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The Misery of the Greedy


"Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!"
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's day! We're so glad to have our brothers and sisters from around the world here with us today. Please know, that we continue to lift all of you up in our prayers. We would  ask that you would do the same for us. We appreciate those of you who have been sharing our website with all of your family and friends. May we continue to share God's Word with all those who need to hear, for Christ's sake and God's glory.

Our society is filled with people who have dreams of getting rich, believing that money will bring them happiness and success. For some, the drive to succeed is overpowering, and can be all-consuming. Many will sacrifice anything, including their family, home, church, friends, reputation, and ultimately God Himself, for the almighty dollar, in an attempt to become rich and successful. 
For those of who lack money, it often seems as if we had more money, it would solve a many of our problems. However, we often forget that great wealth can create a lot of problems as well. The problem is not in money itself; the problem is in the hearts of people. It is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil.
In I Timothy 6, the Apostle Paul teaches us "But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Since all hell as broken loose with the pandemic, our world is facing economic crisis. Prices keep rise and many people in many countries across the world are losing their jobs, their homes, unable to provide for their families. Those in the economic know are telling us that this is nothing to panic about because we have seen economic crisis before. Still, people are feeling the economic pressures more and more. And, in my lifetime, the global economy has not faced such a financial challenge.
Yet, others are blowing the eschatological trumpet, telling us that we are on the verge of a one-world economy and government, as foretold in the book of Revelation. That we should soon be expecting the appearing of the anti-Christ, and the temple being rebuilt in Jerusalem. In these uncertain days, how should we as Christians respond? There is  no question in my mind why there is a global economic crisis today, it is because of greed. When it is that wealth becomes an expression of wickedness?
For one day soon, we will all stand before the Lord God Almighty, and on that, all of our wealth will be irrelevant. 
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, 
Father, we thank for Your Word for us today. Thank You for those You have chosen to gather together with us. Lord, in this day, it does appear that the ungodly are prospering in all they do. Yet, You have promised that those who love You will never be put to shame, we bless You for giving us that assurance, we thank You and praise You for that. We thank You that You are faithful, trustworthy, gracious and of great goodness. 
Lord, as the world in which we live continues to spiral out of control and the evil exploits of the rich and unscrupulous continue unabated, we have the assurance, that You are in control and will not be mocked. We know that at the appointed time, You will bring them into confusion and confound their wicked ways. Thank You for this reminder, that we don’t need to hoard against the unknown future, that we must loosen our grip on the things of this world, and invest in the eternal kingdom. Father, we pray for those whose money has become their god. We pray for the lost, who do not yet know Christ as their Lord and Savior, that You would touch their hearts, that today would be that glorious day.

Lord, help us to hold fast to the truth of Your Word as we eagerly look forward to the appearing of our great Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who is to come at any time. We pray this for Christ's sake and for Your glory.
In His precious name we pray
Today's Message: The Misery of the Greedy
Deuteronomy 24:14- 15 teaches us, "You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns. You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the Lord and it become sin in you."
God calls us to be honest with money, faithful to our commitments, especially in not taking advantage of those who have needs. It is never in keeping with the principles of God's Word to manipulate our money, withholding from doing good, in order that we can maximize for our own gain. You might withhold it deceitfully from men, but you will never deceive God. Generosity is a godly character.  The richest investment we can make is to invest in other people, building others up. Generosity is what God desires from us, and giving is a privilege. We can never out give God.

