30
Jul
2017

JAMES 5:13-18 IS ANYONE SICK?

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James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

 Are You Suffering?

INTRODUCTION

Here we find guidance as to what to do during times of suffering and sickness

IN TIMES OF SUFFERING, LET US "PRAY" (13)

The word used refers to enduring hardness, to suffer trouble, endure affliction, to be afflicted

FOR WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY?

For the REMOVAL of the suffering, if it be the Lord's will

2Co 12:8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

For the STRENGTH to endure the suffering, if it be the Lord's will that we bear with it

1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

God may not always remove the source of our suffering; it may be for our ultimate good

Ps 119:67, 75 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word 71, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. 75 I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.

But at least He promises to help us endure it!

  1. FOR WHOM SHOULD WE PRAY?

Certainly for ourselves

But also for those who may be the source of our suffering

Jesus taught in Lk 6:28 "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you

IN TIMES OF CHEER, LET US "SING PRAISES" (13)

THE WORD "CHEERFUL"... means pleasantness, agreeableness

It suggests a state of mind free from trouble--the opposite of affliction--happy!

Consider the attitude of David, the sweet singer of Israel -

 Ps 92:1-2 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

  • To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night,
  • David was a man after God's own heart, shouldn't we be also?

Ep 5:18; And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

  • WHY DON'T SOME CHRISTIANS SING PRAISES MORE OFTEN, MORE PASSIONATELY?
  • Hasn't God done enough in our lives to prompt us to praise Him with all one's might in song?

Fortunately, God is not concerned with how it sounds, but that it is coming from the heart, therefore all who can speak can and should sing!

 Heaven is described in Revelation as a place where singing praises to God and Christ is an on-going activity

 Singing praises to God is just as important as praying to God!

 III. IN TIMES OF SICKNESS, LET US "PRAY" (14-18)

  1. THIS PASSAGE IS DIFFICULT

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."

John 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

1Corinthians 11:29-30 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

There are two possible answers

  1. This passage refers to MIRACULOUS HEALING and the elders were called because they possessed the gift of healing

Mk 6:13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

This passage refers to PROVIDENTIAL HEALING or God doing it through natural means

Lk 10:34 "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

James uses an example of God PROVIDENTIALLY answering prayer to show its effectiveness

1) God was indeed answering Elijah's prayer

 2) But God did so, providentially, working through natural means

  • WITH THIS UNDERSTANDING, LETS MAKE THE APPLICATION...

In times of physical sickness, call for the elders of the church

You want the prayers of the "righteous" working in your behalf, don't you?

Notice: You are to call for them, not wait for them to call on you!

Have the elders pray with you...

1) In faith (trusting in the Lord's power to heal, if it be His will)

2) Fervently (with all your might)

In a time where hospitals were non-existent and physicians were rare, anointing with oil was a common treatment - cf. Lk 10:34

The sick should also confess their sins

Verse 15 makes it clear that sickness is not always the consequence of sin, but

But verse 16 and others (like 1Co 11:29-32) suggests that illnesses may be God's loving chastisement for sin, in an effort to direct us back to Him

CONCLUSION

We must be careful not to underestimate:

1) The importance of praise

2) The power of prayer

The importance of confessing our sins

To truly benefit from these three spiritual exercises, we need to be in a right relationship with God

Which involves being open to God's Word: He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer [shall be] abomination. Pro 28:9

And being a doer of God's will: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Mt 7:21)

 

23
Jul
2017

JAMES 5.7-12 WHEN YOU’RE BEING MISTREATED OR THE TEST OF PATIENCE

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INTRODUCTION

Do you feel like someone is out to get you, they are trying to take advantage of you? Are you being mistreated?

In James 5, we find James giving instructions to those who have been mistreated by the rich

Notice Ja 2:6

The rich had been holding back their wages - Ja 5:4

The rich had been oppressing the righteous - Ja 5:6

What is our response as Christians?

