What's sinful about this $100 bill is how my heart responds to it, if I want more of it. The sin might be in what I do with it, how I spend it or waste it. The sin might be if my mind and my heart are captivated by it, I long for it, I love it. The sin would be if I'm willing to share it. Listen, the sin is not in this piece of paper with some green ink on it.
The potential for sin is in me. Having money is not a sin. In fact, having a lot of money is not a sin. But no matter if you have a lot or a little, the way you think about and use your money can be sinful. That's interesting because someone with just a little money might sin in the way they treat it. The way we treat money reveals something about our heart. What does your use of money reveal about you? Today, Steven Davey concludes a message he began yesterday called, When Money Talks.
I'll be back at the end because we have a free offer for you today. But right now, here's Steven with today's message. This is, by the way, the same idea in the mind of Paul in Romans chapter 13 where he says, Oh, no man, anything. And that verse is often twisted as a proof text against any kind of borrowing, whether it's a car loan or a mortgage or a building program. The Bible never condemns borrowing or lending and even the exacting of interest for those who can pay. When Paul wrote, Oh, no man, anything, the tense of the verb refers to someone who is constantly owing on a debt and refusing to make payments. He owes and he will not pay. In fact, the immediate context of that verse is the previous verse where Paul says, Pay your taxes.
Stop then, owing the government your taxes. Pay up. I wonder if the timing of this text is appropriate. I didn't plan it.
It just happened. See, the language of Paul in Romans 13 is referring to somebody who has a debt that he can pay on time, but he refuses to pay. Owing and not paying. These are the rich in James Chapter five. They have enough money to pay these day laborers, but they are refusing to pay up.
These migrant workers are never going to get their paycheck. James, if you look again at that text, he says that their cry has been heard by the Lord of Sabaoth. What a great title to use at this particular text. It's a subtle reminder to the believer.
More than likely, these dispersed Jews have been abused, mistreated, they've worked, and then they haven't been paid. James says, Your cries have been heard by the Lord of armies, the Lord of hosts. In other words, the materialist who robs people by refusing to pay what he owes them will be dealt with by a God who's big enough to do something about it.
And one day he will. James condemns the materialist for hoarding, for defrauding, cheating people out of whatever he can cheat people out of. Thirdly, the third outward expression of materialism is self indulging. Look at verse five. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
Wow. The words James uses refer to material gain for the purpose of heaping luxury upon luxury. It can be woodenly translated softness. It is heaping upon them the ability to where they never have to ever sweat or work. I fear the American dream is propelling people to the moment they don't have to work. Wanton pleasure is a word that refers to sexual lewdness or promiscuity.
These people then are using their wealth to add to their lives comfort, their love of comfort, their lust for comfort and their lusts sexually. During the days of James, even the religious world was bound up in luxury and drunkenness and lasciviousness and revelry. In fact, Dionysius, the son of Zeus, one of the pantheon gods, was a favored god. He was the god of celebration, which was really tongue in cheek for he was the god of partying. Dionysius was the god of the weekend in Rome and he is to this day.
In fact, the entire religious system saturating the Greek and Roman world when James is writing this letter had a profound love and appreciation for Dionysius. They built magnificent temples to this god. Followers would come to these temples where they would carry out their orgies.
In the very center of the temple, archaeologists have revealed, in fact, ruins of one particular temple in Damascus still shows in the center of the temple a deep pit, which was built, ornately decorated and tiled and bejeweled. It was nothing less than a place where the drunken worshipers of Dionysius would come from their feasting and revelry and literally throw up in the well. They considered that to be their offering to their god of revelry and then they'd go back and eat and drink again. In fact, the palace of Nero in Rome still reveals to this day in the middle of his main dining room a well, ornately designed and decorated, used for the same thing by Nero and his guests as they would party in their orgies. They could literally go to that well and they'd throw up and go back and fill up again. The lives of the wealthy spared no expense to gratify their every desire, their every whim. And, ladies and gentlemen, the American dream would pursue that kind of living where nothing matters, only your satisfaction, only your whim. If you've got enough money, great.
Spend it on yourself. And since the audience of James, these dispersed Jews have been deported by the Roman Caesar, they're scattered. I'm sure they're wondering if they're ever going to eat a full meal again, if they would ever have a moment's rest from work.
