Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book of James - Part 12: The Self-Willed

The Book of James: Part 12 - The Self-Willed
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

James 4:13-1713 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”


Who knows what tomorrow brings, or in which direction they should go?

Why do we as men think that we know what is best for us?

Like children arguing with their parents about what they want, confusing desire for need, we press our will against God’s in our lives, stumbling along the broad path all the while the Holy Spirit waits, calling from the narrow.

James warns us about the self-willed, and the dangers of bragging and prideful boasting about what we have, where we are going, and how we are going to GET more.

Not only do you not know if you even have a tomorrow, you fail to recognize that your time is short, even if you live full of days!

Are you using this time to serve God, or selfishly for yourself? Do you make plans based in His will, or what YOU desire to acquire financially in life?

James is asking the damning question we MUST ask ourselves, and ANSWER!

Are the decisions you make in this life based on God’s will (what is GOOD), or are they financially (selfishly, self-willed)?

Are you following God, or yourself in this life?

       I.            GOD’S THREE WILLS
a.      Salvation for You

b.     Direction for You
                                                             i.      Your Will vs. God’s Will

c.      Working through You
                                                             i.      Your Will vs. God’s Will

a.      You do not know if you even have a tomorrow!

b.     What IS your life?
                                                             i.      Evaluate time, and your place within it

                                                          ii.      Your life is like a vapor in the wind

                                                       iii.      What ARE you doing to serve the Lord’s will?

c.      Instead of boasting and bragging, following YOUR will, you should;
                                                             i.      Ask if it is the Lord’s will (Search, seek Him)

                                                          ii.      “as it is”, you boast and brag about your plans (your will)

                                                       iii.      All this boasting and bragging is evil!
1.      alazoneia - Greek, meaning self-confidence & pride

d.     We generally think of self-confidence as a good thing.
                                                             i.      However, self-confidence means, having confidence in ones self!

                                                          ii.      We need to know that we cannot have confidence in our selves, but rather, we need to put our confidence in GOD alone!

III.            HOW TO SIN
a.      ANYONE (saved or unsaved) who knows the good he ought to do...
                                                             i.      The good you ought to do, is God’s will

                                                          ii.      The Holy Spirit will lead you in this direction

                                                       iii.      however, YOU must chose to walk it’s narrow path

b.     ...and does NOT do it, sins
                                                             i.      Where there is no law, sin is not charged against you.

1.      Romans 5:13 “To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.”

2.      However, the Holy Spirit speaks God’s will to us, making it known.  When we know this will, the law of LOVE, and chose it not, we sin.

                                                          ii.      Where there is no obedience, there is no reward.
1.      Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

c.      How much are you missing out on in life because you failed to listen to the Holy Spirit give you what was good, and you chose NOT to follow God’s will?

                                                             i.      How much are you missing out on in this life, as well as your eternal life, because you chose;
1.      to brag and boast

2.      be self-confident and prideful

3.      follow YOUR will in life and decisions

4.      How many times did you KNOW what was good, but chose not to do it?

5.      On the other hand, perhaps, you do not even attempt to seek after the Lord to know His will.

                                                          ii.      You say you love the life you are living?
1.      John 12:25 “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

                                                       iii.      What does that mean?
1.      John 12:25 is posing a question to you love YOUR will, if so you will end up losing your eternal life over it.  However, if you hate your own will, trust in the Lord’s will, you will go from self-confident to confidence in the Lord.  THIS is putting your trust in the Lord!


James has spoken about keeping our endurance to fight a good fight and resist the temptations in life.  He has explained to us about WHAT Christian living is, and looks like.  He has told us about Brotherly Love, and how to avoid worldliness. James tells us in the previous few verses that we need to submit ourselves to God’s will, and not be self-willed.

You are saved?  Good!  Now listen to the Holy Spirit give you the will of God for direction in your life AND follow that narrow path! In doing so, as you follow God’s direction in your life, THEN He will use you to bring others into the Kingdom of God!

So many times people pray to be used, but they themselves are not obedient, and do not DO the good they know to. Your time is short, but a vapor in the wind.  Seek the Lord and He will reveal His will to you.  Obey it, and He will reward you in this life and the next.  Follow YOUR will, and you will find yourself in desperate times in this life, and if you do not change, you will find yourself lost for eternity after you die.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book of James - Part 11: To Save and Destroy

The Book of James
Part 11 - Judging Others
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

James 4:11-12
 11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?


In the last few verses we have studied, James, who is speaking to the Twelve Tribes as believers in Christ, as the head of the Jerusalem Council, directs the listeners to stop living worldly lives, placing other things such as money before morality in their lives while claiming to be followers of God, this is a contradiction to scripture.

