27 August 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 5:13-20

C3 The Christian life—Prayer James 5:13-20
D1 Believers Should Sing If Happy and If Sick Should Pray James 5:13-16
D2 Believers Should Know of the Example of Elijah James 5:17-18
D3 Believers Should Guide Our Erring Brothers and Sisters Back to Truth James 5:19-20
James 5:13-20 WEL Is any among you experiencing troubles? You must pray. Is any happy? Then sing praise. 14 Is any among you sick? Then summon the church’s elders, and let them pray for them, anointing them with oil in the Lord’s name. 15 The prayer of faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, they will be forgiven. 16 Confess [your] sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. 17 Elijah was a man with emotions just like us, he earnestly prayed that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the ground for three years and six months. 18 Then, he prayed again, the sky yielded rain, and the ground produced its crops. 19 Brothers, if any of you wanders from the truth, and someone brings him back again, 20 Then let him understand that whoever brings the sinner back again from that wandering path he was on will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
  • Here are some more directions from James for living a Christian life.
  • Emotions=
    • Troubles
      • We must pray. James does not tell us that God answers our prayers the way we want them or even how long to pray.
      • Philippians 4:6-7 CSB Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
      • Acts 12:5 BSB So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was fervently praying to God for him.
      • An example: Genesis 32:9-12 CSB Then Jacob said, "God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD who said to me, 'Go back to your land and to your family, and I will cause you to prosper,' "I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. Indeed, I crossed over the Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two camps. "Please rescue me from my brother Esau, for I am afraid of him; otherwise, he may come and attack me, the mothers, and their children. "You have said, 'I will cause you to prosper, and I will make your offspring like the sand of the sea, too numerous to be counted.
    • Happiness
      • We sing praise
      • For teaching, admonishing, and thankfulness: Colossians 3:16 BSB Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
      • God also sings: Zephaniah 3:17 BSB The LORD your God is among you; He is mighty to save. He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.
      • For deliverance: Isaiah 35:10 BSB and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.
    • Sickness
      • We call upon our leaders and fellow believers
      • Many understand this to refer to placing a believer in God’s hands for strengthening the body and soul and for safety of his/her soul.
      • We still must seek the assistance of a physician because it might be the means God brings healing. If we are sick, we are to seek the assistance of a licensed health care person.
      • There is no guarantee offered in the Scriptures of always happening.
  • Prayer of faith
    • Faith is believing God, not a manipulation of God guaranteeing what we pray for.
    • God’s will is to be prayed for. 1 John 5:14 CSB This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
    • The prayer of faith is a prayer that God’s will be done.
    • Sometimes sickness is caused by sin. Confession of the sin brings healing.
    • It is the faith of the elders, not the sick.
    • James could be referring to a spiritual sickness, not physical sickness.
    • Then James gives examples of God’s answering Elijah’s prayer.
  • Confessing sins
    • All sin is against God and His law.
    • All sin must be confessed to God. We must acknowledge that truth of our sin, not cover it up.
    • If the only one knows of my sin, then I confess and ask forgiveness of only God.
    • If I sinned against one person, then I go to God and the person I sinned against to make things right.
    • If I sinned publicly then, I go to God and the public.
    • There are still consequences to sin. A pastor who sins may be permanently banned from pastoring. Today, we see too many fallen pastors who have abused, sexually molested, and other heinous sins starting new churches. This is a very wicked practice.
  • We are to seek for those who have wandered from the faith.
    • Questions they have not being answered, so we can answer them.
    • Offended by someone in the congregation, so we can deal with that offender. This would include exposing the offender’s sin and removing them from church if necessary.
    • Drifted from lack of Bible reading and prayer.
    • Drifted from not understanding Christian doctrine.
    • Drifted from wanting to sin.
    • Drifted from something happening to them as addictions, homelessness, etc. That the congregation can help.
  • Delivering a soul from death
    • Does not mean a guaranteed physical healing
    • The removal of sin refers to God’s forgiveness. There still might be consequences of sin as we read when King David raped Bathsheba and then had her husband killed.
    • Physical healing is wonderful, but how much more spiritual healing.
  • We need to help each other both those who have sinned and those tempted to sin.
  • Name some of the rules we must follow as taught in this passage.
  • Why should we pray?
  • What if God does not heal? How are we to respond?
  • How can we prevent wandering from the faith?
  • How do we seek those who have wandered from the faith?

