James: Encountering the Torah of Freedom

Welcome Home everyone, Happy New Year!

Congratulations! You made it to part 2 of our series from last week. My intention today is to go over a quick recap of last week the jump right into the second point of the message. So continuing from last week…

My big idea for today is that when we uplift others, we bring glory to God. My prayer for us today is that by hearing this message we would truly love our neighbors as ourselves and in that God would get the glory. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in James chapter, verse

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

James 4:11-17

Concerning the Torah/law, loving our neighbor as ourselves, we must remember…

Pure Speech Does Not Condemn

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:11-12

We looked at the 3 forms of impure speech that drew James attention. In this case, James discusses slander, speaking against a brother or sister, and judgmental speech.

The issue is not whether or not your neighbor’s sins remain hidden. Rather, when we speak out against or judge our neighbor, we arrogantly remove God from His position as judge and put ourselves in His place.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Matthew 7:1-2

This is primarily having to do with mercy/grace that one is afforded. As fallen creatures we are unqualified to judge others as we are inherently unrighteous. Jesus, when asked of the greatest commandments he said, love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. He added that this was the summation of Torah/Law. Yet the Torah does not distinguish between the righteous or unrighteous neighbor. It merely states that you are to love your neighbor as yourself.

When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

If we take ourselves out of the normal order of God’s Law, we reject His Torah Law and view it as unworthy. We judge not only our neighbor, but God’s law itself.

Pure speech does not condemn. It does not condemn our neighbor And it does not condemn Torah But speaks with the mind and mouth of Christ.

Concerning the Torah/law and our place in the grand order of things, we should remember…

Do Not Be Deceived By Our Arrogant Desires

God alone is the master of our destinies.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.

James 4:13-16

This idea of boasting about our own self-importance is well documented in the scriptures. It comes from a place of pride and self-promotion. {a character trait of Satan himself}. It comes from a self-serving place where we attempt to exalt our own status. In the first century this is partly how the rich lorded their wealth and position over the poor. We even see it today in music and on TV. The haves brag about what they have and the have nots are enchanted by the jealousy of a richer life. They covet the lives of the wealthy and in most cases they would do anything to grasp a little taste of it. Meanwhile they keep the glory for themselves. What James is really saying is remember that God is in control. Remember to give God the glory.

In our lives, even today {and I have certainly experienced this in my own life}, we get excited, sometimes, about life. And when good things happen, we like to talk about good news, that’s ok. We must be careful to always give God the glory.

People are quick to congratulate you and say all kinds of good things to you or about you. In some cases, we are in danger of believing our own hype. We begin to buy our own press. And we forget that God has blessed us. And we start to believe that we are just “that good.” And we forget that everything we have is because of God. And old pastor I knew, when people would say that he preached good or was a great pastor he would always say, “thank you,” “I’ll take the encouragement and give the glory to God.” I think that is something that we all could do. We can be committed to encouragement and give the glory to God. These are the ways that we are deceived by our arrogant desires. Our selfish heart wants to be like God and hoard god’s glory for ourselves. We must resist this and establish patterns in our speech and our living that seek to give God glory.

Let me close with this.

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

James 4:17

This deals with things we know that we should do. Also, with things that we know that we should not do. All of these things we have discussed today, pure speech dealing with others, Judging God’s Torah/law and remembering God’s supreme position of glory in our lives bring me to a question…

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