The Day is Coming
Topic: Holiness Scripture: James 5:1–11
Transcript (by MS Word)
Good to see you again.
Can I just set this over here?
So many of you don't know me, but if you do know me, you know that my dad served in the United States Coast Guard in that I was actually born in San Diego, not Oklahoma, but Oklahoma is where all my family's from and I grew.
Here, but he served as a pilot in the Coast Guard and one of the things that he dreaded the most about his time in the Coast Guard was water day.
Water Day came every other year, and it's when all the pilots had to suit up in their flight gear go down to the beach.
And swim out to a raft a mile away.
And then they had to swim back a mile through all the surf and the waves.
He dreaded it, specially because he grew up in landlocked Oklahoma.
Not a lot of opportunities to get down to the beach.
He dreaded it and he could have done one of two things.
He could have ignored the day and not thought about the day that he dreaded until it arrived, but if he did that when he actually swam, he would be unprepared and he would be in danger of drowning.
Or he could go out an ask for help from the base swimming instructors practice get better at swimming, and be ready for when the day comes. Today we're going to be reading God's word as recorded in James Chapter 5 verses one through 11. So you can either turn in your Bibles.
You can open up your phone or you can look behind me.
I believe it will be up there.
So before we dive in, I want to remind you a little bit about James James was the brother of Jesus and he wrote this book as a book of Christian ethics to the bleeding Community.
He wrote it in the style of the Old Testament wisdom literature.
So it bears a lot of resemblance to Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
So James is assuming the truth of the Gospel and is talking about how the gospel is lived out by the believing community.
And just prior to today's verse, James had reminded his readers not to boast in their accomplishments in life and not to boast about what tomorrow will bring, because they don't know what tomorrow will bring.
James readers were tempted to live as if there were.
There was no tomorrow.
We face that same temptation to live as if there is no tomorrow.
However, Scripture teaches that the Lord is coming.
The Lord is coming, and we're going to explore how the Lord is coming through James five one through 11, and we're going to ask the question, how will the Lord return?
How will the Lord return as we explore this text?
We're going to see that the Lord is coming in two ways.
He will come to judge his enemies and he will come to save his peace.
And because the Lord is coming as a conquering King, we must look forward to the day of the Lord. So with that in mind, let's read together James five one through 11. Remember that this is God's word.
Come now you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
Your riches have rotted, and your garments are moth eaten.
Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire.
You have laid up treasure in the last days.
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self indulgence.
You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
You have condemned and murdered the righteous person.
He does not resist.
Be patients therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth.
Being patient about it until it receives the early and the late rains.
You also be patient.
Establisher hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not grumble against one another, brothers.
So that you may not be judged, behold, the judge is standing at the.
Or as an example of suffering impatience, brothers take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Behold, we consider those blessid who remain steadfast.
You have heard of the steadfastness of job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord.
How the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
The grass Withers and the Flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.
Please pray with me.
Dear Lord, we thank you that we can come today and study your word and hear the truth of the Gospel.
We ask that you would open our hearts, make our hearts soft to the truths of the Scripture, open our minds so that we can understand it.
May the Holy Spirit change us today through the proclamation of your word so that we may live more and more in accordance with our identity as forgiven people in Christ Jesus.
It's in your son's name. We pray, Amen.
So how will the Lord come look at verse one with me, James writes, come now you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. So who are the rich in this passage? We should go back to Chapter 4, verse 13 to see that in 413, James wrote.
Come now you who say today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town.
In the Bible, authors frequently use repetitions of phrases to draw their readers attention to a certain truth and to connect to ideas.
So in five one, when James uses that exact phrase, come now you rich.
He is repeating the same idea as he was.
Carrying over in Chapter 4.
And so he's addressing the rich of the Roman Empire in the Roman Empire.
There were two primary ways of obtaining wealth.
The first was you could buy a boat in sail across the Mediterranean Sea, buy goods, bring them back to where you came from, and sell them.
That was one of the quick.
And fast ways of quickly ascending the socioeconomic ladder. And that's who James addressed in 430.
Team in five one he is switching to the 2nd way that you could make a lot of money in the Roman Empire and that was by owning large amounts of land and having vast states.
James addresses this second group in five one and we know that he's talking about that second group because of verse 4.
Look what he says in verse 4.
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. So James is clearly addressing the rich land owners of the Roman Empire, and look how he addresses these rich land owners in 123.
