James: Encountering the Torah of Freedom – Chapter 4 part 1

Welcome Home everyone. We sincerely hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Today, we’ll begin the 4th chapter of James.

My Big idea for today is that we would embrace God with humility. My prayer for us today is that by hearing this message, together we would pray with godly intent and receive the favor of God. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in James chapter 4, verse 1.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:1-10

In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 3 sections or points.

We Must Know The Attitude Of Our Prayers

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:1-3

This is the battle of good and evil in our hearts that if unchecked will lead us into the double mindedness that James has warned us about.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:6-8

There is a fallacy at play that we must address. This fallacy is a concept or notion that God will give us anything we ask for. Many would say that God is a loving father and would not deny His children anything. This is Just wrong/deceitful, and its result can be destructive.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Here is how this works. When one truly “delights in the Lords they have in some way surrendered to the Lord like one who is in love. When we have found ourselves in the throes of passion with God. Our will is aligned with His and the attitude of our prayer is correct. God’s will becomes the desires of our heart and that is what he has promised to give us, to those who love him. We say that we love God, but we refuse to obey Him. Then we think while in this same dysfunctional relationship that God should give me whatever I ask for, because after all, he promised. Remember, we claim God but don’t obey and our will is not aligned with His and then we blame God as though He is not trustworthy. How could this be?

How many of you know that a truly loving Father knows what is best for his children. God knows what is best for me and you. Even the best gift out of order becomes a curse. We must not treat prayer/God’s word as a magic charm, otherwise likened to idolatry and or witchcraft.

 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.

1 Samuel 13:13

I’ll move on to my next point.

We Must Know The Consequence Of Compromise

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

James 4:4-6

James is drawing the Jewish mind to a picture that they know very well. All throughout the Old Testament God uses the imagery of adultery to demonstrate Israel’s rejection of God and their preference to idols. Israel is in a covenant relationship/marriage with God. Yet Israel is repeatedly rejecting God’s love and care and whoring itself to idols.

Exodus 32: Moses is on the mountain of God and the Israelites get restless and they build an idol to worship.

Hosea: God calls his prophet to marry a prostitute. Over and again she sells herself into this life of prostitution. God commands Hosea to purchase her back eventually it costs Hosea everything he has. Hosea’s story demonstrates God’s love to relentlessly pursue humanity, even though we continuously reject Him.

Foolishly we believe that we can be in covenant with God and still make time with the world. It’s our pride that deceives us into thinking we know better than God. Just like in the garden the serpent questions the truthfulness of God’s word. “Certainly, you can have both,” says Satan. In Genesis 4, God speaks to Cain

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Genesis 4:7

This relates back to this idea of the “evil impulse” we have be talking about, the “Yetzer hara” that is in us. We must rule over our evil impulses and desires. God is jealous for the human spirit, yet it only wants the worldly things. Here’s the good news… God gives us more than enough grace to overcome.

God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

We Must Repent And Be Forgiven

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:7-10

Take a stand against the adversary. Take the initiative for God’s reconciliation.

When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! 16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.

Isaiah 1:15-16

Align your prayers with God. Be faithful to God and seek His will first. Repent of our sins and our double mindedness. Find redemption in His divine forgiveness. In these things we will find the freedom in Christ that we long for. James’ focus throughout his letter is to remind the Messianic Christians that in Christ is the fulfilment of the law/Torah and in Christ this law makes them free.

Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If, we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace.

Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today?

Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today.

You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late.

It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life.

If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?

Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.

“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6:24-26