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The Frailty of Life


"13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's day! Let us rejoice for another day to worship and praise Him.
We're so glad to have you here with us today, we are thankful for each and every one of you. Please know, that we continue to lift all of you up in our prayers. Most of all, know that Jesus Christ loves you. 
God does not live in buildings designed by humans minds and hands. Sadly, while every Christian will  affirm this as a theological truth, far too many go about their daily lives as if God does indeed live in the church. And, the tragedy is, when they leave church on Sunday, God stays behind.

This attitude, which has become prevalent among Christians, shows no real devotion to the Lord. The unbelieving however, will quickly darken the doors of the church to get married, dedicate their newborn, or bury their loved ones. For these people, the building carries a sort of relevance, that God is there to witness these significant events in their lives and to bless them, yet they have no need of God from day to day.

I believe that it is significant to mention, that many professed Christians, have fallen easily into the same trap. As if God has no relevance in our lives outside of the gathered worship service. On Monday, they proceed with their lives, dedicated to self gratification and sin rather than praise and worship our Savior. Christ plays no significant role in our family, in our employment, or our decision-making. He is all but forgotten as we weave our way through this broken and fallen world until visiting Him again on Sunday.

Psalm 127 says "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep."

I submit to you that we should not be so foolish enough to think we can live our lives apart from God. As Christians, it has become far to easy to make our plans, expecting God to fall in line behind them. It is easy to plan our lives as if we, ourselves controlled our future and had unlimited authority over the events that affect our lives. And so, in reality we do plan our lives as if God does not exist.

I assure you, that we do not control the present day. While we may be tempted to rely on our own wisdom, we must bear in mind that even our best efforts are subject to God's grace and mercy.  Therefore, I remind you that, unless God blesses our efforts, they will surely fail.

Secondly, allow me to remind you, that as carefully as we might plan for the future, we have not the ability to know what lies ahead. The future can quickly spin out of control, more rapidly than we can even imagine. Because only God knows what lies ahead. 
Moreover, we do not know our own end. Even our most carefully thought out plans are frequently dashed by the ever-looming presence of death. Therefore, I caution you to remember, all of our plans are are subject to God’s will.
Joshua 24:15 tells us "But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
May I suggest that our decision to choose worldly living is not displayed only by a disbelief in God, it is also apparent in the disregarding of God as we plan our life and our daily activities, especially those done in disobedience to God's Word. It is far better that a person repents and is restored to where they ought be, than they continue in sin and suffer the consequences of their actions.
There should be nothing is more characteristic of a Christian than a desire to do the will of God.
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank You as we always do for Your Word for us, the life changing truths. Lord, help us to be desirous of Your will in everything we do, that we would not live constantly defying Your will. If there is reason to wonder of the delight to do Your will is not there, we ask that You would set it before us and convict us, that we would turn from anything that is not pleasing to You. do Guide us with Your Holy Spirit, that we would do Your will from the heart. Thank You for working of Your Spirit in the lives of those receiving this message. May it all be to Your glory.
In Christ's name

Today's Message: The Frailty of Life

Much like a morning mist that quickly vanishes from the rays of the sun, so too is life, short and uncertain. Job 14:2 says "Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.
There are no guarantees in this life. No promises of tomorrow. More often than not, our best laid plans will surely collapse. I realize that this is not the most pleasant way to begin a message, however, should you ignore these things, you will not live your life rightly in light of eternity. Forging ahead on our own path in life, foolishly ignoring the wisdom of  God’s direction, is a recipe for certain disaster. Life is unpredictable. Planning is good, unless we do not include God in those plans.
Life passes by quickly, sooner or later, we will sit on the edge of our grave and look back over our life, and we will grieve at all the wasted time and missed opportunities. Unfortunately, many do not discover this truth until late in life, therefore, they have nothing to show in eternal fruit for the years that have passed. I believe that it is very important that we use the time we have allotted to us efficiently and well.
In Matthew 6:19-21, our Lord reminds us "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Constant disregard for and constant disinterest in the will of God is the surest confirmation of the presence of pride. Pride is the barrier to saving faith. All such self-importance is evil. Worldly wisdom says, trust in yourself, the Bible says trust in God.
Open your Bibles with me to the fourth chapter of the book of James. As we continue in our ongoing study of this wonderful epistle from James, we come to the final five verses in this chapter. As I am sure you will remember, throughout his epistle, James is dealing with black and white issues. 
James has been giving us a series of tests to examine ourselves and see if our faith is genuine, living faith. Doing the will of God is another test of living faith.
I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for what the Spirit is saying to us. James 4:13-17.

"Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."
Fundamental to one’s relationship to Christ, is doing the will of God. The psalmist tells us in  Psalm 143:10 says "Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God." In other words, he is saying teach Your will Lord and I will do it.
Our Lord strongly enforces this in John 7:17-18 when He says "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him." Here, Jesus is identifying a relationship with God, by linking it with doing the will of God. 

In our passage today, James presents the picture of a man looking at a map. He points at a certain spot on it, and says, "Here is a new city where there are great trade opportunities. I’ll go there; and I’ll get in on the ground floor; and I’ll trade for a year or so; and I’ll make my fortune, and come back rich."
These same high hopes and confident expectations have fueled generations throughout the history of humanity and still drive people today.
James is telling us, "Do not plan without God." God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting the plans we have made, when we have not taken Him into account. When we find ourselves in circumstances that were not chosen by God, we suddenly we realize that we have been making our plans without Him. That we have not even considered Him to be a vital, essential living factor in the decisions of our lives. Yet, the only thing that will keep us from worry is to involve God as the greatest element in all of our planning. God is intent on extracting from us, that which our enemy would love to leverage against us.
In John 4:34, we find what I believe is the greatest example that the essence of a relationship to God bound up in perfect obedience. "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work."
While it is customary for us to put God first in spiritual matters, yet, we tend to think it inappropriate, even unnecessary, to put Him first in the practical, everyday issues of our lives. If there is in the heart no desire to do the will of God, that is the mark of disobedience, a rebellious attitude toward God. It is to say that I will be sovereign in my own life.
Back in verse 6, James reminds us that God gives grace not to the proud, but tot he humble. Verse 13, "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Man’s presumption is arrogant and deceitful, without any sense of the uncertainty of life, and of their absolute dependence on God. The attitude of man says I will do what I will do, and no one will intrude upon my plans. Those who seek to dethrone God, ruling over their own lives, give evidence of not having transformation at all. Ignoring God’s will is foolishness. 
James begins verse 13 with "Come now," he is in other words saying now listen. It is a sort of insistent, and rather brash call for attention. He is in a very abrupt sense, saying "Now I want you to get this." The word used is the word "légō," it is the English word say, which means saying something outside of reason or logic. He then adds "you who say" in other words, those of you who have reasoned this out, who no regard for God’s will, I have something to say about that. That’s pretty confident talk, that's is his point.
"Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." First of all, you are choosing your own time, "Today or tomorrow". Second, you're choosing your own location, "we will go to such and such a city." Third, your choosing your own time table, "and spend a year there." And then you choose your own operation, "and engage in business and make a profit."
In and of itself, that kind of planning is not sinful. The issue, in fact, is not in what is said here. In fact, careful planning is expected, it is essential, that's not the issue. The problem is, there's no mention of God. That’s the implication. It's what is not said that is the problem. There is no thought given for God. This is practical atheism, planning your life as if God did not exist. That's the issue! This is the attitude common of every sinner.
James is saying "How do you know you can do it today or tomorrow? How do you know you can get to that city? How do you know that you can stay that long? How do you know you’ll be able to do business? How do you know you’re going to make money? You don’t know that! Yet, you plan as if you know everything." That is the fatal flaw of presumption.
This is reminiscent of the parable in Luke 12, allow me to just read that to you, "And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."  He is like the man looking to invest the millions of dollars, of which he can’t spend, as if there are no contingencies in his plan. Notice verse 20 "But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?"
Verse 14, "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." In other words, you lay out all of these plans, presuming that all of this will come to pass. And, you have given no thought to God at all. "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow."
Life is not simple. In fact, it is infinitely complex. It is full of events and circumstances, that are all beyond our control. It is impossible to control everything in your life. Yet, there are some people in the world who foolishly imagine that they are in control.
Proverbs 27:1 says it this way, "Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth."  
Isaiah 14:13-14 reminds us of the sin of pride, "But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
He then says, verse 15, "Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."

