Summary: Part 17 in a series of messages on the book of James
A Life of Works Produced By Faith
“The Trouble With Money”
Date: November 10, 2002
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: James 5:1-6
I heard someone say once “if I were to be robbed, the only thing they would get from me is experience.”
The theme that seems to be in chapter 5 is “trouble”. Now James is speaking to believers about the trouble with money. Now the only trouble I have with money is I don’t seem to keep it very long. Some of us do not have them problem the folks James is addressing here. They had money but misused their wealth.
James never says it is a sin to be wealthy.
So lets look quickly as James exhorts these believers and apply it to our lives.
I. The Way They Obtained Their Wealth.
A. James never condemns these for having wealth. The Bible does not discourage acquiring wealth. But it does speak of judgment that will come to those that acquire it by unlawful and illegal means and purposes. James gives two illustrations of how these rich gained their wealth.
B. Holding back wages. Verse 4
1. It is very clear that the rich had gained some of their wealth by oppressing and defrauding their day labors.
2. I have always been taught that for an honest days wage, you give an honest days work.
a. I would like to stop and tell you I thank you for paying my family and me a good living.
b. My promise is to you and to this church, I don’t mind earning my pay.
c. Some often a preacher only works one day a week. My comment is Hah.
3. If you are an employer, pay your people well, pay them on time.
4. I have never had the opportunity to work for a Christian, but what a horrible example for a Christian to set.
C. After hording the money they indulged themselves in extravagant lifestyles.
1. It is interesting that after James talks about God’s will, as we looked at this morning, he uses the word pleasure, which means will or desire.
2. This indicates that they were living as they chose.
3. Luxury means in excessive comfort.
D. They were controlling the courts.
1. The word used here for condemned comes from the word meaning “to sentence.
2. The implication is that the rich were using the courts to commit judicial murder.
II. The Way They Used Their Wealth.
A. It is not bad enough they were gaining their wealth improperly, but they were also misusing their wealth.
B. Verse 3 says they “heaped up treasure.” This means they were storing it up.
1. Now let me say there is not a thing wrong with saving money. But the implications are they were saving when they owed their employees.
2. Nothing wrong with saving God’s money, with the intent to use it for other ministries.
C. They kept others from benefiting from it.
1. By not paying their employees they were robbing them.
2. I know I have already mentioned this, but Christian, not doing the best job you can do at the work place, and expecting to get the same pay, you are robbing your employer.
Last James goes on to tell us…
III. What Their Wealth Will Do.
A. Riches will vanish verse 2-3
1. James says grain will rot; gold will rust; and garments will become moth-eaten.
2. There is no security in wealth. Look at our stock market.
3. I know men that have worked and saved for over the past 15 years, and have very little for retirement now.
B. Judgment is certain verses 3-5.
Notice those that will witness against them and us.
1. Their wealth. What they horded.
2. Their wages. What they held back. THIS TELLS ME THAT MONEY DOES TALK.
3. The workers. Those they held back wages of.
C. The loss of precious opportunity.
1. I believe with all my heart God blesses us so that we might be a blessing.
2. Many of us have missed many opportunities to be that blessing.
3. Life is so short. One day each of us saved and unsaved will be held accountable for the way we used our money.
In verse 3 James speaks of “the last days.” This reminds me that I do not know how much time I have.
Ephesians 5: 16 tells us that we are to be “redeeming the time”.
The Greek word for time implies a fixed, measured, allocated season. This likely refers to one’s lifetime. I am reminded as I sit and talk to older Christians we are to make the most of our time, our talents and yes even our money in fulfilling God’s purposes, lining up every opportunity for useful worship and service.
As we close tonight, this will be your last opportunity to respond as God has spoken to you today.