God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies.” –Hudson Taylor
The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time. –Abraham Lincoln

Romans 12:1-2 CSB Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Colossians 3:5-10 CSB Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God's wrath is coming upon the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. But now, put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.

Romans 15:13 CSB Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 31:24 CSB Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 CSB May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.

26 August 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 5:7-12

C2 The Christian life—Suffering James 5:7-12
D1 Believers Should Be Patient in Suffering James 5:7-9
D2 Believers Should Know About Those Who Have Suffered Before Us James 5:10-11
D3 Believers Should Know That Yes and No Are Better Than Oaths James 5:12

James 5:7-12 WEL Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the Lord comes. Look how the farmer waits for the valuable yield from the land and waits for a long time for the early and later rains. 8 Likewise be patient and steady your hearts, for the Lord’s coming draws near. 9 Do not complain about one another, brothers, lest you be condemned. Look! The judge stands at the doors. 10 My brothers, let the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord be your example of suffering affliction and of patience. 11 Look, we consider them happy who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and have seen the Lord’s conclusion [to it], because the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. 12 But above all, my brothers, do not take a vow, not by heaven, nor by the earth, or anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, lest you fall into hypocrisy.

Another list from James regarding how to live our Christian life.
  • The Greek word for patience is μακροθυμέω makrothyméō. It means to persevere patiently and bravely (Thayer’s).
  • Patience towards God to intervene in suffering. He wants all to repent.
  • Luke 18:7 NIV And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
  • 2 Peter 3:8-9 CSB Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.
  • This patience is a character and action of love: 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
  • Abraham waited for many years: Hebrews 6:15 NIV And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
  • We need patience, too, in this world of evils. God gives grace. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 GW I begged the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But he told me: My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.So I will brag even more about my weaknesses in order that Christ’s power will live in me. 10 Therefore, I accept weakness, mistreatment, hardship, persecution, and difficulties suffered for Christ. It’s clear that when I’m weak, I’m strong.
Lord’s coming=
  • What is this coming?
  • Various opinions
  • This is His coming for Christians, that is, the Rapture.
  • To destroy Israel and the Temple, Israel, and the Jews that existed in James time. Then Jesus would begin His reign.
  • But why would James want the Temple and Israel destroyed? There is no indication that he wanted such a thing. He wanted his people, his kinsmen, to repent.
  • The people that James wrote to want deliverance from evil. The Jews aren’t the only ones who are evil. All people are evil.
  • Some resources.
  • Major Rapture Terms and Passages (pdf)
  • Waiting for the Blessed Hope (pdf)
  • We need to stop complaining.
  • Judgment is coming.
  • James 5:9 GW Brothers and sisters, stop complaining about each other, or you will be condemned. Realize that the judge is standing at the door.
  • So, we want to warn people.
  • Romans 2:7-8 GW He will give everlasting life to those who search for glory, honor, and immortality by persisting in doing what is good. But he will bring 8 anger and fury on those who, in selfish pride, refuse to believe the truth and who follow what is wrong.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10-11 NKJV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
  • Personally, I understand this as a warning to those who do not believe that judgment is coming.
  • But many others understand the warning to be to Christians that we must live a life pleasing to God, because we Christians will be judged.
  • Doesn’t make much difference though, we must persuade Christians to live a life pleasing to God, and we must persuade non-Christians to believe. Judgment is going to happen but there is a different judgment for the believer and the unbeliever.
In verse 10, James gives examples of those who suffer and are patient (longsuffering)
  • We are to patiently endure testing and temptation: James 1:12 NLT God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
  • The Lord Jesus is our example: Hebrews 12:2 NIV fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Again, it is God’s grace that we can endure, but we also need each other to comfort and pray for each other.
  • The Hebrew words are נָדַר nâdar (verb) and נֶדֶר neder (noun). They mean to do or give something, and is a promise to God. It is understood to be voluntary and of a free will. Here is an example: Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 CSB When you make a vow to God, don’t delay fulfilling it, because he does not delight in fools. Fulfill what you vow. Better that you do not vow than that you vow and not fulfill it.
  • Making a vow is very serious and should be a rare occurrence.
  • Our yes and no should be sufficient.
  • If a vow is necessary for someone to believe, it might mean that we appear to not be totally honest.
  • God honors truth. He does not lie; He cannot lie.
  • What James is teaching is a reflection of the Lord Jesus who said, Again, you have heard that it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord. "But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; "or by the earth, because it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. "Do not swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. "But let your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no;” Anything more than this is from the evil one.“ (Matthew 5:33-37 CSB)
  • What is patience?
  • Is there a difference between a Christian and non-Christian’s patience?
  • Why are we to persuade others?
  • Why is making a vow to be a rather rare occurrence?