He says, come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
Your riches have rotted, and your garments are moth eaten.
Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you, and will eat your flesh like fire.
You have laid up treasure.
In the last days.
The last days references the end of history when we are in between, the time when Jesus rose from the dead and returned to the father, and the time when Jesus will return in glory to come to judge the Earth were in those last days Jesus constantly referred to these days as the last days.
In James, is using the rhetoric of an Old Testament Prophet like Isaiah in Amos and he is looking at all of history from the perspective of the final day when Jesus returns to judge the world.
So he's looking at all of history from.
Future perspective as if that future had already arrived and from the perspective of the Lord's return, wealth is useless.
From the perspective of the Lord's return, wealth is useless.
This echoes the idea that I mean Jesus used this same idea in Luke 12 from the perspective of the Lord's judgment, the wealth as the wealthy obtained it in the Roman Empire was more like a rotting animal car clip carcass. It was worthless.
Silver is a metal that corrodes very slowly in gold is a non corrosive metal.
So both of these things are very valuable, but in light of the Lord's return they are corroded completely.
It is important to note where the wealthy land owners obtained their wealth in this passage and the answer lies in verse 4.
James says that the land owners are holding back the wages of those who mowed their fields and their harvesters.
The economy of the ancient world.
It was very different from the economy that as we understand it today back then, there was no concept of generating wealth.
Everything was stable.
Generating wealth is a modern idea idea.
Back then, if you were wealthy, you had to take those materials from something else or from someone else.
So if you could only obtain wealth through two ways, trading or owning land, then if you're wealthy you're taking the land an.
You're withholding the wages of those who work the land.
The Empire system of Rome was very exploitative.
It was built on the strength of arms.
And so we see this being expressed by James in verse four when he writes, behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
So as we look at these wealthy land owners, it's important to see.
That they are using their power in society to take the wealth that rightly belongs to their laborers in there, stealing it from them.
So this is the instruments by which the land owners are being wealthy. They are breaking God's law. They are sinning against the Lord in their pursuit of wealth, and we see this very clearly when we remember that Deuteronomy 2415 prohibits the practice that these land owners are engaging in.
Says you shall give him being him being the worker, his wages on the same day, before the sunsets, for he is poor and counts on it, lest he cry out against you to the Lord and be guilty of sin.
The poor farmer back then had no power.
They were living in a a hand to mouth society.
If they don't get paid that day, they starve.
So if the land owners are withholding their wages, even just for a couple of days, the landowner suffers.
A silent starvation.
So as we ask how the Lord will return, we see that the Lord is describing a very particular type of rich person, and this type of rich person is God's enemy.
James is describing God's enemy from the perspective of the future. James is not describing someone who loves the Lord in his using his or her wealth for the benefit of God's people. We know this because James himself will use job in verse 11 as an example of righteous behavior, and job himself was one of the wealthiest individuals in the entire bike.
We also know that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, these were all wealthy men who loved the Lord. The New Testament Church was full of individual believers who were faithful members of God's community, and they used their wealth for the benefit of the church.
So James is talking about those who are opposed to God's Kingdom by their treatment of others. These are God's enemies who are oppressing the poor and how they obtain their wealth declares that.
Yet James, acting as a Prophet, reminds the wealthy that their wages or their wealth is useless in the day of the Lord when he comes, many of the Old Testament prophets condemned the Israelites, who used their wealth to oppress the other members of the Covenant community, such as Amos.
Five 10213 James Echoes, Amos and Isaiah and Jeremiah. When he uses the title Lord of hosts in verse.
For the Lord of hosts Lord's Aboth, the Lord of the armies is listening to the cries of the oppressed. That title is God's Old Testament title that referred to his power over heaven in Earth, the one who will come with the heavenly armies to judge.
This world on the last day in James says for for the land owners he's addressing as a Prophet, judgment is coming.
The Lord of hosts is listen.
And he presents his readers with a very compelling image.
He says you have lived on the earth in luxury and in self indulgence.
You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
The image presented here is like a cow that is being fattened up for the day of slaughter.
Completely oblivious to the fact that it will be on a dinner table pretty soon.
And James says that his readers this these enemies as they accumulate more and more wealth and live in greater and greater self indulgence.
They are like a cow that is to be slaughtered.
God's enemies will not go unpunished, so they should weep and howl.
So how will the Lord return?
This passage shows us that the Lord will return to judge his enemies.
