Summary: "For Dummies" books are a raging success! Why? Full of practical wisdom and simple "How To's" Wouldn't a "Christianity for Dummies," a book full of practical wisdom & simple How Tos on how to live out our faith, be great? James & this series is JUST THAT
Christianity For Dummies: Boasting About Tomorrow - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (James 4:13-17)
A. After a 6 week long hiatus, we return to our study Christianity For Dummies based on the Book of James. As we've discussed, like the books in the For Dummies series, James is a book full of practical wisdom and simple "How To"s that wonderfully instructs us on how to live out our faith. Last time we looked at How To Start and Stop Church Wars, and so this AM we come to the subject of boasting about tomorrow - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.
B. How many of you are guilty of boasting about tomorrow? How many of you have plans for today? Tomorrow? This week, next week? Next month? 2014? Surely at times we all are guilty of boasting about tomorrow. Perhaps there is no more a time of the year that brings this out than the holidays. We make plans of ALL kinds - go here, go there, do this, do that, buy this, buy that, cook this, cook that, eat this, eat that, so on and so on.
C. And yet not ONE of us has a CLUE what the next second is going to bring - a phone call that someone has been in an accident, a cough that quickly turns into high fever, body aches and the flu, a text message from your daughter that her stomach is killing her. Suddenly, like a puff of smoke, all those carefully thought out and well laid plans go down in flames!
D. Which begs the question, is it wrong for Christians to make plans? NO! Scripture does not condemn planning for the future. What Scripture, particularly James in Chpt 4, does condemn is practical atheism - living our lives and making our plans as if God doesn't exist. Such conduct is inconsistent with genuine, saving faith. And so James outlines for us both a good attitude and a bad attitude when it comes to the subject of tomorrow and future plans. 2000 years later, James' words are as equally timeless truths as the very day he penned them! Not only that but they are also wonderfully simple, as easy as ABC - for each attitude, James first Addresses the attitude, then gives its Basis, and finally Condemns or Commends it. He also throws in at the end a brief discussion on an ugly attitude when it comes to boasting about tomorrow. So let's explore what James says about boasting about tomorrow - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.
II. Scripture Reading & Prayer
A. Read James 4:13-17.
B. Pray - Father, we acknowledge that you alone know the future, you alone know what tomorrow brings. Yet all too often, we are guilty of boasting about tomorrow. Convict us now through the preaching of your Word that instead we should speak with humility and submit to your will.
III. Tomorrow: The Bad Attitude (13-14, 16)
A. The Bad Attitude - James' Address (Read and explain James 4:13.)
- James begins with an address to those with a bad attitude toward planning for the future...Come now, you who say,
- Dr. Moo says James' language here carries a very brusque tone. We might say "Sit down and pay attention to what I'm about to tell you!"
- These businessmen whom James addresses are characterized as deliberate and self-confident planners. Discuss say is present participle - continuous, repeated action. Look at the great detail of their planning:
Plan Is Constructed: go, spend, trade, make; Place Is Chosen: such and such a town; Period Is Calculated: a year; Purpose Is Considered: trade; Profit Is Computed: make a profit.
- Such meticulous planning is not only easily recognized by us as modern readers but also praised, promoted and rewarded! The American Way!
B. The Bad Attitude - Its Basis (Read and explain James 4:13a)
- Again James tone tells us that he is VERY concerned about these plans. James is not anti-Capitalism! It is not the desire to make a profit that James criticizes. Nor is it the planning itself - again Scripture does NOT condemn careful planning...Proverbs 16:3 says "Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed." What concerns James is the basis of their attitude about tomorrow - a foolish presumption that summarizes their plans! Today or tomorrow WE will. These folks are guilty of practical atheism - living their lives and making their plans as if God doesn't exist. We see no regard for God in their plans. We see no committing of their actions to the Lord. Thus, James is going to condemen such foolish presumption with a rebuke and a reprimand.
C. The Bad Attitude - James' Condemnation
1) James begins his condemnation of this attitude toward tomorrow with a Stirring Rebuke! (Read and explain James 4:14)