Summary: To show that God has a way to equalize things when it comes to money
Title: The Battle between the Rich and the Poor
Theme: To show that God has a way to equalize things
Text: James 5:1-11
It seems to be that there is a battle that has been going on since the beginning of time. It is the battle between the haves and have nots. This is why Satan tempted Eve, why Cain killed Abel, why Jacob deceived Esau. It is a common trait throughout history. One looks at another and judges them by what they have or have not.
It was no difference in the church that James is writing to. In it there were those who were wealthy and were proud. Then there were those who were being oppressed by the wealthy. This sentiment is today. We hear it every election year one party is for the rich and one is for the poor. What an internal battle of envy that goes on.
In these verses James deals with both of these people the rich oppressor and the one being oppressed. Let us look.
I. The rich oppressor
1 ¶ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Judgement shall come Why?
A. hoarded wages
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered (corroded); and the rust (corrosion) 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.
In the Bible times there were three ways to tell if a person was rich:
1. by what he had in his barn
2. by what they wore (and your garments are moth-eaten)
3. by what their jewelry (gold and silver is cankered(corroded))
But James explains that this is not a way to measure. For the barns will rot. The grain will not keep forever. The clothes will be eaten by moth.
Of these God will have his judgement. It may not be here although it can be. Many people who were rich in the time that James wrote lost everything with the invasion of Titus in AD 70 just a few years after writing the book of James. This happened in 1929 when some went to bed millionaires and woke up with nothing because of the Great Depression. Their answer was suicide.
B. unpaid wages
4 Behold(Look), the hire of the labourers(the wages) who have reaped(mowed) down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud(not paid), crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth (Almighty).
C. self indulgence
5 Ye have lived in pleasure(luxury) on the earth, and been wanton(self-indulgence); ye have nourished (fattened) your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you(who were not opposing you).
Falsely accusing people who are under privileged to defend themselves for the gain and benefit of their self.
It seems that many of the rich get away with their doings in this world. It seems that while the people who don’t have as much are sufferings although they serve God but the rich prosper with their blatant disbelief. But their time will come.
A farmer, who was very proud of his irreligiousness, wrote to the editor of a news paper, “ Sir, I have been trying an experiment with a field of mine. I plowed it on Sunday, planted it on Sunday, cultivated it on Sunday and reaped it on Sunday. Now, Mr. Editor, what is the result? I have more bushels to the acre in that field than any of my neighbors have this October.” The editor in printing the letter commented, “God does not always settle His accounts in October!”
Another story I heard was of a companion of a newly converted Christian who one day laughingly asked him, “Can you tell me where hell is?” After a brief pause the new Christian responded, ”Yes, it is at the end of a Christless life.”
What to do if you are in this predicament.
1. employee and employer
2. tenant and land lord
3. worker and customer
II. The laborer
A. Be patient
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold,(how) the husbandman(farmer) waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early(autumn) and latter(spring) rain.
B. stablish (strengthen, stand firm) your hearts
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
C. Grudge not (don’t complain, don’t grumble)
9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
Mt 7:1 ¶ Judge not, that ye be not judged.2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.