Tag Archives: James

Winning the War – Victory Through Submission


11. Winning the War Obedience Submit.001

You are at war! This war is spiritual. Within you and around you this war rages and you are a combatant. There are no neutral parties.

Who does not long for peace? We think that we may find the peace we long for by surrender to the passions that rage within us. As we feed our selfish longings and desires we find ourself in conflict with those around us. You are at war with others.

Not only are you at war within and with others, but you fight with God! As we seek affirmation of the world we desire what the world offers, it looks so good! The world system feeds our passions and affirms our self-centeredness.

The more we feed our selfish desires the greater the raging emptiness. We fail to find satisfaction that was promised and this leads us to anger and ultimately despair.

How many times have you heard of one of God’s beautiful created people who have committed suicide? Perhaps you have contemplated that at some time yourself.

If you want peace – be sure you are fighting the right enemy! Some of us have made friends with God’s enemy the world, thus we make ourselves the enemy of God!

We are at war! Our enemy will not negotiate, our enemy will not surrender, our enemy must be conquered. Victory is the only path to peace. As children of God, we are all engaged in war whether we realize it or not. There are three enemies that war against the Christian the flesh (1-3), the world (4-5), and the devil (6-7).

  • In the NT. the word “Soldier” is used 4x in reference to the child of God.
  • In the NT. the word “war, warfare” is used 5x in reference to the child of God.
  • In the NT. the word “fight” is used 4 x in reference to the child of God.
  • In the NT. the word “resist” is used 4x in reference to the child of God.

In this war there are two types of attack:

Indirect Satanic attack – comes as an “angel of light” through the flesh, world – base of this attack is temptation, to get us to act independently of God. (2 Co. 11:12-15)

Direct Satanic attack – Satan himself – comes as a roaring lion, purpose in this attack is to cause fear, and to render the Christian ineffective in the fight. (1 Pt. 5:8)

NOTE: The design of both attacks is ultimately to destroy the child of God.

This morning I want to pause in our study through the Book of James in order to take a careful look at how we can live a victorious Christian life. “Winning The War – Victory Through Submission.”

There are two parts to winning this war: Submit to God, and Resist the devil (7).

Are you completely surrendered to God in every area of your life? Is there any area of your life where you are holding back from obedience? If so this is the enemy territory in your life from which Satan will launch his attack in an effort to keep you a defeated Christian.

THE BATTLEGROUND IS THE MIND (1-5)

The flesh wants to please itself. (1)

This war is going on in our own flesh (members).

James 4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

The flesh looks for ways to fulfill its own desires (2-3)

James 4:2-3. 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.

  1. Lust – to have affections toward something, to desire, to long after. No matter how you lust the desire of your affections is always out of reach.
  2. Murder – Jesus equated anger with murder (Mt. 5:21-22). The flesh becomes angry at anyone or anything that stands between it and what it desires.
  3. Covet – to desire zealously, aggressively, consumes the whole being. As much as you try you still cannot grasp the illusion. NOTE: These first three are inward. The next three are outward:
  4. Fight – to contend physically in a private quarrel.
  5. War – strife, everyone around is involved in the conflict. You have manipulated every option and been in conflict with everyone around you and you still lack that pleasure you desire. You do not have because you do not ask – you are man-centered, instead of God-centered.
  6. Pray – you ask in an attempt to manipulate God. You still don’t receive because of your motive is impure. Your desire is to consume that thing to please yourself. Pleasure – lust, sensual pleasure, enjoyment, physical pleasure
    ILL: Prodigal son – wasted all his possessions on prodigal living (Lk. 15:13)

What the flesh desires the world claims to have. (4-5)

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. 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”?

  1. Because the flesh has failed to satisfy its own sensual pleasures it turns to the world, and what the flesh desires the world is happy to provide.
  2. To gain the pleasures we desire, we make friends with the world (Ps. 50:18)
  3. To make the world your friend is to display hostility toward God (I Jn. 2:15). You become God’s enemy!

BATTLE PLAN FOR VICTORY – SUBMIT TO GOD (6-7)

God’s battle plan for victory in this war is two-fold: 1.) Submit to God (7a); 2.) Resist the devil (7b).

Draw near (8a)

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.

  1. Honestly examine yourself (8, 1:22-25). To “Draw near to God” is to examine yourself in the light of God Himself. (I Co. 11:28,31,32; Ps. 139:23).
  2. Submit is a military term, to place in order, to place in orderly fashion under command.
  3. Submit is to surrender completely to the will of another. To be controlled by another. We are to be controlled by the Spirit of God. (Eph 5:18 be “filled with the Spirit.”)

Get right (8b)

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.

  1. Cleanse your hands” – Actions – outward sins (8). The outworking of passions.
  2. “Purify your hearts” – Attitudes – inward sins (8). The seat of our passions, the problem of double-mindedness.

