Series: The Book of James
Sunday am 3 April 2016 – Riaan Sinden
James 4:1-17; (John 3:16); Rev. 3:15-17, 20; (1 Pet. 2:9-10);
Gen 1:26; (Ps. 8:4); Ps. 139:1-5; (Heb. 3:15); (John 6:63);
Matt. 8:31; (Heb. 8:10-12); Prov. 3:5; (Luke 11:1-2)
James, the brother of Jesus, according to Bible scholars, writes his letters to Christians on the topics of perseverance, true faith, controlling one’s tongue, submitting to God and patience.
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:1-17). James is trying to focus our attention on the Source. He says, “What is the source, why are you doing all these things?” (James 4:1). The source that we draw from is what we will manifest. The source is our pleasures; the things that you want to secure your lives, your security. It is even reflected in your prayer. Even when you ask, even when you come to God, it is about your own pleasure. God is saying, “Draw from Me; come to Me and have a relationship with Me”. God does not want religion; He is looking for an intimate relationship with His creation. He wants to be the Source that you draw from because then you will manifest God. God wants a relationship. He wants intimacy. He wants us to return His advances with love. He wants us to come into the fullness of Christ; that is a relationship. If we do not have the fullness of Christ, the Bible says then we will be tossed around by every wind of doctrine and we will start chasing things that are not of God. You adulteresses, do you now know that friendship with the world is hostility towards God, therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4). An adulteress is woman who has an affair; a woman or a person that cannot commit to a relationship. For God so loved the world that He gave His everything (John 3:16). He bought us with a price and He is asking us to make a choice. Will it be God, or will it be the world?
“I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot so because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15). We are not allowed to be lukewarm. The New King James translation says, So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— (Rev. 3:16-17). We often find our security in the things that we have, or in our jobs or in the things that we think provide for us. It is by His grace that you have what you have. He says “draw near to Me and I will draw near to you” (James 4:8). The Word says He is a jealous God. He jealously desires that which is placed within you, His Spirit. He is jealous because we are His. He loves us so much. He created us in My likeness, and He blew into our nostrils His Spirit. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous Light; for you were once not a people but now you are the people of God, you had not receive mercy but now you have received mercy (1 Pet. 2:9-10). He called you out of a kingdom of darkness into His kingdom, as His chosen people. He wants you to proclaim His excellencies. This is God revealing His heart to us and He is not interested in sharing. He chose us to be a people for Him alone. What is the source that we draw from? Is it God? God is saying, “If you commit to Me, I will reveal Myself in you. You will proclaim My excellencies. The life that you live will proclaim My excellencies”. He is mindful of us. He knows everything about us. There is nothing that we can hide from Him. “Lord, You have searched me and know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down and are intimately acquainted with all my ways, even before there is a word on my tongue, behold O Lord You know it all (Ps. 139:1-5). He is intimately acquainted with who we are.
He gives a greater grace but He opposes the proud (James 4:6). When we draw near to Him, you need to come to Him with a humble heart. Today when you hear My voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb. 3:15). Do not push Him away. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Rev 3:20-NIV). God is opening His heart and He desires an intimate relationship with us. He will not force His way in. He wants us to submit to Him. In James 4:7 we read “submit to God”. The act of submission is about taking all your ability, all your talents, all your strength and using it to advance God’s agenda. Our prayer must be “Lord, I will put You first in everything, I will seek Your interest first, Your kingdom first, I will submit to You because in my weakness You are strong. I will submit to you and I will not lean on my understanding, but in all My ways I will acknowledge You” (Prov. 3:5). Submitting is all about trusting God. There is no plan B, there is no leaving the back door open. It is about complete trust in Him. When it is not about us anymore, when it is all about God, then the enemy looks at us and he is fearful; he sees a people submitted to God and he flees. Jesus said, “I do not do anything that I do not see My Father doing” (John 5:19). He submitted everything to God. The enemy will not run just because you have the most beautiful, religious prayer life. You need to be submitted in a relationship with God.
Be transparent. Be truthful. God knows us, but still he invites us to be open, to be transparent before Him. Be truthful to Him, submit to Him. Do not try to hide things from God. He knows you too well. Tell Him how you feel. “Here I am, I’m standing at the door and I knock”. Once again “today if you hear My voice, do not harden your hearts”. This is searching after an intimate relationship with you.
Do not speak against one another (James 4:11). Religion will make you judge people. When we speak, we create. Our words create and we have the power in our mouths to create people in the likeness of God by revealing it in our words. We can bind people or we can set them free. We can kill people or we can bring life. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are Spirit and life” (John 6:63).
Our mandate is to introduce a loving God to the world; a gracious God; a God who is looking for intimacy. Having a relationship with God means you have a relationship with your brother. How can you say you love God and you hate your brother? God wants to fill us. He wants to be our all in all. That intimate relationship will make you the happiest person in the world. God is taking us to a new and deeper level in Him. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people. “And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ For all will know Me, From the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:10-12). It is the desire of God that we should know Him intimately.
An intimate relationship is essential to migrate to the next level. This relationship will reveal the true characteristic of God in our lives. It is life changing and it will activate a greater manifestation of the power of God in our lives. There are a few things we need to do and the most important thing you can do is to make time for God. Make time for Him in your busy schedule; go aside and make time, spend time with God. Be transparent, speak to Him. The disciples came to Jesus and said “Lord, teach us how to pray”, for they realized their prayers were not sufficient any more. He starts off by introducing them to the Person who they only knew as God. He said “Our Father who art in heaven”. Jesus restored their identity by saying one sentence, “our Father who art in heaven” (Luke 11:1-2) and they fell in love with this Man and all of them gave up their lives to proclaim Christ.
Spend time with Him. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Come with a humble heart and make a commitment. Make a decision to spend time with God.