We have found that James has been teaching us things that we should all practise as Christians.
To be a Christian is still to be like Jesus Christ.
How did this name come about?
A handful of Jews from Jerusalem had gone to Antioch of Syria and preached the “Gospel” to the Gentiles.
Act 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
It is the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ that makes Christians.
If we are not like Jesus Christ then we are not Christians!
James has been preaching to Christians, who were scattered because of persecution, and this lesson continues today in chapter 5.
We ended last weeks lesson with this verse:
Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
When we know how to do good by the Word of God, and reject God’s Word then we are living in sin!
*****Jas 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
The Church is a mixed blend of people from all parts of society and from all cultures in this world. We should not be surprised when we find some in the Church who are rich.
It is not sin to become rich!
If those riches come from your own sweat and the work of your own hands then you need to thank God for what he has done.
But when those riches come at the expense of others then it was gained in a fraudulent manner.
James begins to condemn this type of rich man.
Happiness can never come from the riches in this world!
The quicker we find this out the better off we will be!
A comedian once said “money talks but all it says to me is goodbye”
Most of us find this to be true.
To “weep” is to be in misery and is a sure sign of grief.
To “howl” is to be in overwhelming distress as this misery has taken over your life.
Where does this misery come from?
*****Jas 5:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
That word riches means “all possessions”.
That word “corrupted” means all those possessions have perished or will perish.
Many of the early Christians had been robbed of all their possessions simply because they had become disciples of Jesus Christ.
A moth breeds in yarn and garments and will eat the material thus destroying that garment.
That word “motheaten” means “the ways” of the rich will be destroyed!
*****Jas 5:3 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.
That word “cankered” means that the best your riches will ever do for you, is to provide corruption.
That word “rust” is what happens to metals such as steel or iron, but the same Greek word used here can also mean the poisonous venom that is emitted by a serpent.
It is hard to have a good testimony and be very rich, if you have not used those riches to further the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ.
It is even harder to have a good testimony if you have lost those riches but still have a great desire for them!
It is that “lust for those riches” that will eat at your flesh and gnaw at your conscience until you have been consumed in your own misery.
Communism began when a certain group of the rich, took advantage of the hopeless poor. And on the backs of these poor they built themselves great riches and in some cases large nations.
By the means of slavery, many men have become rich and prosperous and human trafficking is still prevalent in our world today and it is still about riches.
Even today in what is called democracy and democratic governments, the reality is, that wealth and political influence have concentrated the wealth of the world into the hands of only a small number of multinational power brokers.
It is these men that have more control over the things of this world than we realize!
Even in America, even in an administration that says they are taking from the rich to give to the poor, the super rich have gotten even richer.
The intent of our governments today is not to take away from the rich to help the poor, it is to take away from what is called the middle-class, and make them all poor, while the rich just get richer.
The proof is in the results and not what the politicians say!
These things have always taken place and these things will increase until the time of Christ, when He will put an end to them!
Mar 14:7 “For ye have the poor with you always”, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
But when our Lord returns we also have this promise:
Rev 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Rev 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and “the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies”.
Rev 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; “for no man buyeth their merchandise any more”:
Rev 18:17 For in one hour “so great riches is come to nought”. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
Rev 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; “for God hath avenged you on her”.
There is the sinful Babylon of false religion.
There is the sinful Babylon of those rich who have gotten rich off the backs of innocent people.
Both will fall at the return of Jesus Christ!
*****Jas 5:4 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.
That word “behold” means that the things written in the Book of Revelation will come to be true, “as sure as all the Word of God”!
God will avenge all the wrong that has been done to His people!
God will avenge all the wrong that has been done to His creation!
Jesus had these words:
Luk 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
Our God is a righteous God!
God came down from Heaven in the flesh to become our Savior!
Our Savior will return again as Judge and what we look for in a true Judge is “equity”.
Psa 94:20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?
Psa 94:21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
Psa 94:22 But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.