Humble Yourself (9-12)

  1. Repent of your sin (9). Become broken-hearted over sin. Mourn over your sin! laughing and joy turn to mourning and gloom. This happens when we catch a glimpse of God and his holiness, we view sin from God’s perspective.
  2. Yield yourself to God (10) “humble yourself”. This is an act of will, yield all areas of your life to God. Obey God’s revealed commands in Scripture. Live in an attitude of submission – “Lord, what do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:6)

VICTORY IS ASSURED TO THOSE WHO ENGAGE IN THE BATTLE (6,8,10)

A Warning! (6)

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

  1. God resists those who are proud and will not surrender to Him (6)
  2. God fights against them by allowing Satan to work against us in our life (Lk. 22:31)
  3. When we refuse to submit to God we “give place to the Devil” (Eph. 4:27)

A Promise! (6,8)

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

God is full of grace and willing to give that grace to those who humble themselves in submission (6).

  1. Grace is available – as much as you need. Grace upon grace. Saving Grace – for by grace you are saved through faith. Sanctifying Grace – grace for living every single day in a way that glorifies Him! Serving Grace – the grace to obey and live for Him regardless of circumstances.
  2. Grace is sufficient (2 Co.12:9). Like a river flowing fully and forcefully is God’s amazing grace!

When we draw near to God in humility, He will draw near to us (8)

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.

An Evidence! (10)

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

When we humble ourselves in submission before Him, He will lift us up (10). This is VICTORY!  A life submitted to God will produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-26). As the branch submits to the vine the life flows into it and bears fruit. A spirit controlled life will be bold in its witness / testimony (Acts 4:13,29,31)

CONCLUSION:

You win the war through surrender! Humble yourself today! Come as a wicked, thirsty sinner longing for the water of life!

Only the humble will receive God’s free-grace! The proud will never come to Christ because they refuse to acknowledge that He is the answer to their need.

Child of God: Are you surrendered to God in every area of your life, or are you giving Satan opportunity to war against you?

Ask the Holy Spirit to search you, cleanse you and fill you (Eph. 5:18, Lk 11:13). Take God at His word, recognize you are being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Act by faith not feeling, take God at His word. (Ro. 14:23)

Listen to the sermon or download the sermon here.

Deadly Danger of Favoritism


The book “Chicken Soup for the Soul” records the story of Bill. Bill was a college student dressed like a hippie. He didn’t look like the other members of the middle-class church he visited one day. There was no place to sit, so Bill sat down on the carpet near the pulpit. An elderly deacon stood up and made his way to the young man. Everyone in the church expected him to take care of the situation by asking this hippie to leave. They were surprised by the elderly deacon drop his cane and plop down on the floor beside Bill and worship alongside him.

Let’s face it: we feel most comfortable with people who look like us, think like us and act like us. But when that influences our relationships in the church, we have a problem.
James is writing to Christians who have been dispersed across the known world because of persecution that has broken out in Jerusalem against those who believe in Jesus. They are living as foreigners in cities and countries far from their native land. It is difficult, they have lost everything, they are not well accepted.

Our text today is found in James 2:1-13. In this letter James has given what John MacArthur called, “Tests of living faith.” Is your faith a living faith or a dead faith? James is about to deal specifically with that issue in the second half of chapter two. Let’s review the tests James has already outlined for determining if our faith is real:

  • How we respond to trials (1:3-12)
  • How we respond to temptation (1:13-18)
  • How we respond to the Word of God (1:19-27)
  • How we respond to others (2:1-13)

In this portion of the letter, James is showing Christians that genuine faith in Jesus Christ and favoritism (or partiality) are incompatible! They do not and cannot go together! Favoritism in the church is not only discourteous and disrespectful, it is sin!

Here is the simple truth: God is impartial. We are not. Christians are supposed to be.

Partiality is unfair bias in favor of one thing or person compared with another, to show favoritism.

Impartiality is one of the distinguishing characteristics of God’s nature, one of His attributes (that makes Him who He is.)

As a member of the human race we tend to rank people based upon:

  • Ethnicity – culture, language, features or skin color.
  • Education – intelligence, amount of academic training.
  • Economics – the car they drive or the neighborhood or house they live in, the clothes & jewelry they wear. A well-dressed woman will get more attention than other women in a public setting.

Yet none of these things matter to God!

  • There is no partiality in God: Deut 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
  • No partiality against the poor in their dispute: Deut. 1:17 You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s.
  • No partiality for the poor in their dispute: Ex. 23:3 You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute.
  • No partiality in dealing with employees: Eph. 6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
  • No partiality in church discipline: 1 Tim. 5:21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.

Guarding against favoritism in the church is especially challenging when there are many cultures in the church.

Cross-Cultural Challenges:

  • Different Value Systems – different is not necessarily wrong. Different is different. What we know and have been expose to always seems best and most appropriate to us.
  • Different Life Experiences – I can’t expect to know how to live and survive in the bush if I’ve never been exposed to that life. Bushmen will easily mock me, consider themselves better than me.
  • Different Education Opportunities – Many have an education that I never had the opportunity for. You know stuff about running business, farming, manufacturing or mining because of your educational training and life experiences.

