Abusive Wealth. “Real Life” [James] Series  James 5:1-6. JAMES’ WARNING AGAINST ABUSIVE WEALTH. PURPOSE: What is James’ purpose of denouncing the rich unbelievers who practiced abusive wealth in this letter to the Christians?
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“Real Life” [James] Series 
11"Take care lest you forget the LORD your God
by not keeping his commandments and his rules
and his statutes, which I command you today,
12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have
built good houses and live in them, 13and when your
herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is
multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then
your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD
your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of slavery . . . 17Beware lest you
say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of
my hand have gotten me this wealth.’”
Deuteronomy 8:11-14, 17
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are
coming upon you.2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are
moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion
will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. (vs.1-3a)
1) Wealth becomes abusive when we acquire it through INJUSTICE.
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed
your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying
out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have
reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. (v.4)
2) Wealth becomes abusive when we hoard it stingily or use it for SELF-INDULGENCE/LUXURY.
You have laid up treasure in the last days . . .
5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence.
You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. (vs.3b, 5)
19“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.‘ 25But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' 27And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—28for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' 29But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' 30And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
3) Wealth becomes abusive when we use it to OPPRESS the defenseless.
You have condemned and murdered
the righteous person. He does not resist you. (v.6)
Money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions. It takes away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it takes away. There is trouble in the getting of it. There is the anxiety in the keeping it. There are the temptations in the use of it. There is the guilt in the abuse of it. There is the sorrow in the losing of it. There is the perplexity in the disposing of it. Two-thirds of all the strifes, quarrels, and lawsuits in the world, arise from one simple cause – money!
- J.C. Ryle
Keep your life free from love of money,
and be content with what you have,
for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
2. In acquiring your possessions, practice INTEGRITY AND JUSTICE ALWAYS.
3. In using your possessions, practice GENEROSITY AND GOOD STEWARDSHIP.