Summary: While the worldly pursue money, wealth and popularity, the servant of God views his time on earth differently; it effects how he handles the trials of life, taking pride in his position of being a servant of Christ.

Rags to Riches, James 1:9-12

Paul Redwine, Northside Christian Church, Sunday, June 29, 2003


[ILLUS -- JOKE] A millionaire decides to throw a massive party for his fiftieth birthday. During the party he grabs the mic and he announces to his guests that down in the garden of his mansion he has a swimming pool with two great white sharks in it. “The man who dares to swim across that pool gets any of my riches he desires.”

The party continues with no one in the pool, until suddenly, there is a great splash and all the guests of the party run to the pool to see what has happened.

In the pool is a man swimming as hard as he can. The fins come out of the water and the jaws are snapping and yet this guy just keeps on going. The sharks are gaining on him but somehow this guy reaches the end and he gets out of the pool, wet and soaked.

The millionaire grabs the mic and says, “I am a man of his word. Anything of mine I will give. My Ferrari’s, my house, absolutely anything. For you are the bravest man I have ever seen. So sir, what will it be?”

The guy grabs the mic and says, “Why don’t we start with the name of the person who pushed me in the pool!”

That’s one way to get rich, wealthy. This morning I want to talk about how you can get rich.

This is my sermon on how you can go from "Rags to Riches."


Passing the servant’s tests in life

Asking for wisdom to do so

The servant will have an eternal lasting reward

-- James contrasts the humble servant with the rich, materialistic person

-- The servant will have trials in life, while seeing other people who seem to have it all, i.e. the rich person.

[Central Thesis] While the worldly pursue money, wealth and popularity, the servant of God views his time on earth differently; it effects how he handles the trials of life, taking pride in his position of being a servant of Christ.


-- Boast, "take pride in"

-- Position -- lowness, humility

-- Rich Man -- takes pride in worldly things

-- Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-26, "19 "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been

fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’"

-- Matthew 23:12, "whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

-- True wealth is measured in faith, not material riches

-- He has a great future position, verse 12


-- Time will one day come to an end

-- Some people "make the most out of the time" here on earth

-- The worldly -- short-term thinking

-- The servant -- long-term thinking

-- The worldly, "He who dies with the most toys wins."

-- The servant, "He who dies no matter how many toys he has still has to face judgment."

-- The worldly man, "Look out for Number One"

-- The servant, "Life is short, Pray Hard"

-- The worldly man, "Make the most out of life; it’s too short"


-- He knows that wealth is temporal

-- Everything on this earth will fade away

-- The Servant goes from rags to riches, while the worldly goes from riches to rags.

-- The Servant, Romans 8:18 "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

"When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun; we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun."

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