We must avoid the deadly danger of favoritism in the church:

FAVORITISM IS A PROBLEM FOR THE CHURCH (1-4)

Because we don’t shed wrong world-views the moment we get saved (1)

These were genuine christians – “brothers” (1,5). They held tightly to faith in Jesus Christ, yet they needed this instruction regarding showing partiality in the church. This attitude of favoritism was so much a part of their culture that it was assumed.  Most Christians were Jewish and poor – (1:1 – Dispersion). Because of persecution many had lost all they owned and were now displaced persons in a foreign country.

Because we naturally admire people of wealth and importance (2-3)

How do we determine wealthy and poor – in simple terms: Those who have more than me are rich, those who have less than me are poor. We admire their achievements or their possessions. We often cater to the rich because we hope to get something out of them. For example.   The church has a need, but instead of asking God what we can do to help with that need, we look to someone else in the church with the idea they can give to meet the need because they have more money than we do.

We are tempted to avoid the poor because they embarrass us. They are given less respect. Sit on the floor. Jesus did not do this, and He does not approve of it!

Wealth is not a sin if submitted to the Lord! Praise the Lord for wealthy believers who are wholeheartedly committed to the gospel! There is also no sin in being poor, as long as the person is not poor because of squandering what God has given to him/her.

Because we fail to see the evil of such response in light of their equality before God. (4)

Distinctions in this way are not to be made among fellow Christians! When we treat others this we make ourselves judges of the value and worth of another Christian – this is evil! This is wrong thinking!  Paul warns them against this common practice! Why?

  • Favoritism undermines the gospel
  • Favoritism undermines the testimony of Christ’s followers.
  • Favoritism undermines the character of God.

FAVORITISM DOES NOT MAKE SENSE IN THE CHURCH (5-7)

Because of the shared riches we have in Christ (5)

Saved poor are rich (1Co.1:26-30) Equal in faith because they are saved by the same sacrifice through Christ. They are equal in status  as sons and daughters of God (Gal.3:26-29).  They are equal in benefits and share a future inheritance in heaven. Saved poor are equal to the saved rich, there are no differences.

There are not many races – just one race – the human race. We are all “one blood.” (Acts 17:26) There are not ethnic churches – Bemba church, Afrikaans Church, White church, there is one church – Christ’s Church!

Our point of relationship is not ethnic, cultural, or economic – our relationship is in Christ alone! A church that does not treat all of God’s children with the same respect and welcome is an unbiblical church! All Christians are welcome to join in heart fellowship here at Kitwe Church: Male/Female, Young/old, Black/Brown/White, Rich/Poor, African/Asian/European/Latino/Everyone

Because of the wicked actions of the unsaved (6-7)

The wicked are those who oppress the poor in their arrogance (6). They exact from the poor what little they have – greed. They don’t pay fair wages or don’t pay when it is due. “Lawless Oceans” a recent documentary on National Geographic channel exposed the commercial fishing industry in the South Pacific. Workers labor for $200 per month working 7 days a week for 30-40 days, they are then are charged $95 for board and food on the ship
The wicked are the very ones who blaspheme the name of your Heavenly Father (7)!  How then can you sin against your brother by giving preferential treatment to these wealthy people in the church?

FAVORITISM IS BE REJECTED BY THE CHURCH (8-13)

Because of the Royal Law (8).

The law was summarized by Jesus in answer to the lawyer’s question.  Jesus said that the greatest command is to “love the Lord your God with all…” and the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  This second command is referred to by James as the “royal law.”

You may be asking – who is my neighbor? That questions was asked many years ago by a religious man. Jesus told the inquirer a story about a Samaritan who met the need of a wounded Jewish stranger.  Jesus then asked, who was the neighbor to the one that fell among thieves? The answer, the one who showed him compassion.  Jesus affirmed that answer with the words, “go and do likewise.”  Go and be a neighbor to others in need! (Lk. 10:29-37)

Because disobedience to the law is sin (9-11)

If you obey all the laws except you disobey one of them, you are a lawbreaker and guilty as such. You don’t commit adultery, but you do murder someone you are guilty of breaking the law!  If you do not “love your neighbor as yourself” by showing favoritism you are breaking the Royal Law of God and committing sin (9a). Those who break the law will be convicted by the law (9b).

Because we all need mercy (12-13)

Speak to others and act toward others in a way that aligns with the reality of our shared relationship in Christ! We have been set free through Christ! You reap what you sow – when we are judged, we will not be shown mercy if we don’t show mercy to others. We all need a little mercy!

We all need mercy, so show the person who is different than you the acceptance, love and respect. Treat all Christians as equal recipients of God’s gracious gifts! Look at everyone through the eyes of Christ. Christ is the link between us and others and that link is love! The basis of my relationship with you is Christ and Christ alone! It is his person and work that gives me the relationship with you. No other basis for a relationship will work!

Listen to the sermon here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=3291712840