James 5

Favoring the Rich, Patience in Suffering, and Faith in Prayer
 1 ¶ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
 2  Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
 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.
.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.
 5  Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
 6  Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

  1 - Miseries that shall come To understand look back. James was concerned about special favors to the wealthy at ja0202. In the closer context he warns against making plans without considering that life is lent by the Lord ja0413, and in the verse before this one ja0417, neglecting to do good is sin. Compare pr2216.
  2 - Riches See jb2716.
  3 - Last days Perhaps retirement. Making reasonable plans for meeting personal needs in old age is important. This isn't the problem.
  4 - Cries out Compare ge0410.
  4 - Sabaoth Meaning, the one of higher authority, here no doubt the Lord. I believe that He will take into account the greed and lack of sympathy toward the unerprivleged. The separation between rich and poor is continuing to widen.
 7  Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman [gardener] waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
 8  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
 9  Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
 10  Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
.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.
  7 - Patient ... coming of the Lord Compare 2th02.
 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.   12 - Swear not See on mt0533-7.
  Condemnation Or "judgment." See on verse 9.
.13  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
.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:
 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.

   13 - Merry "Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." NIV
   14 - Prayer for the sick Read verse 14 again. Does this bring to your mind a large auditorium with a preacher walking around on the stage shouting "praise" to God or words from Bible promises as the audience gets more and more excited? Do you hear throbbing music? I see, instead, the elders – responsible, local church leaders – go to the home or hospital room of the sick person and pray earnestly and reverently, pouring a little oil on the person's head. ac0213, da0108mi. And story below.
   15 - Prayer of faith It's easy to get the idea that if we just believe with intense earnestness, God will say, yes. Such is the way of pagan worship. It is like righteousness by works. Of course we need to believe earnestly but in God's goodness and wisdom. "Faith" is trust in God, not a magic ability to get Him to do what we say.
   In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, " . . . nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42). If Hezekiah had asked for God's will to be done when facing death, it would have been better. See on 2ki20. Also see David's experience ps030.
   15 - Sins forgiven If you are sick, can someone come an pray causing your sins to be forgiven without any change on your part? No pr2813. Sins are forgiven by God with confession, repentance, and determination to live differently.
 I noticed a “faith healer” on television interviewing a man whose stiff neck he had “healed.” Can Satan cause sickness and then release his hold making it appear that an individual has been healed? Yes. In cases of spirit possession, he has brought distress, then removed it (Mark 9:14-28). We may reasonably believe that he can cause and remove sicknesses as well. Miracles are becoming more common as predicted by the Bible (Rev. 13:13). God is allowing the forces of evil to have more power as wickedness is chosen by more people. Does God do miracles? Certainly, but He is not in competition to produce the most spectacular demonstration or the loudest music. Should we pray for healing when we or someone we know is sick? If the person has been abusing his body, we may pray for him to have strength to overcome, for peace with God and for recovery, too. (James 5:13). tw
.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.
.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.
 18  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
   Faults When we hurt others, we confess to them. Sins are confessed to God. Support groups are popular and often helpful. We can see and touch other people, but they should never take the role that belongs to our Lord. Describing our sin leads our listeners into temptation and may lead us to think our evil behavior is really okay. Many a minister of the gospel has fallen for a tearful woman! Godly, professional counselors are often helpful, usually women for women and men for men. Also we need to be sensitive to hurting people, always turning them to our compassionate Saviour.
 19  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
.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.
   20 - Save soul ... hide Reference is to the individual's eternal salvation. ez0318.
  20 - Death All die the first death except for the righteous living at the coming of Christ 1th0416. The death mentioned is the second death when fire comes down and devours all the wicked re1206, re2004.
  20 - Hide a multitude of sins This does not mean that people are saved while willfully sinning. It means that those sins are covered by the blood of Jesus.
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Letter to a woman who was witnessing to others and asked about the healing ministry.
    I would like to share some thoughts about the healing ministry. Jesus sent disciples out to preach and to heal the sick. However, I believe that the evil one takes advantage of the situation when he can. So we need to walk cautiously. We need to continually seek the light of heaven. Let me share a story.
    A lady was handicapped , perhaps by rheumatoid arthritis, back in the 60s or 70s before as much was known about treatment of the disease. As I recall, she went to visit friends in another city and was invited to a healing session. She was healed and when she returned home she walked off the plane without her former need for a wheel chair and crutches. Then she began to remember that the preacher was teaching things that were not according to Bible truth. Although she wanted to continue feeling better, she prayed to the Lord, telling Him that she wanted to follow Him all the way even if it meant being crippled again. Immediately whatever influence Satan had put on her, was removed and she was as before.
     Not long ago I listened to tapes from a former Pentecostal preacher who explained how he and others used to work. Some miracles were real, some were by the persuasion of the preacher and, in many cases, the people returned to their illness in a day or less. Just as Satan and his evil angels can influence our minds in temptation, so he can cause a disability, and when the healer says the magic words or puts his hands on them, Satan lifts the oppressive power, and the person is "healed." The preacher on tape said that people were told that the miracles had to be from God because Satan can't do good thing or he can't perform miracles. The Bible does not say this. In fact, it says that they can be performed for deception, Rev. 13:13. Charismatic people have positive qualities. They rejoice freely in the Lord.
    When someone prays for the holy spirit while practicing sin, however, the unholy spirit responds. The temptation is to not read the Bible because it is felt that the direct voice of the Spirit is better. Thus they are bound in deception. You recall the Bible story of the "witch of Endor." 1sa28. Saul had refused to listen to Samuel and the voice of God. And God stopped sending him messages. Then he found a spirit medium whose practice God has explicitly forbidden. Thus it was not the real Samuel who came up but an evil angel pretending to be Samuel. The message was a curse. Saul was deceived and soon he took his life.
    I believe that true miracles will be performed by God in the days ahead. But because miracles will be used to support the claims of false teachers, those of divine origin will be quiet like responses to prayer. Miracles will be the basis of persuading the kings (earthly governments) to come to the battle of Armageddon -- the final attack on God's people. Read about it in Rev. 16 re1613b.
    Please go to my website and look at James 5 where healing the sick is mentioned. I've added a little to it. It will link you to another passage or two that help us understand.
     One day, while following Bible study interests in Washington DC, I met a man who was a faith healer and who regularly received communication from the spirits. I wanted to reach him for Christ and we had several friendly encounters. He sort of thought he was the apostle John reincarnated and apologized with a little humor when he called me on the phone to ask what John had said about certain things. His wife told me that he was very disturbed after I had prayed with him. Then one day I learned that he had had a heart attack and died. I still feel sad. Of course, only God knows his heart.
    I've been sharing my concern for false healing movements, but God has given us both spiritual and physical life. Helping people get well physically provides an opportunity to help them spiritually. I know of a good book on this and would like to send you a copy. I would need to know your address.

    And if some of you who read this letter are interested, let me know and I'll see what I can do.