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On The Book of James
THEME: Riches are a care; the coming of Christ is a comfort; the prayer of the righteous is power
We now come to a remarkable section of the Letter of James which may seem out of place. A hurried reading of these first six verses might give the impression that James is teaching a socialistic doctrine of "sock it to the rich" or "let's divide the wealth." But that is NOT so. He was instructing believers as to their attitude and action in a world that was going to the dogs, a world filled with injustice, where freedom was only a dream. The Roman world of James' day was not like the modern world in which we live. The life-styles were very different. There was no middle class in the days of James. There were the very rich, the filthy rich, and the very poor, the filthy poor. Most of the Christians of that day came from the very poor class.
We should understand that James is not condemning riches. Riches in themselves are not immoral; not sinful. The Bible actually does NOT condemn money. A great many people have the viewpoint that there is something dirty about money; they call it "filthy lucre." Scripture does not say that. What Scripture does say is that "...the love of money is the root of all evil..." (1 Tim.6:10). The problem is not in money; the problem is the hearts of men and women. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. James was not condemning people just because they were rich but because of their wrong relationship to their riches. He was concerned with how they got their money and what they were doing with it after they got it.
The Lord Jesus Christ had much to say about money and riches. One of His parables, I think will help us to understand what James is saying. In Luke 16:19-31, we have what I believe to be a true story, of the poor man, Lazarus the beggar, and the rich man. This parable has to do with the way the rich man spent his money. He was really living it up to the fullest. It is interesting that this beggar, Lazarus, was placed at his gate. In do not know who put Lazarus there, but in some way the rich man was responsible for him. And it seems that the rich man did let the beggar have the crumbs from his table (vs21). We are told that the dogs licked the beggar's sores while the rich man "fared sumptuously."
Riches Are A Concern (5:1-6)
James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. (KJV)
Go to now, ye rich men . . . there are some rich men who are good men, and make good use of their riches, but they are few and far between. There were many good, honest wealthy men in the Old Testament.
James speaks here to WICKED rich men, those that were the openly profane, who were professors of religion; and who were not rich towards God, but laid up treasure for themselves, and trusted in their riches, and boasted of their great wealth. These did not trust in God, did not use their substance to His glory. We have many of these in today's world.
Weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you . . . James did not mean, the temporary calamity that would come upon them at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, where the rich greatly suffered, he speaks of the eternal miseries, or the torments of Hell after judgment (Rev.20:15) . . . which, unless they repented of their sins, would one day come upon them. Then their present joy and laughter would be turned into weeping and howling. It saddens me that more people do not consider eternity! (Mat.7:13-14).
The first six verses of chapter five are warnings to the wealthy. James does not condemn wealth, but the misuse of wealth. People who use their wealth for greedy self-indulgence and hoarding and gaining it by unlawful and ruthless means are sinners. I think we all are familiar with the rich of our days doing such evil things. It seems that the more some people have, the more they want. It's like a disease!
The rich James speaks to here are the rich who misuse their riches and those who do not use their riches with eternity in mind. It is the abuse of wealth that James condemns. The rich are vulnerable because they do not depend on God, only upon themselves, and in the end, they shall be judged by the God they ridiculed (Rev.20:11-15).
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: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (KJV)
People who place their trust in riches have NO eternal stability or security. They could lose their wealth in many different ways. That is why wealth is a dangerous basis for security. When the wealthy lose their stockpile, many commit suicide.
Pro. 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (KJV)
Riches can be a blessing or a curse. It depends on whether wealth is your supreme goal or whether the glory of God is that goal. A mature believer can hold his riches loosely. Any loss of riches does not spoil a TRUE believer’s life when he lives for the glory of God.
Luke 12:19-21 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (KJV)
James is speaking to the godless rich of his day, but although he warns the rich in his day, it certainly applies to us today.
