Summary: Subject: How should we plan and hope for the future? Complement: By developing sense of peace that comes from a relaxed concern based on God’s sovereignty in our lives. Main Idea: We need to involve God at the center of all we do.
INTRO.: Every year when New Years day comes on January 1st, people commonly reflect over the last year and make resolutions for the new one. Like the artist who takes away an old drawing they had been working on for a long time and then pulls out a virgin white perfectly clean sheet of paper to begin anew, we have before us a new year.
Opportunities to start again and make good on that diet we tried to follow through with last year but failed. A time to set up goals make plans, and think of strategic ways we can see those goals reached.
We hear of people who resolve to stop smoking again this year, people who resolve to spend more time with their families again this year, those who want to be more disciplined in exercise. The list is as long as there are people.
But let me ask you this, what was your New Years resolution this year? Obviously the answer to that question is closely connected with what is important to you in your life. As Christians, our goal is most likely different than the goals from nose in the world. What is our goal in life and what is the best resolution we can make?
James here in 4:13-17 ponders this very thought in a most contemporary way. He first addresses what is sometimes referred to as "The tyranny of the Urgent".
I. There is Great Value To Plan Wisely For The Future. (Vs. 13)
A. There are Christian people who fail to include God in their plans. (Vs. 17)
1. James is addressing Believers in Christ Jesus who were fighting a losing battle with priorities.
a) They believed in Jesus Christ- verse 17 says they know what is right - the good they should do.
b) Perhaps they attended worship and honored God on all the holy days.
c) But they had a dual standard.
2. The rest of the week these people were merchants who traveled here and there and carried out business.
a) James must have seen or heard of some of the practices that were being carried on in the work place.
ILL. It is interesting that many times we say and believe this idea that when we leave the church here on Sunday we are then going out into the "real world’! The problem is that “out there” is not the "real world"! That is the world Satan has twisted, corrupted and ruined by every effort he can come up with. The "real world" is found in Genesis before the Fall and again in visions recorded in Revelation of what it will be like in perfect communion with God. The closest thing to the "real world" that we can experience today is in the church. What is "real" is what will last forever.
b) We need to take the "real world" out of the church on Sunday and practice it throughout the week where we live and work.
3. The people James is speaking to here were people who came to church on Sunday and worship God but the rest of the week they live as if God hardly even exists.
a) These are the people described in 2 Tim. 3:5 as those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power of God in their lives.
b) They are nothing but pretending to be Christians.
B. This failure results in Christian pretenders who were typical in Biblical times and today. (Matt. 24:38-39)
1. There is a parallel of this idea in Jesus’ discourse on the end times in Matt. 24:38-39.
a) "Before the flood people were eating, and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage."
b) They were carrying on normal everyday life.
2. No one faults people for eating meals and marrying – that is what we do in life.
3. The point or the problem was that in the life of Noah’s contemporaries God had no place!
a) These people lived as if God did not exist.
b) This is also true of the merchants James is addressing.
c) It is also true of people today.
C. Any type of work that excludes God is wrong. (Luke 12:16-21)
1. James is not talking about the ethics of buying and selling.
a) This is not a message as to how they should do business.
b) A moral code of ethical working.
2. James takes these businessmen to task for their disregard for God.
a) To them, the New Years resolution would be to earn more money this year than last. -money was much more important than serving the Lord.
b) They made plans for the future without seeking the Lord’s wisdom.
3. They live like the man portrayed in the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21.