16 July 2012

WHAT DETERMINES MY WORTH?



James 1:9-12

God is so awesome…… we should be amazed every day and thankful for a new day such as this!
  • A new day to be with our spouses!
  • A new day to be with our children!
  • A new day to be with the people we consider close friends!
  • A new day to shine the light of the gospel message in our homes and workplaces!
  • A new day to forgive and move on!
  • A new day to make things right in our relationship with the LORD!
  • A new day learn and grow from His word.
  • A new day to bring God glory despite what the day may bring!
  • A new day to breath the free air that only God can provide
  • A new day to be completely satisfied and fulfilled in the gospel that saves to the uttermost!

See! God is worthy [the center] of all our adoration and praise as the Psalmist said “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!” Ps 148:1-14........Then Psalm 150 ends with this wonderful declaration of our love to such an awesome God! “let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”

When we can sing like that from our heart……. nothing is too hard to overcome whether it’s something small or big. In all accounts of my life I will praise His name because He is the most important person in my life; and in Him is where I find my worth. 

Let me ask you this morning! Is He the most important person in your life? Are you willing to be content and satisfied if you were at a fork in the road that required you to go without or if you lost it all? That required you to choose between what is right and wrong? What is my purpose and what is my heart focused on? Is it for the glory of God to shine into our hearts or is it for personal gain and pleasures of this life? Think about this and compare it to your life now…..possible this morning! Do life pleasures and life luxuries bring us true joy and happiness? the world seems to think so. Does wealth make you feel closer to God or more independent? According to the Scriptures we can only be truly satisfied in Christ and Christ alone. Phil 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

As we continue to understand and unfold the fact that trials are a part of the Christian life….we see James shifting gears to another issue that plagues even the most veteran Christian! Wealth and pride. See the first thing we need to understand is that wealth or money isn't the problem. It’s the attitude towards one’s wealth! Another wrong attitude is the person who says “I just stay poor and then I’ll be ok!” But again that’s a wrong thinking because a poor person is just as guilty for wanting but unable to have….just as a rich person who has everything and wants more because their never satisfied. Sin is sin and both are equally guilty if handled in a wrong manner. WHY? Christ is sufficient in all aspects of my life! This world only offers temporal fulfillment which leads to broken hearts and frustration. See! We need to understand that happiness comes and goes….but true joy lasts for all eternity; because Christ is author of that joy.

Ask yourself? Do I measure a person’s worth by who they are or what they have? Do I measure my own success by that standard?............ Because the world does! If that’s so in your life……... then I’m here to tell you that you’re missing the mark in finding your true worth and true joy! James said they wither and die and amount to nothing in comparison to grace and beauty that is found in the Gospel. James address this 2 types of individuals   the poor and the rich man! LET’S LOOK AT THE RICH MAN FIRST!  [BECAUSE IT’S MORE OF A NEGATIVE REBUKE]

"...Because, as the flower of the grass he shall pass away" (v10) “Pass away” (means) shortly, and suddenly; either he himself by death, or his riches at death, or before, and therefore are not to be gloried in. The rich man needs to be reminded that earthly possessions are not the mark of true wealth. Why? (v11a) “…..its beauty perishes” 

“beauty perishes” means the appearance of beauty won’t last forever…….they will eventually be destroyed, or die. I can buy flowers for my wife and they only last for a very short time. I can buy a new vehicle eventually it will need repairs. I can buy the latest and greatest gadget and in 6 months it’s like a purchased a 8 track player. These things can appear to be beautiful and very distracting at the time but they will wither and fade away. 

And what’s worse is in the end (v11b) “the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits” If our pursuits are not Christ centered and Christ motivated then who is it centered around? “ME!” This means! The life of the “rich man” comes to an end while he is busily engaged in making money. His riches are unable to prolong his life, for he departs and leaves his possessions behind. Striving to pursue the American dream instead of living a Gospel saturated life that brings true joy. See the rich man should glory in knowing that wealth is temporary and unimportant and that one’s hope is in the LORD. Paul reminded Timothy of this important truth…………..1Tim 6:17 “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty [proud, arrogant], nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”


NOW! WHAT DOES JAMES SAY TO THE POOR MAN TO DO?

“Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation” (v9) The poor man can glory in the salvation that he or she attains from a Holy and Perfect God who gives freely to sinners like us. As it says in 1Peter 1:4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” This is should be enough for anyone to rejoice in! We are to glory in our exaltation or high position. Even the most poor and destitute Christian can glory as a child of God in the countless blessings that position brings.......When the world determines a man’s worth by how they live and what they possess as worth. See!

THE POOR MAY BE HUNGRY, BUT HE HAS THE BREAD OF LIFE!

John 6:35 "...Jesus said to them, "I Am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst"

THE POOR MAY BE THIRSTY, BUT HE HAS THE WATER OF LIFE THAT OVERFLOWS HIS CUP!

John 4:1-14 “Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
  
THE POOR MAY GO WITHOUT, BUT HE HAS ETERNAL RICHES!

Luke 6:20 “And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

THE POOR MAY HAVE NO HOME ON EARTH, BUT HE HAS A GLORIOUS HOME IN HEAVEN!

Rev 7:16-17 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."


We need to understand when God takes something away from you. It has the purpose of making you more spiritually mature, Which is something that is more valuable than anything you have lost here on this earth we must invest our riches in the things above? Why? James gives the perfect answer in (v12) “he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” This is where our riches lay….the promise of our saving Lord who gives eternal life to those who have been called out of darkness into His glorious light whether you’re rich or poor. This exceeds anything and everything we have on this earth! Augustine said "A man may lose the good things of this life against his will; but if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent." There is nothing wrong with wealth or things but remember if it taken away rejoices in it, because they are only temporal treasures.

Remember......Every soul is priceless and precious to a holy God. Your salvation, relationship, and communion with God is more precious and far greater than anything that riches can buy……… it’s not about what you have, it’s all about Christ Jesus our Lord. Genuine happiness and your true worth depends on the true riches of God's grace, not earthly wealth or lack of wealth. John MacArthur said “When you lose a daughter, son, wife, husband, or other loved one, wealth is no comfort. When you lose your health, are betrayed by a friend, or are wrongfully maligned, money cannot buy peace of mind or decrease the pain. Trials are the great equalizer, bringing all of God’s children to dependence on Him. Wealth does not bring God closer, nor does poverty keep Him further away.” 

As Peter said “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” 1 Peter 5:4. Again! It’s not what you or have or don’t have that determines your worth or position in Christ. It’s Christ! And Christ alone. To be with Him is far greater than anything this world offer, whether your rich or poor! Christ is enough. SDG

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