James 5:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. (KJV)
I think James refers to (Mat.6:19-20) above. Christ shall return to Earth to set up His Millennium Kingdom (Rev.20:1-10). In that day, all the riches of the world will come to naught. This would not impress a godless rich person in that day any more than it would today. There is always a danger of a panic, a crash, a drought, or a depression. There will always be good years, and there will always be bad years. Some can remember the depression of the 1930s when millionaires leaped out of the windows of skyscrapers, and many of the super-rich found that they became paupers overnight. Some former millionaires sold apples at street corners, and their stocks and bonds in safety deposit boxes were not worth the paper they were written on.
James 5:3 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. (KJV)
Your gold and silver is cankered . . . cankered means rusted through. Even the most precious and lasting metals with long disuse, canker and decay.
And the rust of them shall be a witness against you . . . the voice which properly belongs to living persons is ascribed to dead things crying out against sin (Hab.2:11; Luke 19:40). The rust (because of hoarding) shall be evidence against you, and will convict you, just as any living witness could do, because of your folly in putting your trust in perishing things. James says: "Your greed in hoarding them, your lack of mercy in not supplying the needs of others is sin."
And shall eat your flesh . . . James says that the rust is witness of your covetousness and cruelty, and shall hereafter devour you body and soul, bringing down upon you wrath of God, which is compared to fire (Ps.18:8; 21:9; 106:18; 140:10). And on top of this, your conscience will be burdened with a distressing and vexatious remembrance of your sin and folly. God's Word and judgment is a witness against sinners, and in Hell will be a tormentor to you (2 Thes.1:8-9).
As it were fire . . . it will be as if you had stored fire in with your treasure, as well as treasure in your safe boxes.
Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days . . . you have hoarded up your wealth against the last and fatal days, in which God shall bring those judgments upon you which will consume all your earthly treasure. Rom.2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (KJV) . . . Eternity is a FACT, and is ahead. Are you ready?
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. (KJV)
God condemns the godless man who makes his money in a dishonest way, especially when it is by putting down the children of God. God may do nothing now, but He is going to judge in the future. If men are making their riches by stepping on those beneath them, God will judge that. WARNING! To the rich man, to great corporations, to labor unions, also to great church organizations and greedy preachers! God SHALL judge every person one day, and the way each one made their money and the way they spend it. See our article on rich preachers: http://worldlychaos.org/w_c_cults_rich_preachers.1.htm
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. (KJV)
Ye have lived in pleasure . . . meaning in luxury, giving up themselves over to their lustful appetites (Am.6:4-6; Luke 16:19;25).
On the earth . . . SO many place their happiness here on Earth, NEVER considering eternity. Phil. 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (KJV) . . . From whom do YOU look to satisfy your delights on the Earth? Almighty God? OR the world (1 Jn.2:15-17; 5:4).
And been wanton . . . the same word is used 1 Tim.5:6, and it seems to imply effeminate, lascivious behavior, such as immoral, riotous living.
Ye have nourished your hearts . . . ye have nourished your hearts, for ye have nourished yourselves (Est.6:6; Job 10:13), or, ye have cheered up and encouraged your hearts in your luxury by pampering your flesh (Luke 12:19), and feeding NOT to the satisfaction of nature, but of your inflamed lusts.
The rich people then and now, lived in luxury and extravagance simply to please SELF. This ungodly way of life shows that they do not care about the needs of other people. They lived for themselves alone, like the rich man in the parable (Luke 16:19-31). Rich people live far in excess of luxury. But they, then or now, were/are NOT aware of the judgment that awaits them. The farmer feeds his animals to make them fat before he kills them for food. The rich are just like that. They are preparing themselves for their END. They are making themselves ready for the day when God will judge them (Job 34:11; Ps.28:4; 62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Jer.32:19; Lam.3:64; Mat.16:27; 2 Cor.11:15; 1 Pet.1:17; Rev.2:23. 18:6; 20:12; 22:12). They shall be judged "according to their works."
James 5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. (KJV)
Ye have condemned and killed the just . . . James does not mean Christ here, but refers to the poor saints, who were just, through the imputation of Christ's righteousness to them, and lived sober, righteous lives, and were harmless, who were evil spoken of (Rom.14:16), judged and condemned in a harsh and unloving manner by their brethren; or were drawn to the judgment seats by the rich.
