Who would not like to trade places with John Carpenter, the first million dollar winner on the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTLnTK8qanw
Winning a game show or a lottery is the dream of a lifetime for many people. The desire for huge amounts of money is a desire most of us have at one time or another.
Ironically, this dream of earthly wealth is a desire for fleeting value. If we received a huge amount of money how long can we enjoy and use this wealth? Only for the length of our lifetime (maybe 50, 60, or 70 years max).
Sadly, there are possessions of much greater, eternal value that we choose to ignore. What is of greater value to us than money? What can we truly “take with us” after we pass away? We will see what this eternal wealth is in today’s study…
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? (James 2:5)
In the book of James, the apostle writes to Jews who had fled from their homeland due to persecution by the Roman Empire. They were a discouraged, broken and POOR people. In most cases, they departed with nothing more than the clothes on their back. They had lost their home, their livestock, their social standing, their savings, everything. This is the context of James’ message, he desired to encourage those who had lost all this world had to offer. So what can you say to those who had “lost it all”?
First, he reminds them that they are loved by God… “My beloved brethren.” The love of our God is of far greater value than any riches this world has to offer. It is because of God the Father’s love for us that He was willing to send His Son to die. It was because of God the Son’s love for us that He was willing to bear our sin and die on the cross. It is because of God the Spirit’s love that He lives within us, accompanying us and guiding us as we walk through this life. If we only have God’s love, we are very wealthy indeed. (See John 3:16, 1 John 3:16 John 14:23) But the results of His love for us do not stop there. Actually what He does for us cannot begin to be listed, the list would be endless.
In our verse, James gives us two other products of God’s love… being “rich in faith” and “heirs of the kingdom that he hath promised”. Both of these are eternal in nature… they will exist long after we have departed from this earth. (1 Cor 2:9)
The value of faith cannot be underemphasized. It is directed to past, present and future time frames. God-given faith in Christ and His work, is an absolute requirement for God’s forgiveness and our salvation from sin (past). (Please refer to 1 Pet 1:5-9) Once saved, we continue to exercise faith in Him on a daily basis, looking to Him in all our decision making (present). Also it is through faith, that we receive all of His future promises to us (future).
This brings us to the second great product of God’s love to us, the heirship of the kingdom that he has awaiting for us. His kingdom, refers to all that He controls throughout eternity. A heavenly home, living in His presence, rewards for our obedience, and the authority to rule with Him over the new earth are all a part of the life awaiting us.
The results of our heirship go beyond our earthly understanding. In Revelation 21:-22: John gives us a limited glimpse of the greatness of our eternity awaiting us. Beginning with personally walking with God, to living a life where pain, sorrow, and sickness no longer exist, ending with a dwelling place of pure gold, his account of our eternity is clearly beyond our understanding. Our eternity is so great… it cannot be valued, nor understood, with our human reasoning (see 1 Cor 2:9).
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
There is no doubt that God’s love to us, far outweighs the fleeting riches of this world. For the saved, every second we live, every breath we take, is filled with His gracious presence, protection and sealing, giving us peace that we are one of His and heaven bound! This is the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” Peter talks about in 1 Pet 1:8. It is a joy that should constantly exist in our lives no matter what circumstances we are facing. God’s love should motivate the Christian to have a continually thankful joyous heart for all He has done, and will do for us.
For those of us who have not experienced the grace of God in our hearts, there is a void that cannot be filled apart from the love and joy only God gives. Do you have that feeling of emptiness within you? Have you been searching for that certain “something” that will make you feel whole and at peace? Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can fill that void. By trusting in Him and His work on the cross; by accepting Him as the Lord of your life and committing your life to Him, you will find forgiveness, peace, and eternal love and the fulfillment.
In other words, to become a secret millionaire all we must do is… look to Jesus and live…
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Heb 9:27-28)
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”