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January 12, 2020 12:00 am
Greg revivals let's go to James all right book of James. I have enjoyed revisiting this book.
As I've said numerous times on Sunday night I'll revisit some of these expositions and think about the Smit preach a message or two and then no I don't have say this any other way but I can do I begin to enjoy my notes and I God shows me different things and it's just a refreshing thing. It's it's really different when you're free soon. One place for almost 40 years preach the books of the Bible is either Leviticus or numbers. I like to revisit some of these rich books and James is this book that Tom really gets down to where the rubber meets the road. He gets down to brass tacks and much like our churches today. James is dealing with a professing church with a lot of unbelievers mixed in and some real wickedness mixed in. So, as he's addressing this tonight. It's obvious, it is honestly hard to know if he's talking, exactly, to only church members that it includes church members, but certainly some unregenerate church members and to patent, possibly people in the community who are fellow shipping and visiting with the church of all things Pam and I have been watching some of the British broadcasting Company series saw about the days of the British aristocracy's different things that are decent and clean at least and it has awakened me to understand that Tom what we would not know as America and as having this large middle class is very odd in world history. Most of world history you had the political religious elite who also control the wealth like the aristocracies of of Europe. And then there was everybody else. Much of the time which barely I mean literally barely had enough to eat.
I met was commonplace what the liberals and the socialist communist of our country try to throw out there is inequalities and injustice and suffering is not. It is not even to be compared with what the old world called poverty and suffering. As I've said little bit tongue-in-cheek in the past. Today they think it if you will have three widescreen televisions, you know, your use of horsepower deprived. Their concept is thereby necessary to have the same thing except for the elite. The elite overlords in the centralized government office and that they would have lots of nice stuff with rest of us will be all equal. Have nothing that's kind of the way I think that's a little exaggeration I guess what that's kind of the way the modern liberal is abusive. But if you study history, predominantly in most cultures, you see the extremely wealthy and powerful, and then those who are there subjects more or less with almost nothing and that was true in this day and this day in the Jewish culture. The religious authorities were the state authorities the church and state.
Of course, was one of the theocracy, and there were people who were very wealthy, very powerful and they were very cruel and unjust to the common guy but so when we study the Bible, you've got to understand the context they're not talking about the wealthy versus those in the middle class here. Talk about the exceedingly wealthy and the unrighteousness of the way they gain their wealth and the way they use their wealth now saying all that to say Jesus taught us a wonderful, wonderful, foundational truth and that wonderful wonderful foundational truth is, it's the heart condition that God looks at the most.
For example, you can have almost nothing materially speaking and yet be greedy and love it very materialistic and you can have a lot materially speaking yet love Jesus first and use it for the glory of God is the heart condition that comes in here the folks addressed in this text. Their hearts were not there. They were not Christians who had been blessed financially were struggling to find the balance they were intentionally, willfully, abusers of their power, authority in their wealth and abusers of their fellow man. Let's look at it together.
James chapter 5 verses one through five pieces come now you rich and weep and howl for your mysteries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted in your garments have become moth-eaten your gold and your silver have rusted and their rust will be a witness against you, and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure.
Behold the notes how unjust they been behold the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields and which is been withheld by you, cries out against you in the outcry. Those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of harvest you have lived luxuriously on the earth, and you might exemplify that at the cost of process somebody else in the life of Walton pleasure. You have to factor in your hearts in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man, and he does not resist you. So I want to talk about the unrighteous rich, not just the rich.
But the unrighteous rich and the rich man referred to herein is almost a hypothetical asked. This is a a calling forth of judgment is not a call to repentance not here. This is a call and judgment to that one who is a hardened unrighteous rich man, because the Bible does not condemn either saving or acquiring wealth.
For example, there's nothing sinful about putting some money back. The Bible says.
Second Corinthians 1214 for the children ought not to lay up for the parents but the parents for the children is a throne verse you know that's Rutgers so here we have the idea that the Scripture says it's common and understandable. I like it when there are things in the Bible that this common sense tells you, but they're pleasing to God.
It's understandable parents put money back and it's a general God or general that parents ought to bless the next generation. First Timothy 58 if any provide not for his own house, and especially for those of his own house he has denied the faith is worse than an infidel or nonbeliever. So here is talking about having something or you can make sure your family is taken care of and then Jesus in a parable.
Use the idea of saving. Matthew 25, 27 then you ought to have put my money in the bank and on my arrival, I would have received my money back with interest. Now where is the balance in that it I would almost say, but I won't say but I will say, for illustration, say that I wish it was as simple as some spiritual elitist could say okay if you have X amount in the bank.