Open your Bibles with me to James chapter 5, as we embark on a new chapter is James' wonderful epistle. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit could  have identified a more fitting text for us to study, in the world in which we live today, when the entire world seems to love riches and all that it produces. The wickedness of greed, the desire for power and material possessions is on a far reaching scale.
James, all the way through his epistle, he calls us to evaluate the validity of our faith, knowing that always where there is wheat, Satan over sows tares. James has not forgotten his context and moved onto other issues. The verses are not out of place. He is not simply denouncing random acts of evil. The abuse of wealth, self indulgence and oppression, is the final mark of a life of worldly wisdom.
To be clear, there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that poverty pleases God more than wealth. It does, however, clearly address our attitude toward wealth. Scripture strongly condemns gaining wealth by ungodliness, hoarding it and failing to use our wealth for the good of others. Wealth is an area of high risk in the battle to walk humbly with our Lord. Money and the life of self-pleasing gratification are never far apart.
Throughout the first four chapters of his epistle, James has been giving us one test after another; and this chapter is certainly no different. I invite you to follow along with me as I read, I want to read these opening six verses of this final chapter, to set the text in our minds, though we will only be dealing with the first three in our study for today. Let's prepare our hearts for what the Spirit of God has to say to us, as we listen for the voice of our Lord. James 5:1-6.

"Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you."
As your pastor, I want to say what we see in this passage seems to be being lived out before our very eyes today. I believe that by the end of our study of these verses in our passage, you’ll see them vividly illustrated in our world at this very day and time.
James begins with an to address the wicked wealthy, he does so by summonsing them to hear, as it were, the verdict determined by God. Having observed how they handle their wealth, in a wicked way, he declares to them what they can expect from the hand of the Judge of all the earth. James is talking about those who placed their trust in their riches instead of in God. And, not only do they trust in their riches, but they have obtained their wealth at the expense of others.

How easily we become entangled by the material stuff that we own, houses, and cars, jewelry and boats et cetera.  We have been exposed to the opulence of self indulgence. Then, we become stressed trying to keep them, while attempting to obtain the latest and greatest things the world has to offer. The way to rid ourselves of that stress, is to be generous.  We can be generous by valuing other people, caring more for those who are need, rather than ourselves. When we fail to do as God calls us to do, helping those in need, their testimony reveals the truth about us. How a person feels about and handles wealth and material possessions, is a test.
For the record, James did not create this test, he is merely echoing the words of our Lord in Matthew chapter 6.  I'd like you to notice the similarities, as I quickly read that to you. "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." 
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." This is a test. If you want to demonstrate to someone where your heart is, show them where your treasure is. Show them where your treasure is.
In Luke chapter 16, there, we find a similar test, where our Lord says essentially the same thing. "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."
Jesus then tells about a rich man and a beggar to demonstrate how being rich should not be equated with being righteous. In verse 19, we’re introduced to an extremely wealthy man. He lived in a home with a gate to keep others away from him. His clothes were made out of purple, the color normally reserved for royalty. This man had it all in this world. And it says, "He died and was buried, and in Hades he lifted up his eyes being in torment." He’s in the burning, tormenting flame of a godless Christ-rejecting eternity. When Lazarus died his misery finally ended. As soon as Lazarus died, verse 22 says he was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.
I believe the message is clear, if you can’t be trusted to be faithful in the money that you manage as a stewardship from God, as it were, then why would God give you something more to possess?
It has asked why would James spend six verses denouncing those who are outside of the church, when they would likely never read this warning anyway. The answer is rather straightforward really, first, they should encourage us who know God to be faithful and endure, knowing that in due time He will judge the wicked. Secondly, it serves to warn us not to fall into any of the sins that will bring judgment upon the wicked. 
Verse 1, he gives a strong pronouncement of judgment "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you." 
In a call for the wicked wealthy to respond appropriately, James begins his denunciation. He is saying, "Inescapable doom is coming, and you ought to have the reaction of weeping and howling" James is calling on the wealthy to check the true state of their heart by how they deal with their wealth. 
According to Deuteronomy 8:18, they have prostituted the goodness of God, Who has given them the benefit of wealth. Again, it is not wrong to possess wealth, however, it is wrong to misuse it. James is speaking against the love of money, which is a blessing from God and who have perverted it to their own ends. James is forcefully making the point that wealth is temporary and that judgment and eternity are ahead.
"Come now, you rich, weep and howl," in Old Testament fashion, James tells the rich to open their ears and listen and mourn in consideration of their destiny. Weep, is an interesting word, it's the word klausate, which means "to sob out loud," the lamenting that comes as a result of shame and regret. Where there is the lament of repentance there is the grace of forgiveness. Weeping is frequently used for the wailing for the dead.  It's the kind of strong emotional outbursts as people see the inescapable damning judgment of hell facing them.

