Transcript based on a Bible Study 29 March 2003

James Chapter 5

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

James 5 is a very interesting chapter. It is really a resume in some ways of what we have already gone through. What I'll do is break it down into five areas:

The Context of James 5 (PLAY FROM 01:54)

Looking at the lead-in to chapter 5 and looking at a little bit of the context: In James 1:25 notice, it talks about:

"...whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty..." (James 1:25)

He talks about God's Law as a law of liberty. Look over in James 2:12 it mentions it again:

"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." (James 2:12)

This law has come from a Being who wants to give us every good thing, every perfect thing. In James 1:17 it talks about every good gift and every perfect gift being from above:

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17)

There is no variableness at all. God wants to give us everything that is good, that is right, which will be good not just today, but right into the future as well. We need to keep that in mind as we go into chapter 5, and we read the things he is saying, particularly about the rich and the wealthy, and the way they got their wealth. This is the context. The context is this Being who wants to give us everything that is good and His law - the control that He exercises over us - is for our liberty. It is for what will actually provide something which is beneficial for us. In James 3:14 notice:

"But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above..." (James 3:14-15)

Now before, it is talking of; "Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness..." (James 1:17 ) But if we've got this other sort of wisdom that; "...descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish." (James 3:15), it is coming from a different source. These are these two different ways. Now Christ mentions in John 10:10:

"...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

It's not just healing from physical sickness. That's not the only thing that God gives us. That's part of this law of liberty, and the way of life, the good things that God wants to give us. It is something which is good, which is righteous, which is the way it ought to be. But, that's not the only thing. There are so many other things. The whole package is what God wants to give us, which involves a way of life now, and it goes into the future, so that we can take that way of life throughout eternity. We are in here for the long haul. It is not just to make our life easy, or easier for a few hours, days, months, or years. It is for the long haul that God wants to give us all things.

Now that prayer of faith that we have to pray; faith, as I mentioned before, is the faith OF Christ, not just the faith IN Christ. The faith in Christ merely starts the process. Having that faith in Christ, having received pardon for our sins through the blood of Christ, we then get the faith OF Christ, and we get it through the Holy Spirit.

Turn over to Galatians chapter 5. I want you to notice something here. I know that I had this pointed out to me, and I think it's very valid, and I think it has a great deal of bearing on what we are talking about here. In Galatians 5:22, where it says:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

I want you to notice that it says, the 'fruit' of the Spirit. In the original, the word fruit is singular. So this is one fruit. It is not a case of the fruits of the Spirit, plural. The Spirit of God produces not just faith, but it produces, love, joy, peace, longsuffering or patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, as well as faith. It's singular, it is one package.

If we don't understand that and have that clearly in mind, we can think the way that we tend to think, which is when we want to pray this prayer of faith, that it's isolated. That somehow, we're going to sit down here and we're going to have faith, and we're going to really believe, and have enthusiasm and all the rest of it, and that way we can get God to do what we want. That is not the way it is at all. That's what James is really telling us. It is not how we do it at all. If we notice James 1:8 where it says:

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8)

So, if we are going one way, and then we are trying to get a blessing from God while going another way, we won't get it. The fruit is coming from the Spirit of God. The faith OF Christ comes from the Spirit of God, because it is the same Spirit that is in Christ that is in us that produces the faith.

When we issue a prayer of faith, it's the kind of faith that turned water to wine and allowed Him to walk on water and do all the various miracles that He did - it came from the anointing that He had. What do we do when we get healed? We go to the elders of the Church and we get anointed. Christ means, 'the Anointed One'. It is the anointing of the very Spirit of God from the heart that then produces these words that will cause the miracle to be taking place.