The scripture calls them adulterers for doing so in Chapter 4 verse 4, and tells them to stop following their lusts.  He also tells them they need to refocus their lives, submitting to God, and be truly remorseful for their sins they committed against God.

In today’s verses, we read that James is also telling them to stop judging people by the Law of Moses. It is not the Law of Moses that holds the power to save or destroy, but God alone. When they act as judges, using this law, they themselves are trying to take the place of God, determining for themselves who shall be saved, and who shall be condemned.

We as followers of Christ need to remember that although the Law reveals our sin against God, it is not the Law itself that condemns or saves, but God alone!

When we say by the Law you have sinned, so by the Law you are condemned, we in turn are teaching that also by the Law you are saved, and this is not so, for no one can fulfill the Law but one, Jesus Christ.

We need to remember that the Law was given, not to save man, but to reveal his sin.  Therefore, it is by YOUR SIN you are condemned, and by CHRIST’S atonement, you receive Salvation!

       I.            DO NOT SLANDER OR JUDGE

a.      James speaking to the Christ believing Jews
                                                             i.      They are supposed to be followers of Christ now

                                                          ii.      Jesus fulfilled the Law, and in doing so the Law has been satisfied and is of no effect to those who are rightly in relationship with Christ.

1.      Luke 24:44 “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

                                                       iii.      Placing the Law back on to the believers is re-bridling them with the bondage of sin. (Book of Romans)

b.     Do not slander
                                                             i.      This may cause others (if not yourself) to want to carry out the next step of slander, krino (Greek for Judge)

                                                          ii.      krino means to decide for yourself to try, condemn, punish, avenge or damn a person.

1.      You make yourself the ultimate judge, placing yourself as God.

                                                       iii.      We cannot determine another’s destination, because we are incapable of looking at their heart.  Only God knows the heart of man, and judges it accordingly.

                                                         iv.      A godly man will share with others WHAT God’s Word says and what they can do about it.  We do not want to attack people with the only thing that can save them...the Word.
c.      This is about being a self-appointed judge of others
                                                             i.      Matthew 7:1-5 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

1.      I wish I had a dime for each time someone came to me pointing out someone else’s sin, yet completely overlooking a great sin in their own life that needed to be dealt with.

2.      You see, the Law points out sin, and we need to examine ourselves with it.  It is only when we rightly correct our own lives, will we be able to help others correct theirs.

a.      Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

3.      Jesus never calls us to tell people they are saved or going to hell;

4.      Matthew 28:18-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

a.      Why is there so much confusion about judging?  Because we are told to judge a brothers fruit, we are told if we see a brother in sin we are to correct him in love.  Then we read not to judge...this can cause confusion.

b.     But if you step back and look at the two types of judging, it becomes clear and easy to see the difference.


John Doe comes to church regularly, and openly confesses that he IS a Christian.  John is married, and his wife also attends church.

One day you are walking down the street and you see John Doe with another woman, and they are holding hands and you see them kiss.  What do you do? 

If you go to him and point out his sin in love, are you judging him?

Absolutely not, you are not telling him whether or not he is going to heaven or hell, but simply doing what God tells us to do in His Holy Word!

The Word of God tells us that if we see a brother in sin, we are to first go to him in private, and show him his error. 

If he refuses to listen, then we are to return with a few others from the church to speak with him in love once more. 

If he still refuses to listen, he is to see the Elders of the church, and they will give him the opportunity to listen to scripture. 

If he still refuses to listen, then the elders are to tell him he is not allowed to come to church until he repents.

This is so all those in the congregation will understand that you cannot call yourself a follower of Christ, and live in sin.  If he repents, then he is welcomed back into the congregation.  If he does not, then it is still up to God on how to condemn or save him...not us.

c.      In this illustration, scripture was followed, and no one judged incorrectly.

d.     We can be a doer of the word, judge our brothers in love accordingly WITHOUT judging whether someone will be saved or destroyed.  That is God’s job.

a.      There is only one Lawgiver and Judge.

b.     He alone is the one who is able to save and destroy.

c.      But you-who are you to judge your neighbor?
                                                             i.      The original Greek says, “but you - who are you?” or in other words, “Who do you think you are?”

There are two types of judging we can do.  One is commanded by God and the other condemned.

We are commanded by Christ in Matthew 28 to teach all the world to obey what Christ has commanded, and also to correct a brother who is sinning. 

James 5:19-20
 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save their soul from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

This is being a doer of the Word, and judging accordingly as commanded by Christ.

Only God can see a man’s heart, and say whether that man is condemned to hell or received Salvation for eternity.

If we try to tell someone they are going to heaven or hell, either one, we are in essence trying to take the place of God, and this is the judging we are told NOT to do!

There is only one God, and one Judge.