James Chapter 5

So here we are on the last chapter. Guys this is a hard book and i know this likely has not been easy to hear but we must listen. These are God’s commands to us and if we truly love and follow God we must hear and obey. Please continue press in on in God.

Come now, you rich people! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you. Your wealth is ruined and your clothes are moth-eaten.  Your silver and gold are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You stored up treasure in the last days!  Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.   You have lived luxuriously on the land and have indulged yourselves. You have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.  You have condemned — you have murdered — the righteous man; he does not resist you. Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.  You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door! Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Ok so to start we have a very large passage. Bear with me as this needs to be shown together. Again, James talks about the rich. We might feel he is being unfair, but remember the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). No not every rich person will be visibly wicked, but more often than not the debt for money leads to indulging in many sins. We can sit while on a child is starving in Africa and not give money because we really want the next iphone. We would rather have an ounce more comfortable for ourselves than saved people in need. That is why our money will testify against us. Make no mistake everything you have came directly from God. You are only a steward of it and as such must use it wisely. No one wants to hear this and so they do whatever it takes to avoid being confronted over it. Now on the flip-side James talks to the rest of us saying we need to leave justice to Him. We are told to wait patiently for God to dispense justice. We are to endure ill treatment and persecution just as the prophets did. Think about Jeremiah who endured much abuse for speaking God’s word until Jerusalem finally fell. We have seen those in scripture that have endured and we are called to do the same knowing that God is merciful and will strengthen us to endure.

Now above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your “yes” must be “yes,” and your “no” must be “no,” so that you won’t fall under judgment.

This is an interesting verse that seems oddly placed. James takes the time here to point out that believers should not swear oaths. His point is you should live in sure a way that if you say yes people know you will do what you said without a doubt. There is no need for an honest to swear because people know they can trust their word. And if you do swear by God and fail you will be judged for it. Avoid swearing and instead be known as a person of your word.

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises.  Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord.  The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land.  Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit.

James begins wrapping up his letter by bringing up prayer. Are you suffering? You need to pray. Are you joyful? You should be thanking God in prayer. Are you sick? Call the elders to pray for you. That prayer can make you well, but more importantly can lead to the forgiveness of sin. The prayers of the righteous pets are powerful. To demonstrate he uses Elijah. His prayer stopped the rain. Part of this prayer is confession of sin. Sin hampers prayer as it separates us from God. We cannot live in unrepentant sin and expect God to answer us. In all things seek God in prayer.

My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Now for one of the hardest points for many of us to swallow. James says if you see a brother or sister in Christ straying from the truth we are to correct them. Many people quote do not judge as seen above the verse but forget the future context. When we see a believer’s sin or forsake truth we are commanded by God to correct them that we may say their life.  If we do not, they will die and we will be accountable. Much like Ezekiel was told to tell the exiles of their sin so we to are called to warn believers and if we do not then we bare their blood.

So What? This is nice and all, but what do I do about it?

1 If you are rich (and honestly nearly every American is rich compared to the rest of the world) do not trust in your money or love it. It is from God and must be used faithfully as God has commanded to take care of those in need and advance the gospel.

2 If you are being persecuted by the rich you are called to endure like Job and to rely on God for strength and not try to seek justice by our hand.

3 Live in such a way that your word is believed. That when you say you will do something everyone knows you will. Do not depend on oaths for people to trust your word but be an example of truth in your conduct.

4 Whether you are in need or are overjoyed turn to prayer. Prayer needs to be a priority for all of us. Remember to confess your sins to God so they will not separate you from God.

5 Lastly if you see a believer sinning or if they do not believe the truth in the Bible you are called to correct them that you may save them from death. If we see believers sin and do not confront them then we will be held accountable for their blood. If they do not accept the correction you are not responsible, but if you do not bother to tell them then you will be held accountable.

Sweet! You made it to the end. I know this has been a hard book and there are things that likely upset you but please remember these are not my words or commands, but God’s. If you truly are saved you will desire to apply these words and if you do not than you do not love God. There is no in between and no way to sugar coat it. Please if you are struggling find someone in church to talk to and guide you. I am turning this whole series into 1 pdf and it will be available for free download soon. Make the head knowledge of Jesus become heart knowledge of Jesus and love God with all your heart. God bless.


Boast in the Lord

I was reading through Jeremiah the other week and this section really caught my eye. I dwelt on it while I prayed and just though about its truth. Jeremiah 9:23-24 talks about boasting and it hits a truth we just want to ignore, but we cannot. Take a look:

Jeremiah 9:23-24 23 This is what the Lord says: The wise man must not boast in his wisdom; the strong man must not boast in his strength; the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth. 24 But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me—that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord’s declaration.

Look at the first things God mentions, wisdom, strength, and wealth. These are the things people will typically boast in. They think it makes them special or gives them some sort of authority, but they do not realize the truth. Everything comes from God. You see the money you think of so fondly, that you think will protect you, comes from God. By His grace you are allowed to make money and succeed. The strength you have cultivated and acquired is not yours. God gives strength and power, because He is the only source of power. How about wisdom? What we know and can understand is all from God and we cannot comprehend even the smallest part of what God knows. Every good thing comes from God. Everything we think will protect us and that we worship. It is like boasting about borrowing a car. Sure, you can drive where ever you want, but the lender can take it back whenever he wants and then what will you do? That’s why God tells us to boast only in Him. To know and understand God is the best thing any person can achieve. It needs to be the goal of our lives, to know God. Not know as in I know He exists, but know as in I understand His character and desires. To really know a person, not just facts about the person. Part of His character is His faithful love, justice, and righteousness. We must learn His love, justice and righteousness and seek to apply it. Otherwise we boast about the air and have no security. Trust only in Jesus, not anything of man.