That's not sin, but if you get this much in the bank when that sin, then we could all just save up to that point. We also like were righteous, and by the way there's lots religious groups that do that kind of stuff they just the that that the powers that be the central authority, so to speak in their religious movement or denomination, though no layout for you specific things you happen can't have no but the Bible doesn't do that because the Bible is God's wisdom and God knows something you can.all the eyes and cross all the teams you want, and being humble and self-denying when it comes to material wealth, but your heart still be full of evil and greed and self. Just putting it on externally didn't mean anything. God understands that. So there is a righteous saving. How much do you say how much do you put back. I been transparent to you before, I've always thought I'm kinda behind on rent on saving for my retirement. You know there's no fixed pension plan and in Baptist churches and other churches been gracious and gives the staff something for their retirement. But it it I think it needs a little more than that. Not that you want to give me more. But we ought to be doing something of ourselves and that and I wondered will how much is the right amount.
How much is it all I know seek the Lord and trust the Lord and it is a Lord give me guidance on this what is right what is good, you may not live five years past retirement not need anything, you might lose 25 or 30 years and the whole lot.
I just don't know well savings is not sin. There's a righteous savings and acquiring wealth is not sin. The Bible certainly doesn't condemn that manifest the law in the Old Testament gave specific rules for the Jews about getting and securing wealth. We know that the Bible taught the Jews were allowed to own property.
They were to work for it, gain it and then gain a profit from it.
We know the Lord Jesus in paragraphs indicated a respect for personal property and for private gain but but what were looking at here is those who have acquired wealth by ill legal me are unrighteous means and use that wealth for ill legal or unrighteous purposes and that is strongly condemned throughout both the new and the Old Testament list reminder assessment even when wealth is legally or righteously acquired, and then divide the will of God and how you acquire it. The Bible would not teach us to YouTube to the use that wealth and extravagant luxuries take care of ourselves, take care of our own.
There's too many needs around you for a child of God to spend their monies and extravagant luxuries that the point of our text is the judgment upon those who have unrighteous means in gaining their wealth and unrighteous and selfish indulgence in the things that God has given them. Now again, this text very interesting especially for New Testament text is not a call to repentance. It is a pronouncement of judgment so obviously these are those that like I said this was just ingrained in the cultures it's almost like the caste system of India you were born into the aristocracy are into elitism and into those kind of settings and you had power and control and wealth and then there was everybody else. And those people big were prone to become hardened in their sin, and there's a point where God's judgment simply comes against no I.
Notice the present judgment of the unrighteous. Rich, the present judgment of the unrighteous rich. This is very interesting again in verse one. He talks about those who are rich. Another way to to further define who they are.
These are those who make the center of their purpose to be wealthy is the center of their being there, not those who work hard and invest hardened strive in our creative and take the initiative. The Bible generally speaks if that's your heart, and that your life you're more prone to gain wealth and the other land. The Bible affirms that and encourages that, but the man one man gets up in the morning and strives and works hard and he's creative and he works long hours and he strives to get ahead, and he loves Christ Jesus Lord godly in this open the right doors close doors, Lord, if it's not right.
I will honor you and all I do. And yet God blesses him with wealth. Another man works about the same way strives in and tries to be innovative and take the initiative and have the drive and he makes great wealth, but he does not say the Lord. This is about what I want to honor you and this I want to glorify you and all that I do.
I want people to see you in my life as I get ahead in this world.
Well, that's the guy who the guy who does not do that is the guy that James is writing to hear as the rich. This man trust enriches the attainment of riches is the centerpiece of his heart and of his life, and here's what the Bible says here in James chapter 5 verses one through three. Look at it with me together again, now you rich.
We been how notice is present tense. Each of the present judgments coming upon them for your mysteries which are coming upon your riches have rotted in your garments have become moth-eaten first part of verse three your gold and your silver have rusted so this is a word of prosthetic utterance against them uses the phrases up in verse one that they are to weep and a howl that has the idea burst into tears.
Look at where this is got use of the poorness even in this life. Riches bring great sorrow if you trust in them, even in this life. He uses the word Ms. reimbursable one so start about those who live for riches. They will if they continued let that be the motivation of their hearts, they undergo a hardening, and as they are hardened they get so cold are hardened toward anyone and anything as they pursue their idol, their God of riches, you know, Pam and I went and saw the the the play of the Christmas Carol and Ebenezer Scrooge is the key character and we all know the story.
By the time he reached that old days before the ghost came and visited him he was indifferent to everybody's need.
