...playing hockey with Jordan and Rylan on our future church parking lot!!
In this week’s message we will be closing out our Advent Conspiracy series with a message on the things that money can’t buy. James enters into this part of his message with a very ‘in your face’ approach about our relationship to money. It is confrontational to wake up his audience to the realization of how a pursuit of wealth can lead one down a very self indulgent and self destructive path. The relationship that we have to money has a lot to say about our relationship with God and even in difficulty, what we do with our finances, speaks volumes about us. He then goes on to teach us the qualities that are worth pursuing, the thing that can’t be bought at any price and they are patience, conviction and faith. Get ready, fasten your seatbelts as we enter 2010 with the closing message of James...nothing held back!
I The Pursuit of Wealth ...Paying The Highest Price...
The predominant group that James is focused on are the rich, the landowners, the vineyard owners of his day.
WOW, harsh words to an audience that predominately focused on those who were the rich in that society. The courts especially were easy to control in James day especially if you had money
A love of money will cause people just to do about anything...walk away from their spouse, their children, their faith...
The Bible doesn’t condemn wealth. He loves to give good gifts, He enjoys giving to His people. He is not in opposition to it.
1 Timothy 6:10 The love of money is the root of all evil. It is like a craving that cannot be satisfied like chocolate at Christmas... just can’t get enough of it! It is through this kind of craving can cause people even to wander from the faith. When we value the things of the world, our life reflects it in the things that we attain to possess.
What you are consumed me overflows in to every area of your life. When we invest in the kingdom of God and God’s people, there is a joy that can’t be matched by any pursuit of wealth
It is clear in this passage that judgment is coming on those who pursue wealth to the detriment of people, the detriment of relationships.
Weep and wail....you will reap what you sow. For those who are lying and cheating and stealing, you are about to reap the whirlwind.
Here are four questions that we need to answer.
1. What is your financial plan? I am asking you what is your mindset about money and wealth in your life, what role does it play?
The word riches is referring to food clothes, gold and silver and these things are all getting spoiled in the rich person’s life.
The picture of those who hoard and don’t give away, who hold tightly to it or you can be a steward.
Here is a good prayer to pray. Lord, I don’t own it and Lord give me wisdom in how to use Your stuff that You have entrusted to me.
1 Timothy 5:8 He gives so that we can take care of our family and to not provide for our families is to deny our faith!
He wants us to advance the kingdom of God. It is because of your faithfulness, we are able to do good for the glory of God, it helps us to win the lost.
Proverbs 14:21...The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and He adds no trouble to it. God cares about the down and out, the hurt and loss and when He sees us being His channels, He gets excited, He is full of joy.
When he finds someone He can give through, He will keep on giving it, because we cannot outgive God.
Learn to share, learning to give it away, the hold it has on you will have its grip loosened
It is in opposition to the world’s view which tells us in order to hold on to wealth, you have to keep money, keep it, keep it.
ING Direct has a saying about money...buy, hold, prosper...
GOD Direct has a saying buy, invest, prosper. Invest in the kingdom, invest in people!
When you open your heart and life to being a giver, God takes notice. We have all seen people who hoard it, hold on to it and they are still in despair. Whether we have read it through a book, seen it on an A&E biography, we have all seen how the pursuit of wealth destroys the best of people.
2. How are you acquiring your wealth? V4
Deuteronomy 24 :14 The principle was to not take advantage of hired workers who are poor and needy. They were to pay them their wages each day before sunset ...the landowners were ‘renegin’ on their promise to pay, there were delaying the pay, reducing the pay. The love of money will cause you to not care about other needs.
The rich were getting rich at the expense of the poor. They had cheated those under them out of their wages...it was ‘dirty money’. Is it playing with the numbers, playing with the expense report, how is it being gained? Are you cheating on your taxes?
These wages that you are keeping from your labourers are crying against you. If you do these things, how can you call yourself a follower of Jesus...you can’t do it, you can’t follow two masters.
3. How is your wealth spent? Where is the outflow of what I have gained
Who is getting the benefit of what we have gained. Look at v5. Who were they spending it on? They were spending it on themselves. They saw the needs around them , they saw the poor and they just continued to indulge their own desires. It was ugly
The pleasures of selfishness were spent on one. Things are always more better when they are shared with others. In sharing there is joy, life and blessing.
It was a missed opportunity that was theirs to help others in need
They were bringing judgment on themselves. They were fattening themselves up for a day of slaughter. They would get that word picture because of the sacrificial system that many of them were still caught up in.
4. At what cost will you pursue wealth? They have condemned, they have murdered the righteous person. In that day they would take the poor to court and condemning their workers over their love for money and let them rot in jail.
Have we pursued wealth at the cost of a close relationship, are you estranged from your children because of your pursuit of money? Is your marriage fragile because of your desire to more, you have become a workaholic.
What can money give you?
We become a servant of what we love the most. Either Jesus is Lord of your finances or your finances are lord of you!
II Pursuing What Is Priceless...
· The Quality of Patience v7-11
The comparison is given to farming. There is a realization of recognizing the season that you are in.
Are we living in light of the fact that Jesus could return at any time!? We need to anticipate it.
What season is Southside in?
There is significant stress given to the subject of unity and seeking to understand others.
Patience in suffering brings about perseverance
In those days there apparently was a judgment hall that had great double gates or double doors. And the judge would come through those doors and court was in session.
The Christian life is then, as one author has called it, “A long obedience in the same direction.” The direction, the goal, the purpose, the aim is the coming of Christ to get there. And we are to be faithful and patient to arrive.
· The Quality of Conviction
There is a firmness of heart and mind to be people of conviction, to mean what we say and say what we mean. There is nothing more frustrating than to hear someone tell you that they are going to do something and not follow through.
James has no tolerance for those who are unstable in their faith
True Christian character requires few words
· The Quality of Faith
We believe and trust in God for only the things that He can accomplish
The prayer of faith
I was playing hockey on our future church parking lot on New Years Day and it was getting late and one quick move, I hit dirt and came to a screeching halt and landed hard on the back of my arm. I had one incredible goose egg that Jordan said, ‘Dad, it looks like your arm is going to give birth!’ In that moment, my nephew Aaron gathered my kids together to lay hands on me and pray for me for healing. It was a great teachable moment and while I didn’t heal instantaneously, I came out ok. My children learned to respond quickly in prayer and it worked the next day when my brother Lloyd hit my wrist with the puck. It was Rylan who quickly called everyone together to pray for me.
Why do we need to come together? We have a harder time seeing God when we are by ourselves. There is power in agreement .
One pastor stated this: Another reason to pray in a group is that there is a power in agreement. When a group of people agree about something, it breaks down sin, it breaks down hurt. Agreement is the thing that can bring healing to our lives. I am not talking about agreement such that we all go along with everything someone wants. I am not talking about a lack of discussion. This isn’t true agreement. I’m talking about being about the same purpose.
There is also wisdom when we come together .
The Takeaway...sit, stand, walk...God, Jesus, Spirit
Learn the art of patience, the power of conviction and the pray of faith as you pursue them IN community.
I want to start a new tradition at Southside. On the first Sunday of month along with a time of communion we will have a time of healing prayer for all kinds of healing from the emotional to spiritual and physical.