Parkland First Baptist Church
August 21, 2022
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        Raniesha Turner

        July 28, 2022 - 7:00 AM - 7:00 AM
  • Introduction

    We are in our study of the book of James.
    We have seen that James has placed an emphasis on the poor in this letter.
    In fact, we are going to see he saves his harshest language in today’s passage.
    Last week, we saw in James 4:13-17 the arrogance and pride involved in planning life without dependence on God.
    He denounced the worldliness of a self-centered businessman.
    Today we are going to see him, indict wealthy landowners for abusing the power of their wealth and for oppressing the poor.
    These wealthy landowners were probably not believers, but they were making life miserable for Christians, who were their victims.
    Let me say, 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.
    Let’s read James 5:1-12
    James 5:1–12 CSB
    1 Come now, you rich people, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted and your clothes 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 stored up treasure in the last days. 4 Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who mowed your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Armies. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and have indulged yourselves. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous, who does not resist you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 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. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Brothers and sisters, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door! 10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “yes” mean “yes,” and your “no” mean “no,” so that you won’t fall under judgment.

    A Warning To The Rich Verses 1-7

    One of the first thing to note is that we can place confidence in the justice of God.
    As we read, there is an emphasis on God’s end-time judgment in the first seven verses.
    James says to be patient until the Lord’s coming and that the Lord’s coming is near.
    Finally, we learn that the judge stands at at the door.
    Jesus is coming back, and He’s going to do at least two things.
    He is coming to judge the sinful.
    The first five verses are addressed to unbelievers and James jumps right in with his warning.
    He tells them to weep and wail as they are overwhelmed as they realize the cost of their selfishness.
    The reason James spends time using this harsh language toward unbelievers is for us to be reminded that the justice of God is coming.
    We should be patient as we for God’s justice.
    Don’t think that this isn’t written for you as well.
    He has already rebuked Christians for showing favoritism toward the rich over the poor earlier in the book.
    He now rebukes the unbelieving rich and implies a warning to rich believers who were ignoring the poor.
    He’s not condemning wealth, but is focusing on the sinful use of wealth.
    Since we live in a world that is all about obtaining wealth, we need to be careful how we use what we have and our attitudes toward getting more.
    We need to remember that living in an extremely wealthy culture compared to the rest of the world, we need to make sure that we are not sinfully using the resources God has given to us.
    James gives four accusations against the unbelieving rich.
    First, they were going to be judged for hoarding wealth in verses 2-3.
    Anyone here watch the show “Hoarders?”
    Image the rich hoarding their wealth that way.
    Wealth was seen in precious metals, food, and expensive clothes.
    They kept all their “stuff” stored up and it was just wasting away.
    Clothes moth eaten
    Food rot
    Metals tarnish
    The bottom line is that what you think is the surest use of money in this world is wasting away.
    There is a day coming when your barns, storage units, or stock portfolios will all burn up.
    They were hoarding their wealth as they prepared to meet the eternal Judge and their treasure would testify against them.
    Second, they were going to be judged for cheating their workers.
    The wealthy landowner failed to pay wages to their workers.
    In New Testament Palestine rich farmers hired day laborers to work their fields.
    The OT demanded that an employer pay an employee his wages on a daily basis.
    The laborers lived a hand-to-mouth existence.
    They needed wages each day to purchase life’s necessities.
    A wealthy employer might retain wages until the end of the harvest to prevent the workman from leaving him.
    We see that James’s readers had mowed or reaped the fields, but the wealthy landowners withheld their pay.
    This injustice displeased God.
    Third, these rich hoarders would be judged for living in self-indulgence.
    You probably have seen the opulence of the rich in our society.
    Donald Trump likes his gold everywhere.
    Bill Gates and his large house on Lake Union.
    Jeff Bezos who even after a divorce is still one of the richest men in the world.
    The imagery of the rich is striking in verse 5
    They are like cattle gorging on food before they head to the slaughter house.
    They collect more and more and when judged they’ll loose it all.
    They were overfed and unconcerned about the poor.
    It is a picture much like today where the wealth was so concentrated in the hands of a few with thousands dying for lack of food or clean water.
    We need to ask God to help us living in our materialistic culture to not fall into their trap of getting stuff while unaware that we’re about to be destroyed.
    The fourth charge is that the rich would be judged for condemning men to death.
    In verse 6, James levels the charge of murder or violence against the innocent.
    Jewish tradition taught that a person could murder another either by judicial murder or by depriving his neighbor of his living.
    The wealthy landowners could have been guilty of murder in either sense.
    Probably the acts of violence were not limited to a single event but involved multiple occurrences.
    If the poor man made a subdued response to the injustice he suffered.
    As a committed Christian, he refused to respond with violence.
    He may have realized that violence would not assist him to do anything effective about his plight.
    James is sure of the coming judgement for the rich unbelievers, but Jesus is coming to deliver the faithful.
    As the persecuted Christian heard this letter read to them.
    They knew of the judgement coming, but even more that that, they knew that Jesus is coming to deliver them.
    In verse 4 James refers to the “Lord of Hosts,” or the Master of Armies, and he’s telling his hearers that their cries and their pain are heard on high.
    The Lord of Hosts will vindicate you in due time.
    This is why James says in verse 7 to “be patient until the Lord’s coming.”
    He is coming to judge the sinful and to deliver the faithful.

