John Lloyd - Authentic Christianity Pt. 9

Authentic Christianity

Practical Wisdom from the Book of James

Spiritual Wholeness James 4:1-10

November 19, 2017

Pastor John Lloyd

Passage: James 4:1-10

The Principle:  Humbly identify sources that fracture our soul; turn to God and he will make us whole. 

I.               Identify 3 sources that fracture our souls:

James 4:8a Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

A.    Quarrelsomeness

James 4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. (Matthew 5:22)

“We must fight to be free from the tentacles of ungrace.”  Philip Yancey

B.   Prayerlessness

James 4:2 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.  (Matthew 7:7, 6:9-10)

C.   Worldliness

James 4:4 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.  (I John 2:15, John 3:16)

“Friendship with the world is hostility toward God.” 

Aldous Huxley-Brave New World- our danger would come not from collectivistic oppressors but from pleasure giving technologies.  We would be controlled by inflicting pleasures on us.

George Orwell-1984-Feared books would be banned. We would face an externally opposed opposition controlling us by inflicting pain on us. 

“When we allow anything to become more important than Jesus, we become worldly.  This can happen so easily without us even knowing it is happening.”  Ellsworth    2 Corinthians 11:3

Reflective Questions:  What am I attached to?  Have any of these “nesses” attached to me? 

Deal with the spirit of “ungrace “ from within and without. 

A summon to spiritual wholeness:

II.             Surrender control to the Holy Spirit.

James 4:5 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”?

The Holy Spirit yearns for us to grow!  He yearns for Christ to be expressed in your life.  He wants no believer to turn away from Jesus.  (Isaiah.54:5-6)

Ephesians 5:18- And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,  (Colossians 3:16, Ezekiel 36:26)

III.             Humbly receive and practice the Spirit of Grace.

James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Romans 5:20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

“Grace is our best gift to the world.  Grace rescues us from our propensity to lust for evil things.  He gives grace potent enough to meet this and every other evil spirit.”  Phillips

C.S Lewis was asked what is the difference between Christianity and other religions.  Some said incarnation, others the resurrection.  Lewis said, “It is easy, It’s grace.” 

God’s gift of sustaining grace is enjoyed only by

those willing to admit their need and accept the gift.

A.   Line up your desires with God’s desires.

James 4:7 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 he arts, you double-minded.

Submit- to line up under God and His care and power. Conscious decision to submit to God as the sovereign ruler of the universe. Purify- to make clean, cleanse from dirt.  (Philippians 4:11 learn contentment)  

B.   Resist the devil.

James 4:7 Resist the devil and he will flee from you

Resist- Take your stand against the devil.  It means to exert energy and effort to oppose and defeat the devil and temptation.  These are military terms and they are urgent.

John 8:44 Father of all lies

I John 3:8 Jesus appeared to destroy the works of the devil

I John 5:19 We know the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

C.   Pursue God with all your heart.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Double minded- friends with the world and God at the same time.

D.  Cleanse your soul.

James 4:9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. I John 1:9, Hebrews 9:14

Repentance-dealing with both external behavior and internal attitudes.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Psalm 73:28  But as for me, it is good to be near God, 

God is able to make spiritually whole all who come to Him! 

Spiritual Growth Questions for week of November 19, 2017

  1. How is it going with your reading plan?  Sun. I Thessalonians 5  Mon. IIThessalonians 1 Tues. I! Thess. 2 Wed. II Thess. 3 Thurs. 2 Peter 1 Fri. & Sat. reflection. Pick out one verse that ministered to you. Share a truth you’ve been learning with a friend.
  2. Read James 4:1-10 three times.   Read one time in a paraphrase translation. (The Message or The Living Translation) Share with a friend or your group what you are hearing from God’s Word.  Try and put the passage  into your own words.
  3. Read James 4:1-3.  What sort of wrong motives can lead to fights and quarrels?  What causes quarrels in your relationships?
  4. Which one of the ‘nesses’ quarrelsomeness, prayerlessness, covetousness or worldliness do find the hardest to deal with? Why?

By "the world" James seems to mean, as often is the case in Scripture, "the way the world behaves," the pattern of life, the underlying implicit story, the things people want, expect, long for and dream of that drive them to think and behave the way they do. If you go with the drift, if you don't reflect on what you're doing but just pick up habits of mind and body from all around you, the chances are you will become "friends" with "the world" in this sense. You will be "normal" It takes guts to stand out and be different. It also takes thought, decision and determination.

  1. Read James 4:4-5. What patterns or values of this world are easy to drift along with and accept without much thought that they are in conflict with a biblical perspective?  What is James trying to communicate? 
  2. Read James 4:7. What are practical ways you can resist the devil? 
  3. Read James 4:6, 4:8-10.  Consider the power of grace in this passage.  What is James saying is available to the humble?  Why is it sometimes hard to believe that God wants this kind of relationship with us?
  4. What are you willing to give up this week in order to use that time to draw closer to God?   Spend time praying for one another and any conflicts that you may be facing at this time.                                 

Happy Thanksgiving!