Psa 94:23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.
Our God is righteous in all His ways!
2Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
That Lord of the Sabaoth is in fact the Lord of Hosts!
The Lord Jesus shall be revealed coming from Heaven with His mighty angels and that day gets closer every tick of the clock!
Those that have oppressed the people of God’s creation, will be judged!
*****Jas 5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Jas 5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
That judgment will come to all who have lived and gained their wealth off the backs of others and ignored the Word of God.
They have lived in luxury on this Earth but there is no luxury in Hell.
They have indulged in wantonness or have made a sport of the way they live.
In other words they take great pleasure in all the evil things they have done!
They have fed off their desires, like beast eat their prey until they can eat no more.
Like sharks, they love the “feeding frenzy” over those less fortunate than themselves!
There are sometimes another reasons for the great wars that we see.
Most all wars have no real winners except for those that financed them and who are the underwriters of those wars.
In our past there have been those that have financed both sides at the same time, not choosing sides but only choosing riches over the death of the masses of people.
This still happens today, there are great riches to be made in every war!
In some wars the truly guilty are those that supply the weapons that have condemned those that are innocent and cannot resist!
God’s answer is patience!
*****Jas 5:7 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.
Just as the farmer must be patient until his crop comes to harvest, the Lord is very patient waiting on His precious fruit!
This is something that we all need to understand!
There are somethings that are just worth waiting for and the Lord sees every “Born Again” child of God as “one worth waiting for”!
There is great joy in the presence of angels in Heaven at every salvation!
It has now been over 2000 years since the Lord Jesus went to prepare our place.
He knows exactly how many places to prepare and He is truly waiting on those to fill those mansions.
Not one home in Heaven will be unoccupied!
Not one home will ever be sold or up for rent!
Someday soon the last part of the Body of Christ will be saved and the Church will be complete and we will all go to our new home in Heaven!
As the Lord is patient until this time we need also to be patient!
*****Jas 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
We are living in sin, “if we do not live expecting the Lord to come at any time”!
We should know that the Lord Himself prays for each of us and this is one of His prayers as He prayed for Peter!
Luk 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, “that thy faith fail not”: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Our time to go home draws closer every moment that passes!
The Lord will make all things right when He comes in “judgment”!
*****Jas 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
What are the signs of impatience? To “grudge”, is to murmur, and groan and express your feelings against those that oppress the Church.
When we do these things it will affect our testimony and if one soul is lost because of our actions we will face that judgment also, at the judgment seat of Christ!
The eyes of the Lord are on every thing that has been done to us and is being done to His Church but His eyes are also on us in any wrongdoing!
If we study the Word of God and listen to it’s truth, and see the things that are going on in our world, we should have no doubt that our “Judge is standing before the door”, prepared to come to us at any time!
We are not the only ones who have seen hard times!
*****Jas 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
“My Brethren”, means all God’s people, and we should know that all those that have spoken in the name of the Lord are our examples of others who have suffered.
Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
Heb 11:37 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;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Though some may be able, not many of us can say we have suffered as these mentioned in the Book of Hebrews.
These are our examples for suffering affliction.
The Bible never says that God’s people will never suffer!
These that gone before, are our example in suffering and also our example in patience!
And God says those that do not believe, those that trust the world, are not even worthy of one child of God left behind to tell them about Jesus.
We are all a part of God’s “Grace” to the unbeliever when we follow in the ways of Jesus Christ!
*****Jas 5:11 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.
God saved each of us for a specific purpose and God knows what is best for each of us to fulfill that purpose!
Not many will ever prosper and be much help to others if they have had an easy life!
We will never realize what a good day is all about, until we have actually had a bad day.
True happiness comes from enduring what “has to be” endured!
To be a Christian is to be like Jesus Christ and Christ “had to endure” all the things that happened to Him in order to bring joy, first to Himself, and then for us.
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; “who for the joy that was set before him” endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
What does endurance look like?
