Passage: James 5:1-20
What does it mean to walk in wisdom? On James' mind throughout this Epistle are the rich and the poor. James has said quite a bit about the perils of the rich in this letter. There are people who agree that one of the false teachings of the early Church recipients of this letter was one that we still have being taught in the Church today. That is the prosperity doctrine. Which ascribes spiritual growth and maturity with physical wealth, health and prosperity.
Big Idea: Three areas of life that we need to be sure we have the right view of: right view of money and possessions, right view of eternity, and the right view of the loving Father.
First, we need to cultivate the right view of money and possessions by:
I: Avoid the trappings of worldly wealth. (James 5:1-6)
- Being wealthy isn’t a sin – but how you view and how you use money can lead you to sin. In fact, there are great and many temptations that come with wealth.
- Money can create an insatiable appetite – the more money you have, the more money you want.
- Wealth can easily become an idol.
- Wealth, when made an idol, will turn you into its slave. And a slave to wealth is greedy and self-indulgent. (5:4-6)
- One thing that seems clear about the problem of too much wealth – it seems those with it exploited those who did not.
- So how do we avoid this? We are a wealthy people! View what you have and what you are trying to gain as resources you have been entrusted with for Kingdom purposes.
- If you view your money as something other than a resource given to you to steward from Kingdom purposes, you may have a problem.
Second, we cultivate a right view of eternity by:
II: Prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. (James 5:7-12)
There is nothing more counter-intuitive than to say it is good for us to patiently endure suffering, but that’s one of the ways James says we should prepare ourselves.
- Jesus is returning – every generation has believed that the coming of the Lord could be in their lifetime. We should live like He could return at any minute because we don’t know when His return will be.
- The early churched used to greet one another with an Aramaic word – “Maranatha” which means “Our Lord comes” or “ Our Lord is coming." They believed then and we believe now that our Lord is coming and we need to be ready for His coming.
- While we wait patiently, James gives us the following instructions:
- Establish your hearts.
- Don’t grumble about one another.
- Endure suffering.
- Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
- James reminds his readers of the prophets of old and what kinds of lives many of them lived. Specifically, Job – a man who had almost everything taken from him yet he remained steadfast. After losing all that he had to lose Job responded the following way: (Job 1:20-22) How would we respond if we were Job?
Third, we can cultivate the right view of our loving Father by:
III: Live a life that is filled with faith. (James 5:13-20)
In this last part of his letter, James explains what a faith filled like looks like.
- If you are suffering – pray.
- If you are cheerful – praise God.
- If you are sick – call the elders of the church.
- The faithful confesses their sins to one another and prays for one another.
- James links confession of sins with the supernatural healing. (See also taking the Lord's Supper unworthily in 1 Corinthians 11).
- James then likens his readers to Elijah – a man who prayed for miraculous things to happen and they happened.
Conclusion: Let’s get real practical here in terms of cultivating the right views on wealth, eternity, and a faith-filled life.
- Wealth – Give obediently and sacrificially
- Eternity – Live life like Jesus could return at any minute
- A Faith-filled Life – Confess your sins and ask God to do those things that only He can do.
Speaker: Dan Krause
November 26, 2023