James 5:1 ¶ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
12 ¶ But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
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.
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
A. The rich and the poor Verse 1-111. Damnation of the greedy rich- Verse 1-6 Here is possibly the best picture of riches of the greedya. Vs. 1- They are damned up front. Why do we envy them?
b. Vs. 2- Their riches are corrupted- There is no such thing as honest money gained in greed.
c. Vs. 3- Their clothes are moth eaten- They end up in the dumpster behind Goodwill! Check it out.Story of the clothes in store in San Bernardino. Out of style. Finally into trash.
d. Vs. 4- Those who are cheated ARE heard. God hears-- Other saints hear.
ILL. Here is John Wesley's last letter to William Wilberforce just before Wesley died.
On February 24, 1791 at age 88, six days before his death, this last letter was addressed to William Wilberforce. Wesley had spoken out forcibly against slavery his whole life. In 1774, he wrote the influential Thoughts Upon Slavery.
Wilberforce, a Member of Parliament, was active at the time in the unsuccessful attempt to pass abolition. Debate continued for several years and in 1807 the abolition of slavery was effected throughout the British Empire.
The text of the letter is given below. The "tract" to which Wesley refers was written by a former slave, Gustavus Vassa who was born in 1745 in Africa, kidnapped and sold as a slave in Barbados. In 1757 he was sent to England and was converted to Christianity.
Unless the divine power has raised you up to be as "Athanasius against the world," I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy, which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of God and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God in the power of His might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.
Reading this morning a tract wrote by a poor African, I was particularly struck by the circumstance, that a man who has black skin, being wronged or outraged by a white man, can have no redress; it being a LAW in our Colonies that the OATH of a black man against a white goes for nothing. What villainy is this!
That He who has guided you from youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and all things is the prayer of, dear sir,
Your affectionate servant,
God often calls a man to stand against the most powerful rich men and, as it were, call down fire on them. Wilberforce was such a man.
2. Encouragement of the down trodden- Verse 7-9What is the key to enduring the evils of life, like the rich and greedy?Answer: Patience. It is found 5 times in verse 7-11.
If you don't know, go drive on a big highway somewhere. End times = Impatience. End vs. 8.
Cf- 2 Tim. 3:1-4-- Note the agitation factor. Saints are now becoming impatient to escape or see vengence.
Cf- Psalm 40:1-- David had enemies he turned over to the Lord. We have similar feelings and need to wait patiently for the Lord.
Cf- Rom. 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Tribulation should cause the Lord's people to grow more and more patient. Discuss.
Cf- Eccl. 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
So, we see that the end times are "the end of a thing," and they should cause patience in us.
Verse 9- Note the temptation to grudge and get irritated with other saints.Why? Answer: Impatience causes people to look for scapegoats.CF- Rom. 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
3. The great example of the prophets- Verse 10-11 Two Examples are used:a. The prophets- Verse 10Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
b. Job- Verse 11- Job was not always happy, but he was patient with God.Cf- Job 13:13 Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.
14 Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?
15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Verse 11- God is merciful. He will not let us be destroyed.Cf- Psalm 18:25; 103:8; Jeremiah 3:12; Luke 6:36;
B. Ending Admonitions- Verse 12-20
1. Swear Not-- Vs. 12
a. Oath-- Not even in court with a Bible. Or, in conversation, "I swear, he said such and such..."
Why? Answer: You may be wrong without knowing it. Then the power of the oath brings condemnation.
b. Profanity-- Like "By God." Even Catholic oaths like "Sacre Maria," and "For Pete's Sake," and "Sacre Blu." How about, "For heavens sake"?
These oaths blaspheme God, or they justify the ungodly in oath making.
c. Yes / No-- If men reject this, nothing can be added
2. Emotions-- Vs. 13
a. I see that affliction and FEELING afflicted is OK.
Sorrow is OK also--
Cf- John 11:34-36 Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the grave soon, yet He joined in the feeling of grief with Lazarus' sisters.
CF- Isa. 35:3 Jesus didn't just fly over the emotions without totally feeling the sorrow and torment of sin and our temptations.
b. Merry-- I see that it is OK with God for us to be merry. We don't have to be down in the mouth to be holy.
Cf- 2 Chronicles 7:10 -- Days of joy can be merry
Cf- Proverbs 15:15; 17:22; Eccl. 9:7-- Solomon knew the value of a merry heart.
Can we be merry in the Last Days of this age?
James says that a merry heart should cause singing-- Of Psalms.
When the world is merry, they say, "Let's party."
When the Charismatic frenzy groupies are merry, they say, "Roll on the floor and bark like a dog."
We need to sing more.
3. Healing and Prayer-- Vs. 14-15
There is a clear hint that sin is the cause.
Jesus shows sin can be the cause, yet sometimes it is NOT the cause of health problems.
Cf- John 5:1-14- The man was clearly sick due to sin in the past.
