1. Americans are all rich by the world's standards
2. James 5:1-6
a. This is not speaking directly to Christians
- Does not address "brethren" and there is no call to repent
b. Follows up on previous thoughts in the book
- Christians were showing partiality to the rich (Chapter 2)
- Christians were guilty of envy (Chapter 4)
c. Function of this passage:
TO EXHORT US NOT TO ENVY THE RICH.
I. Because of the Nature of their Mourning (v.1)
A. Rich instructed to "Weep and Howl"
B. Not the same as weeping in chapter 4:8-10
which was a weeping of repentance (see also 2 Cor 7:9ff)
1. "Howling" commonly connected with judgment (Amos 8:3ff)
2. "Howl" in original language literally means to "Shriek"
C. There are 2 kinds of weeping. Often they are seen in children
1. One is because they displeased their mother, and feel bad
2. The other is the sorrow because they got caught
D. Don't envy them, their mourning is because of judgement
II. Because of the Nature of their Miseries (v.2-3)
A. They were told to Weep and Howl for the "miseries to come"
1. On other hand, Christians "Consider it all joy..." (Jas 1:2ff)
2. Peter beaten for preaching Christ (Ac. 4:40ff), he rejoiced.
B. But the nature of the miseries of the rich are different.
1. It involved all three types of wealth:
a. Rich Foods: "Your riches have rotted"
b. Garments and Fine Linens: "Moth Eaten"
c. Precious Metals: "Have rusted"
-Gold doesn't really rust,
this shows the total worthlessness of stockpiled riches
2. Rust comes from lack of use
C. Courtroom scene
1. Rich man on trial
2. Evidence presented "exhibit 1" - A truckload of rust
D. In the last days you have "stored up your TREASURE"
1. In this case, the treasure equals condemnation
2. Remember "Treasure HERE, is evidence THERE"
3. Solution: Store up Treasure that will not accuse you
III. Because of the Nature of their Money (v.4 and v.6)
A. They gained it through wicked means
1. By withholding pay from employees
2. Killing to gain wealth (Remember Naboth's Vineyard? I Kng 21)
1. Immediate result was they got rich
2. Their wealth "cries out"
a. Similar poetic usage when the blood of Abel
cried out from the ground (Gen. 4:10)
b. So this is a cry for justice
3. Cry of workers heard by "Lord of Saboath"
a. Means "Lord of Hosts"
b. "Hosts" refer to heavenly angels, a celestial army
c. This title says the Lord is an Angelic Warlord
d. The Angelic Warlord has heard
4. This is meant to strike fear into those who exploit
C. What it you could actually hear the cries of money that God does?
1. Open wallet and money cries out for justice
2. Includes money:
a. That you owe and refuse to pay back
b. That you keep when get too much change
1. Don't keep what is not yours
2. Keeping what doesn't belong to you will not make
3. It all starts with envy. Don't envy the rich
IV. Because of the Nature of their Meals (v. 5)
A. "You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter"
B. Image of a Feedlot with indulging animals oblivious to what
they are doing to themselves
C. Does this mean it is wrong to be rich?
The Bible is not pro-poverty and anti-rich
a. Abraham and David were both rich
b. I Tim 6:17 - You can be a Christian and be rich
D. There is nothing wrong with being rich provided it is
a BY-PRODUCT not the GOAL of hard work.
1. Remember the purpose of this passage is to exhort us not to envy those that are rich:
a. Because of the Nature of their Mourning
b. Because of the Nature of their Miseries
c. Because of the Nature of their Money
d. Because of the Nature of their Meals
2. Once again, there is nothing wrong with being rich (we all are be the worlds standards), provided that:
a. It is the by product, not the goal
b. It does not collect rust from being stockpiled, but is used to
c. It is earned honestly
3. BUT DO NOT LOOK AT THE "JONES" WITH ENVY
4. We are rich with true treasure where neither moth nor rust destroys