You can't just take one aspect and say, "Right, that's what you're going to have." Fruit is singular, the fruit is all of these things.In James 3:10, notice:

"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" (James 3:10)

You can't do that, it's double minded. If out of this mouth that you issue this prayer of faith also comes cursing and snide remarks against other people - and various other things that we invariably fall down on - we can't do that. We have got to use that blood of Christ to cover those sins and to recognize them and get away from them. If you turn over to Matthew 7:13, it is again leading into this James chapter 5:

"Enter ye in at the strait [difficult] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because [difficult] is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

There are two entirely different ways. You are either going one way, or you are going another way. We cannot be double minded and expect to have God answer our prayers. We need to ask in faith, and that faith is the walking, living kind of faith. Turn over to Ephesians 4:29. There is a great deal in James that we have already read in the previous Bible studies, regarding the use of the tongue:

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth..." (Ephesians 4:29)

Notice, NO corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. As James says, if you can keep your tongue you are a perfect man. None of us is going to be perfect. But what it means is, that when we do slip, when we do fall, that we recognize it as sin. It is coming from the heart, and that heart needs changing. That means repentance. Certainly as we approach the Passover, it is repentance that we should be examining. Whether we are truly repentant as we should be. That is really what it is all about.

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying [of building people up, of informing them properly], that it may minister grace unto the hearers." (Ephesians 4:29)

Something that is a favour. Something that is beneficial. You don't have to buy that. Grace is an unmerited favour, and you are imparting grace by the use of your tongue. As I pointed out, it's not enough to just keep our mouth shut. Keeping our mouth shut is one way, but that is not enough. We've got to impart grace. Ephesians 4:30

"And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30)

Now what does that mean? You see, if we have the Spirit of God within us, it is not a static thing. It doesn't kind of get poured into our head and it stays there and it fills us. It is a flowing thing. The Spirit of God flows into us, and then must flow out of us. If we bottle up a particular area of the fruit - which is a whole range of things - then we grieve the very Spirit of God. It says; "Quench not the Spirit." (I Thessalonians 5:19) We can quench it. We can stop it from coming out. It's like putting a cork into a bottle. You're pouring a jug of water into a vessel, and you have five to ten areas where this water is coming out, and it is a continuous thing and if you put corks in several of those areas then we quench it, we stop the flow.

"And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice [all of these areas, because this is fruit, one complete covering concept]: And be ye kind one to another [put the other side in, it's not enough to just stop these things], tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:30-32)

Now the context really, even in this area, is the tongue. That is indeed what it says over in James 3:2:

"For in many things we offend all [or, we will all offend]. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." (James 3:2)

Because it is; "...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34) It is an area that we all need to make sure that we are aware of, and we are working on. We repent when we stumble and fall, which we all will do. We will all stumble and fall, but we need to recognize that this wisdom doesn't descend from above. It is earthly, it is sensual, it is devilish. It is a double mindedness if we are not careful.

Riches and Greed (PLAY FROM 14:34)

First of all if we start in chapter four and lead into chapter five it says in James 4:6:

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. [this is the means whereby we do clarify and get onto the one track, get onto the Way. It is by having a certain humility before God. Verse 9:] Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness." (James 4:6,9)

So many of these things we look at on the TV and in the news and we see the link between the moral issues, and also what is happening in the world. Yet, the correction that God gives the world will be for the world's good. Ultimately it is for the world's good, because with this Being, there is no variableness. There is no shadow of turning. He is going to make it for the good of the earth, and for the good of the people there. But we do need to:

"Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness [we need to do that ourselves by fasting, and getting ourselves in the right frame of mind]. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:9-10)

So, if we want to issue this prayer of faith, if we want the very Spirit of God within us, it says; "God resisteth the proud, but he giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6) So we need to get ourselves into that frame of mind, and fasting is a tool that God gives us in order to do that. So that we can get into that frame of mind. The frame of mind where we have the communication with God that we need. From that communication, we then receive the Spirit of God and all the fruit flow from that Spirit. A girdling expression, all the different aspects flow from that Holy Spirit. James 4:11:

"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge." (James 4:11)

This law of liberty remember. This person, whoever we are judging, if he is a brother, and truly is a brother or sister in Christ, he or she is doing their level best. Yes they are failing. Yes they are having problems, but they are still doing their level best, and they fall down. What are we doing? We're judging the law. We're judging that law at work, that law of liberty within their lives. James 4:12:

"There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" (James 4:12)

So again, it's something all of us do. We've got to watch that and we've got to make sure that we don't, that we recognize what we are doing, and we repent, and we turn and we change. We go a different direction. James 4:13:

"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? ..." (James 4:13-14) ...