Act 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, “so opened he not his mouth”:
All things were created by the Lord Jesus and we know that “God spoke” our world into existence.
But when He could have stopped His own death, He endured all these things and “opened not His mouth” and He did this for you and I.
We read many things in the Bible, such as the patience of Job, to encourage us in our bad times but we seem to forget the perfect example of our Lord as He endured death so that we can live and live forever!
Job was a real person and the story of Job is a real story and Job did have much to endure but after these things, then Job had real joy.
The Lord Jesus had much to endure and then came His joy for our Salvation!
When we endure the things of this world we should remember the absolute “joy” that is soon coming for all those that love the Lord.
And there are other things we need to do.
*****Jas 5:12 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.
We must remember that as Christ Jesus endured the all the things that led Him to the cross, He also opened not His mouth!
We should remember there are no victories in Jesus until there are battles!
Blessings can come while we are in our trials but the greater blessings will come after we have endured that trial!
When we become impatient in our trials and temptations, it first noticed in our speech and then in our ways.
It is easy to say things that we do not mean, when we are suffering!
The Jews would swear often to back up the statements they had made but they were very careful not to blaspheme God in their swearing.
They would swear by heaven or by earth or even Jerusalem, but James teaches us all that all these things were created by the Lord and “it is impossible” to avoid swearing by God in any oath.
It is always better to just say yes when the answer is yes and no when the answer is no!
Even Jesus said to speak more than these things, is sin!
Mat 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: “for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil”.
So what is the best way to use our tongues? Prayer!
We may think that we are nourished by the food we eat and it is important.
But the absolute best use of our mouths are in prayer!
*****Jas 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
When we find ourselves in the furnace, the most important thing we can do is pray!
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
It was the cross of Jesus that tore down the barrier that was between us and God.
There is not any part of the day that we cannot go to the Lord in prayer!
We have no set times as some do, that we can reach out to the Lord. Our God is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
To be afflicted is to suffer from some difficult things in our life.
These are things that come not by our own sin, but by the things that we must go through in this life.
We are not to grumble and complain!
We are not to blame the Lord or anyone else!
“We are” to go to the only One who can help and that is our God in prayer!
This is the time to pray and not put it off!
Even Paul prayed that God would change his circumstances but God just gave Paul more “grace”.
The Lord Jesus prayed, if there could be another way than to be separated from His Father for even one moment but God gave Jesus more strength.
And while you are going through your troubles there will always be others who are not!
If we are not down in the valley of transgression and are on the mountain top then we need to be singing Psalms of praise!
BUT, it is the “mature” Christian who can sing Psalms of praise and pray “while he is yet suffering those afflictions”!
Anyone can sing after their troubles are over!
It is through our prayers and our songs that we can worship our Lord!
This is what true worship is all about!
What songs should we sing?
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
The Bible teaches us much about prayer and when we sing we need to be singing?
We need to be singing, Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs!
*****Jas 5:14 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:
Jas 5:15 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.
It would be a rare thing to find a congregation that gathered that did not have someone who was sick in some way among them.
The Greek word “astheneo” is used here and it means to be feeble, diseased, sick, or weak.
No doubt that this person should also be praying for themselves in closet prayer!
Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Today this person would also ask to be put on a prayer list at his place of worship.
But James says to also call on those that have been Christians for a long time, the elders in the Church, and not so much the novices, who are new converts.
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1Ti 3:6 “Not a novice”, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
These would be men who have been through many trials and temptations and would have experienced many blessings of the Lord and had followed and lived by the Word of God!
Pro 4:10 Hear, O my son, and “receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many”.
These would be men who had “the gift and the grace of prayer” but they could also offer a word of counsel and advice.
It is true that in the time of the Apostles that they and some few others, had the gift of healing but James is not saying this in this passage.
When the Lord healed and the Apostles healed the results were instantaneous, the were complete, and they were permanent.
They were also unconditional and each one had a purpose!