And to everybody's problems around them.
Though we had the wealthy could've met a lot of needs and never missed it. And that's what happens that the should listen to me that the man whose hardening thinks he's getting ahead because he enjoys his money and he's not bothered that others have need. He thinks he's doing good, but God's actually gotten him under judgment and God is hardening his heart and judgment that the blindness of the unrepentant center it center is a part of his judgment.
Now so you have that inevitable chain of dominoes if you will, the lust for riches.
The increasing hardness of heart, and then the wall in the mystery that ultimately become even in this life now again in the context of widespread persecution, especially persecution of Christians, we have a couple verses I want to look at Luke 624 through 26 for the Lord says, but woe to you who are rich for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are wed fail now use for you shall be hungry. Woe to you, the left now.
You shall mourn and weep.
Woe to you when all men speak well of you are in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets. So here he has so this casting of judgment out on these the memo. The context is if you're a believer and you and you fellowship and what with your brothers and sisters in Christ you go to be persecuted, not have much in this day. Some of them almost starved to death. Some of them ended up in prison so a lot of people would pull away from their profession of faith apostate size if you will, so they can keep their wealth and keep their jobs and keep in good standing and she said okay very well make gaining money. Your main goal is to the serving me is going to be a time when it's going to bring misery in your life, even in this life. First Timothy chapter 6, seven through 11 for we have brought nothing into the world so we cannot take anything out of it either.
If we have food and covering with these we shall be content, but those who, here's the key phrase those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires. Notice which plunge men into ruin and destruction that's in this life that's judgment in this life on the unrighteous for the love of money is a root of all sorts of media people and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many obtain again. It's not money are even acquiring money. But it's the love of money, test your heart's. I've often said to you I know more people who have the sin of loving money who are poor that I know people who have the sin of loving money who are rich because I know more poor people than normal rich people that we all have these we struggling hearts, do we not been verse 11 first Timothy six, but flee from these things you man of God and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, illness, that the man of God is not a man who has 100% victory here, but he is the man who says Lord, I know I'm capable of sliding right into a hardened list of the things of this world and I want again in our work and how to get ahead know to be successful God, wonderful thing. God want you to the God does not want you to set your heart on riches. That's the difference. Where's your heart where's your joy where sure, is it and what you've amassed art is ours. That is it in the true Lord of heaven. He says in this life there's a punishment coming for those who are unrighteous rich. Secondly notice he talks about even a future judgment for the unrighteous rich. We see this in verses two through four and verse six we were looked at verse two.
But look at verse three.
Again your gold and your silver have rusted and their rust will be a witness against you notice that phrase a witness against you, and will consume your flesh like fire is in the last days. If you store up your treasure. Behold the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields and which is been withheld by you, cries out against you.
Another witness against you and the outcry of those who did the harvesting had reached the ears of the Lord of the harvest. Another witness against you, then verse six you have condemned and put to death the righteous man, and he does not resist you.
What a statement this is some sub sub points here to this notice. First of all the wealth the wealth itself will bear witness against them in the day of judgment. The wealth itself bears witness against in verses two and three their gold and their silver corrodes their houses and their lands and their close deteriorate.
It's almost as if God on the at the great white throne brings them before and this is not Christians who are backslidden are struggling with the sin.
These are those who given themselves wholly to the sin and they come on the day of judgment, because they know not Christ, and I not been cleansed by his precious blood. I may come before the great white throne judgment and set guidelines up all that they trusted in houses and lands in material things and fancy closing cars, whatever it might be in there just rotting away God's these bear witness. These are your gods, they bear witness against they testify against you as to what you trusted in the fact that now if you stand before me, you have no hope. Think about it, even in this lifetime.
When tragedy strikes and there's so many ways.
Tragedy can strike and all the wealth you amassed could not do one thing the Savior.
The doctor can walk in and say it's cancer you can. Of all the wealth of the world did not hip you one bit.
The great white throne judgment these will stand before God and these very things. They're very wealth will testify against them. Here's a good quote I found it's good to have riches in your hand, provided they do not get in your heart so good to have riches in your hand, provided they do not get in your heart.
No man of God hears your challenge. Confess your weakness.
Confess your struggle and say God don't let it happen. The wealth you give me the good things you give me help me to hold to it but hold to it loosely. May my heart be always yours.
I just don't tell you have to regularly take the stuff I have welled the bank and I have and I have to Wrigley just take it to God to God, the less years I enjoyed this but Lord, it's not my job that he might test me in this one-day you may test you, and it Lord by your grace.