Now it's interesting, in this lead-in, coming into James chapter 5, it is again continuing what it was saying in James chapter 2, where it says; "...have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ...with respect of persons." (James 2:1) So we cannot have this faith that we need to issue this prayer of faith with respect of persons where we reckon somebody who is wealthy is so much better than somebody who is poor. The people that James was writing to, seemed to have a specific problem with that, or vice versa: somebody who is poor is better than somebody who is wealthy. God is not a respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34)

The inference here is that they are judging one another saying; this particular person can't really get his act together, and he's not making much money and he's obviously not really being blessed by God, or whatever. But it goes on in James 4:13:

"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour [it's here and it's gone], that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away [that is not the humility that it was talking about earlier]. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:13-17)

So we can actually see sin within our life. That then leads into this next section, into James 5. It's talking about somebody who may find themself in the same position as the one we are criticizing.

As I brought out last time, I may drive from here, and on the way home end up in a car wreck. I see people who are disabled, who have a twitch or brain damage or whatever, and think I am obviously better than them. If I think like that, I need to understand that I could get into a car wreck and end up in exactly the same position. I could end up wheelchair bound. I could end up mentally deficient. I don't know what the future is going to hold. None of us do, so we need to be aware of this.

This is what is being brought out within James. You have got to understand this and make sure that you say; "...If the Lord will, we shall live and do this, or that." (James 4:15) Remember, the subject matter of James is to rejoice when you fall into different types of trials. If we're not careful, we might find that we need to have a type of trial that we really don't want. But, you see, with this Being, there is no variableness. He is wanting the entire package within His children. He wants to see us perfect entire, lacking nothing. Therefore we need the wisdom to do that. That is what we need to pray for if we are in trials, the wisdom in how to handle it. That is what is being brought out.

That then flows into this next section where he starts to personify people out in the world primarily, but he criticizes them in the light of what went before. The people within the Church are looking at these people out in the world that are so rich, and are so wealthy, and are looking at them and making a distinction, being a respecter of persons. Yet, he points this out. He says, "Look, there's a real problem here." James 5:1:

"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you." (James 5:1)

Remember, he's just been talking about being; "...afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he shall lift you up." (James 4:9-10) Even in James 1:10 it says:

"But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth..."(James 1:10)

So he is pointing out and saying; "Look, the people that are wealthy need to understand this." James 5:2:

"Your riches [the 'fulness' is the original, Strong's 4149 and is translated your fulness, or your riches] are corrupted [ literally, have rotted], and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is [rusted]; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, [I'm putting in the words from a literal translation which you will get off an Interlinear] and shall eat your flesh as if it were fire..." (James 5:2-3)

Turn back to Psalm 39:1 which says:

"I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue [again James is talking about this a great deal]: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me [I'll just keep my mouth shut when the wicked is before me]. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue [I had to let it all out. He kept his peace, he kept his mouth shut as long as he possibly could, but finally it just had to come out], Eternal, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am [or, as it says in the margin, what time I have here]. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee..." (Psalm 39:1-5)

Compared with God, and our entire age is absolutely nothing. As it said, remember; "...it is even a vapour..." (James 4:14) You don't know what's going to happen between now and the end of your life. None of us do. Psalm 39:5:

"...verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah [think about that.]

Now the word 'vanity' literally means a vapour, or an emptiness. It is habel [Strong's 1892]. It is what the word Abel comes from. You know, Cain and Abel. Abel is from this word 'habel' which literally means vanity. It means empty. There is nothing there. At his very best state, man is altogether completely empty, complete vanity. There is nothing there of any real substance. Psalm 39:6:

"Surely every man walketh in a vain shew [an image of himself, he looks at himself in a certain way, and it is an image that he has made up, he thinks of himself in a certain way]: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand [he is falling into different types of trial]. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity [habel, empty, completely worthless]. Selah [think about that]. Hear my prayer, O [Eternal], and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were [we are just here for a little time and then we're gone]. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more." (Psalm 39:6-13)

