a Test Series – James 5:16
The story is told of a prosperous, young investment banker who was driving a new BMW sedan on a mountain road during a snowstorm. As he veered around one sharp turn, he lost control and began sliding off the road toward a deep cliff. At the last moment he unbuckled his seat belt, flung open his door, and leaped from the car, which then tumbled down the ravine and burst into a ball of flames.
Though he had escaped with his life, the man suffered a horrific injury. Somehow his arm had been caught near the hinge of the door as he jumped and had been torn off at the shoulder. A trucker saw the accident in his rearview mirror. He pulled his rig to a halt and ran to see if he could help. He found the banker standing at the roadside, looking down at the BMW burning in the ravine below. “My BMW! My new BMW!!” the banker moaned, oblivious to his injury. The trucker pointed at the banker’s shoulder and said, “You’ve got bigger problems than that car. We’ve got to find your arm. Maybe the surgeons can sew it back on!” The banker looked where his arm had been, paused a moment, and groaned, “Oh no! My Rolex! My new Rolex!!”
God gives us material possessions so we will enjoy them, not so we will worship them. What’s important to you? Are you oblivious to what is important? Several months ago there was a small group bible study called “Radical” David Platt was the author of this study; and it was radical and defiantly biblical. The life is a test series presents a reality check on materialism and just maybe it might be some for you to make some radical adjustments. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
Text: James 4:1-6
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabbath. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.”
Application: What is it that you enjoy and what is it that you worship?
If I pull out a dollar bill and put it in the air for all of you to see, does money talk? If money talks,” said a popular comedian, “all it ever says to me is good-bye!” Two themes run through chapter 5 of James; trouble & prayer. James did not say it was a sin to be rich. After all, Abraham was a wealthy man, yet he walked with God, and was greatly used of God to bless the whole world. James was concerned about the selfishness of the rich, and advised them to “weep and howl.”
1. Listen Now: vs. 1
“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.”
Strong warning, is the money talking to you, are you taking or giving? “But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17
We can now spend endless hours on reality shows watching the way hoarders live. James gives a whole new meaning to a hoarder in this text to me. The rich cannot afford to be rich hoarders the cost is their soul. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1Timothy 6:6-10 Jesus gives commands, not considerations; we are to go, sell, give, come, and follow me. The length for which we go and obey will be the return Christ will give.
2. The Witness will Testify against you: vs. 2-3
“Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.”
Riches will vanish, grain will rot, corruption is implied, gold will rust; and garments will become moth-eaten. Nothing material in this world will last forever. The seeds of death and decay are found in all of creation. It is a great mistake to think there is security in wealth. James not only saw a present judgment (their wealth decaying, their character eroding), but also a future judgment before God. Jesus Christ will be the Judge, and His judgment will be righteous.
God will call on a witness on that Day of Judgment. First, the rich men’s wealth will witness against them. Their rotten grain, rusted gold and silver, and moth-eaten garments will bear witness of the selfishness of their hearts. There is a bit of irony here: the rich men saved their wealth to help them, but their hoarded riches will only testify against them.
3. Your Cries will be Heard by the Lord: vs. 4
“Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
The wages they held back will also witness against them in court. Money talks! These stolen salaries cry out to God for justice and judgment. God heard Abel’s blood cry out from the ground, and He hears this stolen money cry out too. The workers will also testify against them. There will be no opportunities for the rich to bribe the witnesses or the Judge. God hears the cries of His oppressed people and He will judge righteously. This judgment is a serious thing. The lost will stand before Christ at the Great White Throne. The saved will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. God will not judge our sins, because they have already been judged on the cross; but He will judge our works and our ministry. If we have been faithful in serving and glorifying Him, we will receive a reward; if we have been unfaithful, we shall lose our reward but not our salvation: “If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:14-15
4. Watch How You Live it Might Haunt YOU: vs. 5-6
“You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.”
Worldly desire, which is the final end and consummation of all pleasures, sucks the bones and, like a cannibal, eats your own flesh: “At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.’ Proverbs 5:11
There are many a poor who have felt their existence was like the invisible man, no one could see you. James doesn’t want us to live life thinking were invisible. Two ways to look at treasures; the rich have treasures that are materialistic, the poor have waiting them treasures in heaven. “Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." Mark 10:21
Conclusion: Remember what James teaches; it is possible to be “poor in this world” and yet rich in the next world. It is also possible to be “rich in this world” and poor in the next world. The return of Jesus Christ will make some people poor and others rich, depending on the spiritual condition of their hearts. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” What we keep, we lose. What we give to God, we keep, and He adds interest to it. A famous preacher, known for his long sermons, was asked to give the annual “charity sermon” for the poor. It was suggested that if he preached too long, the congregation might not give as much as they should. The preacher read his text from: Proverbs 19:17 “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.”
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Are you oblivious to how your money talks? Can you afford to be?
In : Sermon
Tags: "life is a test series" "book of james"
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