I don't want to make this the center of my life is here now, but look it's goal be gone tomorrow so these folks at the great white throne. The way the prophet car James the pastors making this prophecy. It's as if they're going to stand before God and their wealth itself will witness against them. Some C2 tool reminds us if riches increase. Do not set your heart upon them. Secondly, not only will a mansion wealth bear witness against him in the judgment, but the Bible says here that the unfulfilled wages to those under him will testify against you and I live in a country there's all of these lawsuits. It's almost impossible to unjustly compensate a man the way these people were doing their employees. I'm not saying that there's not some work to be done here and there on properly compensating those who work for you work for whoever but it's not the parallel, so don't let these liberals take the Bible and say see what that says no were talking about people that would work today for for nickel on the dollar because they had no choice. No such thing as a minimum wage, no sickness thing is is all the rules and the laws we have in our culture take care of the worker, but in this day there was great abuse here. Notice what it says here in verse four behold the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields and which has been withheld by you in this case, they just go days and weeks and not pay him anything cries out against you there witness will come against you in the day of judgment, somebody says, money talks were here the money that they didn't pay will talk against them on the day of judgment.
I would just tell you brothers and sisters in Christ. Try to be a little more generous than average.
When you pay somebody for doing something for you. Now I look. I think it's perfectly right and and proper. If somebody is sloppy and lazy that you don't bless that directly hurting them. But if somebody tries to do you a good job try to do a little extra for. Thirdly, the abused worker, not just the wages they withheld, but the worker himself will testify against you last part of verse four and which has been withheld by you, cries of against you in the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of harvest that Old Testament had a lot to say about this. Deuteronomy 24 1415 you shall not oppressed a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen are one of your aliens using your landing in your town you shall give him his wages on the day before the sun sets. For he is poor and he sets his heart on it so that he may not cry against you to the Lord and it becomes sin in you die again the concept in biblical justice is not that everybody deserves to be equal but the worker disaster deserves to be adequately compensated. And that's where it but not in the folks remember this everything in our culture that leaves the Bible at least biblical truth out, but tries to be just tries to enforce the quality tries to enforce fairness, they always get it warped. The Bible keeps us in the right balance divorcing so much of that item that troubles me that the concepts bleeding over the church under the whole concept of so-called social justice and I buy every creature's pursuit of social justice. I just need to know how you're defining it. Are you going to the godless atheistic socialist is come up with all kinds of theories about how to define justice.
Are you going to the Bible to define justice you going to the Bible. I'm 1000% with you but when you hear those term social justice and things and how the church needs to be involved in backups in a way minute timeout. How are you defining what justice is you talking about communism are you talking about a biblical concept of getting a fair wage to a worker God says if you press this man you withhold his wages, you're in trouble because he's gonna cry God just makes it clear when somebody has been treated in that way. I hear when they cry out Leviticus 1913 you shall not oppress your neighbor nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. The idea was they would just withhold and hold back giving and then finally maybe give it reluctantly at that. But after our are some days later, the I did this day was you were paid every day at the end of the day. Are you withheld a man his just wages. Jeremiah 2213 wall to him that building his house about unrighteousness and his chambers by wrong that uses his neighbor service without wages, and gives him not for his work, and then look at verse six. What a powerful statement you have condemned and put to death the righteous man, and he does not resist you.
This is a further reason why God's judgment will come upon these unrighteous rich is that the wealthy were also the religious authorities which were also the political authorities, which also controlled the court and went on a worker was abused and robbed of his earned wages is justly earned wages to go to court, but he had no hope the judge was in cahoots with the power powerful and the wealthy. And God said that will bring God's condemnation upon you. I saw a cartoon some time ago in 11 character should what is the golden rule that the guy said what you has the gold makes the room. Well, actually, you and I live in a democratic republic so we get a boat about who makes the rules. I don't know about you but I'm personally very thrilled that Pres. Trump has appointed close to 200 federal judges laptop appointment in all of these judges have a record of strict conservative literalist when it comes to the Constitution that means a lot to me not to mean a lot to you that that the liberals can't use the courts to legislate and control our lives, but the judges will have to rule.
According to established legislative law and I think that is the best you can do in a secular court system to re-prevent the the kind of power and control that till we see trying to creep into the judiciary, which is not meant to be there while the Bible warns against this unrighteous riches and the gaining of riches by illegal means and the using of the of those those riches spot for a illegal are unrighteous. Me, this runner says that God owns all wealth everything we had everything God owns it. You're going to God, and somebody else will have. It is not yours.
Secondly, none of us got audit all your just a temporary steward of another's property, a temporary stewardship of another's property.