  1. DON'T RESIST

Notice Ja 5:4, 6

NOT RESISTING IS CONSISTENT WITH THE TEACHING OF CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES...

Consider Lk 6:27-36 Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Also Ro 12:19-21 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  1. And 1Pe 2:18-23

Human nature says if we get angry, and strike back, it is "justifiable anger"

Human wisdom calls for "standing up for one's rights"

BUT NOT RESISTING IS BASED UPON TWO THINGS...

AN AWARENESS that the Lord is coming to judge - Ja 5:7, 8, 9 3 times he is coming

This passage may refer to His judgment when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in ad 70 - Luke 21

But ultimately, it refers to the Lord's final coming on the Day of Judgment that has yet to occur

A WILLINGNESS to let Him be our avenger  Lk 18:7-8 7  "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 "I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.

  1. BE PATIENT

THE WORD FOUND HERE IS DIFFERENT THAN THAT FOUND EARLIER IN THIS EPISTLE...

In Ja 1:3, the word is "hupomone" Which means to bear up under trials in reference to THINGS or CIRCUMSTANCES

In Ja 5:7, 8, 10, the word is "makrothumia" Which means to suffer long in reference to PEOPLE like those who oppress or mistreat you)

In verse 11, he uses the humomeno like humpomone that means to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ

  • THREE EXAMPLES ARE GIVEN TO ENCOURAGE US TO BE PATIENT...

The FARMER: James 5:7

The PROPHETS: James 5:10

JOB: James 5:11

  • THESE EXAMPLES TEACH US...
  • To place our trust in the Lord, that He will eventually reward us for our trust in Him
  • To be steadfast, in the meantime, in our service to Him

III. ESTABLISH YOUR HEARTS

  1. THE WORD "ESTABLISH"...
  2. Means "to fix, make fast, to set" It Is translated "strengthen" in other places
  3. It means to strengthen our heart so as to be patient and not resist the evil being done

John Gill says it means to take heart, be of good cheer, do not be dismayed, or faint, or sink under your pressures, but be of good courage, pluck up your spirits, lift up your heads: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh;

  1. THE "KEY" TO ESTABLISHING OUR HEARTS...

Is the Word of God - cf. 2Pe 1:12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.

Our faith in God and His eventual justice is made stronger

Patience and strength to not resist is developed - cf. Ro 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

James mentions two things that we are to avoid. 

  1. DON'T GRUMBLE

ESPECIALLY AGAINST ONE ANOTHER (9)

We are likely to vent our frustrations as those closest and dearest to us

A man after a bad day at work often takes it out on his wife and family

WE HAVE GOOD REASON NOT TO GRUMBLE...

"Lest you be condemned (judged)"

The same Lord who judges the oppressors, will judge those who murmur and grumble!

Phil 2:14-

2John 8

  1. DON'T SWEAR

THIS IS SOMETHING ELSE ONE IS LIKELY TO DO WHEN IN TROUBLE...

In other words, make rash promises

Promises, which God will hold you to, even if not serious - cf. Eccl 5:2-5 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.

THIS PROHIBITION APPLIES ESPECIALLY TO "FLIPPANT OATHS"...

The Jews said oaths using His name were considered binding, while the others were not

  1. Jesus and James condemn this distinction between different kinds of oaths Mt 5:33-37; 23:16-22

The word condemn is the word hupokrisis which means hypocrisy.

  1. PRAY

THIS IS THE MAIN THING TO DO WHEN OPPRESSED or Mistreated...

As we learn from Ja 5:13

This is what the Christians of James' day were doing - Ja 5:4

WHEN WE PRAY, GOD HEARS!