When we consider our own government and the other governments of the world, it would seem that there is a great power which manipulates government and the economy. We hear much about the freedom of the press, but my friend, that freedom seems to me to be a freedom to brainwash people to THEIR way of thinking. We are supposed to have freedom of speech and of religion, but that seems to be coming to a rapid end. Military chaplains are forbidden to say the Name of Jesus! And I am certain it shall get MUCH worse! Many "just" will be killed.
And he doth not resist you . . . it was/is not in the power of the humble just to resist the rich and powerful. They simply patiently submitted. This not only shows the patience of the just in bearing injuries, but also their weakness, and being completely without human help against their enemy's power.
The rich seem to be getting by with it today, and too, the sinner SEEMS to be getting by with it. That disturbed David at first. He said, They spread themselves like a green bay tree and do not cease from flourishing (Ps.37:35). If I do something wrong, God takes me to the woodshed, but the king of Babylon, AND the rich and powerful rulers today, just keep on going and nothing stops them. Please consider this my friend, actually, that is God's judgment on the wicked. He is not judging them now, but the end to which they shall come is horrible. 2 Thes. 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (KJV) Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV) . . .
Riches have NEVER brought joy nor happiness to mankind. What they have her on earth, is all the joy they shall receive . . . UNLESS they repent.
There is a huge lesson here for the rich man who is a Christian. How big is your bank account? What all do you have in your safe deposit box? IF Jesus were to come today, would you be able to walk away from it all without a backward glance?
James says that the rich had caused the death of innocent people. He pictures it for us as the unrighteous rich taking the righteous poor to courts . . . and these judges in were themselves rich and corruptible. So, the rich and powerful would always win. There was NO justice for the poor person, because the courts would decide that the poor person was guilty. That often meant the death. It may also be that the rich, took from the poor in unethical and corrupt ways. As a result, the poor would suffer and lack what they needed to live. And when they died, the rich had in effect murdered them. The poor could not defend themselves. There was NO help for them against the rich persons. They had to be patient in their suffering and put their hope and trust in God.
The Bible demands justice for all (Ex.23-2-3, 6-8; Deut.1;16-17; 25:1; 2 Chron.19:5-10).
The Coming Of Christ Is A Comfort (5:7-12)
James made it very clear what kind of world we live in. It's a big, bad world with a dog-eat-dog attitude. Mat.7:12 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. (KJV) . . . People today do NOT live by the Golden Rule. They do it backwards! They do "do to others before they can do it to them." Those who are climbing up the ladder of riches are stepping on the fingers of others as they go up. I am an old woman, and I know. I have known and met some extremely wealthy people in my time. In all sincerity, I can say that NOT one of those people were happy. That is fact!
James 5:7 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. (KJV)
The Bible has much to say about the FACT that when Christ comes and sets up His Kingdom, everyone will get what is right and honest, for the first time in the history of the world (Mat.13:41; Lu.1:33; 22:30; 23:42; 1 Cor.4:20; 15:24; Phil.2:10; Col.1:13; 2 Tim.4:1,18; Heb.1:8; Rev.11:15; 17:14).
Be patient therefore, brethren . . . James speaks to the poor who were oppressed by the rich men, calling them "brethren" of whom he was not ashamed. Note, James does NOT give this title to the rich, although they professed the same religion . . . like SO many professors today! You can PROFESS to be Christian to your grave, but if you do not POSSESS Christ in your heart and do right by God and His people, you will go to Hell (Rev.20:15)!
James encourages the poor brethren to be patient under their sufferings, to bear their burdens with patience. Jesus will help you (Mat.11:28-30).
Unto the coming of the Lord . . . James is not speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem. He speaks about either at death, or at the last judgment . . . when the Lord will take vengeance on their oppressors, and deliver them from all their troubles, and put them in possession of that kingdom and glory, to which they are called.