He goes on to say "Your miseries which are coming upon you." In the life to come, their riches will be revealed as corrupted, moth-eaten and corroded. That word miseries, is the word "talaipória," used only here and Romans 3:16  which has to do with wretchedness. Notice that he personalizes it, it's "coming upon you." In other words, he’s saying, that individually you ought to weep and howl, because you’re individually going to suffer misery. Your judgment is inevitable.
In Luke chapter 6, and verse 24, Jesus says "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep."
Verses 2-3, "Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten." They will be damned, because their wealth was uselessly hoarded. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!" The sin is at the end of verse 3, "You have stored up your treasure," you've hoarded wealth. I believe that’s a tragic sin of our day. People stock piling their money. When God prospers us, He gives us more than we need, and He does so that we might use it to glorify Him and to advance His Kingdom.

"It is in the last days," here he's referring to the time period between Christ's ascension and His Second Coming, which is viewed as "the last days." The ungodly rich mistakenly believe that they are relieving themselves and their families from hardships through their wealth and possessions.  James says that they are storing up their misery and hardship for the final judgment!
There were three main indicators of wealth in James' day. First, was grain. You could store it in large bins. Having large bins filled with grain was a sign of wealth. Second, there was clothing. In a world where most of the poor only had the clothes on their backs, it was a sign of wealth to have more than one change of clothes. And, third, there was gold and silver. So, James is making a point, that when  God brings judgment, even these precious metals will be doomed to corruption.
Here, James paints a picture of one who hoards money and does nothing noble with it. In other words, it's rotting. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be hoarding up money against some uncertain tomorrow that may never come. I do not want to be heaping up earthly treasure in the last days. Especially, when God is calling for the proper investment of all that I have into His eternal kingdom today. God provides for us so that we might provide for our families, every other part of the money that God has given us is to be used somehow for His glory. I can’t think of anything better to do with money than to invest it to win the lost. 
Now, if you have what you need, you have no discretion with your money. You have to use it all just to survive. However, if you have any discretionary money, you’re in the category of the rich. And not simply those who are rich, but those who are rich and wicked. And, this is the category that he's speaking to. It is better to howl with men than scream in torment with demons.
Luke 6:38, Jesus tells us "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
In the end, God will give people what they want. Those who want nothing to do with Him now, that is exactly what they will get at the final judgement! 
In Closing..

Sir John Dalberg-Acton once said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Throughout history, corrupt men have amassed amazing power and wealth for themselves. Death marks the final separation between the saved and the lost. I believe that it's extremely important to note, there’s no second chance when you die. Hell is an eternal place of personal suffering. Hell is where God’s wrath is poured out.
Contrary to the popular worldly opinion, Hell is not a place of never-ending partying with all of your friends. Those who are in Hell, will cry out for help that will never come. You can only avoid Hell if you repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
As believers, we need to warn the lost about the danger they are in. You don’t have to go to Hell. God has provided a way of escape for you. If you ignore Jesus, there is no hope for you. If you do nothing, you’ll end up in Hell. There is no plan B for those who reject God's Son.
If you do not Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior,  I would like to encourage you to do so today, while there's still time. 
Revelation 16:15 says "(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”)
Since no one knows the day or the hour, when Christ returns, He will take the world completely by surprise. What God gives us, is not only is it to be used on the family God has given us but devoted to the service of the kingdom. Uselessly hoarding violates God's intentions. In the end, all that you have will fade away and greed will turn to misery.
If you hoard your money rather than give it to those in need, how does the Spirit of God dwell within you? You have been given wealth by God, use it for the care of the people God has given you. And use it to devote to His service.
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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