Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Battle That Should Not Be Fought, by John

James 4:1-12

1. How does a person become a Christian?
(1) God’s part.
a. He provides the payment for our sins.
b. He offers it without any cost to us.
c. He receives us when we meet His terms.
d. He changes us into the image of His Son.
(2) Our part.
a. We’ve sinned - so we already have something to be saved from.
b. We meet God’s conditions.
aa. We must repent.
bb. We must acknowledge Christ our Lord.
cc. We must acknowledge Christ as our personal Savior.
2. Romans 8:1 says it well: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
3. So where does all this conflict our text talks about come in? It is The Battle Which Should Never Be Fought!


ill. It has been said that when Martin Luther came out of the Catholic church, he came out just like Lazarus came out of the grave. He still had the graveclothes on him. A Catholic man was talking about the Catholics and Lutherans where he grew up and how friendly and helpful they were to each other. He said, “Of course, Martin came out of the church, but he never got far away!”
1. We all have a built in thirst for pleasure. v.1.
(1) Pleasure is not necessarily evil.
(2) James wasn’t condemning pleasure at all.
(3) He was condemning the practice of sin! And pleasure is sin when it breaks God’s laws, and it becomes sin when it is more important to us than God’s rule in our lives!
2. Such inordinate desire is called epithumia, lust!
(1) The way of the world is for every tub to stand on its own bottom and to get what we want by hook or by crook!
(2) “Murder, fight, quarrel (war)” in v 2 can’t be taken literally here. What a church that would be!
(3) The right way for Christians is to ask God!
a. Every desire of our hearts should pass the prayer test!
b. God will not give us evil gifts, or gifts which will harm us or others.
c. If we don’t know that, we don’t know God or His Word well!
3. Sometimes we ask, and God refuses because our motivation is wrong. ill. Father heard his little boy’s prayers. He prayed for a bicycle over and over again. Then one night his prayer changed. His father was pleased to hear him ask God for a bicycle for his friend Jimmy. “Now that’s a better prayer, son! It’s better to pray for someone else.” “Yessir,” his son said. “I’m bigger than Jimmy, so I can ride it all I want to!” That’s the wrong motivation!
4. God’s never fooled by our tricks! He knows our heart’s motivation!
5. And that’s where our conflict comes from! Our hearts!


ill. Christ made no difference between His apostles and the world in this. When Jesus said He would be crucified, Simon Peter took Him aside and said, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” And Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
1. v.4. Longing for and seeking to gain the world’s way of life shows an inner hostility toward God!
2. Gaining it, makes us God’s enemies!
3. v.5. God doesn’t like that! But His Spirit yearns for us to really be one with the Father!
4. v.6. He, having started a good work in us continues it! (Phil 1:6).
(1) He gives more grace!
(2) But only after we are humbled! Whatever it takes!


1. Some count 8, some 10, but there are 8 imperatives here. In Greek, they have different endings. We use vocal stress most of the time for an imperative. There’s all the difference in the world between saying, “Stop” and “STOP!”
2. In v 7.
(1) Submit yourselves to God!
(2) Resist the devil! He will flee! Who says you can’t resist temptation? Not someone who knows this verse, or I Corinthians 10:13!
3. In v 8.
(1) Draw near to God He’ll draw near to you.
(2) Cleanse your hands (means to confess and change your ways!)
(3) Purify your hearts (Obviously means to to become single-minded in serving and desiring the Lord!)
4. In v 9.
(1) Be miserable, mourn and weep. (I think this means as far as the things of the world are concerned! Shame the devil by refusing his goodies! Paul used the same word in Romans 7:24 when he cried out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death!”)
(2) “Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom” refers to the things that the world laughs about and the world rejoices in!
5. In v 10.
(1) Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord!
(2) I see a lot of people who are defeated and humbled by their defeats, but not in the presence of the Lord! All that lies ahead for them is more defeat!
6. Meet God’s conditions of repentance, and He’ll give you all the grace you will ever need!


1. I want you to notice James didn’t say if you meet God’s conditions you can still get all the world’s pleasures! (A lot of people do think that. It leads to a doctrine of being saved by works! And that doctrine is not true!
2. We shouldn’t ever fight a battle with the Lord over the world’s way of living!
3. Our inner conflict which reveals itself externally comes from a love of worldly living!
4. That puts us into the enemy camp! We become God’s enemies!
5. There is just one solution! Repentance!
6. Are you content to live like Satan? He’s God’s number one enemy. Or do you look for a better way?

Emmanuel 03/13/2005


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