By ourself, humanly that is all that we would do. We would go from here, just like the animals out there, and we would disappear. Just down the road there is a sheep that just got buried down by the entrance of the drive here. Just a few years ago, my mother was sitting here, and she is buried in a churhyard not far from here. Our life is utterly vanity. It is totally empty. There is nothing really there that we can get on our high horse and think, well, look at us, or look at them, or look at him, or look at her. There is nothing there. Yet that is exactly what we do. It says to the rich and wealthy, "now weep and howl - humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and HE will lift you up" (James 4:10))

That's the way you rejoice and are made low, because of the flower of the field, it is going to pass. So, certain things have got to be done. James 5:3:

"Your gold and silver is cankered [rusted]; 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 [this is talking not specifically of the rich within the Church, it is now transferring it to the world, and giving the Church members who are looking at the world, and thinking 'how wonderful' something to think about]. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth out: [the hire cries out] and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth [armies]." (James 5:3-4)

That's the Hebrew word for armies. Yahweh Sabaoth that you find over in Malachi "and they will be mine when I make up my jewels." (Malachi 3:17) Yahweh Sabaoth is the name that is being thought of at that time. It is they that thought on that name and talk one with another. It is the Lord of armies. Go back to Habakkuk 3:1, this particular prayer is actually a song:

"A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth." (Habakkuk 3:1)

Or it's 'the blues according to the Shigionoth', or according to the blues, basically that he is about to sing in this particular section. Notice as we've just read; "...Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days." (James 5:3) But the way that they have done it is by exploiting and extracting everything they possibly could from those around them. Here are the Church members, looking at the wealthy of this world, and they are double minded. Although we are supposed to be going the Way of God, we look enviously at people who, quite frankly have their wealth by a different method, by a totally different way, and we cannot go two different ways. Habakkuk 3:2 is dealing with the restitution of this problem at the end time:

"O [Eternal], I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O [Eternal], revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran..." (Habakkuk 3:2-3)

Now those were in the South. When Christ returns every eye is going to see Him, He'll be going round, from East to West so He is going to be on the equator somewhere. So when He comes up to Jerusalem He is going to come from the South and Teman and mount Paran are to the South. They are down towards Arabia. Habakkuk 3:3

"...Selah [think about that]. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns [bright beams at His side, as my margin says] out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power [so from the side of this machine, or this vehicle He was traveling in, or from Himself, from His sides the power was coming]. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains [these huge nations, these everlasting hills] were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting." (Habakkuk 3:3-6)

In other words, here is the true Everlasting One. These nations that think they are so great, this Holy Roman Empire that is going to exist at that particular time that had gone back thousands of years, two to three thousand years, and then going back into Babylon which goes many thousands of years even before that. Habakkuk 3:7:

"I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was the [Eternal] displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers [go into Revelation and you can see how the rivers become blood]? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? [of rescue, He is rescuing Israel] Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah [think of that, because it is the Word that holds up the reality that they are in, He talks about the flesh melting off them]. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers [you split the rivers of the earth as the margin says]. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear." (Habakkuk 3:7-11)

In other words, so bright are these things, these beams that come out of the side of either Christ Himself, or of whatever He is in, that anything, even the sun or the moon will just disappear. It will be that bright. Notice these next verses, Habukkuk 3:12:

"Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation [rescue] of thy people, even for salvation [rescue] with thine anointed [your Messiah]; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked [the head of the households, by these beams that went out from His side, that flashed and destroyed. Look at all the modern weaponry, the Patriot systems, but this is something completely different], by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah [Psalm 110 talks about that]. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages [it goes down onto even a village level, it actually seeks out and destroys the leaders]: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice..." (Habakkuk 3:12-16)

And so it goes. But in James 5:3 it says:

"...Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days." (James 5:3)

You see the system that is going to be there at the end time, the Babylonish system, headed by the false church, the one that will sit astride the beast, is going to be a trading block. This trading block is going to get wealth by greed and selfishness, by a totally alien way from the Way of God, which will be implemented in the World Tomorrow by the Christ when He returns. We have got to learn that Way, and not the way of this trading block that is about to rise on this world. They are two different systems. If we are going two different ways - being double minded - we cannot do it. The fruit of the Holy Spirit has a complete overall scope. James 5:4:

"Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth..." (James 5:4)

Turn over to Leviticus 19:18. We know Christ quoted this particular verse at the end:

