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Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

This week we continue our series from the book of James titled The practical Expression of Our Faith in Daily Living.

Today we are talking about When the Humble Person Is Exalted.

Text

James 4:5-6 AMP

5 Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose that the [human] spirit which He has made to dwell in us lusts with envy? 

6 But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].”

Scripture Reading

James 4:1-10 (AMP)

Things to Avoid

4 What leads to [the unending] quarrels and conflicts among you? Do they not come from your [hedonistic] desires that wage war in your [bodily] members [fighting for control over you]? 

2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your lust goes unfulfilled; so you murder. You are envious and cannot obtain [the object of your envy]; so you fight and battle. You do not have because you do not ask [it of God]. 

3 You ask [God for something] and do not receive it, because you ask with wrong motives [out of selfishness or with an unrighteous agenda], so that [when you get what you want] you may spend it on your [hedonistic] desires. 

4 You adulteresses [disloyal sinners—flirting with the world and breaking your vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend [that is, loving the things of the world] is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 

5 Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose that the [human] spirit which He has made to dwell in us lusts with envy? 

6 But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].” 

7 So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. 

8 Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. 

9 Be miserable and grieve and weep [over your sin]. Let your [foolish] laughter be turned to mourning and your [reckless] joy to gloom. 

10 Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

Prayer

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

As we study the epistle of James, we need to remember that James was writing to Christian Jews that were living among non Christians all over the world.

As Christians today we continue to live among those who are strangers to God’s grace.

The world has succeeded in penetrating the hearts and lives of many believers today.

Therefore James’s words are just as relevant today to us as they were to the Jewish Christians of biblical times.

In these first ten verses of chapter 4, James wrote about worldliness, or self gratification, in the Christian’s life.

  1. James said the obsession to gratify self is the cause of wars and fighting among God’s people.

Christians have said that the goal of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

But another philosophy of life originates in the sinful human heart that says that happiness and pleasure are the main goals of life.

In other words, the main goal of humanity is the gratification of self rather than the glorification of God.

James asked two questions.

  1. The first question is, “What causes wars, and what causes fighting among you?”

James was not referring to international wars but to feuds and conflicts that develop among the people of God.

The two words, “wars” and “fightings” are significant.

The Greek word for “wars” describes a continual or chronic state of funding or hostility, whereas the word for “fightings” suggests flare ups or out breaks resulting from this tension. 

B. With his second question, James answered his first.

“Is it not your passions that are at war in your members?”

Very plainly James was saying that quarrels and conflicts arise among God’s people because having their own way is their chief aim.

James further specified that this warring is “in your members.”

He was not talking about the members of a congregation but about the members of our bodies.

In other words, he was saying that these external wars start within us!

C. James became more specific as he developed the relationship between passions and wars.

He was simply telling us what can and does happen when people choose the gratification of self rather than God as a way of life.

2. This passion to satisfy self undermines the effectiveness of prayer.

  1. If we have our sights set on things below, it is only natural that we seek those things.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Even after we become Christians, it is possible for us to place the wrong value on material things in relation to God’s purpose for our lives. 

B. What did James mean when he said, “You ask wrongly”?

He may have been referring to asking for the wrong things, which can be done as a result of ignorance, but most likely he meant asking with evil intent, with wrong motives.

He clarified with the next phrase, “To spend it on your passions.”

God will neither hear nor answer that kind of prayer.

3. Our tendency to gratify ourselves is abhorrent to God.

  1. James spoke of unfaithful creatures.

He was talking about unfaithfulness to God, look at verse 4, You adulteresses [disloyal sinners—flirting with the world and breaking your vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend [that is, loving the things of the world] is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God.

B. James enforced what he said with a quote from Proverbs 3:34 in verse 6, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].”

The proud are those who arrogantly defy God and refuse to admit His sovereignty over the world and over their lives.

4. This tendency of unregenerate humankind demands repentance.

  1. This paragraph consists of a series of brief exhortations uttered as if they were military commands.

Each command calls for the self seeking and worldly minded Christian to return to God.

James sounds very much like an Old Testament prophet in these statements.

B. The essence of repentance is revealed in James’s appeal to “be wretched and mourn and weep” in verse 9.

This is the picture of the person who realises what his or her sinfulness has done to a righteous and loving God.

Conclusion.

The result of our doing all that James has said is reflected in verse 10, Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

We must acknowledge God’s right to rule in our lives.

We must also recognise that we are nothing, and only as we become nothing can God be everything in our lives.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

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