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The Love of Money Trap, Part 3 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #64)

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TEXT: James 5:1-8

1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

The Love of Money Trap, Part 3 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #64)

In this passage, James has soundly rebuked those whose desire for money leads them out of the ways of God. He has warned them of the misery that will come upon them because of their inordinate love of riches. He has also condemned them for letting their greed drive them to hurt other people who are less fortunate.

This desire is something that all of us, at one point or another, will likely struggle with. There will come a time when you will have to decide between a path that leads you closer to Jesus and a path that leads you to money and material things. You will have to decide, for as Jesus said, “Ye cannot serve God and money.”

In his classic allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan describes a scene in which two pilgrims, Christian and Hopeful, are tempted to go astray and pursue money. He writes:

Then I saw in my dream that a little off the side of the road, and right next to the silver mine, stood Demas. Standing like a gentleman, he would invite passing pilgrims to step aside and investigate the sight; so he hailed Christian and his companion, saying, “Hello their friends; come over here and I will show you something quite remarkable.”

Christian said, “What could be so deserving of our attention as to draw us out of the way?”

Demas said, “Here is a silver mine, and right now some are digging in it for treasure. If you also would come here, with only a little effort you will be able to richly enhance yourselves.”

Hopeful said, “If this be true, then let us go and investigate.”

Christian said, “Not I! I have previously heard of the reputation of this place and how many have been destroyed here; and besides this, the treasure being promoted is in fact a snare for those who seek it because it hinders them in their pilgrimage.” Then Christian called to Demas asking, “Is this not a dangerous place? And has it not hindered many others in their pilgrimage?”

Demas said, “It is not very dangerous, except to those who are careless.” (Nevertheless he blushed as he spoke this way.)

Then said Christian to Hopeful, “Let us not wander aside even one step, but instead keep on our way.”

How can we resist the temptation of loving money too much and instead “keep on our way”? James provides some advice on this as well. He says, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.” Instead of hastily pursuing riches, we are told to be patient. The drive to “get rich quick” has no place in Christian doctrine. Instead, waiting on God is the way of the Christian life. And waiting on the Lord to come with the true true riches is what it is all about.

We are looking to know more about and become more like Jesus Christ. Ultimately, our desire is to be united with Him in every way. That is why James says, “Be patient therefore unto the coming of the Lord.” We are looking for something far greater than material wealth. We are looking for the return of the Son of God to this Earth. If you have to choose between doing something to gain more money for yourself or furthering the kingdom of God, as a Christian, you should choose to further the kingdom of God. Shift your focus from yourself to the things of God. As long as you are thinking of yourself first, you will put money first. However, when you put God first, you will put His kingdom first and you will be eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus Christ.

James further characterizes the type of waiting that should be evident in the Christian’s life. He says, “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” We ought to have patience like a farmer who has planted seeds and awaits their growth into useful plants.

The husbandman, the farmer has to wait a long time from the day the seeds are planted to the day of the harvest. And we may have to wait a long time before we see the rewards of living faithfully before God. But, just as the farmer has hope that the necessary rain, and eventually the harvest, will come, we must also have hope that God does not overlook any good deed done unselfishly in the name of Jesus. We must not allow ourselves to become discouraged during the period of waiting. As we wait, we should keep on working and refuse to get discouraged. It may be difficult to see others have their riches and rewards now, but we must remember that God’s rewards are far better than anything this world can provide.

Charles Spurgeon said, “When God shall give you a rich return for all you have done for him, you will blush to think you ever doubted; you will be ashamed to think you ever grew weary in his service. You shall have your reward. Not tomorrow — so wait: not the next day perhaps — so be patient. You may be full of doubts one day, and your joys sink low. It may be rough and windy weather with you in your spirit. You may even doubt whether you are the Lord’s. But if you have rested in the name of Jesus, if by the grace of God you are what you are, if he is all your salvation, and all your desire, — have patience. Have patience, for the reward will surely come in God’s good time.”

James tells us, “Be ye also patient,” just as a farmer is patient. He says, “stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” The word “stablish” means to fix, to set firmly, or to strengthen. We ought not to let our hearts waver at the lure of money and material things. Rather, we ought to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus — the author and finisher of our faith. Keep your eyes on Jesus, in whom the Bible says we have received the ‘unsearchable riches of Christ’. Keep your eyes on Jesus, through whom the Bible says ‘all our needs’ will be supplied ‘according to His riches in glory’. Keep your eyes on Jesus, by whom the Bible says we are ‘being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness’. Keep your eyes on Jesus, through whom the Bible says ‘God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom.’ Keep your eyes on Jesus!

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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.