I want to break down chapter 5 into what I am calling the 4 Ps! Through all 5 chapters we see some reoccurring themes. PLEASE get into this book. If you haven’t read all five chapters yet, please dig into it. One of our families read it every day for a month.
We are going to call these first 6 verses the:
The Predicament of PROSPERITY
Everyone in the room wants to be prosperous. However, the Bible Tells us that prosperity puts us in a difficult, perplexing, or dangerous situation. A predicament.
James 5:1 Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment.
This is beginning like chapter 4! Remember him talking about running a race to satisfy desires in your inner most being?
In fact, here in Ch.5 he is talking about when you are running the race and you catch the fake rabbit. Prosperity is not all that it is cracked up to be.
Relying on money and success to bring you peace is the wrong idea.
4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you.
That doesn’t sound like you. Surely, he isn’t talking to you. You aren’t wealthy. You don’t participate in this… hhhhhhmmmmmm.
When I read verses 1-6, I think about America. All Americans.
Economists say that in the world there is about 153 trillion dollars. 63 of that trillion is in the US where 4.4% of the world population lives. The Average household income in America is $50,000.The Average household income for the world is $18,000. The median income is $1225. (for the math nerds out there)
The book of James is filled with warnings for the believer. It is so east to be ENTICED. SWAYED. DECIEVED. By this system and worldly thinking. BEWARD OF THE PROSPERITY PREDICAMENT! We can be intoxicated by possessions and money. We often allow the pleasures of this life and the pursuit of success to warp our true perception of God’s Kingdom. The Love of Money is the root of all evil.
In verses 7-11, James gives us the Plea for Patience:
The Plea for PATIENCE
7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient.
Wait…patiently! While you wait, do these two things:
Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. Basically, he is talking about the spirit of Eeyore! Down in the dumps.
“No one likes me. Everything is wrong. I have been treated wrong. Wah wah wah.” My son would say, “Someone call the wahhhmbulance”
The Believer in Jesus doesn’t have to be bound by the circumstances being handed to them! James is giving us a posture. A way to stand. A way to present our self. Patient. Courageous. Good attitude.
Galatians 5 says that the Holy Spirit of God will give us patience, gentleness, and self control! Bring it on, God! I want to live that type of lifestyle. When people see me, I want them to see someone that is patient. Trusting God. Not grumbly. Live a Life of Integrity. Mean what you say and say what you mean.
12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.
In verses 13-18, James gives us:
The Power of PRAYER
13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
In verses 19-20, James is giving us:
The Plight of PEOPLE
Or The Part you Play
19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
You are going to play a part in the situation or condition of someone else’s heart.
You make a difference in someone’s life when you show them love.
You can adjust someone’s course and trajectory by the way you share your story with them.
Caring for others. Forgiving those who are different from you.
Instead of criticizing and condemning, James is calling us to step INTO the situation and reach out a hand. Open up your ears and arms. Open up your prosperous checkbook.