And these healings were always secondary to the Word of God!
Luk 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, “preaching the gospel, and healing every where”.
The preaching came before the healing!
The “gift of healing” terminated once the New Testament was written!
There was no further need for the “gift of healing” and there are no more Apostles.
God now responds to the prayers of His children “at His own will and for His own purpose” but He will still respond!
We should also remember that even in the day of James and Paul, God chose not to heal everyone.
Timothy was a preacher of the Gospel but Timothy was not healed:
1Ti 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.
The Apostle Paul prayed to be healed 3 times but God would not heal Paul:
2Co 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
This is the same answer that is given the most today!
God’s “Grace” must be sufficient enough for us to get through the trials of life!
In the day of James, oil was one of the few medicines that existed, and to be anointed with oil and the laying on of the hands are symbolic of the “healing power of God” and a sign of seeking the divine “Grace of God”.
In other words “let them use oil who can by their prayers obtain recovery for the sick”.
All healing then and now, are by the hand of God!
No human possesses the gift and the power to heal!
How do we know this?
*****Jas 5:15 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.
It is not the oil, it is not the laying on of the hands, nor is it any medicine that heals and saves, It Is The Prayer Of Faith!
And it is by the will of God and and the purpose of God that all prayers are answered!
The sick cannot be raised up unless the Lord raises them up!
The lost cannot be saved unless they are saved by the Lord!
Sins cannot be forgiven unless they are forgiven by the Lord!
Sin is the greatest sickness in this world we live and God sent His Son to solve that problem!
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
And this is also why a prayer of faith is required!
Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31 And they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”, and thy house.
Prayer is the key to life on this Earth!
And without Prayer in the name of Jesus, you will never make it to Heaven!
*****Jas 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.
To confess means a full, a frank, and an open confession!
If we have sinned against any person, then we need also to forgive them!
Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
We must pray for each other, and not to some priest as Rome insists!
Pro 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: “but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”.
We must intercede for one another because we have a Savior who intercedes for us all!
Jesus Christ’s intercession restores us to fellowship with God when that fellowship is broken through sin!
1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
To pray for one another is also some of the “good works” that come from a “saving faith”!
That word “availeth” means “the profit of”!
The effectual fervent prayer is a prayer that profits!
This is not just a prayer from someone.
This is the prayer of someone who is justified by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and has the truth of God’s “Grace” within him.
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
This is the “Grace” that saves and also the “Grace” that heals!
If you are not looking for that blessed hope, the appearing of the great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, then do not expect much from your prayers nor your prayer life!
It is this one thing that can energize our prayers above all other things!
It is this one thing that makes for fervent prayers!
Elijah was such a man.
*****Jas 5:17 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.
Jas 5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
When the rain stopped it was because Elijah prayed, and it was by the hand of God!
The systems that make rain, put in place by the creating hand of God,were still in place but all God’s creation is still under His direct control.
Luk 8:25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! “for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him”.
Pro 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? “who hath established all the ends of the earth”? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?
Pro 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
There are many great wonders of nature but “they are all” under the absolute control of our supernatural God!
God can answer any prayer at any time because it is He who sits on the throne of His Own Creation!
All prayers that meet God’s conditions will be answered!
*****Jas 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Jas 5:20 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”.
What is one good reason for “soul winning”?
There will be at that point in time, less sin in our world!
The more souls saved, the less sin in our world!
What is the truth?
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Too many churches have erred from this truth!
Jesus Christ is the “only way” to our Father in Heaven!
Jesus Christ is “the truth” of what we will find in the Father when we get to Heaven!
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Jesus Christ is all the life that can be given to us from our Father in Heaven!
1Jn 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
When we can incite others to come to the Lord Jesus Christ for all their needs, we are completing the Will of God in our lives that we live for Jesus!
Every soul that is saved is one less soul that will never see spiritual death!
This will complete our study in the Book of James.
Next week we will look at some things in the Book of 1 Thessalonians.