The Lord will return to judge his enemies.
A couple months ago I saw a fantastic YouTube video and his of a 3 year old who had gotten into some brownies that his mother had left on the counter in his mother had specifically prohibited him from eating the brownies while she was out of the room, but she comes back in and there's chocolate all over.
His face and she's like where'd the brownies go in the three year old goes Morono an she says, Are you sure?
And then he invents this story of ninjas who come in and take the brownies and he couldn't do anything about it and she's like what's that on your face?
And his eyes got wide as saucers because he knew that she knew what he had done and that judgments was coming.
So James, in the same way, is acting as a Prophet.
He's telling that he's telling the rich land owners who have stolen from their workers that they have defied gods law, in that their riches.
The very thing that they prize and possess and kill for.
Will condemn them when the Lord returns.
This is a heavy passage, brothers and sisters.
It should drive each and everyone of us to ask hard questions.
You and I live in the United States.
One of the most prosperous nations in the history of all of humanity.
Every single one of us on a global scale is wealthy.
Every single one of us, even penniless college students, have more material wealth than the vast majority of the world.
So ask yourself this question as your acquisition of money or your use of money caused suffering.
Has your acquisition of money or your use of my.
Any caused suffering.
It might be just a little suffering if you work at a restaurant an you adjust the customers tip.
That's a little suffering or it might be a large amount of suffering, like charging exorbitant fees for a necessary service that only you can provide.
Maybe you have inadvertently profited from the unethical behavior of other people in the past or in the presence.
How has your acquisition of wealth caused suffering?
Maybe it's how you use your wealth to satisfy your own pleasures.
Our consumeristic society drives us toward that type of lifestyle.
As you meditate on today's passage this week, ask yourself if your acquisition and use of wealth has caused suffering to others.
Maybe suffering you're not even aware of.
Now some of you here may be business owners and I want to be extremely clear.
I don't understand economics.
I don't have the gift of administration.
I don't have the gift of running a business.
You yourselves know what running a business is like.
You know your bottom line.
So I want you to ask this question.
Are your business practices reflected of your identity in Christ?
Does your Salvation in Jesus play out in your business life?
Good stewardship involves paying a just wage to your employees, not treating them poorly, not withholding their wages unfairly.
Now, I'm not saying that you should allow your business your other people to take advantage of you and run your business into the ground.
But does your business lifestyle reflect who you are in Jesus?
And this is especially difficult thing to do in life's present circumstances. Practicing good stewardship right now in Covin 19 with all the lockdowns is especially difficult. So ask other people who are business owners themselves.
What they're doing to practice good stewardship.
If you know someone who does this well, be mentored into seipold by them.
Also, obtain a good vision for your business.
There's a book called the Search for God in Guinness, and this book describes how the Guinness Company in Ireland used their desire to glorify Christ into live.
Under God's law.
To create a high quality product while also caring for their employees in the the owner of Guinness Arthur Guinness.
He did this during the Great Potato Famine in the economic collapse within Ireland and through his work he was able to transform the entire living conditions of Ireland.
So if you need a good model for how to live out Christ's gospel in your business, that is a great place to look. Maybe you're here today and you've not practiced good stewardship.
Maybe you're here today and you have defrauded people in the past or in the present.
Maybe you're here today in your only using your money to satisfy your own desires.
Well, I urge you to remember that the Lord is coming.
He's coming to judge his enemies.
So as we ask the question, how will the Lord return?
We see that he's coming to judge his enemies, but is that it?
Is there no hope for anyone who has opposed God?
Because if we're honest with ourselves, we have all opposed God.
Is there no hope?
Well, let's continue looking at the passage and exploring the question.
How will the Lord return?
So in verse 7 through 8, James turns his attention from God's enemies to God's people, and you see that by how he repeats the word brothers throughout these verses, he says it three times and that emphasizes the fact that he is now addressing gods P.
Look at verses 7 through 8 with me.
James writes be patients.
Therefore brothers, until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruits of the earth.
Being patient about it until it receives the early and delay trains.
You also be patient establisher hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
James understands that the Lord is come.
I mean, it is imminent. It is at hand. You might be thinking. Well, it's been 2000 years since Jesus left. That doesn't seem like at hand to me. Well, let me remind you that Peter in second Peter 3/8 through nine addresses this very issue. He said, but do not overlook this one fact, beloved.