As seen in Ja 5:4

Jesus and James promised, the Lord will avenge His righteous ones - Lk 18:7-8; Ja 5:7-8

It may not come when we want it, and the Lord may "bear long with us" -

Re 6:9-11 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

  1. But when the time is ripe, the oppressed will be avenged!

CONCLUSION

  1. Therefore, when we are being oppressed...
  • Don't resist
  • Be patient
  • Establish your hearts
  • Don't grumble
  • Don't swear
  • PRAY!
  • When we react this way to oppression...
  • We follow the example of Christ and the early disciples
  • Who committed themselves to God who judges righteously

  1) Christ - "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judges righteously:" (1 Pe 2:23)

  2) The disciples - "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls [to him] in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Pe 4:19)

  1. With such a righteous God on our side, it should be a lot easier to endure those who oppress us!

Is the righteous God on your side?  Or rather, are you on His side?

17
Jul
2017

30 SECOND DEVOTIONAL CHRIST ALONE JOHN 3:16

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Hi, I’m Marty McKenzie with His Love Ministries.  John 3:16 -17 says for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  Did you hear that?  Jesus did not come to condemn you, but to save you through His death on the cross.  So what would you say if God asked you why should I let you into my Heaven?  Will it be I am trusting in Jesus Christ and Him alone for salvation?

 

Where do you stand? Are you in Christ or lost and without Christ?

16
Jul
2017

JAMES 5.1-6 WHEN GOD GETS ANGRY AT THE RICH OR THE TEST OF RICHES

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James 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. 7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.

  1.  Compared to many people in the world, we are indeed blessed; in fact, in comparison with most people who live now and who have lived in the past, we are VERY RICH!
  2. Now, it is important to stress that God does not condemn being rich...
  • Some of the godliest people in the Bible were rich
  • Job, Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon, Barnabas, Philemon, Lydia

However, Christ does speak of the difficulty of the rich being saved Mt 19:23-26 And there are times when God is very angry at the rich, as in our text: As we consider this passage more carefully, we will ask and answer four questions:

  • Who is James addressing in this passage?
  • What is in store for these rich people?
  • Why is God so angry at them?
  • What applications can we draw from this passage?

WHO IS JAMES ADDRESSING IN THIS PASSAGE?

  • ARE THEY CHRISTIANS?
  1. Possibly, but unlikely for several reasons...
  • There is no call to repentance in this passage as he would for Christians
    •   Here there is only condemnation.
    •   The brethren are not addressed until verse 7, in which THEY are told to be patient in light of what has just been said
  • They are not addressed as "brethren" as is often done in this epistle - Ja 1:2,19; 2:1,14; 3:1,10; 4:11

MORE LIKELY, THOSE ADDRESSED ARE RICH UNBELIEVERS...

Who had been oppressing the Christians - cf. Ja 2:6

This tirade of judgment is used to comfort the brethren who were being oppressed by them -Ja 5:7

The Lord has heard their cries - Ja 5:4b

Judgment is coming upon these rich oppressors

Therefore, the Christians are told to be patient

WHAT IS IN STORE FOR THESE RICH OPPRESSORS?

MISERIES THAT WILL CAUSE THEM TO "WEEP AND HOWL"! (1-3a)

  1. So certain are these miseries to come, that James speaks of them already occurring!
  1. Riches are corrupted
  2. Garments are moth-eaten
  3. Gold and silver are corroded
  4. When this "corrosion" of their riches occurs...
  5. It will serve as a witness against them
  6. It will eat their flesh like fire

 1) The anguish and misery of poverty usually affects the hardest those who were once rich!

 2) When poverty strikes, it will make them "weep and howl" as though they were on fire!

  1. THE MISERIES SPOKEN HERE MAY HAVE REFERENCE TO WHAT LATER OCCURRED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM IN 70 A.D.
  2. Not long after this epistle was written, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans
  3. Many of the rich Jews who had oppressed their Christian brethren literally "wept and howled"
  4. They had failed to realize was that they had heaped up treasure "in the last days" (Ja 5:3b)
  5. Like the man in the parable of the rich fool (Lk 12:16-21), they thought they were laying up riches for their latter days
  6. When in fact, it was the "last days" of the Jewish economy when they were so busy storing up wealth!
  7. Like some today, who store up for retirement and then die before they retire!

