she sins, falters . . . fails. They feel like they have failed God. A lack of understanding of the grace of God. Defeatism, discouragement and downright devilish depression places its’ talons around the heart and soul of the babe in Christ.

They think they have failed God and or, God has failed them. There are many of God’s children walking down the lonely road of whyism. We all have traveled that road at one time or another. Some manage to find their way back and sadly, most don’t. The road of questions, doubts and insecurities.

The hot burning asphalt scorching our souls with the “why me? and the why not me? Why did God allow this to happen? Or why didn’t God come through for me? Why did He abandon me? Where is God? Why didn’t He help me when I needed Him the most? The road of whyism is another avenue of how a Christian becomes wayward or carnal. The wayward Christian . . . the confused Christian. The carnal Christian.

This has been part one of a two part series of studies from Care James 5: 19-20 from my message entitled "Care to Convert." Please check out my new book entitled, “Letters of Divine Revelation from an Old Man in Prison”. The book is available from Amazon in paperback and in an E-Book form from Amazon Kindle. It is a commentary on the seven churches from chapters two and three from the book of Revelation. I hope you find it inspiring and helpful with your walk with Jesus.

Commentary Revelation chpts. 2-3

Commentary Revelation chpts. 2-3

Let’s go to church this Sunday. These are certainly troubling and uncertain times that we live in. From the ever growing national debt, to corrupt, lying, greedy politicians, extremist’s terrorists, fake news, slipping moralities to God only knows what will be next.

This great nation of ours is on a speeding train of moral declination. The train is on a track to degradation and she is picking up steam: fast! Ole Uncle Sam needs a revival. From the president and his administration in the White house right down to the kid behind the counter at Walmart. Our country needs a fresh awakening from the Holy Spirit of God. America needs an outpouring of the Holy Ghost as was experienced by the first century Church.

Come join our pastor, our church and me in praying for revival. Won’t you join me today and start by carrying ourselves and our loved ones to church. I need church, you need church, your family needs the church. All God’s people need the Church! If you are in the Clay county area of North Florida come worship with us at Harbor Baptist church located on the corner of Clay Street (1120) & US Hwy 17, Fleming Island, FL. We are located just to the right of Corky Bell’s Seafood restaurant. Morning worship is at 10:30 and we meet Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m.

Better yet, come join our group for Bible study with the adults. I lead the adult class entitled: “Harbor Haven, for pairs and spares”. (For couples and singles) We meet @ 9:14 in the main room of the education building. This is the building located right next to the church. We would love for you to come and fellowship with us around the Word of God. And feel free to bring a guest. Whether you attend the worship service or choose not to, we hope to see you for Bible study!
We pride ourselves with being a smaller church with the big difference. I don’t believe you will find another fellowship of believers who have a greater love for God and as a result of His love for us, we have love for one another. You’ll find me and my family there, come visit, both you and our church will be glad that you did!

I am happy to speak on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ in the North Florida area. I am a conservative and evangelical teacher whose doctrinal beliefs align with those of the Southern Baptist Convention. My doctrinal views are listed in the menu section of this site. If your pastor is sick, has a sudden emergency or needs a vacation, I am happy to fill in for him. You can contact me by email at: michaelrosenbarker@gmail.com

Care to Convert | James 5: 19-20 part 1




[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[2] Scriptures marked KJV are taken from the KING JAMES VERSION (KJV): KING JAMES VERSION, public domain.


[3] Scripture quotations marked “YLT” are taken from The Young’s Literal Translation Bible. The Young's Literal Translation was translated by Robert Young, who believed in a strictly literal translation of God's word. Public Domain


[4] All original language words taken from "Blue Letter Bible." Bible Search and Study Tools - Blue Letter Bible. Web. 02 June 2017. Used by permission


[5] Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan


[6] Jeremiah, David, Dr. "32 Quotes About Carnality." ChristianQuotes.info.  Web. 02 June 2017.


[7] Scriptures marked HCSB are taken from the HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE (HCSB): Scripture taken from the HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright© 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.


[8] Raj, Frank. "Gandhi glimpsed Christ, rejecting Christianity as a false religion." The Washington Times. The Washington Times, 31 Dec. 2014. Web. 04 June 2017.


[9] Scriptures marked NAS are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD (NAS): Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, copyright© 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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