Summary: James warns about the unceartainity of tomorrow and he warns about the brevity of life in comparison with eternity.
1. Open your bibles to James 4:13-15.
2. In a previous lesson we discussed things from this passage.
(1) We discussed the warning that when we make plans for the future, to not leave God out of those plans.
(2) Also, from James 4:16, we discussed that is evil to boast and become arrogant about claiming personal credit for our successes in life.
(3) Also, from James 4:17, we discussed that to know to do good and not do it, it is sin!
3. In this lesson we are going to discuss James’ warnings about the uncertainty and brevity of life.
I. FIRST, JAMES 4:14a WARNS ABOUT THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE.
1. Let’s read James 4:14a, “14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow..”
In the first statement of verse 14 James is teaching that no one knows what will happen tomorrow. You may have plans for tomorrow, but you do not know for sure if those plans will come to pass!
2. Life is uncertain. Man does not know if he will be alive tomorrow. Man is on the earth for a short period of time. Everyday people die who thought they had years to live.
3. During the last two full weeks of June 2009 (June the 18th & June the 24th) Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died at ages younger than most. ( FF approx. 60 – MJ 50).
4. Turn to Luke 12:19&ff. In this parable Jesus teaches that the rich farmer that was having bumper crops and was going to build bigger barns. He assumed that he had many years of life left. Let’s read his comments, starting with v. 19, “19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he (John David or Shirley or Mike or Marcus or etc.) who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
(1) How many other rich farmers – school teachers – doctors – truck drivers – equipment operators – young people – college students have thought that they have many years to live but then suddenly die in an accident or from a fatal disease?
(2) Jesus pointed out in the Luke chapter 12 parable, the shocking reality, that as soon as one dies everything that they had been calling their own will belong to someone else!
Do you have a lot of fine clothes? Do you have a horse or a four wheeler? Do you have a blackberry phone with internet capabilities? Do you have an iphone or a mp3 player!
Do you have a car or a pickup? Do you have a boy friend or a girl friend? What do you have that you really love and adore?
What ever you have – what ever it is – it makes no difference how hard you worked for it – the split second you die it will belong to some one else!
Are you prepared and ready to give it all up? And give it up suddenly!
(3) In the Luke 12 parable, Jesus teaches that the only way we want come out on the short end of the stick, as we turn all of our material belongings over to someone else, is for us to have been “rich toward God”.
5. Let’s read Luke 12:20&21, “20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
(1) There is never anything wrong with working and prospering and accumulating, unless we do so and are laying up treasures for our self instead of laying up treasure in heaven.
(2) Jesus says those who have material blessings must be “rich toward God”.
6. Turn to 1 Tim. 6:17-19. In these verses Christians are taught that “to be rich toward God” is accomplished by being good stewards of what God blesses them with and contribute generously to spiritual works. Let’s read 1 Tim. 6:17-19, “17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
(1) “Rich in good works” from v. 18 would refer to the work of the local congregation through personal effort and through contributions. It would refer to contributing to mission and evangelistic work. It would refer to using our monies to help the needy.