This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on James. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.
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James finishes up by talking about the ultimate worthlessness of worldly wealth. He is not attacking rich people, he is making the point that today’s money will be worthless when Christ returns, so we should spend our time accumulating the kind of treasures that will be worthwhile in God’s eternal Kingdom.
James 5:1-20 (NIV)
1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. 7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned. 13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Money is not the problem, it is the love of money that leads to evil and causes some people to oppress others in order to get more.
1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Here is what Jesus has to say about it:
Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
James then talks about the importance of patience.
Paul talked about patience as well.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
4 Love is patient,
Patience is the bearing of difficult problems, people, or situations, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
We are not patient. We live in a hurry up, I want it now world. I want my food fast, I want my computer fast, I want one day shipping. However, God is not in a hurry. I cannot find an instance in the Bible of Jesus running anywhere. He lived by waiting on and watching for what the Father was doing. Remember that Jesus is our model for life and ministry, so we all need to work on being patient and not being is such a hurry.
Like the farmer who waits patiently for the crops, we have to learn to wait on God.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
James talks about the power of prayer.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
We are to bring all our needs to Jesus, knowing that He hears and answers prayer.
James also talks about the power of confession.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Jesus has made it possible for us to go directly to God for forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
But confessing our sins to each other still has an important place in the life of the church. If you just want to be forgiven, you just confess it to God. But if you want to get over this and get on with your life, you’re going to need to be healed. You need to tell somebody else. You are only as sick as your secrets.
James closes out this letter talking about purpose and mission.
…remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James talks about faith in action throughout this letter. We are to live this life out as people of mission, as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, reaching out to the lost and the hurting where ever we can so that we can present the radical message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. We are to not only be a people who read and study the Word of God, we are to be a people who are trying to live it out.
We are to be His hands and feet. We are to be the people who extend His love and mercy and grace. We are to let His light shine through us so that we may be salt and light to the world around us.