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James: A Faith That Works  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God wants us to have an eternal perspective for our temporary lives

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Introduction (40 - 3min)

Last time we were together James laid out the difference between what he called an earthly wisdom and a wisdom form above.
2 Common problems and 2 extremes to avoid:
Prideful planning / Self-focused comfort
planning is bad / it’s a sin to be rich
2 things we often waste that we should steward and even risk - money and time
Notice the ‘Come now’ 
We don’t risk randomly but faithfully
If we understand these resources are limited or out of our control we steward them differently
Our time and money are two things that God provides, but when we believe we have an abundance of either money or time we can easily become arrogant with either. 
God wants to take us from pursuing a comfortable self-confidence to an active God-confidence.
James 4:13 ESV
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”—
2 Types of people:
Those who have a calendar with actual words on it and those who have a calendar just to look at the cute puppies
Some of you are feeling convicted already - he knows what he’s doing tomorrow?! Wow.
James 4:13–17 ESV
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”— 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. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:14–17 ESV
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. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
james 4:
Plan in pencil because life is uncertain. (4:13-14)

Plan in pencil because life is uncertain. (4:13-14) (37 - 10min)

How many of you are planners? You know:
what you are having for lunch today

Plan in pencil

(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”
(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”
Is it a sin to plan?
No. There are many Proverbs in the Bible that talk about the wisdom of planning ahead, of gathering together wise counsel to plan for success. Is it wrong to plan ahead, to schedule, to keep a calendar - No. Planning is what got you here.
Planning in an of itself is not good. Planning in light of your God-given purpose and his people-focused plan is.
Planning in light of your God-given purpose and his people-focused plan is.
The problem is not the presence of planning - it is the absence of God in the planning.
The problem is not that we plan things, the problem is when we believe WE plan them.
’M going to get married next year, WE’RE going to start a family soon. I’M going to finish school, get a job, find a guy/girl, get married, have 2.5 kids, work my way up in the company, have a nice house, nice car, nice vacations. I’M going to retire early, move to Florida, and play golf until I die.
Control
It assumes we are in control of our life.
None of those things are bad. However, all of those things are assumptions.
Compartments
This assumes there are parts of our lives we consult with God and there are parts we simply plan out ourselves.
They assume you know the future.
(14a) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
If we are honest, we do not know what the next 30 seconds will bring.
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. (ESV)

Life is brief (when the focus is temporary)

(14b) What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
You will die and few people will remember you.
(14b) 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.
Life is a mist - ‘vapor’
ILLUST - column of steam out of power plant
looks solid but dissipates and disappears
looks like something you could hold and control but if you try - you can only direct it while it lasts - you can’t hold onto it.
life is like that.
This is why I’ve never been asked to write a book on self-esteem or be a motivational speaker.
Our brief life is the opposite of God
Isaiah 44:6 ESV
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
Isaiah 41:4 ESV
Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.
Psalm 90:1–4 ESV
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
ps 90:1-
Psalm 90:2 ESV
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
The ramifications:
In our brief life of uncertainty, we can anchor to an everlasting, good God.
Isaiah 57:15 ESV
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Without Jesus, our souls are loosely tethered to a drifting ship bound for destruction. Because if you have never trusted in Jesus as Lord of your life - confessing your sins and trusting that his death and resurrection satisfied God’s wrath against your sin, then this eternal God is not YOUR God, and there is no anchor for your soul, the anxiety you feel is real and warranted.
If, however, you are a follower of Jesus, then you have nothing to fear. The brief nature of your earthly life is found secure in the eternal nature of God’s life through Jesus Christ.

Because of the uncertain nature of our lives, we should plan in pencil:
Is planning bad?
Because of the uncertainty of life, James calls us away from making plans on our own and to plan with God not only because of the certainty of his nature, but because his will is certain.

