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A Mini-Series is a small subset of lessons from a major series which covers a particular subject or book. The class numbers will be in reference to the major series rather than the mini-series.
Wednesday, January 26, 2000

80 - Money Doesn't Solve Problems

James 4:13-15 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:1 hr 3 mins 27 secs

Money Doesn't Solve Problems; James 4:13-15

James now comes to talk about businessmen in the city who are in reversionism, under financial pressure, and there seems to be a lot of emphasis on money. They are trying to solve their problems by financial success. James 4:13 NASB "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.'" They are going to look top material things, the things that money can buy as the source of happiness. This is indicative of the reversionist believer who is in the frantic search for happiness. They are looking to the details of life in order to find happiness and in order to find meaning and value in life. This is not to say that money doesn't help in some problems, but money, career, success is a means to an end, it is not an end in itself. The believer who makes that an end in itself is on the road to misery and self-destruction.

Summarizing the verse:

1)  Career, success, money and money are legitimate pursuits in life, but they are not an end, they are only a means to an end.

2)  For the reversionist believer career, money and success are used as problem-solvers.  But they don't solve problems, they become a problem manufacturer.

3)  Having rejected doctrine the reversionist believer is on a frantic search for happiness. He is looking to the details of life to solve his problems. Remember, you have to have doctrinal orientation before you can master the details of life.

4)  For the advancing believer, career, money and success are means to an end. The end is spiritual maturity and glorifying God. Profit, career and success are all legitimate until they become a priority over doctrine and our relationship with the Lord.

5)  The reversionist believer is operating on arrogance skills, so his self-absorption becomes obsession with success to the exclusion of doctrine and God, and spiritual priorities are then rejected.

6)  The result is that his plans exclude God and focus exclusively on indulging his own obsession. He forgets everything else and God is no longer part of the picture.

7)  Part of doctrinal orientation mastery of the details of life.

James 4:14 NASB "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." You go out making these plans thinking you are in control of your life. This is always the problem with man. We think we are in control; it is our agenda, especially with obsessive types. We think we can solve problems through controlling all the details of life, and that again is a problem. The solution is getting into the Scripture and letting God renovate our thinking. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be neat and orderly and all of those things; that is not what we are saying. It when you become obsessed with these things and they characterize everything in life, maybe it is time to stop trying to control things and let God control things.

Verse 14 is emphasizing our finiteness. We don't know what things will be like tomorrow, we have absolutely no control over anything; that is simply an illusion. James illustrates: we are just a little vapour, here for a little while and then we vanish away. This is exactly the value of human viewpoint thinking and human viewpoint problem-solving. So often we get caught up and wrapped up in all the little details and we obsess on problems that come along, and many times they are little problems that distract us and get us out of fellowship. We need to focus on what has eternal value and only divine viewpoint thinking, producing divine good under the filling of the Holy Spirit through applying doctrine is going to count. And that is going to count for eternity, will have eternal value, and is going to be stored in heaven for all to see throughout eternity. It will be the basis of reward and inheritance. So we need to get our focus off of the temporal and off of our control and into the control that God has over our life, in submission to His will and not trying to handle everything on our own.

This verse is really a bad translation at the beginning: "yet you do not know." It starts off with the relative pronoun of quality, HOITINES [o(itinej], which really should be translated, "such a kind" or "this kind of person." It is referring to the kind of person that is planning to go off, start a business and have success, and God has no part in his planning. So it is "Such a person," the kind of person who is obsessing, who is arrogant and has excluded God; this kind of person really has no control, he is in self-deception.  

James 4:15 Instead, {you ought} to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." The contrast. Instead of making your plans in your own way you need to get in touch with reality, which means that life is a vapour. This verse gives the crux of the problem: a lack of authority orientation to God. This goes to a more basic problem-solving device or stress-buster, which is grace orientation. Grace orientation recognizes that God has done everything and we rest and rely on what he did. We recognize that God did everything and we need to be willing to submit to Him. That is authority orientation; it is true humility.

This introduces the whole concept of the will of God. How do we know the will of God? This is a pressing issue, especially for young people. For those of us who are a little more seasoned it is not always a pressing issue, especially if there is some level of stability in the life. The answer is very simple doctrinally. Sometimes it is not simple experientially because it gets all caught up with our agenda versus God's agenda.

1)  The term "will of God" relates to God's sovereign volition with regard to His creation. Will indicates volition.

2)  There are three general categories to the will of God. The first is God's sovereign will—what happens is what God decreed. God's sovereign will includes His permissive will; it includes the existence of sin and evil. The second category is God's revealed will which is also sometimes referred to as God's moral will or His desired will. These are the absolutes in God's Word, the principles and precepts, the mandates of Scripture. Then there is God's overriding will. Many times we make decisions that are in contrast to God's revealed will. His sovereign will allows it but sometimes He overrides the decision or the consequences of that decision.

3)  The specifics of God's decreed will are mostly unknown. We don't know what God's sovereign will is or what His decreed will is until it happens. History is the outworking of the sovereign will of God, in other words. We don't know what tomorrow entails, what God permits, until it happens.

4)  We can only know the specifics of God's revealed or moral will, and that is in His Scripture. That is all the precepts, mandates and prohibitions that we find in the Scriptures. There are 78 imperative mood verbs in James alone. That means in the New Testament there may be as many as a thousand imperative verbs for the believer. This defines the boundaries of the Christian's life. Prohibitions are outside; the positive mandates and commands are inside. "This is the will of God, that you abstain from fornication," a real, clear and precise statement. "Pray without ceasing," that is the will of God for your life. So part of the answer to the question, What is God's will for my life? is, are you doing what the Scripture says to do? About 70 or 80 70 or 80 per cent of the time that really is all that matters. Are you doing this? Are you living within the revealed will of God?

The will of God is more like this. You have a circle defining God's will. As long as you are filled with the Spirit, walking by means of the Spirit, learning doctrine, assimilating into your thinking, operating on divine viewpoint thinking, applying doctrine and all of the precepts of God's Word. You are in the will of God. If God has a specific geographical will for you. or a specific operational will, you can't escape it. Jonah tried.

5)  God may not always have a specific geographical or operational will for our life, the issue is how we make the decision. When He does, He will make it clear to us.

6)  Knowing God's will is based on the grace learning spiral, that God the Holy Spirit     teaches us doctrine, are we responsive to His teaching and responding to the challenges of Scripture, and responding to His guiding and leading? for the Holy Spirit always leads us if we are sons of God, according to Romans 8 and Galatians 5:18.

7)  The geographical will of God relates to operating in a specific location.