Summary: Ninth in a series on the book of James. Deals with both the right and wrong ways to deal with the future.

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Sermon # 9

“Right and Wrong Ways To Deal With the Future”

James 4:13-17

Mankind has always demonstrated an almost insatiable desire to know the future. Psychics in this country rake in millions of dollars annually because people want to know what the future holds. Probably every major newspaper in this country runs a daily horoscope for its readers.

Even Christians are fascinated by a desire to know what the future holds. Dwight Pentecost, a long time faculty member of Dallas Seminary, is held by many to be a premier scholar on biblical prophecy. He stated that when he spoke on some subject other than prophecy the attendance at his meetings was greatly diminished. He related that he had made a study of the New Testament of every reference to the second coming of Christ. In his study he stated “I was struck anew with the fact that almost without exception, when the second coming of Christ is mentioned in the New Testament, it is followed by an exhortation to godliness and holy living.” [Charles Swindoll. The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1,501 Other Stories.(Nashville: Word, 1998) p. 227]

That is exactly the point that James is making, knowing the future is not near as important as being prepared for the future.

Perhaps all of us know at least one person who claims to be an atheist. Although I must admit that it seems odd to me that someone would take the time to take a stand against something or someone that they say does not exist.

The concept of atheism is still a strange idea to most of us! Atheism is of course the denial of the existence of God. The word atheist is made up of two Greek words theos – God and a – the letter of negation and thus the meaning of “no god.” Scripture refers to those people in this way, “the fool hath said in his heart there is no God.” Psalm 14:1.

Avowed Atheist, are not that prevalent even in our modern world. But perhaps one of the most prevalent sins of our modern day is simply leaving God out of our lives. When one talks, plans and even implements those plans with a total disregard for the will of God, regardless of what they may say they believe, that man is in practice an atheist. The test of what one believes is not found in what one says, but in how one lives. Many people today profess to believe in God, but nevertheless continue to live as if there were not.

We discovered last week that it is a wonderful thing to live in uncommon grace.

But there is a tendency to live with the benefits of God’s grace, yet not acknowledge it. It is all too easy to get to the point as a Christian that you start living as if God does not matter. Now of course we would never say that in words, yet we live like it. We can get so use to the grace of God that we take it for granted. Some has suggested that the steps are that we

•Experience Grace

•Become Accustomed to Grace

•Expect Grace

•Finally we think we deserve Grace

The situation attitudes the James addresses in this passage are not so very different from the attitudes of today, when people live in total disregard for the wishes of an all-knowing and all-powerful God. In this passage we see both right and wrong ways to deal with the future.

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