James 5:1-12    Are You Rich?

                      Rd V.1-6


James opens Ch. 5 of his epistle with a seething  rebuke against those who were wealthy


V.1 NLT Look here, you rich people, weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you.


Is it wrong to be rich? Is it wrong to have wealth?

To have abundance? To have money?

A) If it is wrong then you have to wonder why in God’s word – it is recorded in 1 Samuel 17 that wealth was an incentive for David to Kill Goliath


B) It it is wrong to rich then you have to wonder why in 1 Kings 3 that God rewards Solomon with wealth because he only asked for wisdom to lead God’s people


C) If it is wrong then you have to wonder why in Psalm 112 we are told that wealth can be considered a reward for obedience.


D) If it is wrong why does the Bible speak favorably of wealthy pp like Joseph of Arimathea, Lydia, Barnabas


E) If it is wrong why is material wealth seen as a sign of blessing in the lives of men like Abe, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah just to name a few.



The Bible doesn’t condemn having wealth.

A) Having money is not the root of all evil – it is the Love of money that is the root of all evil.


B) So why does James seem to pick on the wealthy in his epistle.


C) The Problem with these wealthy individuals was

 2 fold: 1st How they obtained their wealth

1) 2nd How they used their wealth.


V.4,6 Tells us how they obtained their wealth- it was by taking advantage of others.


4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. { No power to resist


In the ancient world, laborers would be paid at the end of each day.

A) They took advantage of their workers, cheating them of wages, delaying compensation, and failing to provide a reasonable income.


B) Interesting that the Lord knowing the evil of man’s heart to take advantage gave clear commands in His law against this.

Deut 24:14-15

"You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether one of your brethren or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates. 15 Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.”


Lev 19:13

“You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.”


C)) The Cries of the Harvesters -  have reached the ears of the Judge who will avenge their losses.

1) Great comfort in that – ever been Cheated


D) They are thinking – they got away with murder

1) James says think again: You are going to pay a price.



So James comes against them for the way they obtained their wealth – but also for the way they used their wealth


V.3 They heaped up treasures:

A) Wealth fell into three areas: food (or crops), clothing, and precious metals and stones


B)Treasures is the root of our English word, thesaurus. A thesaurus is a treasury of every imaginable word, ready for our using.


B) These farmers stuffed all they could find into their coffers so that they might have room for getting even more.


C) They had so much heaped up it was going to waste!


2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire.


Hoarding implies that a person is keeping for himself more than he needs to live on.

A) The Bible commends planning for the future and passing on wealth to our kids if you can.


B)The Bible commends being responsible in that way

1) But a person can go overboard – sitting on a fortune – pass on to their kids – sitting on a fortune


C) Jesus Matthew 6:19-21


"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Lord wants us to invest our resources in the Kingdom.

A) Can’t take it with you but you can send it ahead!


B) James goes so far as to say: Their hoarding of their wealth was going to be a witness against them on Judgment day


C) Priorities wrong – heart in the wrong place!


Not only did they Hoard their wealth but they were Self indulgent with it. V.5

“You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.” 


“You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every whim. Now your hearts are nice and fat, ready for the slaughter.”  NLT


A) What they did use they used in excess on their own selfish pleasures.


B) They used their wealth to satisfy all of their carnal carvings


C) They were busy feeding their flesh in excess while spiritually starving to death


D) James paints a vivid picture – You are like big slothful cows being fattened up for the slaughter

1) The more we feed the flesh – the more it deadens our spiritual senses

Who were these rich individuals? 2 Possibilities

A) Saduccees – Religious rich – who took advantage of pp – Scam in the temple


B) They Got extremely wealthy by doing so –

1) It has been recorded that there was 1 million dollars in sterling silver in the temple vaults when Titus ransacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70


C) They were the ones who led the persecution against the early Church starting w/ Jesus


D) Also Possible – Pretenders – Those who wanted to be a part of the Church – but whose real first love was their money.


E) Either way his words reveal to us the danger of focusing on riches!  { Not rich in the Lord



After Addressing the rich oppressors – James moves to encourage those who were being oppressed – remind them to keep the big picture in perspective. 


Rd v.7-12


What does James say to the oppressed ?


Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.


The coming again of the Lord was a major theme of the early Church

A) Jesus John 14 – rapture – Matthew 24-25 spoke of His 2nd coming


B)Paul wrote about it epistles / James / Peter / John –


C) Not looking for the Undertaker – but the upper taker

1) They lived and served like it could happen tomorrow


James’ word of encouragement to the Suffering Church was- be patient like a Farmer!

A) The Farmer understands patience perfectly – His life is not measured by hrs or even days – but seasons


B) His life is tempered by snow / rain / drought – He plants his crop and then waits for the rains to come


C) The "early rains" began in Palestine in late October or early November and were necessary for germination and seed growth.


D) Once these rains came, the farmer could plant.