Plan with God because His will is certain. (15-16) (27 - 10min)

(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.
Favorite pious Christianese:
We should say, “If the Lord wills. . .”  (Lord willing)
I’ll see you tomorrow, Lord willing. If the Lord wills, I’ll find
I’ll use the bathroom . . . Lord willing (did we really seek his advice?)
Not religious lip service
Not telling God our plans and praying for a blessing
To plan as if we are guaranteed tomorrow is arrogant according to James. It is arrogant because it assumes two things: Control and Compartments
Control
It is highly suspect that the assumption of control in planning our lives would be for Kingdom work for God’s glory.
It assumes we are in control of our life.
Compartments
This assumes there are parts of our lives we consult with God and there are parts we simply plan out ourselves.
Control
It assumes we are in control of our life.
Compartments
This assumes there are parts of our lives we consult with God and there are parts we simply plan out ourselves.
Here is the reality:

God is sovereign

We should say, “If the Lord wills. . .” 
Not - I’ll use the bathroom . . . if the Lord wills
Not religious lip service
Not telling God our plans and praying for a blessing
We live at the Lords will
Here is the flipside:
You cannot live any longer than God wills, and you cannot die any sooner than he allows.
Sometimes prideful planning manifests itself in pursuing a safe life.
You are infinitely safer risking everything with God than you are pursuing anything on your own.

We need to know His will

How do you know God’s will?
Time
ILLUST - I know Christine’s will because I’ve seen her choices before and I spend time with her.
Some are easy -
I think God wants me to go ask that girl out - no, brother, not if you’re married. I can confidently say that is not his will.
I’m going pray for this new job to help fund my drug addiction - sorry, not going to put that on the prayer chain.
Don’t cheat on your wife
None of those things are not bad, but they should be moved and motivated by God.

Respond to the Spirit because it is urgent. (17) (17 - 10min)

(17)So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Two broad categories of sin:

Sins of commission / sins of omission

Sins of commission / sins of omission

Commission - Doing the wrong thing even though we know we shouldn’t .
Omission - Not doing the right thing when we know we should.
Commission - Ex., My setting up a smoke bomb in the outhouse for Missy.
Omission - Ex., my other brother not stopping me.
I think the reason James points to specifically the sins of omission are that we tend to see our sins of commission as past events we cannot change and our sins of omissions as potential good we may one day get around to.
don’t know of too many people who are planning ahead to purposefully sin.
But I know I have many times felt the Spirit prompting me to do something I know I should do but I planned to wait until a more convenient time.
So many of us feel good about ourselves if we just stop doing the things we shouldn’t be doing, but that’s not enough,
Here is what James is saying:
Since we do not have control over our lives - we may influence it, but we do not know how many breaths we have left in our lungs, EVERY PROMPT OF THE SPIRIT IS URGENT AND SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED.
You know you should do but haven’t done it yet.
James
If it is the case that we live for a purpose and life is not meaningless, then if you are still alive, you still have purpose.
We cannot rest in God’s work through us yesterday or expect to do God’s work tomorrow.
If we are alive, God has work for us today.

Move of Spirit requires a response 

The more times you resist the Spirit’s prompting, the less likely you are to respond to that same level of response.
Why don’t we respond?
fear of man
seen as weird
we are more worried about how other’s will respond to us that we change how we respond to God.
love of self
love of self
It’s uncomfortable.
We are more worried about our comfort than God’s Kingdom.

There is no security in everything apart from God

We are blessed to be a blessing. (4-6)

Conclusion (7 - 7min)

Check your pride.
Talking about the uncertainty of life makes you anxious. For whatever reason there is fear:
Diagnosis
Uncertainty of future
General fear of death.
All of this is actually rooted in pride. That somehow we control our own lives.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
The Spirit is Holy Spirit by Jesus to confirm we are anchored to Him. We will live no longer than the day he has determined, we will die no sooner than he allows.
Rest in that. Release your fear.
Take a look at your plans.
Mentally picture your schedule. What is on it? How much of the planning really involved God in the process?
We each get 24hrs.
What is God saying needs to come off that schedule?
Where are your priorities? Where does God fit in /rank? Where does your wife / kids?
What is God saying needs to go on your schedule?
Who do you need to call? Meet with?
What do you need to
Truth is: Everyone in this room has something to confess from this past week.
Beauty is: None of us are alone.
Truth is: All of us fail to respond at times to the Spirit’s promptings
Beauty is: The Spirit is tenacious for you.
We’re all screw-ups in here - there is no judgment. I need grace, you need grace.
Respond to the promptings.
To not respond is to sin. This is urgent.
Don’t wait until the next prompt - We are not guaranteed tomorrow / lunch.
What is one thing God is wanting you do to
The question is not IF should I respond, but HOW should I respond.
We need ____ how is the Spirit prompting? How will you respond?
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