James 5: Riches and Righteousness

How do we know when we are thinking of ourselves more highly than we should?

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Proverbs 16:18 Pride will destroy a person. Arrogance is sure to take a fatal fall.
Romans 12:3 Because of the kindness God has shown to me, as I have sacrificed my desires so I could please the Lord, I want everybody to know we tend to place way too much value on pleasing ourselves. Think objectively, weighing the benefit of getting what God wants versus what you want, and let your recognition of the truth build your confidence that his ways are always better.
1 Timothy 6:17 Admonish prosperous people in this world not to regard themselves too highly and not to put their trust in riches that can so quickly disappear. They should put their trust in God, who gives us everything we really need.
James 5:1 You who think you are independently wealthy, listen to me. Instead of feeling so good about yourselves, you should be grieving and crying over the consequence that lies ahead.
King James
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

What are our best sources of security and self-assurance?

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Psalm 20:7 Some people think their horses and chariots will save them, but our confidence comes from being under God’s direction and authority.
Matthew 6:19–20 “Do not store up treasure for yourselves on Earth, where moths and rust can eat it up and thieves break in and steal. Instead, store your treasure in Heaven, where it is safe from moths and rust and thieves.”
1 Timothy 6:17 Admonish prosperous people in this world not to regard themselves too highly and not to put their trust in riches that can so quickly disappear. They should put their trust in God, who gives us everything we really need.
James 5:2–3 Your possessions are as secure as clothes in a moth-infested closet, soon to be worthless. The gold and silver stocks you thought were so valuable for retirement won’t be worth anything when your life is consumed like a house unexpectedly burned to the ground.
King James
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
Matthew 6:19–20 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:
1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
James 5:2–3 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.

Who are the people James says are neglecting the needy? What is needed to change their behavior?

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James 5:4 Listen to the cries of those you could have blessed, but you withheld from them so you could have more. The Lord of Hosts has heard their cries, which beg you to be part of the answer, not the problem.
King James
James 5:4 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.

What would motivate people to give more?

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Acts 20:35 By my example, you have seen how we should work to help those in need. Remember that Jesus said greater blessing is found in giving, not receiving.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 You know the generosity of our Lord Jesus Christ. He left his place of riches and glory and became poor, subject to the frailties of human flesh, so that through his poverty we might be made rich.
Hebrews 11:6 Unless we believe in God and the rewards that follow, we’ll neither approach him nor seek to please him.
James 5:5 Your life of luxury and pleasure on Earth is like the fattened calf destined for slaughter.
King James
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
James 5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

What reasons do the righteous have in not defending themselves?

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Matthew 5:38–39 “You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ but I say you should not try to get even. If people slap you on the cheek, do not retaliate, but allow them to slap the other cheek.”
Acts 22:1 “Men, fellow Jews, and esteemed leaders, listen to what I have to say in my defense.”
Romans 12:19 Fellow believers, don’t seek vengeance when people mistreat you. If needed, God will handle punishment better than you can, for he says in Scripture, Vengeance is mine, and I’ll see justice done.
James 5:6 You have condemned and killed the righteous, who did nothing to defend themselves.
King James
Matthew 5:38–39 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Acts 22:1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
James 5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

Why might many Christians be apprehensive about the Lord’s return?

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James 5:7–8 As for you, fellow believers, be patient, waiting for the Lord to return, just as a farmer eagerly anticipates the harvest beyond the early and latter rains. You need to be patient. Stand strong, being courageous, for the Lord will return soon.
King James
James 5:7–8 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.

If people saw no benefit in complaining, they wouldn’t do it. Why do you think some Christians complain about the behavior of others?

Author’s Thoughts
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James 5:9 Don’t complain about other believers, or a greater complaint may be brought against you–for the Judge who sees all is standing at the door.
King James
James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

Where did God’s prophets find the strength to “patiently endure persecution”?

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James 5:10 For an example to follow, consider God’s prophets who patiently endured persecution to speak in his name.
King James
James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

What is most difficult about enduring affliction?

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James 5:11 We honor those who endure great affliction, refusing to give up. You know about Job, who saw kindness, mercy, and blessing because he trusted the Lord till the end.
King James
James 5:11 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.

In an age when lying is common, even expected, what must we do for people to believe we’re telling the truth?

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James 5:12 Above all, my friends, don’t swear by Heaven above or Earth below, as if by swearing you’re telling the truth when you weren’t at other times. You can avoid condemnation by being entirely truthful in all you say, your yes meaning yes, your no meaning no.
King James
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.

Why do many people turn to the Lord only as a last resort?

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James 5:13–15 Are you suffering? Then turn to the Lord in prayer. Are you joyful? Then turn to the Lord in praise. Are you sick? Then ask church leaders to anoint you with oil and pray under the Lord’s direction and authority. The prayer of faith shall save those who have given up on making themselves well. The Lord will give them life, forgiving their sins and restoring a relationship with him.
King James
James 5:13–15 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 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.

Some believe an addict will always be an addict at heart. Why might that opinion be incorrect?

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Proverbs 27:22 You can beat up a fool like crushing wheat into flour with a mortar and pestle, but he still won’t change his mind.
Jeremiah 13:23 Can people change the color of their skin, or can the leopards remove their spots? If so, then those who practice evil can also do good.
2 Corinthians 7:10–11 The world’s sorrow is only grief and regret that results in death. But godly sorrow brings salvation, a change in our ways that has no need for repentance. Just look at what God has worked through your sorrow. You have become more diligent, cleansing yourselves from unrighteousness, acquiring a passion to do right and correct what is wrong. Now you can rejoice, knowing you have pleased the Lord.
James 5:16 Confess to one another your inability to make it on your own, recognizing your failures and need for God’s help. Pray for one another so you may be changed. When people come to God with a genuine desire to change, transforming power begins to work in their lives.
King James
Proverbs 27:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
2 Corinthians 7:10–11 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
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.

Why were Elijah’s prayers answered, both for and against rain?

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James 5:17–18 Elijah was just as human as we are, but when he prayed that it wouldn’t rain, not a drop of water fell for three-and-a-half years. Later when he prayed, the sky brought clouds and rain, and the earth brought an abundant harvest.
King James
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.

How can a believer who has strayed be brought back to the truth?

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James 5:19–20 My friends, when believers hear a lie and stray from the truth, bring them back to the Lord. Show them the error of their ways, and you will avoid an epidemic of wrongdoing and same them from death.
King James
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.