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A man was a regular diner at a restaurant.
The owner always did his best to please him.
One day he complained that he only received one piece of bread with his meal, so the waiter promptly brought him four slices.
The man said, "That’s good, but not good enough.
I love bread!"
So, the next night he was given six slices with supper.
He said, "Good!
But aren’t you still being a bit frugal?"
Even a basketful the next day didn’t stop the complaints.
Finally, the owner decided to end this for good.
The next night he had a colossal loaf of bread baked.
It was six feet long, three feet wide.
It took the manager and two waiters to carry it to the complainer’s table.
When they laid it on the table the huge loaf took up five place settings.
They stood there and smiled, waiting for the man’s reaction.
The man looked at the gigantic loaf of bread and said, "So, we’re back to ONE piece again?"
This morning we are going to look at the first part of chapter 5 in our study on the book of James.
James addresses the issues of wealth, money, and possessions.
He addresses the rich in Jerusalem.
Most of us turn off at this point.
We say, “Ha, if he is talking to the rich, then he is not talking to me!”
But I urge to turn back on, think about this.
We are Americans!
Most of us are considered middleclass Americans.
We represent the top 10% of the wealthiest people in the World.
If you or I were to travel to the majority of the planet, we would be considered wealthy.
I think this text applies to us all, so let’s read it together.
James 5:1–6 (ESV)
1Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
2Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.
3Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire.
You have laid up treasure in the last days.
4Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence.
You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
6You have condemned and murdered the righteous person.
He does not resist you.
The first thing James does in this passage is give us three things to look out for.
Three pitfalls that we can fall into if we are not careful.
He mentions wealth, clothes, and gold and silver, precious metals.
In his typical fashion, he is telling us to examine what we love!
Turn with me to
Mark 12:30-31 (ESV) These verses are the greatest commands that we have.
All other commands are covered by these verses.
You cannot be a Godly man or woman unless you attempt to obey these commands.
Mark 12:30–31 (ESV)
30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
We know who God is, but the question of a neighbor is a little different than a lot of people think.
Who is my neighbor?
I would love to show you a video.
After seeing this video, you tell me, who is our neighbor?
Who are we supposed to love as ourselves?
Who do you see?
Who did you see? Did you see your Neighbor?
Well pastor, what does that have to do with wealth?
What does that have to do with what James is telling us.
James is saying:
Love God and your Neighbor more than Cash
Love God and your Neighbor more than Cash – paycheck, money
Do you place your paycheck ahead of God? Well let’s, see?
Do you ever skip out on church to make an extra buck?
I understand that sometimes we have obligations, we have a boss that schedules us on a worship day.
But is this a regular thing?
Could you find another job?
What is more important?
Your God or your paycheck?
Is your paycheck more important than your neighbor?
How about your family?
How many parents neglect their kids and their spouses to make an extra buck?
Have you ever hurt someone, taken advantage of someone to make a profit?
Love God and your neighbor more than your Clothes
Do you place what you wear over your love for God and the love for your neighbor?
You know, in studying for this message, I was challenged by something.
Did you know that a lot of clothes are made in sweatshops that employ slave children?
I think it would be vigilant to research and find out where are clothes are made, and to not support companies that profit off the backs of children.
They are our neighbors.
Love God and your neighbor more than your Crown
– Jewelry, house, car, truck, bling
I could get in trouble for meddling here.
This is a topic that we Americans are touchy on.
Our Bling!
Did you know that everyone’s bling is different?
For a guy it might be his truck, or his motorcycle.
It might be His house or his yard.
It might be his car or his boots!
For a lady it might be her diamond ring, or a necklace, her shoes, or her handbag, it might be her car, it might be her hair.
James is talking about things we purchase to draw attention to ourselves.
Like the NBA stars wear.
The Gold hubcap necklace they hang around their necks!
We need to ask ourselves, what do we love?
Do we love God and our neighbor more than we love our possessions?
Do we really need that new car, that new truck, that new house, that new ring, or necklace?
Could we use that money somewhere else that would benefit God’s kingdom, To glorify the Lord, to feed the hungry, to cloth the poor, to bring life giving water to a child, to bring medicine to a dying mother?
What do you love?
James finishes this passage with the results of these dangers.
He shows that overindulgence on these material things will cause you to:
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