"...but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the [Eternal]." (Leviticus 19:18)

Now we know Christ said that. That is one of the great commandments of the law that is like to the greatest commandment which is love the Eternal with all your heart, soul and mind. The one that is like to it, is love your neighbour as yourself. But how? Well the preceding verses actually tell you. It says in Leviticus 19:13:

"Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him [how do you do that?]: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning." (Leviticus 19:13)

In other words, you don't hang onto payment when it is due. There are proverbs that specifically talk about that. If you go into accountancy in today's society, it is different from what it was in the last century. Accountancy today is the kind that is learned of Tesco, Safeway and all these other big supermarkets, where they screw the farmer for all he's worth. Try and get the best price possible, and what happens to him is immaterial. They will go ahead, and source it from wherever they want. And then what they do is withhold their payment as long as possible to them and try and extract the payment from anybody else as swiftly as possible. That's the way of this world.

Now that is specifically what James chapter 5 is talking about. Do we go that way? When we conduct our businesses, do we do that? Are we equal? Unfortunately we live in a world where that is done. It says; "...love thy neighbour as thyself..." (Leviticus 19:18) and it tells you how. It says; "...the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning." (Leviticus 19:13) That is where there is a daily wage. A weekly wage you pay them by the week. A monthly wage you pay them by the month.

You know, down in Nigeria we have got people that are waiting for their wages ten months. They are therefore enslaved. They are enslaved because they cannot get out of the contract because if they do they lose ten months wages. It is evil. It says, Your rulers will become benefactors. In other words, they benefit you. They promise to give you all this money. How wonderful, but, they enslave you at the same time. (Luke 22:25) This is what it's talking about. How else do you love your neighbour? Leviticus 19:14:

"Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before the blind...Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty [the problem that James was addressing is to do with the wealthy, but you can respect the person of the poor as well. So don't respect either way, this is part of the very Law of God]: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the [Eternal]. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart..." (Leviticus 19:14-17)

That is in the law of Moses. Yet that is exactly what Christ brought out. Why? Because it was Christ who gave the law to Moses in the first place. When you come back here to James 5:4:

"Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth [that hire is crying because you kept money back by fraud]: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you." (James 5:4-6)

It is interesting, note:

"For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." (James 2:11)

It's this law of liberty - it's all the same subject being talked about. He is addressing the faith OF Christ with respect of persons. The respect of persons are the wealthy and he is pointing out - Look, the way they obtain the wealth is by a dishonest means which goes diametrically opposed to the way in which we have got to go. We have got to make sure that in our dealings, we deal with other people the way we need to deal with them, the way we should deal with them. As it says in the beginning of James 4:

"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss..." (James 4:1-3)

You ask for what you want and don't receive. It's not a case of allowing the Spirit of God to go ahead and produce the fruit, which is love, joy, peace and so on, and the whole range of these things, but we ask for something specific, and our lives are not in order.

Patience and Fruit (PLAY FROM 43:24)

So we are coming into this prayer of faith, and this is all leading down into this latter part of James 5:

"Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. 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." (James 5:6-7)

Now it said remember; "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally..." (James 1:5) But just before that it says; "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, [lacking] nothing." (James 1:3-4) And here in James 5:7 it is saying:

"Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth..." (James 5:7)

The wisdom that we need is to be able to see the fruit that God is actually developing within our lives, within the trials that we go through. One of the prayers of faith that we need to offer is for that wisdom, to be able to see that, and to be able to understand that. If we go back to John 14:18, there is an interesting section here:

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:18)

Now remember, it's the fruit of the very Spirit of God. It is the prayer of faith. That faith is the faith OF Christ and that faith OF Christ is part of the fruit of the Spirit of God. The collective fruit of the Spirit of God. It is not something you can get by itself, all the other aspects of that fruit should also be there.