James tells them that in the mean time, they should be quiet and easy, and not to murmur against God, nor desire to take vengeance on their oppressors, but leave it to God, where it belongs, Who will rightly judge His people.
Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth . . . ripe fruit, which comes from the seed he sows in the Earth; and which may be called "precious," because it benefits both man and beast (Deut.33:14). James is saying that there must be patience when sowing seed, for is quite a while that the husbandman waits for the crop to be ready.
And hath patience for it until he receive the early and latter rain . . . farmers are good examples of patience. They ready the ground and plant the seeds, but then they have to wait for the rains. The early rain was the rain in the months of October and November. Without that rain, the seeds would not grow. The late rain was the rain in April and May. Without this rain, the grain would not mature and get ripe. It seems a long time from sowing the seeds until the harvest. But the farmers know that the harvest will come. So too, Christians have to wait, with patience, for the Coming of Jesus. We do NOT know when He will come (Mat.24:36). But the Lord Jesus shall come at the EXACT time that God has planned.
I would like to add: I do think that many of the supposed "poor" in today's world are taking advantage of the government. Yes! I know! I'm going to hear about this one! That's OK. I must say it any way! 2 Thes 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV)
. . . IF a man does NOT work, he does NOT eat! Look around you my friend! How many able-bodied, healthy individuals are on welfare? THAT is a rip-off! When Jesus sets up His Millennium Kingdom, it is going to be different!
Every person shall sit under his OWN fig tree! (Isa.36:16).
They will NOT want to be on welfare!
You will NOT have to stand in line at the grocery check out, behind a person in much better condition than you are, who is on welfare!
James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (KJV)
Be ye also patient . . . just as the farmer waits for the rains and dews of divine grace to fall, and make fruitful, and for the ripe fruit of eternal life; so too James says to cheerfully and patiently bear all injuries, and oppressions.
Stablish your hearts . . . even though the state of the saints is stable, because they are fixed in the everlasting love of God and in the covenant of His grace (Rom.6:14-15), and in the Hands of Christ (John 14:6), yet their hearts are not always stable, so that the exercise of grace is necessary, which is done by the hearing AND applying the Holy Word of God.
For the coming of the Lord draweth nigh . . . when Christ comes, He will bring tribulation to them that trouble the saints, and free them from all their sorrows and afflictions, and enter them into the joy of their Lord; which, as stated before, will be either at death, or at the last day. We must remember that with God, a thousand years are as one day (2 Pet.3:8).
TRUE believers KNOW that Christ shall come. This should encourage us. James says that the coming of the Lord Jesus is drawing near. He writes as if it were very soon. The idea that Jesus could return soon, should cause their trust in God to grow, us too. The thought of the Lord Jesus coming should give them the courage that they need for their life on Earth. Christians should NOT be concerned about the date when the Lord Jesus will come. NO one, except God knows when it will be. It is the hope of His coming that is important and powerful. The certainty that the Lord Jesus is coming will give them strength to live for Him. All through Scripture we are taught to live in the light of the coming of Christ. Jesus says that we are to be ready and watch! (Mat.24:42-46; 25:13; Mk.13:32-37; Lu.21:36).
James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. (KJV)
Grudge not one against another, brethren . . . the idea here is that of being fretful and impatient or grumbling. There are some persons who are always grumbling. They have a sour, dissatisfied and discontent temper. They are displeased when others have more wealth or honor. They are always complaining of what others do, they seem to feel that it is necessary to complain if everything is not done precisely as they think it should be. This spirit is the offspring of pride, and will make anyone lead a wretched life; and needless to say that it is completely contrary to the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should instead be content with what we have (Luke3:14; Phil.4:11; 1 Tim.6:8; Heb.13:5), and don't bellyache!
Lest ye be condemned . . . James means when they are judged. Condemned = judged and sent to Hell (Mat.25:41; Rev.20:15).
Behold the judge standeth before the door . . . there is another that judgeth, Who is the Lord, and He is at hand; He is just at the door; and friend, He knows what you think, say and do! He shall one day judge you and me.
