Showing posts with label James. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James. Show all posts

Saturday, April 19, 2014

James 5

There is a special danger with wealth - it wraps people in a false security. The rich who have brought hardships and trials upon the innocent hardworking people will be severely judged by God. Believers who are put through such trials are suggested not to grumble against one another - they should wait for the Lord patiently.
James 5:9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
We are supposed to learn from Job's patience, look at what Lord finally brought about, and learn from it. Do not swear by heaven or earth – let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'.

The suffering should pray, the joyous should sing psalms, the sick should be prayed for and anointed. The prayer of faith will save the sick.

James cites the example of Elijah - he prayed for no rain, and there was a drought for three and a half years. Later when Elijah prayed for rain, it rained.

He who helps a sinning brother will save a soul from death.
James 5:19-20 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 4

Switching from peace to conflict, James teaches that the root cause of quarrels and fighting is envy - setting our hearts on something we want and determining to get it, no matter what. Instead, we can ask God to give it to us. If God does not give it to us, it is because we are asking Him with the wrong motives - for our pleasures.

Strife within the Christian community arise from covetousness, lust and murder, dominated by their desire for pleasure, and praying amiss. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.
James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 
James advises us to humble and repent; submit to the Lord and resist the devil - he will flee.
James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Who are we to judge each other? Our life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Do not act as if you are independent of God’s will. Do not boast about tomorrow. We have no control over our life - it is in the hands of God.

If anyone knows the good they are supposed to do and doesn't do it, it is a sin.

James 3

Those who want to be teachers in the church should first learn to control their tongue. Self control is the only way in which the most uncontrollable and contradictory member can be brought under control.
James 3:7-8 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Human tongue has a contradictory character, both cursing and blessing. This ought not to be – no spring yields both salt water and fresh water.

Wisdom shows us how to do good works. Merely earthly wisdom is bitter, envious and self-seeking.

Pure wisdom comes from God an shows in itself, gentleness, peace, mercy, and is without discrimination or hypocrisy.

James 2

James denounces favoritism. He wants believers not to discriminate, or show preference to a rich man over a poor one. God has chosen the poor to be rich in faith and heirs to His kingdom. The rich are the ones who exploit the poor and drag them into court.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:9-10 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 
Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.

James condemns faith without work or deeds. Faith is dead faith if not accompanied by practical assistance – eg providing for a needy or destitute brother or sister.
James 2:18-19 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
By works faith is made perfect. In case of Abraham, faith and work were acting together. Faith cannot be separated from works; faith without works is dead, like the body without the spirit.

James 1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, writes to the twelve scattered tribes. He has three key themes to address:
(a) Encountering trials,
(b) Wisdom,
(c) Riches and poverty

(a) Encountering trials
James urges his readers to count it a joy when we fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. God uses those trials to produce endurance and over time to make them mature and complete.

(b) Wisdom
If we need wisdom to handle various trials, we should ask God, trusting His generous character that He will grant us wisdom.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 
Those who doubt are compared to a storm tossed wave of the sea - such double-minded, unstable individuals should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

(c) Riches and poverty
Believers who find themselves in humiliating financial situation can always put their faith in the high standing with the Lord. The rich should remember that the riches will fade away like a flower in the field, or as grass withered by the sun.

James goes on to repeat those three themes once again.
(a) Encountering trials
Trials also mean temptation. Those who persevere under trials will be blessed with crown of life. Temptation is brought about not by God, but by our own desires, which lead to sin, and then to death. Every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of lights.

(b) Wisdom
Wisdom leads believers to be "quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." Human anger does not produce the kind of life God desires. Get rid of lives of moral filth, and accept the word that is planted within us. 

(c) Riches and poverty
Apart from keeping ourselves morally pure, we should take care of the needy - widows and orphans in their distress.