Last week’s passage was a great overview of the posture we are to have towards God as His Body. The two elements of singular devotion and true humility combine to create the standard operating mode for a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Once we have been given our standards of how we interact with God, we then are instructed on some very specific ways our lives are not to be led. A exclusive and lowly response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the opposite of the examples we have in todays passage. God is giving us these examples of relational interactions so each of us can evaluate ourselves against a Biblical standard and see how we are not to be. (Almost all Biblical teaching is done through examples of how not to do it)
Remember our biggest problem as Christ followers is how do we deny our ‘self’ and let God’s Spirit run our lives (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control) God Word is our instruction manual for how we are to believe and act as HIS children. Together with the Spirit He indwells the members of HIS body with we are being transformed int o the image of Christ!
We have three characters who are not to be tolerated in the Body of Christ. This scripture introduces us to Judgy, Braggy and Greedy. Judgy sees everyone’s faults. Braggy is running the show. Greedy is going to have it all. Basically all of them are trying to ‘Play god’ in there own way, Greedy goes all the way making himself his god.
These three examples are attitudes and actions that are narcissistic (self-centered) We will see some self-righteousness, then some self-elevation and ultimately self-worship. This Scripture clearly describes and condemns these actions and attitudes.
James Pt. 8 Ch 4 11-17 & 5:1-6
11 Never pull each other to pieces with words, my brothers and sisters. If you are judging each other and setting yourself up in the place of God’s Law you have become in fact a critic of the Law. If you start to criticize the Law instead of obeying it you are setting yourself up as judge.
- These are relational & cultural standards for how Jesus Christ’s Body is to act
- It starts with the right attitude about ‘God’s Law’ … #1 It’s HIS Law…not your’s!
- Judgy = selective, out of context use of scripture to find fault with someone else
- Each of our attitudes to God law is to be focused on our own obedience to it
12 There is only one judge, the one who gave the Law, to whom belongs absolute power of life and death. How can you then be so silly as to imagine that you are your neighbor’s judge?
- Satan wanted to ‘Play God’…
- Yahweh is Singular, Sovereign & Self Existent
- We have zero business judging how a fellow believer obeys God’s Law
- Who is your neighbor? This is the exact same word as in Matt, Mk, Lk & Paul
13 Just a moment now, you who say “We are going to such-and-such a city today or tomorrow. We shall stay there a year doing business and make a profit”! 14 How do you know what will happen even tomorrow? What, after all, is your life? It is like a puff of smoke visible for a little while and then dissolving into thin air.
- This is another example of ‘Playing God’
- We desire control of how our worth is viewed. We want to be valued
- Christ wants to provide our value, HE runs our PR campaign and we chill
- ‘Cuz we are but a breath out the mouth on a cold day; disappearing mist!
- ‘puff of smoke’ often translated, mist or vapor
- Word has a connotation of exhaled breath (like when you can see your breath)
15 Your remarks should be prefaced with, “If it is the Lord’s will, we shall be alive and will do so-and-so.” 16 As it is, you get a certain pride in yourself in planning your future with such confidence. That sort of pride is all wrong. 17 So remember, if a person knows what is right and fails to do it, their failure is real sin.
- Our speech should express our strongly held conviction about god’s control
- We are to acknowledge HIS sovereignty when every we talk about the future
- So we know we are not supposed to act like we are still in charge of our lives
- It’s not a grey area, it is clearly called sin…it come from pride (illusion of control)
- We are not able to be Sin-free; but we are able to be Sin-adverse
- The deep conviction against this sin and every other sin drives our daily action!
- Intention that yields God honoring choices (Practical Biblical Living)
- Intentions alone are not enough, we need the intentions right
- The only intentionality that is worth ANYTHING is the RIGHT intentionality
- How do we land on the right intentions? God’s Word: knowing the heart & soul
1 And now, you plutocrats, is the time for you to weep and moan because of the miseries in store for you! 2 Your richest goods are ruined, your hoard of clothes is moth-eaten, your gold and silver are tarnished.
- Plutocrat: Those who rule and exercise power solely by means of wealth.
- Pluto is the Greek god who rules the underworld.
- Plutos is ‘Wealth’ in greek
- Plutus is the Greek god of wealth and agricultural bounty
- The term literally groups Hell & Wealth…
- God will make their ‘Stuff’ go bad, ruined. It’s former value gone (Matthew 6:19)
3 Yes, their very tarnish will be the evidence of your wicked hoarding and you will shrink from them as if they were red-hot. You have made a fine pile in these last days, haven’t you?
- What the ‘Plutocrats’ have amassed will expose their greed and gluttony
- Their own ‘Stuff’ will consume them like fire
- They have made a point of putting their wealth on display (Braggy)
- They justify what they do to amass their wealth, no shame (Judgy)
4 But look, here is the pay of the reaper you hired and whom you cheated, and it is shouting against you! And the cries of the other laborers you swindled are heard by the Lord of Hosts Himself.
- Plutocrats exploit people without property to build their wealth!
- Such people go beyond Judgy & Braggy to full out oppression of others!
- Almighty God knows who is responsible for the oppression & takes it personally
5 Yes, you have had a magnificent time on this earth, and have indulged yourselves to the full. You have picked out just what you wanted like soldiers looting after battle. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent and they have been powerless to stop you.
- Self Indulgence to the max! Greed is the attitude, Gluttony is the action…ugly
- Typical translation of 5:5b: ‘You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter’
- This person nourishes evil in their heart, piling up stuff at the cost of lives.
- Fostering a heart of evil like someone who loots dead bodies after a slaughter
- This is about being so into yourself and your pleasure you wantonly oppress
- You are an exploiter of those God says He champions, those without means
- Christ’s Body cannot tolerate the exploitation of anyone made in God’s image
In Christ’s Body we are not to speak judgement upon each other in the Body, usurping God’s exclusive role as Judge. Our role as members of this body is to obey God’s law, not to criticize it. We know better than to imagine we are our neighbor’s judge! (Some Narcissism)
As Christ’s Body we live as though God is in charge of everything, and we are dependent on Him for every fleeting moment of this life. We believe we have no business judging anyone!
In our flesh and sin we strive for importance, validation, and control, from that we ‘self promote’! (Pretty Narcissistic)
Christ’s Body recognizes God as ‘All-Everything’ so we have an attitude of humility regarding what is going to happen in the future, knowing and acting like HE wills EVERYTHING! Because of what we know, anything else is sin.
Self-Worship / Greedy
People who abuse power and hoard resources will one day have the tables turned on them, what they have amassed will consume them like fire. What they have accumulated and those they have oppressed will be the proof of their guilt. (Full Blown Narcissist)
The ‘Lord of Host’ knows everything and HE will judge those who have piled up wealth by oppressing and murdering others.
Why is it important to have a ‘Biblical Orientation’ to God’s Law?
If being judgmental is a continued problem for you, what are you doing about it?
Why do you desire to promote yourself? Is it a matter of control or trust or both?
What are some biblical practices that will keep you off the road to self-worship?
#1 Raise your sensitivity to sin!
Confession your specific sins to God and people you trust.
#2 Expose yourself to God’s evaluation of you instead of your own.
~ Ps. 139: 23-24
#3 Serve Christ’s Body in unappreciated, and unpleasant ways!
Serve at Christ’s convenience, not your own