Sermon Notes 02.23.20- Pastor Jason James Series: James 4–Battle lines
Bible Hub: a great tool to help us understand the true meaning of the words in the scripture we are studying. It gives commentary, connecting verses, etc.
- v1-3- “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are at war within you?[b] 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
- What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions (desires) are at war within you?
- Where are passions at war? In our heart. They are the “wars within”.
- Hedonism: the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.
- Sometimes the fights outside of us are because we are losing the inner war inside of us.
- James is looking at the root cause. James seems to be bothered more by the selfish spirit and bitterness of the quarrels, than by the rights and wrongs of the various viewpoints.
Anyone ever lived this verse? That your internal world is affecting your external world including those you love? Share.
We blame everyone else but James lays it back at our feet.
- v2- “You desire (lust) but do not have, So you kill. You covet and do not have so you fight and quarrel.”
- He is speaking to Christians.
- Matthew 15:19 NLT- “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”
- Mark 4– the heart is the most fertile ground in the world.
- James is pointing back to Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount.
- There is a higher expectation when under grace and not under the Law anymore.
- When living under grace, what is happening in our hearts is of utmost importance.
- Most of the time, murder, anger, rage, cheating on your spouse, saying something mean were all growing in the heart long before they happened.
- What comes out publicly, we have already been practicing in our heart.
Do you have any idea what is growing in your heart? Has God been trying to reveal some things to you that are taking root, or things that have not been dealt with?
- You desire and you covet/lust but do not have. We will never satisfy lust.
- Lust is the fruit of emptiness.
Because you covet and have not won the war inside of you, you have taken the war outside of you. We must win the war inside of us.
- If you don’t get your way or disagree with people, you may see yourself doing things like this:
- Withholding good, help, kindness or hospitality. Sins of commission/omission.
- Gossip and under cut, spread rumors.
- Justify anger or hatred, maybe violence.
- Maybe you are a 40 year old who still acts like a 2 year old.
- You act like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, because you are out for your own gain and use people.
- You have not fully embraced the teaching of Jesus that says pick up your cross and deny yourself. A cross. Not something light, easy, pretty or helpful. However, a CROSS is what we are called to carry.
v2c-3- “You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions/pleasures.”
- “Spend” is the same verb used to describe the wasteful spending of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15).
- We don’t ask when we know, or think we know, the answer.
Have you ever prayed to God but had a backup plan ready just in case?
- “God, if you get me out of this…”
- “God I pray that you will help me win the lottery, and I will give you a portion of the winnings.”
- “God if you would help the Huskers win, I will be nice to my idiot boss for the next month.”
Recap: James is talking to us (Christians) about our hearts regarding lust, coveting, not praying. When we do pray, we want to spend it on our hedonism.
James is making them look in the mirror:
- v4-6 4- “You adulterous people![c] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity (hostility) with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore, it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
- James pivots in verse 4: the way you are acting and living is no different than the world.
- You’re better than that, and you know better than that.
- v4: “Adulterous people”- You are cheating on God with your actions and behaviors. You have given your heart to something else.
- Friendship with the world- affection, fondness, love.
- Our attitude and actions say, “I believe this over you God.”
- James is not talking about shutting yourself off from the world.
- He is saying to quit returning to what you knew and used to be.
- Be who God says you are right now and who He called you to be.
Do you struggle with this? Do you know who He says you are? Share from the Bible WHO we are in Christ. Make sure people in the group know who and WHOSE they are.
- Our attitude affects everything and everyone: how we speak to and interact with our kids, treat our spouse, honor or dishonor a certain race, etc.
- v5: He yearns jealously. He is not indifferent. He is like a parent who fights to protect his child.
- v6: But He gives more grace.
- v7: For God opposes the proud BUT gives grace to the humble.
James is calling us out of this fight and begging us to become who we are, NOT who we were.
Do you want to win the war of your heart?
- 7″ Submit yourselves therefore 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 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
- Submit: we hate the word. It means to come under; to obey.
- Resist: comes from two Greek words: stand and against.
- James tells us to stand against the devil.
- It is not passive. It is being ACTIVE in refusing to participate.
Cleanse hands, purify your heart, mourn and humble yourself:
Have we lost the ability to mourn for sin? Have we gotten to a place where we so justify everything, have we lost our ability to repent from or grieve sin?
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
- People recognize a limp, but they don’t always know why you are limping.
- There was a season where God began to help me see how my decisions were affecting everything.
- There was nowhere to go, because God wanted me to see how my selfishness was hurting and limiting others. He began to show me my patterns, excuses, lies, what I really thought of Him, and how entitled I had become as a Christian.
- Pride blinds us to who we are. We look at everyone else.
Are you limping? Is God trying to reveal an unclean heart (motive), a heart that needs to be purified? Do you need to mourn over sin that until now you have been willingly hiding and continuing to take part in? Do you need to find humility in who you are, or even in your Christianity?
What does this prayer speak to you as you pray it? What is Holy Spirit highlighting for you?
Father I know this grieves you. I know there are areas of my heart not fully surrendered or I choose to live my own way. I ask for you to forgive me. I know you give more grace. Help me to submit to you and humble myself before you.
I also know, because of this, it is affecting people around me. I want to change.
Jesus I know you died for this. This put you on the cross. I know you secured life and victory because of your death. I owe you everything.
Holy Spirit, help me change. Help me to live this heart change and victory out in my life. I will not be a victim any longer. I am responsible for my heart and choices. I take responsibility now.
What do you need to actively DO this week in response to this prayer? We can talk all we want, but we need to put action to what God is speaking and what He is asking of us.
You may need to go apologize as God reveals your heart and sin to you.