Nothing wrong with rest. It would seem to them, it would be tempting to believe that the gods of Rome are paying off and our god isn't. That's why I believe James is reminding the believer that these self-centered, self-absorbed, self-promoting, self-indulging people might look like they're getting away with whatever they're doing, but they are only fattening themselves up for the coming day of the slaughter of God's judgment. They're getting away with it now, but not later. They are hoarding, defrauding, self-indulging, yes, money's talking, but in the end it's going to speak against them. There's one more word as he comes to the end of his description, and I'll just call it this, ruthlessness, ruthlessness.
One more characteristic of those bent on getting whatever they can and want. Look at verse 6, you have condemned and put to death the righteous man, he does not resist you. James is using legal terminology here. The wider meaning in the Jewish audience would immediately understand the idea of murdering a man by depriving him of that which would sustain him.
One rabbinical statement going back to the days of James reads, and I quote, has one that slays his neighbor is he that takes away his living, which could certainly lead to death by starvation or deprivation. Because the innocent ones pictured here are poor, and the wealthy have the courts tied down and sewn up, so to speak. The poor cannot defend themselves, and they lose everything, even their living, and it all goes to the rich. Now here's what happens, let me describe it in this context, we'll modernize it a little bit, okay? One of these poor guys works all day long, maybe several days in fact, mowing the fields of a wealthy man. He then finishes the job and he shows up on the front porch to get his pay, and the owner refuses his salary. So the laborer calls the courthouse up, he gets the paperwork, and he files it, he takes the rich guy to court. The court, however, is corrupt, the judge happens to be a friend of the wealthy landowner, and there's a little transaction to make sure things are handled properly, a little deposit for any attorney involved, and the jury is rigged, so the poor man loses in court, but that's not all. The rich man, pretending to be insulted, returns the suit, sues the poor man and wins. Now the innocent man loses not only that paycheck, but he loses his pickup, and his house, and his license, and his tools.
He's now destitute. That's what James is referring to here. Scholars call it judicial murder. The innocent man is personally abused, he's beaten down, he has nowhere to go, he tries court, but he's ruined there instead of dispensing justice.
It's owned and controlled by these that have most, and those who have most rarely, if ever, lose. But I want you to notice what actually happens in this case James is referring to. Look at the last part of verse 6, James says, this is intriguing, the righteous man does not resist you. That can mean one of two things, I'll tell you which one I think it is in a minute. It could mean, first, that this righteous man does not resist because he doesn't have the ability to show up in court.
He doesn't have gas money to get downtown, he doesn't own a fax machine, he can't photocopy papers to file, can't afford an attorney, he has no weapons, he can't fight back. The righteous man does not resist. Or it could mean that he refuses to fight back, and he chooses instead to allow the system to work in whatever way it's going to work, acknowledging the sovereignty of God over it all, and leaving his vindication up to God. I think that latter interpretation fits the context because of the word righteous. The righteous man does not resist. So he brings this section to a close with this sense, and you're left with this sense of majestic pity, this dignified sadness. The wealthy described here, the world system gets its way for now. The materialist continues on his fast-paced life, he's hoarding even more stuff, he's defrauding anybody to make another buck, he's indulging in whatever his whim and desire is.
I did a little research online and found it just amazing. And then we have to make sure we look in the mirror. What if we find out that air conditioning is an unnecessary luxury in the mind of God? The ones described here will get what they want and they will move anybody out of their way who gets in their way even if it destroys innocent people's lives.
They will do whatever it takes to win. And you think, it's so good to live in a country where that never happens, isn't it? Isn't that wonderful? No, you didn't think that at all, did you? I clipped an article from Forbes magazine. Remember I told you the last few weeks I've been getting these magazines in my mailbox? They stopped coming, but I've gotten so many illustrations out of them, I'm thinking about subscribing to Forbes magazine because I'm missing them now.
But I clipped another article out. In this one, the headline read, so you want to be a billionaire. I thought we just wanted to be a millionaire, but that doesn't matter anymore. Now you want to be a billionaire.