When things go wrong, we all tend to grumble and blame others for our miseries. Blaming others is much easier than owning up to our responsibility, and this can be both destructive and sinful. Before you judge someone on their shortcomings, remember that Christ the Judge will come to evaluate each of us, by the way we judge others (Mat.7:1-5; 25:31-46). We will NOT get away with TRYING to shift OUR blame to others.
Christians are not to complain about one another. This destroys the unity that should to be in the church. The Lord will judge those who complain. It is not only what they say that is wrong. It is also the bad feelings toward another person that they keep in their hearts. The coming of the Lord is a WARNING as well as a happy event for Christians.
What James is really saying here is, "Get your house in order. Get your affairs straightened out before Christ comes, because He shall straighten them out if you don't."
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. (KJV)
The prophets . . . were especially persecuted, and therefore were especially "blessed" (Mat.5:10-12).
An example of suffering affliction . . . "affliction" literally is "evil treatment." The prophets' afflictions were many and great, yet they were very patient under them; and through faith and patience they went through them, and now inherit the Promises; and so are a good example and pattern for New Testament saints to follow after and copy.
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. (KJV)
The word blessed, or happy, occurs a total of 496 times in the KJV of the Bible. See: Mat.5:3-11; 11:6; 13:6. The sense here is, we speak of the prophets' patience with praise and approval. The prophets did what they should have done, and their names are honored and blessed by God. A lesson for us.
Ye have heard of the patience of Job . . . Job is one of the most well known instances of suffering. One reason the book of Job was written, was to show that true faith would bear any form of trial to which it could be subjected (Job 1:9-11; 2:5-6).
And have seen the end of the Lord . . . the end or plan which the Lord had in the trials of Job. God showed Himself to be very merciful to Job; that He met him with the expressions of His approval for the way that Job bore his trials; and that He doubled his former possessions, and restored him to more than his former happiness and honor.
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. (KJV)
James is not saying that using oaths is worse than other sins such as to steal or to murder. But what he says here is very important. An "oath" is to call upon God, or some other person or things, to be witness to what is being said. People use oaths to show that they are speaking the truth. People use "oaths" to add strength to what they say. Not all oaths are wrong, for there are times when there is the need for an oath, for instance, in court. God Himself used an "oath" (Heb.3:11; 4:3).
James means that Christians should NOT use oaths in everyday speaking. They should NOT call on Heaven or Earth or anything else as witnesses. They should NOT use the name of any other person in this way. The use of these is in effect appealing to the Name of God. In the careless use of oaths, there is great danger of not respecting the Name of God. Ex. 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (KJV) . . . Anyone who uses the Name of God without awe, fear and respect shall be guilty. The Christian’s speech should ALWAYS be honest. He should have NO need for oaths. He should speak the truth and his words should be sufficient without an oath. He should always say what he means, and always mean what he says. ‘Yes’ should be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ should be ‘no’. There should be NO need of an oath to convince other people. Mat. 5:34-37 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. (KJV)
A person's word should be GOOD! Some people, even if they take an oath on a stack of Bibles, do not honor their word. Where do YOU stand?
The Prayer Of The Righteous Is Power in ALL Circumstances (5:13-20)
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. (KJV)
If anyone is in trouble, they should pray to God. The answer to your prayer may not remove the problem, BUT it will give you help and strength to be able to live through the trouble. The Lord may not remove your problem, but He will walk with you through it. Always remember to claim God's Promises! The Bible is full of God's Promises! I think one of my favorites is: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Heb.13:5). I have claimed this Promise over and over again because of health problems. And NOT once has the Lord ever left me or abandoned me! He simply does NOT lie, my friend (Tit.1:2). Another of my favorite verses in the Bible is: Psalms 73:24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. (KJV) . . . When you are afflicted in any way, go to the Lord in prayer. Again I say, that He probably will not take your trouble away, BUT, He will make the road ahead smoother for you. He will help you bear it. I am His witness to that!