23 August 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistles of James—James 5:1-6

B5 Chapter 5

C1 The Christian life—Dangers of Riches James 5:1-6
D1 Believers Should Show Low Priority to Riches James 5:1
D2 Believers Should Know That Riches Can Ruin Us James 5:2-6
James 5:1-6 WEL Now come you rich people, wail and howl for the miseries that will happen to you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your clothes have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have become corroded. Its poison will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire. You have amassed riches for these final days. 4 Look, the pay of the workers who harvested your fields, from which you took a cut for yourself, calls out, and the workers’ pleas for help has entered the ears of the Lord of Heavenly Armies. 5 You have lived a soft life on this earth and [a life given to] pleasure. You have fattened your hearts as for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned [and] killed the righteous. He does not resist you.
  • Defined: a thing that is regarded as more important than another.
  • How do we decide what is more important?
  • I couldn’t find much on that topic. There were plenty of websites how to prioritize, but none on why people choose something as the highest priority.
  • So, this is my guess: self. Some may state that it is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but I have seen many that worship of God is more important than sleep or food, etc. Pain would definitely be something to think about, but again the few times I was in such pain that health personal couldn’t get my attention, I was still praying.
  • The Lord Jesus stated
  • John 4:34 CSB My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,Jesus told them.
  • John 6:38 CSB For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
  • Matthew 26:39 BSB Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.
  • For some money is too high a priority. Perhaps this why the Scriptures label it a root of evil. 1 Timothy 6:10 CSB For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
  • In our passage, it appears that some people that James knew had money as a higher priority that God’s will. Luke 16:13 CSB No servant can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
  • Note the opinion of the Lord Jesus towards Laodicean church. They seemed to believe that since they were rich materially, they were also spiritually rich: Revelation 3:17 CSB For you say, 'I'm rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,' and you don't realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.
  • Let us heed St. Paul’s inspired admonishment: 1 Timothy 6:8-9 CSB If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Ruin= From wrong priorities which led to chaos in their lives which had an effect on their treatment of others.
  • The love of money finally leads to murder for too many, who must have more.
  • Note, that the righteous did not resist.
  • It has been said that murder is for one or combination of three thingsmoney, sex, or power.
Effects of money=
  • Money gives power, so people can crave it to have more influence: Proverbs 22:7 BSB The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
  • Arrogance: Hosea 12:8 NLT Israel boasts, "I am rich! I've made a fortune all by myself! No one has caught me cheating! My record is spotless!
  • Danger of abandoning the faith: Proverbs 30:8 BSB Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me. Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the bread that is my portion.
  • Attitude of “I can do anything myself. I don’t need God.” Nehemiah 9:25-26 NLT Our ancestors captured fortified cities and fertile land. They took over houses full of good things, with cisterns already dug and vineyards and olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate until they were full and grew fat and enjoyed themselves in all your blessings. "But despite all this, they were disobedient and rebelled against you. They turned their backs on your Law, they killed your prophets who warned them to return to you, and they committed terrible blasphemies.
  • Injustice: Proverbs 18:23 BSB The poor man pleads for mercy, but the rich man answers harshly.
  • Violence against others: Micah 6:12 BSB For the wealthy of the city are full of violence, and its residents speak lies; their tongues are deceitful in their mouths.
  • Become corrupted by evil desires: 1 Timothy 6:9 NLT But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
  • Can lead to family difficulties: Proverbs 15:27 BSB He who is greedy for unjust gain brings trouble on his household, but he who hates bribes will live.
  • May help deliver from some difficulties and buy justice for themselves, but wealth has no influence on God who judges their soul: Proverbs 11:4 NIV Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
Correct attitude about finances=
  • Recognizing it is from God’s blessing: 1 Chronicles 29:12 BSB Both riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler over all. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to exalt and to give strength to all.
  • Put our trust in God instead of money: 1 Timothy 6:17 BSB Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be conceited and not to put their hope in the uncertainty of wealth, but in God, who richly provides all things for us to enjoy.
  • Not to hoard it but share it for God’s glory: Matthew 6:19 BSB Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
  • To assist widows and other brothers and sisters in their need: 1 Timothy 6:18 BSB Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, and to be generous and ready to share,
  • Name some of the most important things in life.
  • How do we make those the highest priority?
  • How do we continue steadfast in the faith?
  • How does money corrupt a person?
    How can we use money for God’s glory?