You want to be a billionaire. The article reads, becoming rich like that requires dedication to the money rules. The article goes on to deliver the rules. They say these rules are based on in-depth research in the lives of the super rich, especially billionaires and people striving for billionaire status. The money rules are the mindset and behaviors more regularly applied by the super rich that have enabled them to achieve such extreme financial success. Then again, these same rules of conduct can be used by almost anyone to significantly enhance his or her net worth.
So it's for all of us. The money rules need to become your way of life. I read these rules. Well, I don't have time to read them.
There are about seven or eight of them. But I'll give you the first two and you'll get the picture. And I have a hard time believing anybody would write this with a straight face. Rule number one, commit to extreme wealth, not just wealth. Commit to extreme wealth.
I'm going to try that. All right, let's see what happens. Yeah, you laugh.
I'm laughing with you. But anyhow, commit to extreme wealth. Here's their explanation. The super rich have a clear sense that money is the, all caps, critical objective in life.
They prioritize and concentrate on those activities with the highest potential return and assign a lower priority to almost everything else. In other words, whatever doesn't make you money, you don't do, which means you wouldn't be here right now. This is a waste of time.
I've actually been told that. I remember a businessman telling me, I don't go to church. Why?
It's a waste of time. I need to be working. I don't make any money when I go to church. I said, you come, I'll give you five bucks. Okay, you just come.
I'll pay you. It wasn't interesting. Number two, engage in enlightened self-interest. Enlightened self-interest.
That's a contradiction. At any rate, enlightened self-interest. They explain the super rich never waver or allow themselves to be derailed by a chance for group happiness or to respond to a request for fairness.
You catching that? They regularly do the advanced work necessary to create an advantage or exploit the weakness in an opponent. Don't get derailed by anything that might bring a group of people happiness or respond to a need for fairness.
That's a distraction. Admit to self-interest. If you're a professional, this article went on to read. By the way, I discovered I had to read the article a couple of times before I finally realized that the word professional is a code word for middle class, which you do not want to be.
So if you're a professional, they say, then you are looking to make everyone happy and to get a fair deal. Shame on you. But if you want to be super rich, make sure you win, end quote. And I think I'm reading right out of James 5. I can almost hear James say, you are fattening yourselves up for the judgment of God, which brings us to pity the world, by the way.
Not resent, but pity them if that's their pursuit. Has it ever occurred to you that this is all the heaven the unbelieving world will ever get? This is it. If you're a believer, this is all the hell you're ever going to experience.
This is as bad as it gets. So don't misunderstand, though money is not the root of all evil, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, 1 Timothy 6. One theologian commentator from the 1800s wrote it this way. There is no sin in being rich. Where sin exists, it arises from the manner in which wealth is acquired, the spirit it engenders in the heart, and the way in which it is used. That's where sin comes in, because we are all wealthy.
Let me illustrate it this way. I'm holding up in my hand a $100 bill. I went to the bank to get it.
I had to take out a loan for it, but I got it, so I could bring it here. There's nothing sinful about this $100 bill. There's absolutely no sin to this piece of paper. Benjamin Franklin's picture on it. I'm used to George Washington, I had to check who that was.
Benjamin Franklin. What's sinful about this $100 bill is how my heart responds to it. If I want more of it, if I had two of these, or three, or a briefcase, that'd be the ultimate. The sin would be in how I got this one, maybe. The sin might be in what I do with it, how I spend it, or waste it. The sin might be if my mind and my heart are captivated by it. I long for it.
I love it. The sin would be if I'm willing to share it. Listen, the sin is not in this piece of paper with some green ink on it. The potential for sin is in me. This is just bait on a hook.
And it has snared many. The psalmist David wrote, If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them. And I would add, no matter what the money rules say, they're just going to fatten you up. The piece of paper that I hold in my hand will not bring you satisfaction. By the way, those powerful men I mentioned earlier who met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in 1923, the president of the largest independent steel company lived on borrowed money for the last five years of his life and died penniless. The president of the New York Stock Exchange was caught stealing and ended up in federal prison.
