1. Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the first Baptist church of Dallas, Texas, tells a humorous story one time of a man who was coming down to be baptized. When he got almost into the water he stopped and said, ''wait a minute, dr. Criswell, I forgot to take out my billfold.'' dr. Criswell said before he could say another word he jerked him into the water, baptized him and said, ''thank you, my brother, all of my life I've wanted to baptize a man's billfold.''
2. Well I believe that James could relate to that. For jams knew very well that you can measure a man by his attitude toward money, and especially his money. Dr. Billy graham once said, ''if a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life.''
3. We measure men by the money they make. But God measures men by the way they make money.
4. Do you know what I believe is ruining America today? I do not believe it is adversity, but rather prosperity. As a matter of fact, if you will notice more people are ruined by prosperity than by adversity. It is prosperity and the desire for prosperity - that is the source of much iniquity and immorality.
5. James is dealing here with the prosperous, with those that we would call rich. But the problem with these rich people was not that they had money in their hands, but rather that they had money in their hearts.
6. I want to make something very plain at the be- ginning of this message, lest I be misunderstood. There is nothing wrong with being rich. This passage - is not a warning about money as such. Money, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad, contrary to popular opinion, the bible does not say ''that money is the root of all evil,'' the bible says that ''the love of money is the root of all evil.'' (1 Tim. 6:10) it is possible for a poor man who has no money to love money. It is also possible for a rich man who has much money not to love money. The bible never condemns a rich man just because he is rich. In fact, some of the greatest men in the bible were rich men.
7. Abraham, the man who made faith famous; the father of the Jewish nation we are told., ''was very rich in silver and in gold.'' (Gen. 13:2) David was a man after God's own heart. The greatest king Israel has ever known, I chron. 29:28 tells us, ''he died in a good old age, full of days and riches.'' The lord Jesus Christ was buried in the borrowed tomb of a man known as Joseph of Arimathea, who was described in matt. 27:57 as ''a rich man.''
8. So understand this plainly and clearly, the bible never says it is wrong for a man to have money. The problem comes when money has the man.
9. The source of all wealth and all riches is God. I chron. 29:12 tells us that riches and honor come from God. Deut. 8:18 tells us that it is God who gives man the power to get wealth. The problem does not come in money alone. The problems, as you will see, ...
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