Just as upon the rich man in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31)!

III. WHY IS GOD SO ANGRY WITH THESE RICH PEOPLE?

  1. BECAUSE OF HOW THEY GOT THEIR WEALTH...
  2. Specifically, by withholding wages from those who had worked for them
  3. Some people today get rich through dishonest schemes or unjust labor practices!
  4. BECAUSE OF HOW THEY USED THEIR WEALTH...
  5. They hoarded their wealth - 3b
  6. They spent it on themselves with pleasures and luxury - 5 (fattening themselves like cows for the slaughter!)
  7. They used the power that comes with wealth to oppress "the just" - 6

The manner in which they got their wealth and used it caused those who were oppressed to cry out, and the Lord heard their prayers

  1. Now, God who is just is about to bring judgment upon these rich oppressors!
  2. WHAT APPLICATIONS CAN WE DRAW?
  3. WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL HOW WE OBTAIN OUR WEALTH...
  4. To do so at the expense of others will bring God's wrath upon us! Deut 24:14,15
  5. It is wrong to think that success can only come by stepping on others
  6. This might be an appropriate place to add what we learn from Paul in 1Ti 6:9-10
  7. It is not riches that are wrong, but the DESIRE TO BE RICH that is wrought with many dangers!
  8. Riches are not wrong if they are the BY-PRODUCT of our endeavors, not the GOAL of those endeavors!

  1) I.e., one may desire to be a doctor to help the sick, and receive riches as a by-product because of the value society might place on such services

  2) But to enter such professions solely because one's goal is to get rich is wrong

  1. So how do we obtain our wealth?
  2. If we do it honestly and in compensation for a job well done, then God is not displeased
  3. But if we do it by hurting others and by making wealth our primary object, then we are in danger of God's wrath!
  4. WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL HOW WE USE OUR WEALTH...
  5. To spend it on luxurious living when others are suffering...
  6. Is exactly what James has described in this passage
  7. Is an indication of the lack of the love of God - 1 Jn 3:17
  8. According to the New Testament, the purpose of working is not to obtain wealth for our own gratification, but to help those less fortunate!
  9. As commanded by Paul - Ep 4:28; 1 Ti 6:17-19
  10. As exemplified by Paul - Ac 20:34-35

CONCLUSION

  1. Living in the country and society in which we do, we have much for which to be thankful
  2. But we also have much of which we need to beware:
  3. We live in a society where it is quite easy to become wealthy
  4. We live in a society where covetousness or the desire to be rich are not considered sins
  5. We live in a society where heaping up treasures for our own gratification is considered an inalienable right!

   -- It is easy to be influenced by these values!

  • Perhaps we need to ask ourselves constantly: Are we laying up treasure in heaven, or on earth?
  • Those who lay up treasure in heaven are those who use their wealth to do good and help the poor and less fortunate - cf. Mt 19:21; 1 Ti 6:18-19
  • Those who lay up treasure on earth are actually storing up for themselves miseries and wrath!

   1) Miseries...when their wealth fails them in their time of true need

   2) Wrath...from God in the Day of wrath that is yet to come

Have you begun to lay up treasure in heaven by obeying the gospel of Christ?

 

9
Jul
2017

JAMES 4:13-17 THE TEST OF PRIDE PART 2 SUBTITLE - MAKING OUR PLANS OR THE PERIL OF PLAYING GOD

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Read Ps 90 by Moses

  1. James discusses the subject of making plans, something very relevant for us
  2. Making plans, in of itself, is not wrong...
  3. Paul often made plans in regard to his travels - Ac 15:36; 18: 20-21; 1 Co 16:5-9
  4. Making plans or setting goals is a key to success in life
  5. But there is a right way to plan, and a wrong way;

[First, let's consider the "right" way

  1. WE CAN SUBMIT TO GOD'S WILL
  2. We can make our plans, but we should make them conditional to God's approval - "if the Lord wills" (15)

Ps 39:5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them. 11 When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; Surely every man is vapor. Selah

  1. This is what Paul did
  2. "God willing" - Ac 18:21 but took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing." And he sailed from Ephesus

Ro 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established--

  1. "if the Lord permits" - 1Co 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.