Cf- John 9:1-3- So, we need to leave the conviction of sin up to the sick person and the Holy Spirit.
We are so quick to associate sickness in saints with sin, especially if they are not coming to church regularly.
4. Confession of sin brings healing- Vs. 16-18
a. The modern shrink's solution-- Deny sin and guilt. Sin more. Enjoy sin. You can't help yourself.
ILL. Bill Veltkamp after stroke- "You need another woman."
Irony- The world of medicine, the Welfare offices, and the Courts will DEMAND this treatment.
b. The fruit of prayer-- Fervent prayer:
- Power- "much" of it
- Compare with the Atheist. Nothing happens in him, for he cannot pray.
- Sin stops power
Cf- Psalm 66:18- "Regard" means to see it and do nothing about it.
c. Illustration- Vs. 17-18- ELIJAH
Cf- I Kings 17:1 and 18:1
Lesson One: James uses an Old Testament event to teach a timeless truth to the Church.
This tells me that the Old Testament is up to date and just as useful as the New Testament.
Two extreme response to the Old Testament:
One: Grand Rapids School of Bible in Michigan. Instructor said, "Never start a sermon in the Old Testament."
Why? Answer: He interpreted Paul's teaching and Hebrews to mean the Old Testament is obsolete. HERESY.
Two: Reconstructionists-- They call for the restoration of the Old Testement law and codes in order to force the world to get ready for Messiah.
Blind! They deny end times prophecy, and they call for violence. Rushdoony clearly calls for force to be used by the Church. Ironically, Rushdoony refuses to attend ANY church.
These have trashed the local church and rest on law.
The way of victory?
Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
3 And this will we do, if God permit.
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.So, Lesson One is this-- The Old Testament gets us started on the foundation of law.Law condemns us and finds us guilty.
The Gospel rescues us ans saves.
Then, we go on and grow.
No one ever got saved without being condemned of sin by the Law-- Old Testament
Cf-- Galatians3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Lesson Two: Saints must act on purpose, and they must sometimes state their authority to others.
Cf-- 1Ki 18:17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.
Prayer can be a tool of warfare with Satanic forces.
Vs. 26-27 Elijah mocked them. This is a tool of distinction which God uses.
Vs. 30-38 Elijah prayed for power and vindication.
Vs. 39 The show down produced faith. Compare with Brownsville and Toronto where the alleged "fire" produces lust for more and more experience.
Prayer is more than a gimme session. Prayer is war.
Lesson Three: God marks his saints. Satan cannot touch them without God's permission.
Texts showing Elijah's defense:
I Kings 17:1-7-- The enemy could NOT find Elijah while God hid him.
18:1-18-- Elijah had no reason to fear Ahab. Elijah was marked by God.
Chapter 19-- vs. 1-3 Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah.
vs. 4-18-- Here is an awesome passage. God convinces Elijah that he will not receive wrath from God, and he is commissioned to anoint three men who would fulfill God's glory. Elijah was STILL marked.
Let us consider the mark of God on those He choses:
1. Cain-- Genesis 4:15--
2. Job chapters 1-2--
3. Luke 2-- Peter was marked by the prayer of the Son og God Note vs. 22
4. Eph. 1:13-- All saints are sealed by the Holy Spirit. Satan cannot have them again.
Cf- John 1:12; Acts 26:18; Rom. 8:28-29
5. Rev. 7:1-3-- Tribulation saints are marked
Cf- Rev. 13:16-17-- Thus, Satan wants to mark and doom his followers
Rev. 14:8-11-- There is no hope of salvation to those who take Satan's mark.
So, what does God think of saints who mark themselves? Leviticus 19:28
Discuss poking holes in the body and tatoos. This is the way of pagans. Forbidden in national churches in other lands.
6. John 10:29-- This is the security-- The hand of God and His son.
7. 1 Chronicles 16:15-22-- God has determined that His anointed will not be touched carelessly.
8. There is a marking not desired by saints:
Job 10:14-- The mark of a backslider
Rom. 16:17-- The mark of a rebel by the Lord's local church.
9. The mark of blessing of the saints, BY the saints:
Ps 37:37-- Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
Ezekiel 9:4-- God marks those who groan at the evil around them.
Galatians 6:17-- The marks of persecution. These a honors to the faithful saint.
Phil. 3:17-- Mark those who follow Apostolic revelation. This is ONLY found in the Word.
Rev. 15:2-3-- This mark is a distinction earned in warfare. The saints today are not called to ease. God has marked us and empowered us to win in His warfare with Satan.
Conclusion: Read Toirac, p. 262-263
d. Converting Backsliders- Vs. 19-20
This is not a sinner. "Any of you" implies this is in the local church.
So what is the death in verse 20?
Cf- I Cor. 11:28-33-- Some were dying because there was no repentance.
Our ministry is to rescue fallen saints and save them from chastening, even death.
Cf- Psalm 32:1; I Peter 4:8; Galatians 6:1
Key verse of James--
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.