Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book of James - Part 13: The Stumbling Block

The Book of James: Part 13 - The Stumbling Block
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

James 5:1-6 “1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.”


INTRODUCTION

We spoke last week about those who follow their own will, in contrast to seeking God’s will. Those who put their desires in the helm to lead them to the riches and wealth they long for. The rich boast and brag, not only about what they have, but about what they will also acquire.

The scripture says that “to him who knows to do good (God’s Will), and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

This week we are looking at what James has to say about the rich who have acquired their riches through deceit and fraud, those who have lied and cheated to get what they have, and then used their riches to walk all over others.

The Lord made it clear that He came to set captives free, and if anyone is trying to imprison those whom He has set free, this warning is for them.

Matthew 18:6-7 “6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”

The question today is, “Are you causing a child of God to stumble?”


I. WORTHLESS EARTHLY WEALTH
a. Weep because of the misery that is coming to you
i. On earth, and after


b. Decay, corrosion and rot
i. Nothing good comes from wealth only things temporal
ii. Nothing good comes from wealth only things temporary


c. You will be consumed with their corruption
i. Not “you may”, but “you will”


d. The sign you are in trouble...you hoard your wealth more and more
i. Are you talking more and more about what you have?
ii. Are you bragging about what you’ve got?
iii. Are you boasting about what you are going to get?
iv. Are you accounting and counting everything you own?
v. Have you become a hoarder?
vi. Have you deceived yourself into thinking that bragging or boasting about money somehow equates sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others?
vii. Do you find your mind wondering throughout the day on what you need to get, or what you don’t have...yet?


e. Do not deceive yourself on this matter...if your riches are overpowering you, then it is time to relieve yourself of them. That was His answer to the rich man who wanted to follow Jesus; he could NOT follow Jesus, because his money was more important than Jesus in his life was.


f. Don’t die a slave to money and earthly possessions.


II. JUDGMENT AND THE TEST OF FIRE
a. God Money
i. I cannot begin to tell you how sick I am of “Christian Evangelists” selling dollar store crap on TV in the name of Jesus!

ii. Jim Bakker should be ashamed!
1. His 1-hour daily program peddles buckets of food, water purifiers among other retail items, under the guise of “preparing for the last days”
2. He uses little to no mention of Jesus throughout his program, which looks more like QVC than anything else.
3. He is STEALING from God’s people.
4. He is deceiving the innocent.
5. He is taking advantage of the widows.
6. He uses fear, mis-information and manipulation to GET MONEY.

b. There are two judgments coming to the rich

i. Your consumption by riches-corruption in this life
1. The rich are in constant danger of corruption

2. If they follow riches, they will be devoured by them

3. Jesus said, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

4. Matthew 6:19-20 “19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...”

5. Why does God say these things? BECAUSE “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

6. If you are bragging and boasting about money...that’s what’s overflowing from your heart. The scripture says, “from the overflow of your heart, your mouth will speak.” Matthew 15:18

7. The bragger and boaster is already consumed with money, and its corruption is at work here on earth, but in death comes the second judgment!

ii. The judgment of the Lord in death


c. Malachi 4:1 “1 Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.


d. I Corinthians 3:11-13 “11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”

i. Sometimes the rich try to justify their riches and say it is of God. But it is clear in scripture, there is only one foundation in faith, and that is Jesus Christ!

ii. You cannot build upon Jesus Christ with gold, silver or anything else!

iii. Those who do use Jesus to justify riches, or riches as proof of God’s approval or blessing, all of their actions in life will be judged before God on that Great Day!

iv. Fire (God’s judgment) will test the quality of each persons work...everything done in this life for God, will survive and you will receive a reward.

v. Everything done for yourself, for pride, for praise of others, to show off, to brag, to boast, to look good, to impress others, as a means of control, to show off, or to make yourself feel good...was not done for the Lord, and that work will burn up, and you will suffer loss.

1. You will not lose your salvation, but any reward you would have received in heaven.


III. LIES, CHEATING AND STEALING FROM THE INNOCENT
a. James talks about corruption to gain wealth

b. James talks about using and abusing others to gain wealth

c. Jesus talks about those who abuse His children
i. The Lord made it clear that He came to set captives free, and if anyone is trying to imprison those whom He has set free, this warning is for them.

ii. Matthew 18:6-7 “6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”

iii. The question today is, “Are you causing a child of God to stumble?”

CONCLUSION

We, as God’s children, need to rid ourselves of idols. Whether it be a false god, or money. We need to stop focusing on earthly treasures, and stay focused on building our treasures in heaven! Remove the things from your life that exalt themselves above the Lord. Otherwise, we may suffer corruption here on earth, and a harsh judgment on the last day!