James 5:7-12

12/12/09 “Therefore,” says James, meaning that this paragraph should be read with the previous in mind. Even though James was speaking directly to the rich, it was more of a rhetorical strategy for his real audience, the poor. So he is merely continuing to speak to them. “Therefore…” in light of what is going to happen to the boastful and oppressive rich, be patient and endure. These things take time like growing a garden. And endure without complaining, or retaliation.

The temptation in times of suffering and temptation is to lose patience and lash out at the nearest thing. That seemed to be happening to the early church. The outside pressures, economic mostly, caused by the rich upon the poor caused the church to give in to the temptation to vent on each other. We must resist that temptation. Why? Because we know that judgment day is near and it’s not going to be only the rich who are going to be judged. The poor also shall be judged. We must endure and persever. In the end God will come through for his people.

V. 12, “Above all…” Here is a primary point James wishes to make in his admonitions: “Do not swear.” He was not speaking of cursing and dirty language, although the Bible is clear that that is wrong as well. It was fairly common in those days to make oaths to authenticate the truth of what you were saying. The natural result of that was and is to come to believe that with oath-taking one is not bound to tell the truth. This is what Peter did when denying Christ. Obviously, that is an inauthentic and downright dishonest way to live. James is telling his people to be authentic people–because this is what the judge is looking for.

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James 2:1-13

12/5/09 V. 1, In the family of Christ we must learn to see everyone as equal before God and do away with our internal caste system.

V. 2-3, The rich must not receive special attention and the poor less, not just in the matter of time spent, but in the matter of our attitude.

V. 4, If it’s the heart that matters then we are unqualified to judge who should receive different treatment.

V. 5, Because frankly, the poor often have spiritual things more prioritized anyway. From a heart perspective the poor man may well be the rich one.

V. 6-7, Besides, it’s the rich who so often cause trouble for God’s people and have no room for God.

V. 8, Instead, obey the law that says to love your neighbor.

V. 9, Don’t sin by being partial. It is a sin.

V. 10-11, It’s as bad as adultery or murder, and to commit partiality is to commit all sin.

V. 12, Live by the law of love, which see every person as equally valuable.

V. 13, Because judgment will be fair. If we are merciless we receive in kind. Not because God is vindictive but because that is the natural result of our deeds.