Nu 14:8 "If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.'

De 19:8 "Now if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as He swore to your fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers,

 1Co 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.

 1Co 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.

 Jas 4:15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

  1. Saying "if the Lord wills" assumes our faith in two things:
  2. That God does have a will for us

Ec 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

  1. That God can intervene (by divine guidance) to carry out His will
  2. IF WE REALLY WANT OUR PLANS TO SUCCEED, THEN WE WILL SEEK FIRST TO KNOW GOD'S WILL, AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY...
  3. To a great degree, this is possible, for God wants us to:
  4. Understand His Will - Ep 5:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is
  5. Be filled with His Will - Co 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
  6. Prove His Will - Ro 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
  7. When we know God's "revealed" will from our study of the Bible, then we can act or plan accordingly
  8. The right way to plan is to show our submission to God by leaving our plans subject to His will – Do we pray, God will this bring you Glory

  Mt 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

  1. There is also God's "permissive" will

Now let's look at the "wrong" way in "Making Our Plans"

  1. WE CAN IGNORE GOD'S WILL – What are our motivations
  2. v13-15 TO PLAN THIS WAY IS FOLLY
  3. Because life is COMPLEX (v13)
  4. So many decisions to make, so many mistakes might be made

If it's possible to know God's will on any matter, that would increase the likelihood that our decisions and plans will be correct

  1. Because life is UNCERTAIN (v14a)
  2. No one has a guarantee of tomorrow

Luke 12:16-26 – Parable of the rich man – your soul will be required

Pr 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Gal 1:6-7 Sow you reap

  1. Only God can bring about what He wills for the future without fail
  2. Because life is FRAGILE (14b)
  3. It is like a "vapor"
  4. How quickly we can succumb to sickness or an accident illustrates how frail we really are
  5. Because life is BRIEF (14c) About 18 different descriptions in the Bible for how brief life is.
  6. "appears for a little time “Job 9:25-26 Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good. 26 They pass by like swift ships, Like an eagle swooping on its prey.

Job 14:1 "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.

  1. v15 Life is short, so it is important that we do God's will and not our own - cf. 1Jn 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
  2. v16 TO PLAN THIS WAY IS BOASTFUL ARROGANCE and Sin – Wrong Priorities

The word arrogance comes from the word wanderer, the person who wanders around like those who sell cure alls for everything. A person who mounted a platform or soapbox to sell phony things.

  1. To plan without taking into consideration God's will is to set ourselves up above God Himself!
  2. How could one be more arrogant than that?

Ps 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Mt 6:33 Seek ye first

  1. TO PLAN THIS WAY IS SIN (v16-17)
  2. v16 It is sin because it involves arrogance and boasting which is evil
  3. v17 It is sin because we who are Christians know better
  4. We know what is good: to plan with God's Will in mind
  5. To do otherwise is to sin!

CONCLUSION

  1. How do we make our plans? – deo Volente – Means If God Wills was found on the letters of people who wrote them 100 years ago.
  2. If we plan without considering the will of God, then we are foolish, arrogant, and sinful!
  3. If we make our plans subject to the approval of God, then we are wise, submissive, and righteous in God's sight!
  4. What about your "plans" for eternity?
  5. There is no doubt what the Lord's will is on his subject - cf. Mt 28:19-20
  6. We can be certain if we submit to God's will He will take care of our needs

But to ignore His will is trouble

  1. Have you done "as" the Lord wills?

We need first a willingness to do God’s will when we find it

Know that His will is always in Harmony with His Word

We need to come to Him earnestly in prayer seeking His guidance in all matters

Lu 11:2 So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Psalm 40 and verse 8 he said, "I delight to do Thy will, O my God,

 The psalmist also says in Psalm 143 verse 10, "Teach me to do Thy will for Thou art my God." It's as if he is saying in one place I want to do it, and in another place I'm not sure I know how. I delight in doing it, teach me specifically how. Basic to one's relationship to Christ then is doing the will of God.

