Summary: Authentic faith is generous towards God, while artificial faith is greedy.
Foolproof – A Study of James
INVESTING Faith – James 5:1-6
Insert: I want the ushers to come to the front w/ the offering plates and I want you to pull out your wallets/purses. This is a stick up! I don’t want anyone to get hurt. So if you’ll calmly drop all your money and checkbooks into the plates, you’ll be safe… I’m not kidding! This is a robbery. For those of you who think I’ve lost it, I haven’t. I just thought I’d give you a taste of what God experiences every week when He gets robbed by those who profess Christ, but whose wallets are off limits to His will and work.
Verse: Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ – In stealing God’s tithes and offerings. You’re under a curse – the whole nation of you – b/c you’re robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Ml. 3:8-10
Insert: Okay. So I’m not going to rob you. Besides, if you’re like me, the only thing a thief would get from me would be the experience. I’ve got a better idea. Exchange wallets w/ your neighbor and give like you’ve always wanted to give!
Recap: James has been asking if our faith is authentic or artificial. As we’ve discussed, in the first part of the letter, James was speaking to believers offering verifiable evidence to approve their faith. But in ch. 4, he begins to reprove those churchgoers whose faith was artificial. For the (3) weeks, we’ve looked at their faithlessness – how they create conflict, how they’re judgmental, how they’re defiant towards God’s will, and today, how they’re greedy w/ God’s blessings. James finishes his confrontation of the unsaved churchgoer by addressing the how they handle money.
Text: Listen, you rich people, weep and wail b/c of the misery that’s coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. Jm. 5:1-6
Note: In this passage, James takes dead aim at those who call themselves worshippers of God but who are actually worshippers of money. Of the (4) practices of the unsaved churchgoer, this one is the most telling b/c of the open reluctance to obey God and support the work of His kingdom.
Note: Many people refuse to give b/c of ignorance to God’s command, others b/c of greed and self-centeredness. Some w/hold b/c they want to make send a message. Only the message they’re sending is that they’re lost or carnal. The tithe is the Lord’s; to mess w/ the tithe is to steal from God.