Key Verse: James 5:8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
1. Motives Matter(vss 1-6)
1 Come now, yourich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
- The possession of wealth is not evil. Abusing wealth by selfish living and by harming people dependent on you, is. These people seem to have used their wealth only for themselves.
- We have focused our journey, not on serving and loving God, but serving and loving self
- James delivers a clear condemnation of the act of selfishness in these verses
- What are you living for?
Thomas D. Lea, Hebrews, James, vol. 10, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 340.
2. Patience is a Virtue(vss 7-12)
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See howthe farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended bythe Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your“No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.
- The farmer must trust God to bring what cannot be created…rain
- We must work diligently while fully trusting God in every circumstance
- And, when things don’t go our way, we don’t complain, we trust
- Live as a clear representative of truth which flows from God
3. The Proper Posture of Prayer(vss 13-18)
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? 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 will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess yourtrespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
- Often times, our prayers fall short. Not because God doesn’t answer but because we don’t ask correctly.
- When we suffer, we pray with faith (vs 13)
- When we prosper, we praise with faith (vs 13)
- These verses underscore the importance of prayer
- Verse 15 is a portrait of healing. God always heals…from sickness and sin.
- Verse 16 is a crash course in praying right
4. The Power of Purpose(vss 19-20)
19 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.
- Some of the most encouraging verses in Scripture
- There is always hope
- There are some of us who have drifted away from righteousness for a myriad of reasons
- God will always welcome us back