And my friend . . . any time God answers your prayer, THANK Him! James is telling us to turn to God in good times as well as bad. Prayer, praise and thankfulness are very important parts in the lives of Christians.
James 5:14 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: (KJV)
James is not really asking a question here. He is saying, "When someone is sick among you. What do you do?" James then states two things the church is to do: #1 Let him call for the elders (plural, more than one) of the church; and let them pray over him" . . . and #2 "anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord
Personally, I believe the extraordinary gifts that were given to the apostles to birth the early church, are now ceased. Mark 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. (KJV) . . . These Gifts of the Spirit were needed to start the early church. But, since that time, we have been blessed with the New Testament, and those Gifts are no longer necessary. I know many will disagree with me on this.
Conider the following: 1 Cor.13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (KJV) . . . God gave spiritual gifts to the apostles in the early church. But, when that which is perfect is come (the New Testament), those spiritual gifts were no longer needed. So they came to an end. This makes sense to me. The ungodly and confusing chaos in some churches today are SIN! They are NOT done under the power of the Holy Spirit of God. They are done in the spirit of Satan in my estimation.
I have had TWO ungodly "gift" experiences in my life, and I do NOT want any more! #1 We went to a Pentecostal church, years ago. The pastor was asking for prayer requests. A man in front of us, out of the blue, started jabbering utter nonsense. NO one interpreted (1 Cor.12:10), but, immediately, a woman in a long, flowing white dress, started dancing up and down the aisle with a tambourine. #2 Years ago I was having neck pain. I stopped in to see a friend before I went to a chiropractor I trusted in another state. (He fixed my neck!) Her three sisters were there visiting. They insisted on "laying on hands" to my neck. Then all three started jabbering. What an absolute confusing MESS! I should have insisted they stop, but I did not. DUMB! NEVER again, will I go through anything like that.
If you think or say that it is God's will for every Christian who gets sick to be healed, you are wrong. That is like saying that the Christian will never die, because he/she will be healed of every disease which causes death. My friend that is ridiculous! The great apostle Paul was NOT healed of the "thorn in the flesh" even though he asked the Lord THREE times. 2 Cor. 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (KJV) . . . Paul's ardent prayer did NOT heal him.
I believe that it is a cruel, deceptive practice for today's Pentecostal churches to teach that it is God's will for all to be healed. I cannot find anywhere in the Holy Word of God that teaches this! Our precious Saviour and Lord certainly did NOT teach this. It is the humble opinion of this servant of God that NOT everyone can or will be healed. It must be the will of God in order for someone to be healed, AND only Almighty God can heal! These satanic puppets CANNOT heal anyone!
Beware of these modern day "faith healers." It is my opinion that they are using the precious and wonderful Name of Jesus to fatten their bank accounts. http://worldlychaos.org/w_c_cults_rich_preachers.1.htm
Am I judging? (Mat.7:1). NO! I am being a "watchman" and warning you (Eze.3:17). I do not want to be held accountable. Ezekiel 33:3-6 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; 4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. 6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. (KJV) . . . Just as Ezekiel was a watchman over Israel, so too are ALL Christians, watchmen in the churches in today's world.
James 5:15 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. (KJV)
And the prayer of faith . . . prayer must proceed from FAITH. The cure is credited to prayer, not to the symbolic anointing, which was just ceremonial and temporary.
Shall save the sick . . . restore to health, IF it is God's will! (Mark 10:52; Lu.7:50; 18: 42).
And the Lord shall raise him up . . . the elders may pray, but it is the Lord that raiseth up, being prayed to in faith. Again I say, it is NOT always God's will to heal someone physically.
Raise him up . . . this seems to mean someone who is very sick and lying upon his bed, from which he will rise when he is healed (Mark 1:31).
If he have committed sins . . . it is not a question whether a person has or not sinned, for no man lives without sin (Rom.3:10,23). Maybe there is a mention here to sins which may have brought on the sickness as a punishment. In that case the removal of the disease would be an evidence that the sin was pardoned (Mat.9:2).
