Tag Archives: james

You Adulterous People!

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:4 – Scripture of the Weekend, one day late…sorry… (March 22-23,2014)

The Laodicean church was strongly rebuked by Jesus for basically wanting to have it both ways:  to be recognized as followers of Christ while still embracing the sin of the world.  That’s why he called them “lukewarm” and wanted to spit them out of his mouth (Rev. 3:14-22).  The Christians addressed by James seemed to be following a similar path.

What was a problem two thousand years ago is still a problem today.  The temptation to conform to the world (Rom. 12:2a) is strong.  The power of influence cannot be overlooked.  We are influenced by the people around us every day in numerous ways.  The clothes we wear, the way we comb our hair, the cars we drive, the food we eat…these choices and more are made by us as a result of the influence of the society around us.  Yet, God calls us to be different from the world, so different that they will notice, wonder why, and malign us (1 Pet. 4:2-4).  Well, no one likes to be mocked.  And so Satan tempts us very subtly, just as he did with the Christians of James’ day, to conform.

What we need to remember is that we became part of the bride of Christ when we obeyed the gospel and he added us to his church (Rom. 7:1ff), and we are basically committing spiritual adultery by unrepentantly embracing the sin of the world rather than striving to live as God would have us to live.  By doing so, we become the enemies of God.  Is that really worth “the fleeting pleasures of sin”?  (Heb. 11:25)  Read Revelation 21:8 and decide for yourself…

Let The Lowly Brother Boast In His Exaltation, And The Rich In His Humiliation…

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

James 1:9-11 – Scripture of the Weekend (January 18-19, 2014)

Poor people generally wish to be rich, and rich people generally are thankful they aren’t poor…and yet God wishes a different mindset for both of them (cf. Prov. 30:7-9).  We tend to think that the rich have it easy, when in reality there are hardships for both them and the poor, including spiritual hardships.  God warned Israel not to forget him when they became rich (Deut. 8:10-17), but they did it anyway (cf. Judges, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Hosea).  On the other hand, Job’s wife tempted him to curse God when they lost their wealth and fell into poverty (Job 2:9).  Thus, it’s not easy to be poor OR rich.

On the other hand, consider this.  The poor have reason to rejoice because God exalts them (James 1:9).  How?  He chose the poor to be rich in faith (James 2:5; cf. Is. 66:1-2).  In my observation, I have found that the gospel message was more readily and eagerly accepted by the poor people in Ukraine to whom I preached than the rich Americans back home (cf. Matt. 19:23-24).  However, the rich also have reason to rejoice in that they have been humbled (James 1:10).  How?  Riches mean nothing in the kingdom of God (Gal. 3:28; Ps. 49:6-20).  In the long run, they are temporary (James 1:11; cf. Prov. 23:1-5; 1 Tim. 6:17) and you cannot take them with you after this life is over (Luke 12:13-21).  The rich in Christ can rejoice knowing that they found out about these facts of riches before it was too late for them.

May we all have Paul’s attitude (Phil. 4:11-13)…

The Importance of Humility

The Psalmist tells us that God distances himself from the proud (Ps. 138:6).  In fact, a proud look not only separates one from God, it causes one to incur his wrath!  This is undoubtedly why James wrote, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).  But what is humility, really?  What does humility demand, require, express, and acknowledge?

James went on to say, “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).  Humility demands full submission to God.  It’s difficult to teach those who think they are so wise that they already know enough.  Because he gives grace to the humble, God’s people must put off their own desires and accept his law and love.  This requires resisting Satan and his temptations to follow our own desires.  That is what fully submitting to God means.  Let us have the Bible and eternity in our minds and entirely adhere to sound Scripture in submission to God!

Then James said, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands…purify your hearts…” (James 4:8).  Humility requires seeking God’s favor and mercy.  One who seeks his favor and a close relationship with him must be willing to come to him, for he does not force himself upon men.  This is a decision based upon an individual’s faith and obedience.  However, the key is WORK.  It is not easy to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts, but that is what must be done.

Do we have the humility of the tax collector…or are we proud like the Pharisee?

Furthermore, James tells us we must “lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom” (James 4:9).  Humility must express appropriate sorrow for sin.  The sin that used to be fun and brighten our day must now ruin our days.  It must make us feel absolutely terrible.  That cannot happen unless we realize that sin will condemn us to hell, and therefore is a serious matter.  Only then will we be like the tax collector, a man so sorrowful for his sins that he wouldn’t even look up to heaven but instead wailed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13)

Finally, James concludes by saying, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).  Humility must acknowledge the sight of the Lord.  The Psalmist and the prodigal son recognized that they had sinned against God and heaven (Ps. 51:4; Luke 15:18).  God is the primarily the One against whom our sins are committed, and God is the only One who can pardon our sins.  When we recognize that, it helps bring about humility.

God gives grace to the humble.  While men repeatedly sin against him, God joyfully accepts those who take action and come to him in repentance (Luke 15:22-24).  The way to heaven is to realize our sins and shortcomings, and humbly depend upon the will of an all-powerful God for our eternal salvation.