Summary of James 5:
James addresses the rich saying their misery is coming in the form or rotted wealth and clothes and corroded silver and gold because they have cheated workmen out of wages, lived in luxury and self-indulgence, fattened themselves while others starved, and condemned and murdered innocent men.
Be patient like the farmer is for his crops for the Lord’s coming and stand firm. Don’t grumble against each other or you will be judged. Have patience when suffering like the prophets did and persevere. Wait for what the Lord will bring about. Do not swear oaths. Your word is enough.
Pray when in trouble or happy. Have others pray for you when you are sick. A prayer offered in faith will make you well and you will be forgiven. Confess your sins and pray for each other. Prayer is powerful and effective like Elijah’s prayer. Those who turn sinners who have wandered from the truth back will be blessed.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 5: James 5
12) People cheat others who work for them and pay them sub-par wages for the work they do. People live in luxury and self-indulgence and extravagance. We over-indulge (look at the obesity rates in this country). Christians condemn and murder innocent men (or in some form such as slander that we talked about yesterday–severely hobbling people to the point they cannot support themselves, etc).
13) Be patient like the farmer is for his crops for the Lord’s coming and stand firm. Don’t grumble against each other or you will be judged. Do not swear oaths.
14) Personal question. My answer: You should pray in all circumstances: when you’re in trouble, happy, sick, and for each other. Pray continually.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 5: James 5
Again, the power of prayer should not be underestimated. Ever.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 5: James 5
Riches do present an additional and significant obstacle to the kingdom (Matthew 19:23-24). The pursuit of riches is a motivation for every conceivable sin (1 Timothy 6:10).
Often those who are poor and without power in this world have little satisfaction from justice. Yet God hears their cries, and He is the one who guarantees to ultimately right every wrong and answer every injustice.
Christians (especially those enduring hardship) are called to patiently endure until the coming of the Lord.
we are to wait upon God and not lose heart.
The return of Jesus requires that we have established hearts, hearts that are rooted in Jesus and His eternal resolution of all things.
Times of hardship can cause us to be less than loving with our Christian brothers and sisters. James reminds us that we cannot become grumblers and complainers in our hardship – lest we be condemned even in our hardship.
Jesus comes as a Judge, not only to judge the world, but also to assess the faithfulness of Christians (2 Corinthians 5:10). In light of this, we cannot allow hardship to make us unloving towards each other.
The prophets of the Old Testament endured hardship, yet practiced patient endurance. We can take them as examples.
Job shows perseverance, reason for suffering, and we see God’s compassion.
When we understand that God has a good purpose, even painful things are put into different perspective.
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
- A very good reason
- God restricts suffering
- God sustains through suffering
- God uses suffering to make us better people
Many Jewish people in the time James wrote made distinctions between “binding oaths” and “non-binding oaths.” Oaths that did not include the name of God were considered non-binding, and to use such oaths was a way of “crossing your fingers behind your back” when telling a lie. It is these kinds of oaths that James condemned.
The Bible does not forbid the swearing of all oaths, only against the swearing of deceptive, unwise, or flippant oaths. On occasion God Himself swears oaths (such as in Luke 1:73, Hebrews 3:11, and Hebrews 6:13).
All swearing is not forbidden, any more than Matthew 5:34; (for oaths are made use of by holy men in both the Old and New Testament, Genesis 21:23, 24; 24:3; 26:28; 1 Kings 17:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 1:20; and the use of an oath is permitted and approved of by God himself, Psalm 15:4; Hebrews 6:16)
James again echoed the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:34-37). The need to swear or make oaths, beyond a simple and clear yes or no betrays the weakness of one’s word. It demonstrates that there is not enough weight in one’s own character to confirm their words.
Anointing the sick with oil is also mentioned in Mark 6:13. Luke 10:34 mentions the application of oil in a medicinal sense.
“Oil was and is frequently used in the east as a means of cure in very dangerous diseases; and in Egypt it is often used in the cure of the plague. Even in Europe it has been tried with great success in the cure of dropsy. And pure olive oil is excellent for recent wounds and bruises; and I have seen it tried in this way with the best effects… St. James desires them to use natural means while looking to God for an especial blessing. And no wise man would direct otherwise.” (Clarke)
We should pray for others in faith, expecting that God will heal them, then leave the matter in God’s hands.
Clearly, God does not grant immediate healing for every prayer of faith, and the reasons are hidden in the heart and mind of God. Still, many are not healed simply because there is no prayer of faith offered. The best approach in praying for the sick is to pray with humble confidence that they will be healed, unless God clearly and powerfully makes it clear that this is not His will. Having prayed, we simply leave the matter to God.
James reminds us that mutual confession and prayer brings healing, both physically and spiritually. Confession can free us from the heavy burdens (physically and spiritually) of unresolved sin, and removes hindrances to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Confession is good, but must be made with discretion. An unwise confession of sin can be the cause of more sin. Confession should be discrete, made to the one sinned against, should be public, thorough, made before God, and be honest.
Effective prayer is offered by a righteous man. This is someone who recognizes the grounds of his righteousness reside in Jesus, and whose personal walk is generally consistent with the righteousness that he has in Jesus.
God uses human instruments in turning sinners back from the errors of their ways. One reason God uses human instruments is because it brings Him more glory than if He were to do His work by Himself.
James’ conclusion — he confronts those who have wandered from a living faith, endeavoring to save their souls from death, by demanding that they not only hear the word, but do it, because a living faith will have its proof.