Those who pray with the sick person must believe. They must believe that God will answer their prayers. They must be confident that God will heal. It is the prayer with faith that God uses. It is prayer, not the oil, that brings the healing of the sick person. In answer to the prayer, God will make the sick person well again. If sin was the cause of the illness, God will forgive that sin. ‘If’ makes it clear that not all illness comes from sin.
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. (KJV)
Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed . . . we are to confess our sins to God but our faults one to another. If I have hurt you in some way, then I certainly should confess that to you. It was MY fault that I hurt you. BUT . . . I will NOT confess my sins to you, and I do not want you to confess your sins to me. You are to confess that to the Lord alone. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 Jn.1:9). Absolutely NO one can forgive sins! Only God can do that! NO preacher, priest or clergyman can forgive sins! Neither can Mary forgive sins!
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much . . . James was a great man of prayer. He was some times called "Old Camel Knees" because he spent so much time on his knees in prayer, his knees were calloused. James now speaks of another great man of prayer, Elijah (Elias).
James 5:17 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. (KJV)
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are . . . James tells us of earnest and fervent prayer, and the effectiveness of it in Elias; who is the same as the prophet Elijah, or Elijah the Tishbite; and who is called Elijah in Mal.4:5.
James says that he was "subject to like passions as we are." He was subject to hunger and weariness, and was fed by ravens, and by the widow of Zarephath, and by an angel; and he was subject to reproach, affliction, and persecution, being charged by Ahab as a troubler of Israel, and persecuted by Jezebel, who sought his life. He was a mortal man, and liable to death. He did request to die, and would have died, had it not been for the wonderful power of God, which translated him, that he should not see death. Elijah was NOT free from sinful passions, as impatience, fear and unbelief (1 Ki.17:20).
Elijah prayed earnestly! Prayed not only with lip service, but with the Spirit, and with understanding, and with his whole heart engaged in it! The prophet prayed with much earnestness, with great forcefulness and intenseness of Spirit. It seems he prayed before each of the seven times that he sent his servant to look out for a sign of rain (1 Ki.18:43).
That it might not rain . . . this is not recorded in exact words, but may be assumed from 1 Ki.17:1, where Elijah says, "As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." In my opinion, knowing what the Bible says about the prayer life of Elijah, he most certainly prayed for it NOT to rain. When Elijah "prayed for it," so it was.
And it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months . . . and it rained not on the land of Israel, which means it did rain in other parts of the world. By the space of three years and six months . . . which agrees exactly with the words of Christ (Lu.4:25). This was in judgment upon the land of Israel, for the idolatry it was filled with in the times of Ahab and Jezebel.
James 5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (KJV)
Elijah was a prophet in the Old Testament. He prayed to God. And then he declared that there would be no rain for a period of time. God answered him and there was no rain for 3 1/2 years. With no rain, the crops did not grow. After that time, Elijah prayed again. And, it rained. Now the rain had come, the crops could grow again. (1 Kings 17:1; 18:42-45.)
Elijah was a man who trusted God. There was nothing special about him, he had faults, fears and weaknesses the same as we all do. He had no special power. He was a person just like the readers of James. James just shows us that anyone who is right with God can pray strong prayers. If Elijah could pray in this way, so can we. We may never be in the same category as Elijah or James, but when we pray in faith, God WILL hear and He WILL answer according to His will.
It does take FAITH though my friend. If you find you are lacking, go to God in prayer and ask for more. The apostles did. We can too. Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. (KJV)
God answers prayer in three ways: #1 Yes! #2. No! And #3 Wait a while. He does NOT always answer with a yes!
James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; (KJV)
Brethren, if any of you do err . . . it is possible for a person, who knows the Truth about the Lord Jesus, to turn away from Him for a time. I truly believe that once a person is saved by the Holy Spirit and placed into the family of God, they are saved forever. http://www.hisservants.org/OSAS_1_eternal_security_h_s.htm
When a Christian does stray, it is up to other believers to do all they can to bring that person back to Christ!
