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The Christian Response to Injustice

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Context: Those who live by man’s golden rule

“He who has the gold makes the rules.”

  • The Treasure Hunter – Gain is Godliness – James 4:13-17
  • The Slave Driver – Control is Power – James 5:1-6

One does not need to follow Jesus to know the cruelty that these people inflict on others.

  • Community organizers suggest these people ought to be tried as criminals.
  • Government should pass laws to stop them

God knows who they are and what they are doing

4:13 & 5:1 – The most undignified address for those who think they are gods. (See earlier messages: <Making a Role Model out of Vapor> or <War on the Wealthy – On Which Side Is God?>

  • The treasure hunter will be judged for the good he failed to do with his riches
  • The slave driver will be judged for his cruelty toward the just

What are we supposed to do? Our natural response - RAGE

  • “DAYS OF RAGE” Organizers call for “non-violent” rage
  • This is as reasonable as playing with matches next to a gas can.

“I didn’t see that one coming!”

What is the believer called to do?

Christian Resistance to injustice – Four actions (First two this week)

I. Be Patient – 7

–A. Two types of Patience

  1. The patience that bears up under extreme pressure – When the going gets tough – James 5:11
    • It responds to pain
    • Impatience asks, “When Can I Quit?”
    • The problem is often circumstance – something bigger than me {Sickness, Storms, Poverty}
    • This type of patience is called endurance
  2. The patience that resists lashing out in anger – Long-fused – Present passage
    • It responds to injustice – life isn’t fair
    • Impatience says, “I’m going to blow!”
    • The problem is usually PEOPLE
      1) Here the problem is abusive people
      2) Here the problem is greedy people
      3) They are people that even James does not respect
    • This type of patience is called “Longsuffering” (a literal rendering of Gk)

–B. Realize God’s Longsuffering Has Its Limits

Be patient THEREFORE, brethren unto the coming of the Lord
– God is NOT looking the other way. The clock is ticking.

  1. The wicked man believe the threats are toothless (Therefore)
    • No coming misery – 5:1
    • No payday – 5:3
    • No divine army – 5:4 (Sabaoth)
    • No day of slaughter – 5:5
  2. The wicked man believes that God is powerless – Col. Ingersoll and his watch 2Pet 3:9
  3. The wicked man believes that God is cruel when the clock runs out. (the flood – 1000 years of warning)
  4. There is a time when the opportunity to repent will be gone.

–C. Realize everyone will REAP what he sows

The Laws of Farming

  1. The Quality of the Seed Galatians 6:7-8
  2. The Quantity of the Seed 2Corin 9:6

  1. The Timing of the Seed Galatians 6:9; Luke 8:15

–D. Patience recognizes that intense heat has a vital place in the interim

  1. Rain is necessary for success.
    What are the “rains”
    • Crops were planted in September – after the dry season.
    • First rains hit in October
    • Latter rains came in March & April
  2. Between those two times, the crops were in peril. Lots of farmers were ready to say, “I quit!”
  3. Between our Savior’s two appearings:
    • Vaporous people will cloud our vision.
    • Abusive people will control our lives.
    • We want to rage, but we have no voice

Conviction 1: Regardless of the Situation, God will make it end and justice will be served.

II. Be Principled – 8
(Don’t be HEART-driven)

–A. The Bible warns of the, “Follow your heart” philosophy – Ecclesiastes 11:9

  1. The subtle theme of every “clean” movie and TV show.
    • Some people are repulsed by the sex and violence that captures attention.
    • Heroic stories of people following their hearts sound true and noble.
  2. You are just as responsible for your “crop” as is the man you condemn.

–B. Danger of the Heart

  1. The Natural Condition of the Heart – Jer 17:9
    Your heart is like a wild stallion
    • It must be captured
    • It must be tamed
    • It must be trained
      • Prov 4:23
  2. The Disheartened Saint - Psalm 73
    • He knew what God said, but his heart called God a liar.
      Psalm 73:1-3 – What almost happened
      Psalm 73:13-15 – What He almost did
    • He heard what God said, and his heart said “Amen!” - Psalm 73:16-17 – What saved the day

–C. You CAN master your heart

  1. You can control your emotions
  2. The verse calls for active participation
    • Prop up yourself – Strengthen what is weak
    • Implies that gravity will pull you down.
    • Implies that faith in the promises of God is sufficient.

–D. Focus on the Finish Line – Heb. 12:2-3

  1. Don’t Fix your Heart on the Offenders
    • Those without future hope want RAGE
      – “I want Economic Justice NOW!”
      (1) Marxism –
      Karl Marx, founder of Communism, was an atheist who called religion the “opiate of the people.” He meant that religion, by giving people spiritual consolation and a belief in an afterlife, kept them from starting revolutions and changing the world around them.
      (1,001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Angels, Demons, and the Afterlife)
      (2) Modernism – Social Gospel & Liberation Theology
      “We must come to see that the Christian gospel is a two-way road. On the one side, it seeks to change the souls of men and thereby unite them with God; on the other, it seeks to change the environmental conditions of men so that the soul will have a chance after it is changed. Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and yet is not concerned with the economic and social conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is the kind the Marxist describes as “an opiate of the people.”
      (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -”How should a Christian View Communism?,” A Treasury of Great Preaching, Vol. 12
    • Quitting is easy when all you see is the problem
    • The Lord told a group of discouraged fishermen to cast their nets in once again. The spot was right where they had fished all night but caught no fish. It would have made more sense to choose a new fishing hole.
      Find another field.
      Some people have never found the victory because they want the Lord to change their location or situation.
  2. Fix your Heart on the prize – Heb 12:2

The Reason for the tribulations –

    • Trials produce Godly Character – James 1:3-4
      (1) But I’m ready to explode
      (2) You won’t if you fix your heart on the prize
    • Trials precipitate Godly Dependence – James 1:5-8
      (1) But I’m ready to perish
      (2) You won’t if God is faithful to His word.
    • Trials pinpoint Godly Values – James 1:9-11
      (1) But I’m ready to switch loyalties
      (2) You won’t if you see things from eternity’s perspective
    • Trials provide Godly Reward – James 1:12
      (1) But I’m ready to quit
      (2) You won’t if you see Jesus is coming back at any moment.

Conviction 2 - Regardless of the situation, God will reap fruit in our lives.

Click here for <more Messages and Illlustrations> by Pastor Berglund

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