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you [here is the Christ, the Anointed One that had the Spirit without measure in Him]. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." (John 14:18-19)

You see it's real life we are looking for, abundant life, it is a law of liberty, it is without any variableness or shadow of turning, and every aspect has got to be there. John 14:20

"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter ['parakletos' Strong's 3875], which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace [Shalom, that is abundance of everything that is good] I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe [that you may have the faith OF Christ]. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." (John 14:20-30)

Now here Christ is saying that the Spirit of God is going to come and it is going to lead us into all truth. It also says that He will be there, through that Spirit. He will live His life through us. He says Satan has absolutely nothing in Him. There is no double mindedness at all, not at all. John 14:31:

"But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 14:31, 15:1-2)

So we can rejoice when we fall into different types of trial, because the fruit is being produced, because God is working with us. But let it have its perfect work. Here is the fruit. Remember what we just read in 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." (James 5:7)

The water of God's Spirit both in the early harvest, which we are part of, and the latter harvest, in which we are to help in the future. It is all part of the plan of God. So He is saying here in John 15:3:

"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. [Live] in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it [live] in the vine; no more can ye, except ye [live] in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that [lives] in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man [lives] not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye [live] in me, and my words [live] in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 14:3-7)

This is the answer to an answered prayer. This is the prayer of faith. When we ask for something and it will be done. Why? Notice what the whole section here is leading into, John 14:12 where it says:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:12-14)

So that is the context and from there right the way through to John 15, it's talking about the Holy Spirit and the expression of that Holy Spirit in fruit. We don't stifle it, we don't quench it. We allow it to come out in the fruit that God wants from that Spirit. As it says over here in James 5:7:

"Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman [God is the husbandman] waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain." (James 5:7)

So we're part of the first harvest - of that early rain. We have that down payment of the Spirit now, and we have got to allow that to have its perfect work.

I've sown some seed and somehow rain always has a better effect than a hose pipe. You don't even soak it anywhere near as much and yet it seems to have a much greater effect on the ground. Whether it picks up something as it goes through the air, nitrogen or something. I don't know, but it certainly does seem to have that better effect. If you go back to John 7:37, here Christ is talking about the latter rain:

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink [notice, if ANY man thirst]. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:37-39)

But what we have now is the former rain. What is going to happen in the future is this latter rain. Turn over to Isaiah 55:10 and notice:

"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out [now this is the Word of God] with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the [Eternal] for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." (Isaiah 55:10-13)

These words have gone out and they will occur. We will see the World Tomorrow come in its fulness. What we have got now is the former rain, and we are looking at a plan when the latter rain will come down eventually and all the world will be changed.

This attitude of mind in the beginning of James 5 that talks about the rich and how they have actually obtained their riches will not be there. That will not be part of that world in which we are to rule. It says, be patient when you fall into different trials, let it have its perfect work, be patient. Allow that to have its perfect work, because God is working with us. It's that early rain. It is part of God's plan. James 5:8 now:

"Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." (James 5:8)

Turn to I Thessalonians 3:12:

"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints." (I Thessalonians 3:12-13)

The result of this former rain that is on us, this Spirit of God that is working within us, that we allow to have its perfect work through the trials that we are going through, is so that we can have this heart that is ready, and fully prepared when Christ returns. That is what it's all about. In James chapter 5:8 it says:

"Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren..." (James 5:8-9)

Remember what it says; "...out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34) That section, Matthew 12:33 right the way through to verse 37, talks about how this is the case.

"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34)

Notice what it says before that in verse 33:

"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good [notice, its fruit good,] or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit [you can tell by what is coming out of it]. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." (Matthew 12:33-37)

Now this is exactly what is being said in James. Remember, we are leading into this section that talks about giving this prayer of faith. A prayer that will actually produce results. Will actually cause us to receive an answer. It is in the context, that you cannot just have that by itself. It is part of the overall fruit of the very Spirit of God. It is part of the package. It goes on in James 5:8:

"Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door [we are being judged by what we are saying, he is reiterating all these various bits and pieces, he's nailing them all down]. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience [again, that ties straight back to the beginning of the entire book]. 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." (James 5:8-11)

Read that over in Job 42:1;

"Then Job answered the [Eternal], and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent [there is no 'in' here] - dust and ashes." (Job 42:1-6)

I repent because I am dust and ashes. I repent as dust and ashes. There is nothing else there. I'm a vapour. I'm here for a little while and I'm gone. Yet once he understood that, once he had got that message, that lesson, once the self righteousness had gone, in Job 42:10 it says:

"And the [Eternal] turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the [Eternal] gave Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10)

So you see why it says; "...when ye shall have done all...We are unprofitable servants..." (Luke17:10) We are only doing that which is our duty. You see that is how we have our prayers answered. Luke 17:10 says:

"But which of you, having a servant...will say unto him...Go and sit down down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready...and serve me, and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?" (Luke 17:7-8)

Here in Job's case he had to learn a lesson through trials, and then he was rewarded, once he got the lesson. God was not out to get him. Without any variableness, without shadow of turning, this Being is out to bless. It is the law of liberty. He is outgoing in every respect. It's for our good. It is so that we might learn the lessons that we need to learn. If we pray for wisdom, we will learn them. Job 42:11:

"Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house..." (Job 42:11)

He had physically greater abundance. This is being brought out. It says in 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. 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." (James 5:10-11)

The Prayer of Faith (PLAY FROM 1:02:15)

So what must we do? Well, it then goes into this section about the prayer of faith. It starts really with 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." (James 5:12)

Back in Matthew 5:33 Christ says something very similar, and also He adds something to it which is very pertinent to the topic, it says:

"Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you..." (Matthew 5:33-34)

Now this is the new way, the Way of God. This is the spiritual application of the Law of God. It is the law of liberty as understood by the very Spirit of God, that has got to be formed in us. It is what Christ gave in Matthew 5, 6 and 7. Matthew 5:34:

"But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King [the Messiah]. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black [you find references to all those scriptures within the Old Testament]. But let your communication be, Yea, yea [and it means Yes]; Nay, nay [and it means No]: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil [the evil one]." (Matthew 5:34-37)

It is coming from Satan. It's coming from the other side. What are we looking at in James? Remember, it is just coming into the section that talks about giving a prayer of faith, and he has been saying over and over again that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways; "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" (James 3:11) "Out of the same mouth proceedth blessing and cursing..." (James 3:10) He is saying that you; "...have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ...with respect of persons." (James 2:1) You have got to have a certain approach - an overall approach which is Godly.

So above all things, as it says in chapter 5, do not swear. There is no need to. There is no need to reinforce the word because the word is always, absolutely true and straight as a die. From that attitude and that frame of mind proceeds the prayer of faith.

"Is any among you afflicted? let him pray..." (James 5:13)

We've already gone into it several times. What are you supposed to pray? We are to pray asking for wisdom. That's what it says basically in James 1:5. If we are afflicted, if we are falling into different types of trials, then we pray for wisdom. But, we pray in faith, and it's a living type of faith.

"...Is any merry? let him sing psalms. (James 5:13)

As brought out before, many times the psalms will in fact tone us down. They bring out the fraility of life. Look at the psalm we just read; "...make me to know mine end [to know what time I have here] ...before I go hence, and be no more." (Psalm 39:4,13) Humanly speaking that is all we are. We are just like a vapour, we're gone. 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:" (James 5:14)

So the authority that is there is God's authority. We are asking for healing on the authority of God. It is in the name of the Lord that, that actually occurs.

There is not much more to say about this, because the rest of James is leading up to this section. One thing I will say though - if you just turn back to Mark 6:7, you find that anointing is not something that is only in James. It was done earlier on, it was actually coming from Christ. James didn't just suddenly come up with the idea of anointing:

"And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent [should turn from their way to God's way]. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." (Mark 6:7-13)

Now remember what James 5:14 says:

"...and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:" (James 5:14)

Now Christ didn't anoint with oil. Why? Because He was the Anointed One, and that is where the oil comes from. It comes from God. It says; "...I will come to you." (John 14:18) It doesn't mean to say that it's a trinity. The Father and Christ are two individuals. They are bound by the one spirit.

Nevertheless, when we ask, or pray the prayer of faith, then in the case of the ministry, they anoint with oil. I personally feel, and I know when I do anoint, I try to keep this in mind. It is to tell me that what is coming out of my mouth has to come from that same oil, that oil of God's Spirit, because that is the prayer of faith.

