Summary: It’s not that money is bad, but it is how we view it, how we get it, and what we do with it that matters.
Passage: James 5:1-6
Intro: (Read the 1999 wealth distribution statistics.)
1. in our world, there are certain activities that are not evil in themselves, but whose elevation to god status lead us into sinful behaviors and attitudes.
2. money itself is not evil, and having money does not make a person evil.
3. the problem with money is that it can become a god to be worshiped.
4. and certainly in the US, that is the case.
5. our society is consumed with the accumulation of wealth and the things that wealth can buy for us.
6. there is no doubt that, in America, the vice of wealth has become a virtue.
Il) why do I invest time and money to get an education? So I can get a better paying job.
7. James has some things to say to us today. Don’t worry, just a few more sermons from this challenging book.
8. there are three questions we need to ask ourselves, to see if our view of riches is righteous or unrighteous.
I. What Does Money Mean to Me?
1. James is very prophetic here, not clear if talking to believers or nonbelievers.
2. no “brothers,” but whole book written to believers.
3. frankly, believers can behave in an unrighteous manner.
4. speaking to “the unrighteous rich”, that is, those people who are wealthy, and have become so through unrighteous means.
5, calls them to give in to uncontrolled, violent grief. Why?
6. trouble is coming, and the verb tense here is very interesting.
7. continuing action “is coming”, and v2 makes it very clear.
8. a striking use of prophetic perfect tense, meaning even though the physical reality in the future, it is so sure that it is portrayed as already taking place. “has rotted”, “moths have eaten”
9. bottom line, money is revealed as intrinsically unstable, here today and gone tomorrow. Why?
10. it is a physical thing, even the precious metals, which “are corroded”, again prophetic perfect, “rusted through to the bottom.”
11. principle is clear: anyone who is trusting in wealth is foolish, “hoarding in the last days” is the act of a fool
PP Happy Couple picture
12. because in those days, money and wealth will be absolutely worthless.
II. How Did I Get the Money I Have?
1. money is a necessity, and can be used for God’s glory.
2. but we call some money “dirty money”, which means someone got it thru unethical means.
3. v4 points to a time-honored way to increase your profit margin.
4. 1st, hire desperate people to do hard work with the promise of pay.
5. then at the end of the day, they have given you what they cannot take back; their time and energy.
6. and then the owner “steals” the money by “failing to pay”
7. ESV “kept back by fraud”
8. tense means “to fail to pay and never pay.”
9. this act represents a blatant disregard for the situation and needs of the poor.
10. God hates it.
11. very interesting, James says in v4 that their cries come to the ears of “The Lord Sabaoth”; only twice used in all of NT
12. means “The omnipotent Lord”, with God’s awesome power in view.
13. when you mess with the helpless, you mess with the Lord God Almighty
Il) real villains in the illegal alien problem, the coyotes who steal and kill
14. here’s one way this might apply to us.
15. am I invested in a company that is made profitable on the backs of children, of the poor?
16. if a company mistreats their workforce to raise their profit margin, then they are wrong.
Il) I personally have not problem with the new AZ law requiring business to document their workforce. Too many preying on others desperation in order to pay lowest wages possible, no health insurance, etc.
-not political, but Biblical
17. if you make your money by hard, honest work, then God praises you.
18. if you make your money by mistreating the poor, don’t be surprised when your business fails.
III. What Do We Do with Our Wealth?
1. wealth can be used in 2 ways
2. first, it can be used to bless others.
Il) huge need in the world, and many rich people give much of their wealth to alleviate suffering, share the gospel.
3. secondly, it can be spent on oneself.
4. v5, “live in luxury and self- indulgence”
Il) Forrest Gumps mom said, “There’s only so much money a man needs, and the rest is for showing off.”
5. in our day, there is always something that a person doesn’t need, but wants.
6. these things are called luxuries, and the rich have the ability to buy them.