Life is short; death is sure; Sin is the cause; Christ the cure. Life is uncertain, every one of us is one heartbeat away from eternity. So not only is it foolish to order your life, ignoring the will of God from the viewpoint that you can’t control it's outcome. It is utterly foolish to try to live that way, because you’re excluding the very thing which can give your life meaning. God. God alone controls everything. The safest place in the world is to be right where God wants you. There is no amount of money, influence, power, or planning can guarantee tomorrow. Only God can grant us our next breath. That little word "if"  makes all the difference. James is teaching us that the duration of our lives is in the hands of God. If this is a right view of life and God, and it is, then it should shape the way we live our lives.

James says in verse 16, "But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil." True believers acknowledge their own ignorance, they know how fragile they are, and they don’t ignore God in their planning. They know they need God.

"But as it is," in other words, the fact is you boast, he uses the word "kaucháomai," meaning head up high. In other words, "You are boasting in your arrogant bragging." It conveys the idea that they are standing up, bragging pretentiously about something that they cannot do. You are bragging about your cleverness and your skill, which is untrue. In your arrogance, you are denying the will of God.

Some may know that God has a will and a purpose, they may even acknowledge that God is sovereign; yet they defy that. They do not consider the importance of His will, it's not important. What is most important, is their plans. Many Christians stumble, we fall into this,though it is not characteristic of our nature to disregard God's will, we do not intend to push the will of God aside, but it happens. Even to the best of us.

At the end of verse 16 he says, "all such boasting is evil,"  evil is the word "ponēra," in the original text. It is used of Satan who is "ho ponēros," the Evil One, the original sinner who sought to replace God.

So, the first directive James mentions is the foolish attitude of ignoring God’s will all together. Secondly, is the attitude of defying or denying His will. And, thirdly, disobeying it. Look at verse 17, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." This is the sin of disobeying God’s will. He's saying you know the right thing to do and don’t do that, therefore, for you, it is evil. I believe that we have all found ourselves in that position at one time or another. We know what God's will is, and yet, we just do not do it. 

Many people see this verse as an omission of sin, not doing what you know you ought to do. And, that is the essence of it. However, it is implied here, in not doing what you know you ought to do is the fact that you went ahead and did what you ought not to do. If you didn’t do what you ought to have done, then you surely did what you ought not to have done.Rarely, can the omission of sin be separated from the commission of sin.T he right thing to do is to live life according to God’s will. Any failure to do so would be sin.

God’s will is that men be saved, God’s will is that you give your life to Jesus Christ. And, if you haven’t come to Jesus Christ to receive salvation, you haven't done God's will. 

In Ephesians 5:16-17  Paul says "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Once you know the will of God, you are responsible to do it.

Many Christians are self-deceived by thinking they haven't done anything really bad, so they’re good. However, the reality is we can sin by doing nothing. John Stuart Mill, in an 1867 inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews, "Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject."

The Apostle Paul describes his struggle with the sin of omission and the sin of commission in Romans 7, For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me."

In order to live life the way God intended, then we put God at the center of all our plans.  

In Closing..

We all tend to focus on sins where we have violated God's direct command, such as "You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal." However, we also sin when we fail to do something that God has commanded us to do. For example, He commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves. I submit that we also violate God's command when we choose to ignore our neighbor and live selfishly. 

Jesus condemns those who did not help the poor and the needy. As a Christian, it is not enough just to avoid sin, to neglect doing what God calls us to do is also sin. It has been my experience, that in most churches, about twenty percent of the people do about eighty percent of the work, while the eighty percent sit around and do nothing. God calls each of us to serve Him and others.

In Matthew 25:45, Jesus says "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me."

God wants His people to live with a conscious commitment to follow His will. Obviously, we cannot all do everything, there just aren't enough hours in the day, but we can all do something. The best plans begin and end with God.

So, whatever you do, do it to the glory of God! Giving thanks, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, do it with all your heart and soul.

May it be so.. 

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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