James, lesson 6
Heavenly Father, we come before You today with expectant, soft, obedient, and teachable hearts. We open our hearts and minds to receive the ministry of Your Word. Speak to each one of us through the Holy Spirit based on our unique and special situations, in Jesus; name, Amen.
James 5:1-20, sins of the rich, patience and perseverance, the prayer of faith, love covers a multitude of sins
VV 1-3, 1 Come now, you rich, 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.
James warned the rich on impending judgment because of arrogance, pride, corruption, exploitation, oppressing the poor, and flaunting luxurious lifestyles. Miseries will overtake them, their riches would be corrupted, their garment would be damaged, their gold and silver will be corroded,
VV 4-6, 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 Sabbath. 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.
James rebuked the rich for ripping off their workers through withholding or underpayment of wages, flaunting luxury lifestyles, exploiting and oppressing the poor and marginalized.
VV 7-8, 7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the 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.
We should have patience and perseverance as we anticipates the second coming of the Lord. We should be as patient as a farmer in the field, as tough as a soldier in a war, and as disciplined as an athlete in a race, 2 Timothy 2:3-7.
2 Timothy 2:3-6, “You, therefore, must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops”.
VV 9-10, 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.
We should not to grumble against each other because God is watching, observing, and judging us. We should emulate the prophets of the Old Testament in their patience, suffering, and perseverance.
VV 11-12, 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the 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.
James quoted the endurance, perseverance, and faithfulness of Job from the book of Job. God is compassionate and merciful. We should not swear an oath by heaven or earth. We should be straightforward in our answers with a yes or a no. We should not twist and turn or give ambiguous replies.
VV 14-15, 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.
We should pray in difficult times and sing spiritual songs in good times. We should call upon the elders of the church to pray, lay hands, and anoint us with oil if we are sick. The prayer of faith of a righteous man will heal the sick.
VV 16-18, 16 Confess your trespasses 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.
We should confess our sins to each other and pray for each other. The prayer of a righteous man is effective and powerful. Elijah was an ordinary man just like anyone of us but his prayer was effective and powerful. When he prayed for drought, the drought came and when he prayed for rain, the rain came, 1 Kings:17-18.
1 Kings 18:45, “Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel”.
VV 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.
We should watch out for backsliders and restore them back to the faith. Anyone who restores a backslider back to the faith will save a soul from eternal death. Love covers a multitude of sins, 1 Peter 4:8.
1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”.
We should be patient and persevere as we anticipate Christ’s second coming. We should not grumble against each other. We should pray in the face of adversity and sing spiritual songs in the face of joy. We should call upon the elders of the church to pray, lay hands, and anoint us with oil if we are sick. We should watch out for backsliders and restore them back to the faith.
Heavenly Father, help us to be patient, humble, and meek. Help us to be as tough as a soldier going to war, as disciplined as an athlete running a race, and as hard-working as a farmer toiling the ground. Help us to wait faithfully and expectantly for Your imminent return, in Jesus; name, Amen.