 

2
Jul
2017

JAMES 4:1-10 HOW TO END WARS OR THE TEST OF PRIDE

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James 4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Introduction

In chapter four and most of chapter five, James answers the question, "What happens when faith fails?" What if you do not exercise faith? What if you are a Christian, but you do not live by faith, believing continually what the Lord Jesus has said and done. What happens? First, wars and fighting break out, and the direct cause is a lack of prayer. Prayer is an example of faith. Prayer is the perfect expression of faith, because prayer is the manifestation of dependence upon God. James traces this whole matter of wars, fighting, arguments, and disagreements among us to a lack of prayer. That is the trouble. We fight with each other because we do not ask God for anything. We do not take from him the nature of love and compassion that he offers us, but we would rather lash out at one another and fight with one another. So it is a direct result of the lack of faith that wars and fighting break out.  A depending on self instead of God.

Daniel 2:21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.

He gives us two reasons for worldliness in the church

Our desires and envy.

  1. War is a fact of life in spite of treaties and world peace organizations
  2. But can you believe wars between believers in Christ
  3. He describes three types of conflicts going on in the world
  4. WAR WITH EACH OTHER (v1, 11-12)

 V1Surely "brethren" ought to live together in love and harmony

Ps 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

  1. Yet often they do not
  2. Lot quarreled with Abraham
  3. Absalom created a war with his father David
  4. The disciples of Jesus argued over who would be greatest
  5. Paul and Barnabas had great conflict over John Mark
  6. Churches in the New Testament often had problems...
  7. At Corinth

1) Brethren were suing each other

2) They were competing in the public assemblies

  1. In Galatia - brethren were "biting and devouring" one another
  2. Even at Philippi - two women were having trouble getting along with each other
  3. In this epistle James gives several kinds of conflicts among brethren:
  4. Class wars (upper class, middle class, and lower class - 2:1-9
  5. Employment wars - 5:1-6
  6. Church fights - 1:19-20; 3:13-18
  7. Personal wars
  8. Notice 4:11-12 we are admonished not to speak evil, nor to judge one another

The consequences of worldliness -1. A lack of prayer corporately or individually with God

  1. WAR WITHIN OURSELVES (1-3)
  2. Our desire for things to satisfy our pleasures (like power, possessions, etc.) is what makes us fight with others
  3. Putting it simply, the key problem is "SELFISHNESS"
  4. SUCH SELFISH DESIRES LEAD TO...
  5. Wrong Actions (2)
  6. "you murder...you fight and war"
  7. not literally, but certainly so in God's sight – an ongoing attitude of hate towards someone

1Jn 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

  1. Wrong Praying (3)
  2. The kind of praying that goes unanswered
  3. Because the prayers are for selfish motives

Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give because He would give the best, and man will not take it.

George MacDonald

III. WAR WITH GOD (4-10)

  1. Here is the root cause of every war!
  2. Rebellion against God!
  3. ...those at war with others are also at war within themselves...
  4. ...because they are first at war with God!
  5. HOW DOES A BELIEVER DECLARE WAR AGAINST GOD?
  6. By being friendly with God's enemies!
  7. James mentions three enemies we must not associate with if we want to be at peace with God:

The World (v4) That is, human society that is contrary to God

  1. a) Any conduct, belief, thought...which is anti-God, anti-Christ

   To be a friend of such...Makes one an enemy of God!