That with the Lord one day is as 1000 years and 1000 years as one day the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but his patient tordue not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
The Lord will return, and even if he doesn't return within our lifetime, we're still going to die and we will meet the Lord. Then in 100 years, every single person in this room will be gone.
James is urging his readers to live in light.
That Jesus will return.
He will come back, and it is as inevitable as the changing of the seasons.
The farmer lives his life independence on the changing seasons, plants his crops in the spring, harvest in the.
Paul James is telling that God's people to plan their lives in the same way it is as reliable as the changing seasons. So live in life in God's life, giving presence. Believers need the inevitability of Jesus's return in order to survive in this.
Sinful in cruel world, where there's death and suffering James's readers suffered beneath the corrupt empire of Rome and they needed help, they needed encouragement to continue to get through the day.
The enemies described in verses one through 6 cause great suffering to God's people.
Many members of the church lived in brutal circumstances, and so James says, establish your hearts in the inevitability of Jesus's return. Establish your hearts, and he uses that in verse 8 as a direct contrast to verse 5 where the enemies fatten their hearts.
Fats in your hearts versus establisher ha.
He says Establisher hearts, by reminding yourselves of the truth that Christ is coming to save his people.
He is coming to save his people and only that gives them grace to be patients in the suffering of today.
In James knows that the churches are suffering and that's why he tells them not to grumble.
Against one another, look at verse 9.
There, James says, do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged.
Behold, the judges standing at the door, James has really internalised the teaching of Jesus.
Here you see that he's echoing an restructuring.
Jesus is teaching in Matthew 5.
Where Jesus taught that anger is equivalent to murder.
James is riffing off that idea that both actions anger grumbling, is the equivalent of murdering your brother in your heart, so he's warning them Jesus is coming.
Do not grumble when life is hard and you feel the need to complain.
Remember that Jesus is coming.
The judge is coming.
So you can trust in that and that will give you strength not to complain.
Jesus returned should be a source of comfort for God's people.
And he refers to the prophets again as a model of what that looks like to live in suffering.
In verse 10, he says, as an example of suffering, Impatients brothers take the prophets who spoke in the name of the law.
In the Old Testament, the prophets were sent by God to call Israel back from her sin. Israel regularly walked away from the Lord, and God sent prophets to call them back to himself and remind them of their identity. As God's covenant people and eventually.
Israel was punished for not turning from her idols.
An not ceasing the practice of child sacrifice, and in between that time of judgment and the time of the prophets, the Israelites.
They persecuted those prophets. They tried to put them to death. They chased them throughout the land and the prophets needed faith in God's promises. They needed faith in God's promises to survive that persecution, and eventually that faith was vindicated.
Second chronicles 214 through 16 summarizes how Israel treated her prophets and what happened. It says all the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations, and they polluted the House of the Lord that he made holy in Jerusalem.
The Lord the God of their fathers, since persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling.
Yes, but they kept mocking the messengers of God despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord Rose against his people until there was no remedy.
James has this understanding of the prophets in the back of his mind.
He knows that it is faith alone that allowed them to endure amidst the suffering as they proclaimed gods, word and as the church proclaims the Gospel of Jesus and the ethics of Christ.
James knows that they are going to experience.
The Prophet suffered persecution for proclaiming the word of the Lord, yet not every person suffers for that reason.
Some people suffer just the brokenness of our sin and the sinful world, and that's why he points to job in verse 11 as an example of steadfastness.
Job suffered, he didn't know the reason why he suffered.
He could not see into the Heavenly Throne room and see the confrontation between the devil and God.
He just knew that all his wealth was taken from him and he was suffering.
And his wife told him, curse God and die.
But his faith allowed him to endure, and he returned to the Lord and begged him to have mercy on him in to explain what was happening.
He didn't do it perfectly.
When he was confronted with the glory of the Lord, he realized, oh, I am a sinful man.
An I have complained unjustly, and he repented, and that's why James says that you have seen the purposes of the Lord, that he is merciful and compassionate.
James told his audience that they had heard of Job's faithfulness, but they, with their eyes, had seen the purposes of the Lord and the purposes of the Lord is to save his people from sin and suffering.
The readers of James would have seen the all throughout the Old Testament.
How God repeatedly saved his people from their sin over and over and over and over.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful in the readers of James had seen this in the person in work of Jesus. The fact that Jesus came and died for his people to take their sins away is the ultimate example of the Lord's compassion.
And his mercy.