21 August 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 4:13-17

C2 The Christian life—not assuming James 4:13-17

James 4:13-17 WEL Come on, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, stay there a year, buy and sell, and make money.” 14 On the contrary, you don’t even know what [will happen] tomorrow. For what [is] your life? It is just a puff of smoke that appears for a moment then disappears. 15 For you should say, “If the Lord wills, then we will live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your self-confidence; all such rejoicing is evil. 17 So then, the one, who knows what is right and does not do it, is guilty of sin.

· In our passage, James knew of some who presumed that tomorrow would come. That is not Christian reality.
· There are 2 other passages dealing with this
o Jesus spoke a parable of a rich man, whose land had produced a superabundant crop. Praise God! But the man presumed to live for a long time, never thinking that death could happen at any time. This man’s treasure is only here on earth. He didn’t take time for gathering spiritual treasure. Luke 12:19-20 LEB And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many possessions stored up for many years. Relax, eat, drink, celebrate!”’ 20 But God said to him, Fool! This night your life is demanded from you, and the things which you have prepared—whose will they be?
o The Lord Jesus makes 2 points we need to learn
§ Not to be greedy: Luke 12:15 LEB And he said to them, "Watch out and guard yourselves from all greediness, because not even when someone has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.
§ Forgetting we should make it our priority to be working for heavenly treasure over earthly treasure: Luke 12:21 LEB So is the one who stores up treasure for himself, and who is not rich toward God!
· Earthly treasure= financial things as money, net worth, etc. There is nothing wrong with money or being rich, but the error comes in our attitude and priority.
· Spiritual treasure=
o The best produce is the Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-26 MEV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law. 24 Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be conceited, provoking one another and envying one another.
o This fruit is based on all goodness, as God defines goodness: Ephesians 5:9 MEV or the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth
Brevity of life= Psalm 39:4-6 NLT LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numberedhow fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath. Interlude We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.

Ungodly boasting=
· The difference is boasting about ourselves instead of boasting about God.
· An article about boasting (I don’t know much about this site, so as with all be discerning).

God’s will= is the most important thing. We should always have this attitude and be serious about it. Some things we know are God’s will, and we must do it. Some things are not God’s will, and we must avoid it.
Know what’s right and doesn’t do it is sin. Sin isn’t just breaking God’s law; it is also knowing what is right and being negligent.
The Greek word for boast is καυχάομαι kaucháomai.
· It has the idea of glorying, rejoicing, boast, etc. in something whether reasonable or unreasonable.
· Here, these people are rejoicing in something they should not, namely, “We’re going to make a lot of money.”
· The attitude is what is wrong.
The Greek word for boasting, pride, arrogance, etc. Is ἀλαζονεία alazoneía.
· According to Thayer’s Lexicon, it has the idea of
o an insolent and empty assurance, which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully despises and violates divine laws and human rights
o an impious and empty presumption which trusts in the stability of earthly things,
· Again, it is the attitude—arrogant pride.
o Proverbs 26:12 CSB Do you see a person who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
o 1 Corinthians 10:12 CSB So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.
· The solution is
o Proverbs 3:7 BSB Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
o Remember: Proverbs 16:5 NLT The LORD detests the proud; they will surely be punished.
o Instead: 2 Corinthians 10:17 NLT As the Scriptures say, "If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.
Sometimes people leave God out of their planning for the future. We must not.

· What kind of boasting does James write about?
· Is making money wrong? Explain.
· Why does God hate pride?