  1. Makes one a spiritual adulterer or adultereress!

Suppose that in a certain community lives a man and his wife who love each other very much. Across the street lives a man who develops a hatred for the woman’s husband. One night he invades their home and kills him. Although he is arrested, a loophole in the law allows him to escape punishment, and he is released to return to the community. Now imagine that in a few short weeks you see the widow and her husband’s murderer walking down the street together. Her hand is slipped into his arm and she looks smilingly into his face. She says to him, “I’m so happy.” What would you say about a woman like that? Surely, you would brand her as disloyal to her husband’s memory and unworthy to bear his name. We must never forget that this godless world hated Jesus enough to kill Him. One who walks hand in hand with a system headed by our Lord’s enemies and becomes friendly with them is disloyal to Jesus Christ. Only those who keep themselves “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27) have a right to bear the name Christian. Let’s avoid all unholy alliances. -P.R.V. Quoted from Our Daily Bread

2 Co 6: 17 “Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty’.”

  1. The Flesh (v1,5)

   1) The unlawful desires that would lead us away from God

   2) These desires wage war within us, but we must not give in to them

1Pe 2:11-12 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

3) Such desires are in direct conflict to what the Spirit of God would have us to be and do

Ga 5:16-17 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

4) To submit to these unlawful desires (works) of the flesh sets one contrary to God and His Spirit!

  1. The Devil (v6-7) v6 parallels Romans 12.1

1) Pride is Satan's greatest temptation

2) When we give into pride, we become friends of the devil and enemies of God

  1. v7 HOW TO ENJOY PEACE WITH GOD
  2. Submit To God (v7)
  3. Literally, "get into your proper rank"
  4. Unconditional surrender to God is the only way to victory!
  5. Submission is saying: "Not my will, but Thine be done" Luke 22:42
  6. Resist The Devil (v7)
  7. He is behind every war that we have
  8. But if we just resist, then he will flee!

James 4:7“Like many sheep ranchers in the West, Lexy Fowler has tried just about everything to stop crafty coyotes from killing her sheep. She has used odor sprays, electric fences, and ‘scare-coyotes.’ She has slept with her lambs during the summer and has placed battery-operated radios near them. She has corralled them at night, herded them at day. But the southern Montana rancher has lost scores of lambs—fifty last year alone. “Then she discovered the llama—the aggressive, funny-looking, afraid-of-nothing llama. ’Llamas don’t appear to be afraid of anything,’ she said. ‘When they see something, they put their head up and walk straight toward it. That is aggressive behavior as far as the coyote is concerned, and they won’t have anything to do with that. Coyotes are opportunists, and llamas take that opportunity away.’” Apparently llamas know the truth of what James writes: “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7). The moment we sense his attack through temptation is the moment we should face it and deal with it for what it is. Barry McGee, Denver Post

  1. Draw Near To God (v8)
  2. And He will draw near to us!
  3. How do we do this?

   1) "Cleanse your hands" - Get your sins forgiven!

   2) "Purify your hearts" - Be single-minded in your devotion to God! (not double-minded, like a spiritual adulterer)

Ps 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

Pr 1:28 Then will they call upon me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me:

 Pr 8:17 I love them that love me; And those that seek me diligently shall find me.

 Isa 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways: as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God, they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near unto God.

 Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

 Ho 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly.

  1. Humble Yourselves In The Sight Of God (v9-10)
  2. It's possible to submit outwardly and not be humble inwardly
  3. True mourning for our sins is how we can humble ourselves before God
  4. The end result of such humility. God will lift you up! - v10

1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

CONCLUSION

  1. If we obey these four instructions, then God will draw near to us, cleanse us, and forgive us!
  2. ONLY THEN WILL THE "WARS" CEASE!
  3. For we will not be at war with God
  4. So we will not be at war within ourselves
  5. And we will not be at war with others!
  6. As Solomon wrote in the Book of Proverbs:

When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7)

Are we diligent in making sure our ways are pleasing to the Lord?