    Waiting on God Verses 7-12

    Notice the word therefore in verse 7
    Since the rich are being condemned and judged for their sin, James tells the believers to be patient because the Lord is Coming.
    James shares three illustrations of what patience looks like.
    First, he says to be patient like a farmer: waiting for the harvest.
    As I was growing up, my grandfather, several great uncles, and my father in his retirement years were farmers.
    They would worked hard at getting the land prepared, sowing the seeds, weeding the fields all in hopes for a good harvest.
    That harvest depended on rain and not drought or floods.
    They were all dependent on God’s provision in the weather.
    That called for patience.
    So, James says, when it comes to the Lord’s coming and the injustice that surrounds you, like a farmer trust God with what you cannot control while honoring God with what you can control.
    James mentions in verse 9 that they were grumbling against one another.
    While we wait patiently and endure trials, we will be tempted to sin.
    We will be tempted to complain and speak evil against one another, but we must resist this.
    Remember, the Judge is coming (v. 9), and we want to be found faithful with what we can control.
    Like a farmer trust that the harvest God brings in His time will be worth the wait.
    Second, we are to be patient like a prophet: speaking the truth.
    The prophet reminds us that patience does not necessarily mean inactivity.
    The prophets in the OT in the middle of persecution stood boldly and spoke out against injustice. We, too, when in the middle of hardship, are to speak about the goodness, the greatness, the judgment, and the mercy of God.
    Times of suffering are often the most golden opportunity to speak a word for the glory of God.
    Third, we need patience like Job: hoping in God’s purpose.
    James says, “You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord” in verse 11.
    What an understatement!
    Remember that it took 42 chapters for the purpose of suffering in Job’s life to be revealed, and only at the end did he confess, “I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5–6).
    This is a good reminder for us: Whatever you are walking through is not the end of the story.
    The end will reveal that the Lord is indeed “very compassionate and merciful” (Jas 5:11).
    You can’t see it, but be patient, hoping in God’s purpose.

    Worship of God Verse 12

    After talking about the coming judgment of the rich and delivery for the poor, James takes a break to look at truthful speech.
    This may seem odd, but his train of thought is that since we don’t know when Jesus is returning, that we need to control our tongue, and don’t know what will happen in the future; we need to not make oaths.
    This is really an appeal to avoid using God’s name disrespectfully.
    Although these words prohibit profanity, they are not chiefly concerned about “taking the Lord’s name in vain.”
    They warn against the use of a hasty, irreverent oath involving God’s name during a time of suffering or hardship.
    Above all during our stress we should not resort to flippant oaths that communicate something about God to the world that we do not intend.
    Like “by God I’ll get it done” or “by God I’ll get even”, or “Oh, my God!”
    We are clearly taught to revere or reverence God’s name.
    Remember 10 Commandments.
    This verse bans the careless use of God’s name to guarantee the truthfulness of a statement.
    Christians who face suffering can be easily tempted to make a frivolous appeal to God’s name to bargain their way out of trouble or difficulty.
    In the NT times some Jews would make a statement such as “by my life” or “by my head” to bolster the truth of a promise or statement.
    They also used evasive swearing.
    If a person swore by the name of God, his oath was binding.
    If he swore by another object such as heaven or earth like on “my dead mother’s grave” his oath was not binding.
    Jesus condemned such false actions.
    He wanted the words of his followers to be so patently honest that they needed no additional confirmation.
    James affirmed what Jesus had already said.
    He wanted an individual’s yes to mean yes, and the no to mean no.
    God would judge the words of an evasive or frivolous swearer

    Now What?

    As we live in a very materialistic society, let’s not make obtaining wealth our goal.
    We should be grateful for God’s blessings and use them to help others.
    We need to hopeful that in the midst of our trials, one day soon, Jesus is returning for us.
    We can rest assured that those today who are unjust will get their due justice when the true judge comes.

    Let’s Pray

      • James 5:1–12CSB

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