The member of the president's own cabinet was pardoned from prison so he could die at home. The most successful trader on Wall Street took his own life, as did the head of the world's largest industrial monopoly, as did the president of the Bank of International Settlement. If this piece of paper could talk, it would say, You will not be satisfied with me. I'll add another observation. A handful of these will not make you more generous. The landowners in James Day had it made. Paying these day laborers minimum wage, to them there was a drop in the bucket. Why withhold that? It's a proven principle of the human heart that the more people make, the less they give away. The majority of charitable giving in our country today is given by people who make $40,000 or less a year.
They give four times more away than those who make $75,000 a year or more. The more I have doesn't make me more generous. Prosperity will not automatically make you generous.
But let me add another observation. Poverty will not automatically make you godly. I'm more godly than that guy because I have less than he does.
No, you can be an awfully greedy, poor person. Having a fistful of these dollars, these $100 bills, will also not give you any security. Solomon said these things have wings attached. You just can't see them.
They just fly away. If you've lost it because of injustice or mistreatment or unfairness, the last observation is that God knows about every single loss. He is aware of every act on the planet. James is by this scathing rebuke encouraging the believing reader or listener that nothing escapes the attention of God. Chuck Swindoll told, I heard him tell a funny story of something that happened when he visited the hospital one evening. He was visiting a lady who was from his church.
As he approached the hospital entrance, he spotted her husband standing over in the courtyard smoking a cigar. But when the man caught sight of Swindoll, he wrote, walking toward him, he evidently didn't want his pastor to see him smoking, so he just stuck his hand, cigar and all, into his pants pocket. Swindoll wrote, I just smiled to myself and decided to go over and carry on a conversation. The man tried to act casual and respond. He was fidgeting, he twitched, he turned red, smoke's coming out of his pocket. Finally, Swindoll laughed and said, listen, why don't you just go ahead and finish it? The man said, finish what?
And he walked off, smoke billowing up out of his pocket. What a picture of the nature of man. That's us, smoke, fire, heat, what, me, who, where? People described in James 5, ruthless, defrauding, self-indulging, hoarding, me, where?
James informs us that God knows for those who live for the world, they will die in everlasting judgment, decreed upon them by God who will settle all the accounts as they are judged from the record of their deeds. Ladies and gentlemen, money talks, and you discover that God has been listening all along. What does money say?
That money which belongs to you. That was Stephen Davey and a message he called, When Money Talks. I hope it was a blessing and encouragement to you.
I mentioned earlier that we have an offer for you today. We have a free resource, especially for men. Now ladies, you're welcome to get a copy as well. But this resource is designed to equip fathers who want to lead their families in godliness. Stephen has written a booklet called, The Enoch Example.
It's a booklet that explores the life and legacy of an Old Testament man named Enoch. Everyone has a legacy. So the question for you fathers is this, what will your legacy be? Will your children say that you walked with God or that you ran from God? Will your grandchildren receive an inheritance of money and earthly riches or heavenly riches?
Learn how your walk with God can impact your family for generations. This is a free digital resource that we're going to email to you upon request. Anyone who wants it can get it right now. You can request your copy and it will arrive in just a few seconds. Go to wisdomonline.org forward slash dad for information. There's also a link on our homepage that will direct you if you can't remember. And just so you know we do have a print version of this booklet as well. But the digital version is free right now and is available at wisdomonline.org forward slash dad.
Go get that. Another way that Stephen is equipping people to know true doctrine is through the seminary that he founded called, Shepherd's Theological Seminary. God is blessing that school. In fact, it was recently recognized as one of the top five fastest growing seminaries in the United States. We believe there's a reason for that.
We believe that God is blessing the faithful proclamation of his word. If you'd like to take classes at Shepherd's Seminary, you can do that at one of the four teaching sites across the United States. The main campus is here in this area of North Carolina, not far from the offices of Wisdom International. There's also a campus in Wyoming, Texas, and Florida.
Perhaps even more convenient, you can take classes online. If this is something you'd like to know more about, there's a link to Shepherd's Seminary on our website. Visit wisdomonline.org and on the bottom of the page, you'll find that link. Visit there to learn more. For you fathers out there, I wish you a happy Father's Day. Join us back here next time as Stephen brings you more wisdom for the heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-16 01:33:02 / 2023-06-16 01:42:47 / 10