Faith Works

James 5:1-6

5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted, and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

Main Point:

Be honest with yourself and ask the Lord to show you where your treasure is. The answer is the direction your heart is traveling. 

Church Vision Statement 

We are a biblically rooted church that wants to help you overcome life’s emptiness through a deeper relationship with Christ and connection to a family who cares.

Transformation Questions:

  • Do you think that it is odd that James is talking to people who are in the church this way about their material blessings? Why would James warn against the distraction of material blessings to believers?
    • Because it might make them lethargic in their spirituality and start depending on their goods rather than their God.
  • When you read a passage like this, do you feel like you evaluate yourself and the way you are living, or do you usually assume that it applies to someone else?
  • What are James’ reasons in verses 2 and 3 of why we should not love our material goods?
    • Your fine clothes wear out, your gold and silver lose their value and rust, and loving things too much will consume your life.
  • Has there ever been something you feel you may have loved too much like borderline worship?
  • Have you ever done work and not got paid for it or at least felt like you were cheated out of what was agreed upon? 
  • Do you feel like you have ever cheated someone out of what they were rightly owed?
  • Read verse 5. Does God necessarily punish people for being rich? 
    • No, all blessings come from God, but when we read something like this, it might be easy to demonize the rich. Rather wealth is relative when someone puts too much trust or pride in whatever level of wealth they have, then they are in danger. 
  • Read Luke 16:19, the rich man and Lazarus. What reason was the rich man punished?
    • 19 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.20 And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’
      • The rich man was punished because he did not listen to Moses and the Prophets. Which means he did not put his faith in God and live that faith out. But he was not punished for being rich he was punished for not believing. His actions were harsh because he was not a child of God. 
  • What is the main point of the book of James that is driving all of his applications? 
    • Claiming faith is not enough. Your actions are to match your faith, or you more than likely do not have real faith. 
      • James 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
      • James 2:20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 
  • Based on the main point of the book, why is James so harsh in verse 5?
    • James is urging them to evaluate their walk to see if their lives match their claims about being a Jesus follower.