Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book of James - Part 9: Worldliness

The Book of James
Part 9 - Worldliness
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


SCRIPTURE READING

James 4:1-6
 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?

 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
   but shows favor to the humble.”


INTRODUCTION

Have you ever wondered why there is so many wars, so much arguing, and so much opposition in the world?

Countries fight with countries; religions fight with religions, races fighting races, all the way down to couples quarreling, and even siblings not getting along.

We see as far back as Genesis, sibling rivalry.

Genesis 25:21-23
 21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.

 23 The LORD said to her,
   “Two nations are in your womb,
   and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
   and the older will serve the younger.”

Even further, we see Cain and Abel’s brotherly dispute.

James is going to reveal to us in the scripture today, the secret behind the fights and quarrels of man, as well as the resolution and answer to why we do, and how to stop.

James asks rhetorically three questions, then gives the explanation so that we may conquer ourselves, and allow God’s Holy Spirit to rule us. 

What causes wars and fighting?  Are you a friend to the world?  Are you receiving opposition or favor from God today?

This message today can literally change your life, if you let it.

This message can take your life, which may feel like a trout trying to swim upstream your entire life just to die when you get there, and transform it into a peaceful pond surrounded by God’s goodness and providence, where you will lack nothing.



       I.            WHAT CAUSES WARS AND QUARRELS?
a.      They come from Desires and Passions that Battle within you


b.     LIT. v1 “like soldiers in your body parts.”
                                                             i.      There is a battle between our Spirit and Flesh

                                                          ii.      Ephesians 6 our battle is a spiritual one.

                                                       iii.      Galatians 5:19-21 Paul gives 17 specific examples of “works of the flesh”

1.      Galatians 5:19-2119 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

                                                         iv.      Jesus tells us we cannot serve two masters...you will either be serving the Spirit, or your flesh!
1.      To know which you are serving, simply examine your life, and see what fruit you are producing...is it fruits of the flesh, or fruits of the Spirit?


c.      v2 “You desire, but do not have, so you kill.”
                                                             i.      Jesus said hating your brother is the same as murder.
1.      Sometimes you desire something, and it is not provided in the manner which you see fit...YOUR WILL is not satisfied, so you hate the one who did not fulfill it.

2.      You desire, but do not receive, so you kill...


d.     “You long for (covet) but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”
                                                             i.      Why do we try so hard to fulfill our own will?

                                                          ii.      Because we are serving our flesh, which is full of evil desires.

                                                       iii.      We sin, and continue in sin, when we serve our flesh instead of God’s Holy Spirit within us.


e.      “You do not have because you do not ask God”
                                                             i.      Sometimes, our desires are legitimate, but pride keeps us from asking God, so we do not receive.


f.       “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives”
                                                             i.      Sometimes our desires are way off base, and we ask God to fulfill OUR WILL, so we do not receive...

                                                          ii.      When this happens, many times people will blame God for not answering their prayer...but what actually happened, was God did not obey their will...

                                                       iii.      So, they hate...


g.      If you are surrounded with wars and quarrels in your life...
                                                             i.      They are coming from the desires in your flesh...
1.      Scripture says so.

2.      God is not a God of confusion and strife, but the Lord of peace and of sound mind.

                                                          ii.      Your flesh is trying to rule over you...do not let it.

                                                       iii.      You must put your flesh, along with its desires, in its place...
1.      You have to return to seeking God’s will, not yours

2.      Sometimes we may think that what we want, and OUR WILL IS the right way...But Jesus warns, “There is a path that seems right, but only leads to destruction.”

3.      We cannot seek our will in life...otherwise, we are surrendering to our flesh, and its evil desires.



   II.            ARE YOU A FRIEND TO THE WORLD OR TO GOD?
a.      “You adulterous people”
                                                             i.      Why does James call them adulterous people?

                                                          ii.      Because, loving anything more than God is adultery.
1.      When someone cheats on their spouse, they put desires of their flesh above the covenant they made with God, that is WHY it is adultery.  They are committing it against God.

2.      When someone chases after money in their life, their greed becomes their God.

3.      You could lock yourself into a room, all alone, and still commit Spiritual adultery.
4.      Nothing can come before God in our lives...not even ourselves!
a.      When we chose OUR WILL over His, we are spiritual adulterers.

b.     When we follow our sinful flesh and its desires as opposed to His Spirit, we are spiritual adulterers.


b.     don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?
                                                             i.      When we chose to follow our flesh and its desires, we become friends to this sinful world, and an enemy of God.

                                                          ii.      enmity means hate...

                                                       iii.      In essence, when you follow your flesh, you will have wars and quarreling in your life, as well as hate God...


c.      Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.


d.     Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
                                                             i.      You see, God wants His Spirit to dwell in us, so that we may follow His Spirit, instead of our flesh!

                                                          ii.      Choosing to follow God’s Spirit instead of our sinful flesh, will lead us to God’s Will in our lives as opposed to our will.

                                                       iii.      As long as we are seeking OUR WILL, there IS going to be strife, wars, quarrellings, and unrest in our lives.

                                                         iv.      It is IMPOSSIBLE for us to have the peace that surpasses understanding in our lives, until we rebuke our flesh and its desires and will, and seek after God’s Spirit and HIS WILL.



III.            ARE YOU RECEIVING OPPOSITION OR FAVOR FROM GOD?
a.       But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
                                                             i.      The proud want their way
1.      The humble want Gods way

                                                          ii.      The proud seek after their desires
1.      The humble seek after God’s desires

                                                       iii.      The proud want to please themselves
1.      The humble want to please God

                                                         iv.      The proud want others to fulfill their will
1.      The humble want to fulfill God’s will


b.     Are you receiving opposition or favor from God today?
                                                             i.      God’s favor is as close as your humbling submission to Hid Spirit in your life.

                                                          ii.      Not once for all...but every day!  Sometimes many times a day!


CONCLUSION

Romans 6:6
“we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

Romans 6:12-14
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

One must humbly submit to God’s Spirit, seeking to fulfill God’s Will alone!

If you want to live a life without conflict, wars, fighting, a life filled with God’s favor, not His opposition, then you MUST be living by His Spirit, and not YOUR FLESH.

Ask yourself if you are producing fruits of the Spirit in your life?

Galatians 5:22-26
 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, compassion, integrity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

Against such things there is no law.

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


v23 Against such things there is no law.

What does this mean??

Romans 5:1313 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.”

You see...when we live by God’s Spirit, we will produce these Spiritual fruits in our lives, and as long as we are living by God’s Holy Spirit, and not our flesh...we will not sin, because our hearts were right, and our intensions and actions were based on please God’s Will, not our own.

Is your life a calm, pleasing pond, or are you still swimming upstream with all your strength just to die?