by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 37 May 20, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:God's election of the poor has inheritance in the Kingdom as its backdrop.
Introduction:Last week we asked why believers would practice blatant discrimination in favor of the rich and against the poor. We answered that question by pointing out that once God is abandoned as the Source of our security, the old values and beliefs come flooding back in. Those old values and beliefs have to do with the importance of wealth and the belief that one can be secure if he is wealthy enough. Once those resurface, favoring the wealthy and dishonoring the poor is automatic. This evening we are going to begin to study James' correction of that subtle apostasy: God's election of the poor to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom.
I. James' Focus on Divine Election.
A. A general biblical theme that basically highlights three major truths.
1. Election is a selection of individual entities out of a larger pool of possibles: Luke 6:13; Luke 10:42; Luke 14:7; and John 15:19.
2. Election is invariably in light of the issue of the elector's purpose--not necessarily salvation: John 13:18; Acts 15:7, 22, 25; 1 Corinthians 1:27-28.
3. Election fundamentally focuses upon the choice of the elector, not the elected: Acts 1:2, 24; 13:17; Ephesians 1:4.
B. A specific issue designed by James to correct the problem of believers' materialism.
1. He said "HEAR".
2. He said "God has elected the poor".
II. James' Declaration of God's Election of the Poor.
A. Should not be taken as a reverse-discrimination against the wealthy just because of their wealth.
B. Should be taken as a statement of divine wisdom and methodology.
1. God's plan is to bring the elect to two results.
a. Richness of faith.
b. Inheritance of the kingdom.
2. God's plan has two necessities.
a. The development of a proper love.
b. The corollary development of a proper faith.
3. God's process is NECESSARILY a process of building a certain exclusivity in both love and faith--which wealth makes VERY DIFFICULT.
a. Love generally develops out of the experience of real needs met.
b. Faith generally develops out of the experience of failed alternative methods.
4. Thus, the wealthy are, in some ways, set aside by God because of His selection of those whom He will train through poverty.