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Scripture Reading: James 4:7-10
Faith at Work (4)
1. Review (James 3): Faith at work controls the tongue and wisely bears the fruit of righteousness.
2. James 4: A stark contrast is now made, showing the evil fruit of earthly wisdom (3:13-16). James appeals to the grace of God to exhort Christians to put away all sin (worldliness, evil speaking) and humbly submit to the will of the Lord by doing what we know is good.
I. FAITH AT WORK “DEFRIENDS” THE WORLD, Jas 4:1-4.
A. The Result of Faithless Wisdom: “Confusion and Every Evil Thing”.
1. Conflict (wars and fights – battles), cf. 4:2.
a. Strife among brethren, cf. Gal 5:14-15. (cf. husbands and wives)
b. Murder and covetousness, 4:2 cf. 1 Jno 3:15; Col 3:5.
2. Lust (4:1, 2, 3): pleasure (hedone, 4:1, 3); “to set the heart upon” (epithumeo, 4:2). See the nature and sin of fighting:
a. Pleasures (4:1, 3) – They took delight in the fighting!
b. Possession (4:2) – Vain attempt to please themselves.
c. Petitions (4:3) – Selfish prayers are futile, being indulgent.
B. The Real Problem: They had befriended the World, Jas 4:4.
1. Unfaithful to God (lit. adulterers/adulteresses), 4:2; cf. Jer 3:8, 20.
2. Friend of the world is an enemy of God, cf. Psa 73:27-28.
3. “Defriend” the world! 1 Jno 2:15; Gal 5:19-21; Rom 13:12; Eph 5:6-8, 11
a. Sharing values, goals, pleasures, wisdom…makes you worldly!
b. Don’t lust after the selfish, worldly pleasures (1 Jno 2:16).
c. Don’t be influenced by the worldly, Eph 5:7, 11 (1 Cor 15:33-34).
II. FAITH AT WORK RELIES ON THE GRACE OF GOD BY SUBMITTING TO GOD, Jas 4:5-10.
A. Grace Overcomes Sin (the world), 4:5-6.
1. God is jealous of His people (cf. husband, Prov 6:34-35), Exo 20:4-5. This is not suspicious envy, but the careful protection of His glory and honor (which sin dishonors); refers to His justice and holiness.
2. God gives grace that is greater than sin, 4:6; Rom 5:20-21.
B. Grace to Overcome Sin Requires a Working Faith, 4:7-10.
-Faith at work assures grace that saves! (Eph 2:8)
1. Submit to God, 4:7. Willingly obey His word; give up selfishness
2. Resist the devil, 4:7. Refuse sin when tempted (1 Pet 5:9).
3. Draw near to God…, 4:8. Approach God in holiness, Exo 19:22
4. Cleanse your hands, 4:8. Eliminate sinful practices (Rom 6:13).
5. Purify your hearts, 4:8. Put single-minded faith (upright thoughts, motives, etc.) into your heart.
6. Lament, mourn and weep, 4:9. Godly sorrow and repentance (2 Cor 7:10; Acts 8:22)
7. Humble yourselves, 4:10. Bow yourself to God, Phil 2:5-8
III. FAITH AT WORK DOES NOT SPEAK EVIL OF ITS BRETHREN, Jas 4:11-12 (5:9).
A. To Speak Evil of One Another makes One a Judge:
1. Over his brother. Judges with evil thoughts, cf. 2:4 (1 Cor 6:1-8)
2. Over God’s law. Love your neighbor, Lev 19:18 (Matt 22:39)
B. There is One Lawgiver, 4:12.
1. He saves and destroys, Matt 10:28.
2. He will judge those who sin against us. To speak evil of one another shows a lack of faith in God as Lawgiver and Judge, and brings the one who does it under condemnation, too.
IV. FAITH AT WORK DEPENDS ON GOD, Jas 4:13-17.
A. By Keeping Life in Perspective, 4:13-14.
1. Life is uncertain, 4:13-14.
-Do not boast about tomorrow – it is beyond your knowledge and control, 4:13; Prov 27:1; Matt 6:33-34.
2. Life is brief, 4:14; Job 7:7; Psa 39:4-6.
B. By Living for the Will of God, 4:15-17.
1. “If the Lord wills” (4:15): Word reveals His will; live by it (Eph 5:17; Col 3:16).
2. Arrogant boasting (4:16): Evil, cf. Jas 3:14. Reliance on your own skill and wisdom – proves futile and fatal!
3. Omitting good (4:17): Arrogance on display!
1. Faith at work refuses to practice and fellowship worldliness. It repents of past and present sins in order to be clean before God.
2. Faith at work is humble before God and relies on divine grace and not human wisdom.