Talks for Growing Christians
The Rich Denounced and the Oppressed Encouraged
Lesson Number 9
- The sins of the rich will be judged.
- The patience of the oppressed will be rewarded.
- Review the practical exhortations found in each of the five chapters of James.
- From this section of Scripture, list the four sins by which the rich will be judged.
- Chapter 1 – practical exhortations concerning the tests of our faith and our temptations to sin.
Chapter 2 – practical exhortations on not showing favoritism to those having social status.
Chapter 3 – practical exhortations on concerning the proper use of our tongues.
Chapter 4 – practical exhortations concerning strife and making plans without taking God into account.
Chapter 5 – practical exhortations to the rich and to the oppressed.
- a. hoarding
b. acquiring wealth by dishonest means
c. luxurious living
d. condemning the just.
- Review James 5:1-6, where the four sins of the rich are denounced. The rich in this section refers to both Christians and non-Christians. Although the epistle was written to the twelve tribes scattered throughout the Roman Empire, the contents would become known to non-believers of the first century as well. It is sad to note that the sins of the rich are practiced by many rich Christians, both then and today.
It is not wrong to be rich if God so chooses for you, but beware that rich Christians are vulnerable to committing the sins listed by James. Consider these sins and ask yourself, “Am I a hoarding Christian” or am I a sharing Christian?” “If you are rich, how did you acquire your wealth – by honest or dishonest means?” “Am I living a self-indulgent lifestyle when others around me are in need?” “Have I taken advantage of poor people?”
- James 5:7-11 is addressed to believers who are being oppressed. Are you feeling oppressed either by people or by circumstances? If so, wait patiently enduring the oppression that you may receive your reward. Remember Job and the Lord’s compassion and mercy (Job 42). Be patient and be encouraged – life is short, the Lord is at hand, the judge is standing at the door. The Lord’s return is imminent, perhaps even today.
- “Let your “Yes” be “Yes.” (James 5:12) There is a tendency to grumble when you are under oppression, either from people or circumstances. Have you been a grumbler? The Bible says that it is wrong and that you will be judged. The Lord warned us of this sin in Matthew 5:37. With the Lord’s help, we should stay cool and calm and collected, and we should always be very honest. How are you doing?
- “Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord…establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8
- “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold the Judge is standing at the door!” James 5:9
- “Let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.” James 5:12