Sunday, May 22, 2016

Swear not, prayer, and conversion - James 5:12-20

James 5:12
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
Matthew 5:33-37
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
But above all things, James is stressing the importance of not swearing, just as Jesus told us, James is reemphasizing the importance of watching what we say, to speak with truth, the first yes is the promise and the second yes is the action. You do not need an oath to speak the truth, but only to say what you will do and do what you say.

Numbers 30:2
If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
Deuteronomy 23:21-23
When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.
Our words have weight, and we should use them carefully. God tells us that if we make an oath, a promise, and we fail to keep it, we sin.

James 5:13
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Ephesians 5:19
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
In the Christian's life look at the importance of prayer and praise, when we are afflicted, we need to pray. When we are merry, prosperous, blessed, we should give praise and thanksgiving. We should be in constant communication with God through prayer and praise.

James 5:14-15
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Matthew 18:19
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 21:22
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
John 14:13-14
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
These are great promises, if we are sick, pray. Who should pray? The elders of the church, and pray with faith in the name of the Lord.
Why do you think James is having the elders pray?
I believe it has to do with wisdom, with maturity, the prayer of faith, who better than the elders of the church to understand the importance of faith based prayer. To not pray amiss, to pray towards the glory of God.
In studying this a bit deeper, we can take "sick" to mean physical ailment, or spiritual ailment, and the anointing with oil as applying a balm or salve to physical wounds or ailments, or a metaphorical anointing of the spiritually ill or weak with correction, encouragement, and strengthening of Godly fellowship.
Either way, it seems the importance is on mature, righteous, faith based prayer, all done in the name of the Lord, for the glory of God, to bring about the healing, and strengthening of those that are "sick" or in need.

James 1:6
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
James 4:3
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Proper and effectual prayer, in Jesus name, with faith to the glorification of God will do great things!

James 5:16
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Confessing our faults to one another, that can be hard, we all have faults, we all have struggles, and the confession of those faults, the asking of forgiveness, the fellowship with our brethren, heals, and strengthens us.

Proverbs 27:17
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Acts 2:42
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 6:4
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
You see this fellowship, confession, ministry, prayer, living in the doctrine and ministry of the word is the only way for Christians to grow, and mature. This is how Christians build a strong church, a strong walk with God. This is how we prepare ourselves to be instruments used by God for His glory and purpose.

James finishes up the verse stating that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, that means it is useful, helpful, advantageous, and will produce or result in a benefit or advantage.

James 5:17-18
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
James now gives us an example of the power of prayer, but look at this, Elias (Elijah), was a man just like us. Subject to like passions as we are. He was human and depended on God just as we do.

Acts 14:15
And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
Acts 10:26
But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
Here we have Barnabas, Paul, and Peter declaring they are just like us, human flesh and blood, dependent on God, just like we are.

Elijah prayed earnestly, with faith, for the glory of God, so that we might know who God is, and it did not rain for three and half years...
Then Elijah prayed again, and heaven gave rain and the earth brought forth her fruit. All for the glory of God, so that we might know who God is.

James 5:19-20
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Christians should be working to perfect their walk with God, having fellowship with our brothers in Christ, studying God's Word, so that we do not err from the truth. If we have brothers that err, we should work to convert them back to the truth.

Luke 22:32
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Acts 26:18
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
We are to be soul winners, ambassadors for Christ, to reconcile the world to God. James is stressing that importance, to correct, strengthen, and sharpen each other, to pray, to praise, to draw nigh God, and how we should behave as Christians.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Where are our Riches? James 5:1-11

James 5:1-3
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Luke 6:24
But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
 Matthew 19:23-24
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Why do you think Jesus says the rich will have trouble entering in to heaven, and James is rebuking rich men?
Would it be because it anchors us to worldly desires? Sins of the flesh, eyes, and pride? Is it because riches tend to hide or mask our need of God?
Riches allow for the fulfillment of worldly pleasures, remove the thought and need for God.

Matthew 6:19-21
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
 1 Timothy 6:9-11
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Jesus and Paul urge us against laying up treasures on earth, the desire and love of money, providing strong reason against being rich in worldly wealth. Instead Jesus tells us to build our treasures in heaven, and Paul encourages us to flee from worldly desires and follow after righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. These are Godly riches, and Jesus tells us that where our treasure is, where the things we really want are, that is where our heart is, that is where our attention will be. So what do we really desire?

James 5:4-6
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
The love of money, the desire for power, covetousness, the sins of the flesh, eyes, and pride of life, will cause men to do heinous things to their fellow man.
Look at our world today, wars, lawsuits and murder are everywhere. Usually based on the impropriety of one group taking advantage of another lesser group for some type of gain.

James is rebuking this behavior, calling out wicked rich behavior, providing full condemnation.

James now advises the oppressed, poor, and faithful to the Lord, calling for patience and faith, looking forward to the coming of the Lord and the treasures laid up in heaven.

James 5:7-11
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Matthew 5:12
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
2 Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
We are to be patient and faithful, looking forward to the coming of the Lord, to not "grudge" against each other. Our reward is in heaven.
God will take care of all our needs, all we need to do is lay up our rewards in heaven, to seek after and love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our mind, and all our soul, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Luke 12:24
Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Matthew 7:7-12
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.  
1 John 3:22-23
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
Aren't these great promises, we don't need worldly riches, we don't need the sins of the flesh, eyes, or the pride of life.
We need God's love, patience, and faithfulness. We need to believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, to be Holy as he is Holy.

We need to gentle submission, allowing God to work through us, to meet each and every spiritual and physical need.

And we will be rich, with the wealth that really matters!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Speak no Evil - James 4:11-17

James 4:11
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Think about this verse, as a Christian, is there anything Godly in this behavior? What reason do we have to speak evil of one another? Are we any better than our brother?

Matthew 7:1-5
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
James 4:12
There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Time and time again we want to play God, have our say, be the man, determine what is right or wrong. We judge with our own false sense of morality, reach flawed conclusions, and perhaps ruin our own, or others reputations.

God is the only one that is capable judgement, and clearly tells us as much.

Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Romans 14:4
Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Romans 2:1
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
This is pretty clear, and it goes along with everything we should hold dear and aspire to. Love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. We should humble ourselves, submit ourselves, do everything we do for the glory of God. We should do all things in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14
Let all your things be done with charity.
Ephesians 4:31
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
1 Peter 2:1
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
So we put away our speaking evil of one another, our petty judgements, and listen to the Scripture, pay attention to God, love one another, because God for Christ's sake hath forgiven us.

Ephesians 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
James goes on to warn us against presumption that we control anything, that we can do anything of ourselves.

James 4:13-14
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
We do not know what the next day will bring, we are but a vapor that quickly disappears, we are nothing without God. We can not add one cubit to our stature, or change the color of our hair.
The following verse lays it out, gives credit where credit belongs!

James 4:15
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
But by the grace and mercy of God will we, or can we do anything. We should never forget or ignore that sentiment, it should be with us at all times, in everything we do. That way we give God the honor and glory for our lives, for the accomplishments that He works.

James 4:16
But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
Otherwise we want the honor and glory, we take the credit, a credit that is not ours, and we knowing this: Knowing to do good, knowing to love, knowing to humble and submit ourselves to God, if we do not do these good things, we sin.

James 4:17
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.