And the Lord is compassionate and merciful toward those who put their faith in Jesus.
So the day of the Lord is a good day for those who place their trust in Jesus.
When the Lord returns, he will come to judge his enemies, but he will also come to save his people to vindicate their faith when everything around them tells them.
Don't believe in the Lord, he is not good.
And not just the day of the Lord will vindicate the faith of the people when he comes to rescue them.
So how will the Lord return?
He will return to judge his enemies, but also to save his people.
Hitler's Third Reich, as you know, attempted to murder every Jew that was under their control, and they placed them in concentration camps and tried to systematically annihilate them.
And after the end of the war, the survivors of the Holocaust talked about how when they were in the concentration camps, they began to hear things that indicated that Hitler was losing control.
They didn't have any news but off in the distance they could hear the thud of the guns and the rattle of machine guns.
They could hear the roar of the engines overhead as the Allied bombers.
Went deeper and deeper into enemy territory and then they had to pick up and be transferred to another prison camp.
They knew that the Allies were coming.
They knew that judgment was coming for their Nazi prison guards.
They just had to have faith that that day would eventually come and that that judgment was inevitable.
In today's passage, James tells his readers that the Lord's return is inevitable. He will come to judge his enemies, and he will come to save his people.
To save those who have faith in him.
So brothers and sisters expected Christ to return to save you, expect Christ to return to save you when you are suffering under the effects of a world that is teaching you to live just for yourself just to use your life.
Till your resources to live and make it another day, remember that Jesus is coming to save you when you're at work and your work is pushing you to practice unethical business practice practices.
Remember that Jesus is coming to save you.
Expect Christ to return to save you.
And if you recognize that you yourself have been an enemy of God, that you have defrauded others that you look more like the person in verses one through 6.
Remember that Jesus comes to save you.
Put your faith in Christ, trust him to save you in.
Redeem you from that former lifestyle.
Remind yourself that suffering is expected in the Christian life.
When you experience the brokenness and suffering of this world, remind yourself that Jesus told you that this would happen and that Jesus is coming to save you.
He is coming back.
Right now, suffering is widespread.
Covin 19 has caused people to lose their jobs, has caused people to lose their finances, has caused people to lose their life.
But Jesus is coming back. So when you feel the pressure of the world around you in the pressure of COVID-19 and the deaths an the political response, remember that Jesus is.
Because that is the only way that you will be able to survive without grumbling against your brothers and sisters.
Everyone of us has struggled in this time.
At grumbling I know I have, I know that it's so easy for me to get on social media and see how other people have responded to the pandemic or their politics or whatnot.
An I grumble.
And I need the Lord's Mercy because of that grumbling. And the only way that I can change is by reminding myself that Christ is coming to save me.
In Christ is coming to save you. He is coming back to save you from this broken world, in light of Christ's return, all the politicks, all the medical strategies will fade away in the light of his glorious face in his presence. This will seem like a mere shadow.
My dad did not like water day.
He did not like it at all.
He could have ignored it.
Or he could have looked ahead for that day, and that is what he did.
He knew that if he was unprepared for water day, he was in danger of drowning.
But he turned to those around him who were good swimmers, and he asked for their help.
He asked for their mercy and sacrificing their time to help him learn to swim.
And they showed him how to eat well, how to be a stronger swimming, a stronger swimmer, so that swimming would not scare him.
And so water Day became something to look forward to as a test.
A test of strength, a test that how he had been living in the past two years was worth it.
When we began today, we recognize that we tend to live our lives as if there is no tomorrow.
Scripture checks this inclination by teaching that the Lord will return.
He will return to judge his enemies, but he will also return to save his people and to vindicate their faith in his faithfulness.
And his righteous righteousness. The Lord's coming as a victorious King. So look forward to his return. Look forward to his return at the day of the Lord.
Will you pray with me?
Dear heavenly father.
We come before you as a people today who.
We struggle with this world.
We struggle with our own sinful hearts.
To believe in your faithfulness.
We ask that you would remind us today of your faithfulness that your Holy Spirit would change our hearts so that we would trust you more and more that we wouldn't grumble against our brothers and sisters.
That our lives would reflect the work that you have done in our hearts.
We thank you that you have saved us.
You've saved us from our past selves.
You are saving us from our current selves and you will save us from our future selves.
Increase our faith, Lord.
And may our lives.
Reflect your faithfulness to us.
It is in your sons name we pray, Amen.