It doesn't end there, James 5:15 says: "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." (James 5:15)

As far as Mr Armstrong was concerned, he asked, 'What Kind of Faith Is Required for Salvation?' This is the type of faith that is required to save the sick. It is the faith that is coupled with works. It is exactly what James has been dealing with in chapter 2. That is the kind of faith. The whole book really leads into this verse, this crucial verse 15.

I repeat - this is not the only way you can read James, I'm not saying that at all, but I am saying that this is a way that ties all of James together. There is a unified theme that runs through the entire book. It has a great deal to say to us particularly in this time. We are coming into a time which really is quite fraught, and we are going to have to pray many prayers of faith.

We need to understand that the prayer of faith doesn't come by itself. It is part of the fruit, singular, of the Spirit of God. That Spirit of God is the communication that we have with God. We can't just suddenly get on our knees and pray a prayer of faith, if we haven't had contact with God. We have to be in contact with Him. We have to have that relationship there. Now going on - James 5:15:

"...and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." (James 5:15)

Some may say, "Oh well that shows that he doesn't have to commit sin, obviously sin isn't involved." Well, sorry, let's read it again; "...if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." (James 5:15) Put the emphasis where I think it needs to be. It is certainly where Mr Armstrong put it. If he has committed the sins, then he gets the forgiveness. James 5:16:

"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed..." (James 5:16)

It is talking about confessing the difficulties and problems that they have got. To give you one example, someone might be having a problem with trying to give up smoking, and then they would need our prayers. "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed..." (James 5:16) It is within this context - our difficulties, our trials, and our health problems.

Turn to Daniel 2:17. All the wise men were about to be killed, so Daniel had a word with Arioch, the captain of the king's guard:

"Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah [that's Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego], his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel..." (Daniel 2:17-19)

The way of God is an outgoing Way. What do we do? If we are going through a trial ourself, the prayer of faith that we pray is for wisdom, so that we may handle it properly. It is an outgoing attitude of mind. If we are a minister, we are praying for the person that they may be healed. But we also, if we hear about somebody sick, we pray for them. It is this way of God, which is outgoing. This law of liberty for all - without any variableness nor shadow of turning.

The end of that verse in the literal translation says: "...The prayer of the righteous one has great strength having been made effective." (James 5:16) I think that is a better way of putting it. It is made effective by the righteousness, because it flows from the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is not just in the area of faith. It is in all areas. The results will be in all areas of our life. It is that contact with God that allows that to come through.

The Encouraging Example of Elijah (PLAY FROM 1:14:45)

Just closing off now in this last part, and this is very encouraging. 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. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (James 5:17-18)

Now that little passage really prompts us to go back and read in I Kings 18:41 and notice:

"And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times [so it was not just a case that Elijah fell on his knees, prayed, and it came, it didn't work that way, he did it seven times]. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the [Eternal] was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life..." (I Kings 18:41-46,19:1-3)

Now he had done this enormous miracle, and yet he was a man with the same passions as we are. Just a human being, and he prayed a prayer of faith. He kept going. He didn't just stop. He prayed and he prayed - seven times, before the answer finally came. I Kings 19:4:

"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O [Eternal], take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." (I Kings 19:4)

He had the same problems as all of us as it says over in James. If you turn over to Luke 18:1 the indication is that we are going to have to have the same standard:

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. [She kept on coming over and over and over again, then in verse 8] I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1-3,8)

The faith of keeping on coming is also part and parcel of it. Note:

Luke 6:12 - Christ prior to choosing the twelve disciples, prayed all night. He just kept going all night.

Matthew 14:23 - After feeding the five thousand, again, He went off into the wilderness and prayed and then He came and walked on the water.

Luke 9:28 - The time of the transfiguration. He went up into the mountain to pray, and while He was praying, He was transfigured.

Matthew 26:40 - For three hours, before the crucifixion He prayed.

Finally back in James. This example he is giving us of Elijah, as a human being just the same as us, and yet he was able to issue this prayer and his prayers were answered. In James 5:19:

"Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him [get him back on track]; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way [as opposed to God's way] shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20)

Now it's all in the same context as confessing your faults one to another. It is the two ways. It is making sure that we do stick on that one Way, and that we are on that one Way completely throughout our lives. From that we can issue the prayer of faith. It is only possible really, through the very sacrifice of Christ.