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 (James & 1, 2 Peter)
Concerning the Future
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8: Concerning the Future (Jas 4:13-5:12)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

We have studied the exhortations on doing the word and having a faith that is accompanied by works. We have also learned two areas of application, namely speech and strife. In this lesson, we see that James relates faith not only to the present but also to our attitude towards the future. The teachings in this passage stress our accountability towards God, who is in control of the future and will judge everyone when the Lord comes.

B.     Key Verse

“Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (4:15).

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain” (5:7).

C.     Did You Know…?

1.     Lord of Sabaoth (5:4): This designation comes from the Hebrew expression that means “the Lord of Hosts.”

2.     Early and latter rain (5:7): “In Palestine the early rains came in October and November soon after the grain was sown, and the latter rains came in April and May as the grain was maturing. Both rainy seasons were necessary for a successful crop. Knowing this, the farmer was willing to wait patiently until both rains came and provided the needed moisture.” 2/201

II.    Observation

A.     Outline




III. Key Words/Phrases

A.     General Analysis

How does each of the three paragraphs relate to the main subject—”the future”?

Compare the tone of the second paragraph (5:1-6) and the third paragraph (5:7-12).

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     4:13-17

1.      What is James warning us against? Planning? Profit-making?

2.      What two things about our lives does verse 14 remind us of?

3.      How does the reminder in verse 14 determine the way we live our daily lives? Do you live your life today with this in mind?

4.      What attitude is James teaching us to have in verse 15?

5.      How does verse 17 relate to the preceding verses?

6.      Why is it a transgression (violation of God’s law) if we do not do the good we know?

7.      Where do you stand when you measure yourself with the teaching of this verse? What good deeds do you need to start doing?

B.     5:1-6

8.      What sins does James denounce in this paragraph?

9.      What does the conduct of these rich people tell us about them with respect to God?

10.  Why should these rich men and women weep and howl?

11.  What is wrong with heaping up treasure in the last days (3)?

12.  Are you heaping up treasure in the last days? What are you doing with your possessions?

13.  Explain the words “you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.” (cf. Jer 12:3).

C.     5:7-12

14.  What does the word “therefore” tell you about the situation that called for patience?

15.  What does it mean to establish our hearts (8)? What does it involve?

16.  How is grumbling a sign of impatience?

17.  What lessons does James want us to learn from Job’s suffering?

18.  What makes a person swear? Why is this wrong? (cf. Mt 5:33-37)

19.  In view of the teachings of this paragraph, in what ways can you be more patient?


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