E) The "late rains" were in the spring as light showers came in April and May to produce crop growth.

1) Even the heavy winter rains were not enough in the scorching Palestinian heat to carry the crops through to the finish. So these light showers were necessary.

The farmer learned to wait, "being patient about it."



B) I am not patient: I am not good at waiting – I don’t like to wait!

1)) Living in America today makes waiting hard – because we live in an instant world


C) Instant breakfast / Coffee or starbucks / Instant dinners / Instant TV / Instant Cameras / Instant loans


D) Get what you want fast !


I am not good at waiting – I feel like the Lord puts me in places where He is trying to get me to slow down – be patient.

A) Slow driver on the Fwy – the person who drives below the speed limit – isn’t that against the law


B) Supermarket – I eye the Check out lines – always pick the wrong one

1) Two lines – full basket / ½ basket – I pick the person with the ½ basket but when we get up there to check out – out comes the envelope – million coupons


C) Not organized – she is hunting – I know I have that one she is determined to save – 30 cents -  

1) I will pay the $5 dollars she is going to save – so we can get out of here.

Sometimes go to the store I need 15 things – but I will only get 10 so I can get into the 10 items or less line

A) Get in it only to discover the person in front of you has 16 items – Supermarket police


B) Costco the other day: Denise got into a line – I went to get a package of gum

1) Came back saw her line – I picked a different one – motioned for her to come over into mine.


C) The whole time I am watching – Was I right – talking to Denise trying to distract her because I know – if her line gets out before my line –

1) I am going to hear about it – She hates when I do that


But that is why I like what James is saying here:

A) Be patient like a farmer - the patience of a farmer is not a passive : Active and Expectant


B) What I mean by that is he doesn’t just plant his crop and then spend the next 6 months sitting on the porch waiting for harvest time


C) No because he is expecting a crop – he is getting things ready for the harvest

1) Getting his barns ready to receive – His equipment ready to harvest –


D) He is thinking about the next crop that he is going to plant

Waiting for no reason is the worst!

A) Traffic / Hospital / Mall for your kids


B) That is not the picture that James is painting with the farmer – He is waiting

1) He is looking forward to a future event – the harvest is coming


C) But His waiting is active – Everything he does – all his decisions are made in light of that future event


D) That is the Picture James paints for us!


Jesus said: Do business until He comes

A) Be about the business of the Kingdom


B) Investing in the Kingdom / Bringing others into the Kingdom


C) Wise Steward: Takes what his master gives him and uses it


D) Being Prepared – 1 John 3:3 – Hope purifies himself


Now in the remaining verses James tells us 3 things about how to wait and be patient in light of the Lord’s coming. #1 Strengthen your hearts V.8

A) The word means to make it stable!

Not tossed by the wind – ANCHOR


B) God’s word is like an Anchor, applied to our lives

Stabalizes us and Strengthens our hearts


C) Dad exercises –  Working out


C) Ephesians 4 Study – not moved – wavered

1) Christ a platform – God’s word becomes our platform


#2 Don’t attack each other V.9

A) When things are going well – it is easy to get along – but often in tough times is when families turn on each other.


B) Trials make us or break us !


C) Reveal what we are really made of


James wants the reality of Christ return to be a motivator to get along

A) NY Giants season turned around by


Army Lt. Col. Greg Gadson  made headlines all over the country for a 15-minute pep talk he gave a struggling football team in September.

Now he's known as "the man who awoke the sleeping Giants."


B) He became a focal pt of their team got their eyes off of each other and their problems and on to something else

C) The reality of Christ coming is to have the same affect – yes life is hard but Jesus is coming – We need to get busy

1) No time to sit around and sulk – no time to sit around in complain


D) More military squabbles in peace times then war – in war there is a focus – survival win – fight the real enemy


E) The imminency of Christ’s return should have the same affect as being at war!

1) No time to be fighting with each other


#3 Learn from our examples v.10-11

 A)The Prophets – great examples – they all prophesied of future events


B) Most of which they wouldn’t live to see – but they stayed busy – focused – on task

1) They weren’t just sitting around waiting for the Lord’s coming


C) Active in seeking to win pp to the Lord and stir up the believers to live godly lives


D) Examples to us! What about Job?





The Perseverance of Job!

A) The guy loses everything, possessions, his family – everything except his wife – Her counsel – Curse God and die!


B) His friends are no help – You must have done something wrong!


C) Job hurts – Job questions God and his circumstances – he is confused


D )But he never loses his faith in God


Midway thru his Crisis he declares

Job 23:8-10


8 "Look, I go forward, but He is not there,

And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;

9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.   10 But He knows the way that I take;

When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.


Job says I don’t know what God is doing but I know when it is over – I am going to be purified like gold


Yes, Job had periods where he doubted and questioned God.

But he’s an example of a man who endured difficulty and of one who was rewarded greatly. So, too, we are to wait patiently for the Lord’s return.