Jul 14, 2024. James 1:9-11

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A SHORT RIDE. James 1:9-11. 7/14/2024. #02.

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

1. Different accommodations; same destination

                a. This interlude comes in the midst of a discussion on enduring trials

                                a1. James reminds his readers that their social status does not protect from trials

                                a2. Social status does not protect from death

                b. To the lowly brother, his exalted position in Christ guarantees an eternal exaltation

                                a1. The Greek word lowly means weak, insignificant, poor

                                a2. The believer in Christ who is unimportant in this world by wealth, status, and influence is of extreme value and worth in eternity

                c. The rich man carries a high status in this world

                                a1. His wealth gives him fame, influence, and connections the poor man lacks

                                a2. A man’s wealth and status carries no weight in eternal matters

                d. Salvation is no different for the lowly and the exalted (Galatians 3:28)

2. Of flowers and sun

                a. The rich man is reminded of several truths:

                                a1. Salvation did not come from his wealth

                                a2. Before God his wealth is paltry

                                a3. All men are subject to trials and temptation

                                a4. Both salvation and spiritual riches are obtained through humility (a difficult demeanor for the rich to obtain, Luke 19:23)

                                a5. To whom much is given, much is required (Matthew 25, Luke 12)

                                a6. Life is very short and not only will wealth and status not prevent death, it will be all left behind (Job 1, Luke 16)

                b. The scriptures often use flowers and grass as illustrations of the brevity of man’s life (Isaiah 40:7)

                                a1. Ps. 90 after the flood, God determined that men will live an average of 70 years

                                a2. Unlike the 900 year pre-Flood lifespan, man’s journey on earth is very brief

                                a3. Only during the Millennial Reign will the lifespan increase again (Isaiah 65:20)

                c. James compares the rich man’s life to a flower

                                a1. Flowers are beautiful to look at, sweet in fragrance, and widely acclaimed

                                                b1. The rich man’s wealth and accomplishments are impressive (houses,

                                                       boats, clubs, achievements,…)

                                                b2. For a brief moment, he is envied, admired, and mimicked

                                a2. Like the flower, the rich man will soon be gone and his wealth will be dispersed

                                                b1. He won’t be remembered (Isaiah 65:17)

                                                b2. His pursuits will cease and fade away

3. Equal opportunity living

                a. James states that the lowly should be exalted in his richness in Christ, while the rich is humbled that he also is included in the kingdom

                b. God gives grace to each and each is given the choice and privilege of pursuing Christ (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)

                c. The humble man is able to exalt God no matter what his status is (neither despair and complaint in his lack of material goods nor pride and worthless pursuits in his abundance)

                d. The high and low are encouraged to lay aside their circumstances to enter the same pursuit of serving the Lord with the gifts God has given them

                e. In the midst of challenges, trials, temptations, and opportunities, each is to focus on pursing the Lord)

                f. 1 Chronicles 4:7 all comes from God, so all is the serve God

Key passage: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,

Before the [a]difficult days come,

And the years draw near when you say,

“I have no pleasure in them”:

2 While the sun and the light,

The moon and the stars,

Are not darkened,

And the clouds do not return after the rain;

3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,

And the strong men bow down;

When the grinders cease because they are few,

And those that look through the windows grow dim;

4 When the doors are shut in the streets,

And the sound of grinding is low;

When one rises up at the sound of a bird,

And all the daughters of music are brought low.

5 Also they are afraid of height,

And of terrors in the way;

When the almond tree blossoms,

The grasshopper is a burden,

And desire fails.

For man goes to his eternal home,

And the mourners go about the streets.

6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is [b]loosed,

Or the golden bowl is broken,

Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,

Or the wheel broken at the well.

7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,

And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,

“All is vanity.”