Faithlife Sermons

God's Judgment on American Injustice

The Pursuit of Revival  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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To wealthy Americans and those in power:
Start crying because your misery is waiting
Your Abuse of Wealth
Selfish Accumulation
It will testify and fuel the fire for judgment
Systemic Inequity
It has been perpetuated
It protests and GOD hears them
Your Abuse of Power
Unjust Law Enforcement
To Christians in America
Be Patient and Strong in Faith
Does not mean silence or no action
Keep fighting, praying, speaking out,
Last week I reflected on the unjust killing of Botham Jean in my introduction, not realizing that the same evening, another unarmed black man would be shot in the back 7 times by a Kenosho, WI police officer, while his 3 young sons witnessed it. And I have to admit, when I first heard it, I almost felt numb to it, not reacting like I did with George Floyd. And I haven’t addressed these matters as much from the pulpit because I deal with the conversations daily at my job as Diverse Business Manager. But this one made me reflect a lot more, and this just doesn’t make any sense. So I prayed to GOD and asked him what does he have to say about all of the injustice we have and are experiencing in America. And I believe GOD led me to our text. And I intend to publicly denounce, not only the injustice with the shootings, as well as the unjust system that is at work in our country. At the same time encourage everyone on how we can respond as the body of Christ.
Now just a few disclaimers, please remember that the right perspective is important to have a heart of forgiveness. However that does not negate the wrath of GOD that is coming upon wickedness, particularly for people who refuse to repent. In addition, what I say does not apply to all of any category of race or ethnicities I mention. Nonetheless, however and whoever the shoe fits, it’s something one has to wear and weigh against the pages of scripture.
James has been giving multi thematic instructions and encouragement to Christians throughout this letter. Then in ch. 5 he breaks out into an emotional and direct address to non-christian, unjust, and sinful wealthy people in power.
Start Crying now
James is not speaking to everyone who was wealthy, for there were wealthy Christians. Rather he is speaking of a particular category of wealthy people in that world. This entire breakout of James’ words directly echos or aligns with the prophets of old, because he condemns them by the Spirit of GOD. He pretty much says “Listen Here!!!” His prophetic command to them is to just start crying now. James isn’t speaking of a repentant cry, as he does in chapter 4. Rather this command to cry is based on what this category of rich people should expect for the future. What’s that?
Misery awaits you
This is not something anyone would want to hear from the mouth of the Living GOD. But this is the message from GOD to this group of wealthy people. Well is it just the mere fact that they’re rich? GOD why would you prophecy devastation on the future of those who are rich? Well we’re going to see, again, it’s not the mere fact that they’re rich, rather it is their misuse of riches that has brought on this judgment. Here’s the first problem.
Your Abuse of Wealth
Selfish Accumulation
James uses 3 descriptive phrases that indicate they were wealthy, their selfishness, and that it had been going on for a long time. Your riches which could have been agricultural, hence saying they’re rotted. Fine clothes were an indication, and of course gold and silver did as well.
Application: You know there’s a problem in America when the top 12 billionaires have a combined total amount of money that exceeds the home equity of all black homeowners combined. And the top 70 billionaires have a combined total that exceeds all black plus a 1/3 of LatinX people, according to Forbes. This greatly demonstrates that many white families, for centuries have had the access and opportunities for an enormous growth of wealth in this country. However, the problem is, is that we still have roughly 12 percent of our population in poverty, that’s 40 million people. And we know that those numbers hit Hispanics, Blacks, and Native Americans 2 times worse than Asian and American families. This highly reflects a great amount of selfishness with the most wealthiest people in America. What James is saying, is all these long years of accumulated wealth, with no sufficient movement toward people in need, that is evidence for GOD to bring misery on the wealthy.
This is God’s first witness against them
Systemic Inequity
But we should know with money comes much ownership and control. James now turns his attention to a more specific topic. That is the compensation of those who have worked, which has been held back or deprived from the workers.
Historical with present impacts
Here’s the interesting thing, when James says withheld, it means that it’s something that had been historically done with present impacts.
Application: I hope we understand that history of this country is what has produced the economic and social and educational impacts that we see today. Slavery did not originate from hatred against Africans. It began because of financial greed of those Europeans. Land stolen from Natives, people stolen from Africa to work the fields of slave-owners, and they never paid them right. Fast forward to the 20th century, after slavery abolishment, and although blacks were under this proclamation of freedom, the wealth, education, and so much more was still deprived. Redlining to prevent lending, segregation, black codes, and more and more to keep opportunities highly suppressed. So fast forward even more to the recent 30 years, Whites wealth is roughly 40 times more than blacks, 20 times more than LatinX. Average wages earned, Whites make 28% more than Blacks, and 35% more than LatinX. Black and LatinX would benefit the most from an increase in minimum wage. Why is that Bro Evans, because of systems implemented years ago, which have deprived these opportunities. These things impact education, health care, technology, etc.
This is God’s second witness against them
James says the outcry or the protest of these workers has reached the General of the Armies of Heaven. He’s using traditional prophetic language to apply to his circumstances of the day. Just like I’m doing the same.
Application: I’m here to tell you, for all who willfully ignore these systems and assume that everyone everywhere has the same opportunities, that is wrong. We’re not talking about forgiveness, we’re talking about correction to what’s equitable. James says, that’s alright though, because all of these inequities, everyone who has instigated and perpetuated them for their own gain, the cries and the protests have reached God’s ears.
Self-Indulgence and Unjust Law Enforcement
Lastly, it’s the fact that the wealthiest folk have lived at ease and access to everything they please. But more times than most they also are the ones in power, able to move legislation a lot more than poorer people. And in our country, poorer people of color. James is condemning the same folk for their unjust laws and unjust killings.
Policing and killings
Application: First off, if you deprive someone of equitable compensation, you’re already killing them slowly. But then to take it to premeditated killing is sad. Domination, and power. Terror lynchings in the south, and midwest if you did not know, from 1880-1950, over 4000 lynched. For all kinds of false accusations. Fast forward, and that same targeting is happening. 7 times more likely to be charged with murder, and 12 times more for drugs. Black men 13% of US men population, but 35% of prison population. Black women 13% of US, but 44% of prison population. These are all examples of the unjust system that’s in place. James says these things are God’s justification for the misery he plans to bring on all the unjust wealthy people in power who have instigated such.
Be Patient and Strong in Faith
Does not mean silence or no action
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