Summary: So often we get caught up in the world’s definition of success. James calls us to look beyond the limitations of temporal wealth to the eternal blessings of spiritual prosperity!
FOR RICHER OR POORER
Scripture Reading: Luke 12:13-21
1. Those of us who are married took vows before God and witnesses to take on certain responsibilities in our new homes.
2. Most of our vows included loving our spouse, “For richer or poorer.”
3. This indicates our commitment to one another did not rely on our financial position.
4. We love our spouse whether we are multi-millionaires or penniless beggars.
5. Our love transcends the issue of money.
6. James is calling on that same commitment in our text for this lesson.
7. (Read text)
8. There are some physical implications we must explore in this text.
9. There are some spiritual implications we must examine in this text.
10. It is the goal of this lesson to help us learn to overcome our dependence on earthly wealth and depend on spiritual prosperity.
TRANSITION: Let us find out what it means to be rich.
I. Definitions of rich and poor.
A. Rich- Possessing great material wealth; having great worth or value; magnificent; pleasantly full; containing a large portion
1. Riches are precious possessions.
2. Being rich possesses those precious possessions in large quantities.
B. Richness can be different for different people.
1. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
2. For a man who restores old car, a 1957 Chevy with no windows or tires and some rust holes is a potential gold mine. To his wife it is just another eye-sore in the yard.
3. To the worldly minded, a big bank account is the most prized possession in the world.
a. He may step on other people to get it
b. He may neglect his family
c. He may neglect his physical health
d. But if he amasses a great fortune he thinks it is all worth it.
4. To the Christian, a rich faith and hope in God supercedes all the money in the world.
a. He will help people.
b. He will love and encourage his family.
c. He will attempt to remain healthy.
d. When he gets to heaven, it is worth it all.
C. Poverty and poorness
1. Poor- Lacking desirable elements; undernourished; lacking in value; destitute
2. Poverty- Deficiency in amount; unproductiveness
3. Poverty means not having the necessary means to operate.
4. Not being able to do the necessary things day to day needed to survive
D. I know there are people in Mississippi, and here in Theo, that by our standards are poor.
1. They do not have as much as some others.
2. They struggle much more than some who are more affluent.
3. Many times when you struggle to make ends meet you hate to hear people say things like this:
a. But the poorest people in the United States
b. Would be rich in any third world country
c. Where they eat fish, heads and all, not wasting a bite
d. They live 6-8 in a single room house; if they are lucky enough to have a place to live.
e. Where a bathroom in a house is a luxury that you only dream about
f. And you do not have a car, much less one for every driver
4. Physical poverty is a relative term.
E. Spiritual poverty is the same for everyone.
1. Either you have the means necessary to enter heaven, or you do not.
2. All men have the same opportunities.
3. Those opportunities do not depend on you but on God.
a. Your skin color does not change your opportunity.
b. Your social standing does not change it
c. Your financial status does not change your opportunity
d. God calls all men unto obedience (Romans 1:16)
e. Regardless of your place on earth
4. If you come to him, to obedience and love for God, you get rich in grace and mercy.
5. If you refuse him you are wrought with spiritual poverty and have not the means of salvation.
TRANSITION: Being rich is having means and being poor is not having means. Here is the physical implication of James 1:9-11.
II. Physical implication
A. The brother of humble circumstance, the poor, should glory in his high position.
1. Many say that this is solely focusing on the physical station in life.
2. If you are poor and become rich, see glory in that.
3. Not glorying that you are rich, but that God has blessed you with material gain.
B. And the rich man is to rejoice at his humiliation.
1. A man that was rich and lost his fortune
2. Rejoice in that you have this trial to face and conquer.
3. How many people at the stock market crash of 1929 rejoiced?
a. Scores of men jumped from tall buildings in New York.
b. They saw no reason to rejoice.