James 4:13-5:11 – Rich and Poor (part one)

This week we’re continuing in the letter of James, which is all about the temptation to be double-minded: trying to be friends with God and friends with the world. Over the next two days we look at James 4:13-5:11.

Life is short, is it not? What’s more, we don’t even know exactly how short ours is going to be. Statistically, I’m around the halfway mark. But it could end tomorrow, if there’s a bus out there with my name on it. Or a chicken bone, or an exploding backyard crystal meth lab (that’s near where I live).As it says in Ecclesiastes: life is a vapour. A mist. We’re here one minute, and gone the next. Life is short, and its end is unpredictable.

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James 4:13-5:11 – Rich and Poor (part two)

This week we’re continuing in the letter of James, which is all about the temptation to be double-minded: trying to be friends with God and friends with the world. This is part two of our focus on James 4:13-5:11.

Yesterday, James (probably drawing on Jesus’ parable of the Rich Fool) has a go at wealthy Christians who are double-minded: they say that God’s in control but by their actions they show that God is far from their thinking. For a start, they forget that – just like the rich fool – God could take it all away from them in an instant. But more than that, they are thinking selfishly, storing up for themselves rather than being rich toward others. They are sinning by omission:

4:17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

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James 5:13-20 – The Prayer of Faith (part one)

This week we’re concluding our study in the letter of James, which is all about the temptation to be double-minded: trying to be friends with God and friends with the world. Over the next three days we look at James 5:13-20.

A man walks into a … milk bar (in case there are any traditional Baptists reading). With an ostrich. And he orders a ginger beer. “That’ll be $3.90” says the milk-barman. So the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out exactly $3.90.

The next day, the man and his ostrich are back. He orders a coke. “That’ll be $3.50” says the milkbarman. And the man reaches into his pocket and finds exactly $3.50.

On the third day, the man and the ostrich go into the milkbar again, and the man asks for a milkshake. “That’ll be $4.80.” And again, the man reaches into his pocket to pull out the exact change. The milkbarman is curious, and asks him why it is he’s always got the exact money with him. 

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James 5:13-20 – The Prayer of Faith (part two)

This week we’re concluding our study in the letter of James, which is all about the temptation to be double-minded: trying to be friends with God and friends with the world. Today is part two of a three-day focus on James 5:13-20.

The prayer of faith

Today, James moves from the general exhortation to live a prayerful life (verse 13, yesterday), to a specific case – in which we pray for a person who is sick. James gives us a simple instruction:

5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

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James 5:13-20 – The Prayer of Faith (part three)

Today we’re concluding our study in the letter of James, which is all about the temptation to be double-minded: trying to be friends with God and friends with the world. Today is the last part of a three-day focus on James 5:13-20.

See yesterday’s post for today’s to make any sense.

We’re now at the point where we can look at one possible answer to the problem with this passage in James ‘And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.’ The prayer of faith is one offered in accordance with the will of God. Faith produces a righteous lifestyle (James chapter 2); a righteous lifestyle (such as Elijah’s) means we can pray according to the will of God. Which means it will be done.

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