By the way, the Morpheus property. He's let you have for a while. The greater your responsibility and stewardship Bible says wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases, it so. Thirdly, none of us got on it all. Not only are we temporary stewards of the stuff we have. Thirdly, we must put God first in our lives and he will see to it that we always have what we need. I was talking to a businessman just recently and he said I had something happen. I think you be blessed by hearing. This lesson will tell me about it and he said will have a client and I found out he's a believer and he's got children and I told him about Tom, our dating in discipleship things that you preach and teach our church and so I gave him a copy of the dating in discipleship and he and his wife sit down and listen to it and took pages of notes and are just thrilled about the way it's given them guidance about raising their children and that he said you know now it seems that he's a lot more eager to do business with me than he was before.
Matthew 630 366 first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things in the context one of the things clothing, food, shelter, stuff, wealth that's the face. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. I don't you businessman Lana get a copy by dating the subject now about next week's evolving for increase my business. No yards got to write about it but just seeking to be a witness for Christ can bless you in ways you don't understand well. Thirdly, we won't belong here, but one of the things will be held accountable for his missed opportunities and I think that's part of the emphasis of having great wealth is God want you to use it. God's given you an opportunity I should say to use it for something that counts for eternity. Notice how he words this in verse three. The last phrase is in the last days that you've stored up your treasure. In other words word toward the end of time.
It's time to get work done for the Lord and for his kingdom and in that context your lavishly storing up for yourself and then down in verse five he said you have lived look seriously on the earth. And then he said he led a life of Walton pleasure. This is the idea of extravagant when there's real need around you in real ministry around you. That could be supported.
Listen, God is not condemning our modern conveniences.
He's not calling us all of all of us to live like the Amish again that you may just have on a horse and buggy and Nottingham have electricity, but your heart can love stuff, and you're just as guilty as the billionaire who hates God loves this stuff so God's not against her condemning modern convenience, but he is against extravagant waste and extravagant luck streak is a waste, and waste is a sin I don't years ago, I found this in a magazine article where I you're all rich salt and came to America and he purchased 19 Cadillacs phrase 19 why what I to be that guy. He had each Cadillac modified should stretch out and be longer than it was naturally. He also bought two Porsche six Mercedes a very expensive speedboat. He bought a truck for hauling the speedball boating about 16 refrigerators, $47,000 worth of expensive women's luggage to Florida grapefruit trees to reclining chairs, one slot machine is total bill. Even back then was $1.5 million it paid another hundred $94,000 to have everything delivered. Well that might be an extreme version of extravagance but a child of God should know nothing of that. I'll never forget reading a actually was that it was a CD as a DVD. I think of of some of the wealthiest men in the last century and it was the story of Mr. craft. You've heard of craft is a story of this guy think it's Cromwell and Isaac assure there but he on the Quaker Oats Company is a story of a man may mount the attorney. Oh, and I think I'm pronouncing it right. He invaded these massive machines that move the earth.
They didn't have those before he invented them. JCPenney and these men became extravagantly wealthy but they were Christians and almost all of them. By the time they died had dedicated 90% to hundred percent of the wealth to gospel calls will that's a far cry from Bill Gates and the wealth of the wealthy men of our day. Those men just thought in terms of what can I use another live very good lives and so did their family but they sought ways to use with the head of the kingdom of God and the glory of God. I'm telling you, not knowing these kind of truce I don't want to face God with the guilt on my hands that my heart was set on extravagance for myself and the kingdom of God need to be built. You know there is a point of diminishing returns stuff just didn't give us any happiness.
After while Luke 1215 they said to them, beware, and be all on your guard against every form of greed for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.
We should enjoy what God has given us, but we are not to live extravagantly, especially if our extravagance is based on an righteously misusing and mistreating others, and even if our wealth is lawfully earned and in God's will, we don't need to waste it and extravagant living when there's needs for God's work in our fellow man around us.
Let's remind ourselves that luxury has a way of ruining character. If God's given you a lot of material stuff and you still are humble before God, and you love the Lord and you know that your nothing apart from him need to praise God. That's grace because wealth has a way of corrupting your heart unless God helps you and you add indulgence with wealth and that's when you get sin. Now it is possible to be rich in this world and yet poor in the next world. It is possible to be poor in this world and be rich in the next world and it is possible to be rich in this world. I am rich in the next world of your heart right in your sins on the things of Christ we know. When Jesus returns, he will make some poor and some ridged computing on the condition of the heart and simple based on Bible truth. What we keep, we lose what we give to God we keep and he gives us interest on top of that