The truth . . . the truth of God which is revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the complete rule of faith and life. The Gospel is called the truth (Jam.1:18; Gal.2:5; 3:1; 5:7; Eph.1:13; 1 Pet.1:22; 2 Cor.6:7; Col.1:5; 2 Tim.2:15).
And one convert him . . . any one, a pastor or any believer. The work is ours (Eph.2:10), and we should use means appointed by God (Acts 26:18).
James 5:20 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. (KJV)
Converteth the sinner . . . some think that this refers to a child of God who has gone astray. But, I think the soul of a born again believer is safe (John 3:15-18,36; 5:24). I think this refers to an unsaved person who has not yet come to the truth. We as believers are also commanded to tell them the Truth, the Gospel! (Mat.28:19-20).
From the error of his way . . . his way is his life and actions, which is contrary to the way which God hath prescribed. If this is a TRUE believer, they are safe from eternal death. If this refers to unbelievers, if the turn to Christ, a multitude of sins shall indeed be hidden! For when we are saved, we are forgiven! (Ps.103:12; Mic.7:19; Lu.5:20; 7:48; Eph.4:32; Col.2:13; 3:13; Heb.10:17; 1 Jn.2:12).
Shall save a soul from death . . . spiritual and/or eternal death, unto which he was hastening while he continued in the error of his way, which leads him toward eternal destruction (Mat.25:41; Rev.20:15).
Three Kinds of Death In the Bible:
#1. Physical death . . . separation of the body from the soul/spirit. Physical death is separation of the inner man from the body. Only the body dies at this time and goes back to dust. (Gen.3:19; Ecc.12:7; Ps. 104:29; Jam.2:26).
#2. Spiritual death . . . separation from God because of sin (Isa.59:2; Mat.8:22; Rom.8:6; Eph.2:1,5; Col.2:13; 1 Tim.5:6; Jam.1:15; 5:20).
#3. Eternal death . . . eternal separation from God because man chooses to remain in sin (Isa.66:22-24; Mat.10:28; 25:41,46; 2 Thes.1:8-9; Rev.2:11; 14:9-11; 20:11-15; 21:8) This is also called the second death.
Death in all Scripture means separation from the purpose for which one was created. It NEVER means annihilation or to cease being. The spirit and soul are immortal and are either dead in sins or in possession of eternal life in Christ at the time of physical death. In either case, they continue in consciousness whether in Heaven or Hell (Luke 12:4-5; 16:23). The rich man in Hell could see, hear, speak and feel (Luke 16:19-31).
And shall hide a multitude of sins . . . if we, as TRUE believers love God and others (Mat.22:36-40); we will bring the Gospel message to the lost, for it the Gospel that converts and saves souls. BUT, it is us that are responsible to bring the Gospel to people (Mat.28:19-20), that it may do its work. When an unbeliever is brought to faith and repentance by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (this Truth brought to them by us), God pardons them, thus hiding a multitude of sins, (Ps.32:1-2).
When a person comes to a saving knowledge of Christ, his sins, though many, are covered by the Blood of Christ (Eph.2:13; 1 Pet.1:2,18-19; 1 Jn.1:7; Rev.1:5). The wonder of justification by faith (Rom.3:22-26; 5:1,9) is that once God has forgiven our sins, they are gone FOREVER . . . removed from us as far as the east is from the west (Ps.103:12), He wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea (Mic.7:19). He will remember those sins no more (Heb.8:12; 10:17).
This is a wonderful conclusion for this very practical Letter of James. The Book of James emphasizes faith in action. Right living is the proof and result of our faith. TRUE Christians must serve with compassion, speak lovingly and truthfully, live in obedience to God's commands and love one another. If we really believe God's Word, we will LIVE it every day. God's Word is NOT just something we read or think about . . . it has to be something that we DO. Belief, faith and love must have hands and feet . . . ours!
Book of James
Ch.1 . Ch.2 . Ch.3 . Ch.4 . Ch.5