Midweek Bible Study Notes - Session 9 - Is My Eye on Possessions or on Christ's Return
Is My Eye on Possessions or on Christ’s
Passage for Study: James 5: 1-12
Outline of Talk:
• Why is it that very often the ungodly rich seem to get riches at the
expense of the godly poor who struggle? Why does God allow
oppression, exploitation, persecution and greed to go on without
much interruption? James is adamant that God is not an
uninterested bystander or unable to help. He is not blind to these
things nor to the wasteful luxury that often leads to cruelty. His
judgment is sure and certain, so much so that the worldly rich ought
to weep and howl in anticipation of it.
• In contrast, those who are waiting for the return of the Lord can be encouraged and live in assurance. All wrongs will be righted. Every person and every action will be dealt with justly and in accordance with God’s own standard of righteousness. The judge is ready to act; he stands on the other side of the door.
• James lays emphasis on the rich enjoying a lavish, wasteful luxury at the expense of the poor. Not only had their wealth been gathered in corrupt ways, but they had been guilty of exploiting the poor, holding back wages and using social oppression to get their way and provide more possessions for themselves.
• For these people possessions were important for their own sake.
They boasted in them. They had confidence in the possession of
them. Possessions were more important than people. People were
“used” but possessions, riches were loved and cherished. Pleasure
was placed above righteousness. You can compare what James says
here to the Lord’s letter to Laodicea in Revelation 3:17-18.
• James goes on to deal with the attitude and actions Christians ought
to have towards the Lord’s return when all things will be taken into
account and all people will be judged. This will establish the
righteousness of the faithful people of God and expose the sin of
the others. Your group can discuss in what ways we can be getting
ready for the Lord’s return.
Questions for Discussion Session:
1. In verses 1-6 what are the miseries for which the rich will weep and howl?
2. “The people James is referring to in verses 1-6 could not have been
Christians, surely!” Discuss.
3. Where do you find examples in today’s world of the abuses
mentioned in verses 4-6? What can Christians do about this?
4. Verse 8 - “Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand”
(similar to 1 Thessalonians 3: 1). The word “establish” literally means
“to make stable”, or “to stabilise.” How do we go about this? You
should get some clues from Luke 22: 32, where the word is translated
“strengthen”, and Luke 9: 51 where it is translated “set”.
5. Look up Job 23: 10-12. James refers to him as an example of patience.
What could we take from these verses to help us establish our hearts
and patiently wait for the return of the Lord?
6. In regard to Christ’s return:
a. What do you look forward to?
b. Is there anything about it that makes you afraid?
c. In what ways should it be clear to others that we are
preparing for the coming of the Lord?