While You Wait Pt. 1
James 5:1-12 (ESV)
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.  Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.  Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.  Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.  You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.  You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.  You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.  As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
There are times when I am more patient than others. When things are going the way I want them to go I’m patient. When things are going another direction I’m less patient. I’m not where James is yet.
In 46 AD when James wrote this letter to his friends at his church who were being persecuted for their faith, he knew what they needed most. He knew that they needed to be encouraged to endure trials in a God honoring way, he knew they needed to be warned about sin, and they needed to be encouraged to be patient. Read More
The Crisis of Sovereignty
James 4: 13-17
We saw earlier in chapter 4 of James the truths relating to quarreling and fighting among Believers. James’ conclusion to this was we fight because we have misguided passions that are constantly at war. Our own selfishness is the sole cause of fights and arguments among God’s people. When this happens we have traded the eternal for the temporal or we could say we are walking by sight and not by faith. To use the words of Christ, we are not laying up treasures in heaven but have settled for rotting decaying treasure. We’ve set our sights too low.
James takes us a step further and shows us what happens to our thinking the more we live with misguided and twisted affections. Read More
Cheating on a Jealous God
James 4:1-10 (ESV)
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
I walked in to the waiting room at a hospital one day, and out of about 50 chairs there were two free. Everyone else was smarter than I was because the two seats were placed right under the TV. I don’t know if it was The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital. In about 1 minute Read More
James 3:13-18 (ESV)
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Last week we saw the importance of controlling our tongues. We saw the power it has to control our whole being. We saw the danger of our tongues. Then we saw the inconsistency of our tongues, we praise God and also curse men. Read More
The Character of Faith Pt. 2
James 2:14-26 (ESV)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”— and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
This genuine saving faith that is centered in and has laid hold of Christ, as we learned last week, is a faith that will show itself in obedience to Christ.
Many have claimed that these verses in James’ letter contradict what Paul taught in his writings. Even the great reformer, Martin Luther struggled with this epistle. So, before we begin it’s vital to the understanding of these verses to realize a couple of things. Read More