Mature Faith: Warnings to the Rich (Jody Garner)

Posted: Book of James (Mature Faith), Sermons

James 1:9-11 & James 5:1-6.

We now move into a new theme in this James series: warnings to the rich. James begins this topic in Ch. 1, and then returns to it a few times throughout the letter. In Ch. 5:1-6 is the harshest rhetoric of the whole letter.

In one sense, James just continues Jesus’ reversal theme from the Gospel of Luke. We are invited to look at the world through a Kingdom lens that is upside-down and inside-out. On the other hand, we might ask some questions about why such a strong warning: Is it wrong to be rich? Who is considered rich? Why is it dangerous for our faith to be rich? What is an appropriate response?

James 1:9-11
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
Poverty and Riches

9 Let the brother or sister of humble means boast in having a high position 10 and the rich in having been humbled, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

James 5:1-6
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
Warning to Rich Oppressors

5 Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. 2 Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure[a] during the last days. 4 Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have nourished your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.