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Plan Ahead

James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.


James begins chapter 4 talking about the war with God, but he ends chapter 4 talking about the will of God.
Nothing happens outside of God’s control, but sometimes God allows us to make bad choices and uses tough circumstances to show us that was not the right choice.
This is part of growing
examples: Lot moved to sodom
David commited adultery
There is no safer place to be than in the will of God
The will of God comes from the heart of God
His will is an expression of His love for us
In this section of James’ letter, he points out three attitudes towards the will of God.

Ignoring the will of God (, )

James presents 4 arguments that reveal the foolishness of ignoring the will of God.
Complexity of life (v. 13)
Think of all that is happening in the world
Today, tomorrow, planets spinning, etc.
All that is very complex and is uniquely produced and sustained by God
He has a will for each of us—made before time began
Apart from His will, life is a mystery
When you know Jesus truly life starts to make sense and it is no longer a mystery
Uncertainty of Life (14a)
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Ten: Plan Ahead (James 4:13–17)

This statement is based on Proverbs 27:1—“Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

These business men were planning a year in advance in this section—they had no idea what was going to happen tomorrow
This is like the farmer in luke 12 who kept building bigger barns because of all the stuff he had.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Ten: Plan Ahead (James 4:13–17)

What was God’s reply to this man’s boasting? “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:20)

Life is not uncertain to God, but it is uncertain to us.
Only when we are in His will can we be confident of tomorrow, for we know He is leading us.
Brevity of life (14b)
To us, life seems long, but in comparison to eternity it is but a vapor.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Ten: Plan Ahead (James 4:13–17)

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6). “The cloud is consumed and vanisheth away” (Job 7:9). “Our days upon earth are a shadow” (Job 8:9). “Now my days are swifter than a post” (Job 9:25), referring to the royal couriers that hastened in their missions. “They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey” (Job 9:26). “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” (Job 14:1–2).

We count our years at each birthday, but God tells us to number our days ()
Life is short. We cannot waste time spending our lives or wasting our lives—we must invest our lives
Frailty of Man (16)
Man’s boasting is only a bad cover for man’s weaknesses
It is so foolish of us to ignore the will of God—it is like going through a dark jungle without a map or flashlight

Attitude 2 Disobeying God’s will ()

Man disobeys God’s will because of pride
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