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Seven Sins  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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10:25 Worship Service: Announcements, John Ivan Byler
Call to Worship, Offering Jeremy Zimmerman
Singing Evan McGurrin
Pastoral Prayer James Groff
Scripture Reading ** Josh Helmuth
Message James Groff
“Envy: Joy in Self vs Joy in Others”
Seven Deadly Sins
Sin is more than simply doing the wrong things, it is far more than just disobedience to God’s law. At it’s most basic level, sin is anything that is not the way God intended it to be. And so with Pride, it was the preference of me, vs the preference of God, with Greed it was rich towards self vs rich towards others.
The third sin we consider today is envy, and envy is Joy in self vs joy in others. Envy strikes at what and where we go to find joy and meaning. Will I look inward, and attempt to provide my heart with all the things that promise joy, or will I look outward and be the one who brings joy to others and find’s my ultimate joy in God.
Envy results from a heart that has set it’s sights on getting it’s desires met. Envy has a little check-marked task list for joy, and unless all the boxes are checked, there will be no joy.
Envy is always looking around at others and doing three things:
I have more joy than him and so he’s less then me,
I have less joy than him and so I want what he has, or I want to tear him down so he’s at the same level as me.
I want to make him see how awesome I and my life are, so I will try to make him envy me.
James 4:1–12 ESV
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet 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 wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves 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 wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
Envy: Joy in Self vs Joy in Others and God
What does scripture say about envy?
What are the identities of envy?
How does the gospel confront envy?
And what does envy turned right look like?
What is envy?
The desire for someone else’s position or blessing
The rejoicing in the downfall of another
The positioning of myself as the one to be desires
Envy placed my seeking of joy in the context of horizontal relationships instead of in my horizontal relationship with God.
What does scripture say about envy?
It shows up in almost all of the apostles list of sins. It shows up there as an equal to sexual sin, gossip, anger, and other very serious sins.
It often leads to violence of some sort
Cain killed his brother Abel out of envy - Abel was accepted, and Cain was not, and rather look inward to see how his heart was betraying him, he determined that his heart was right, and he tried to find his own joy by demanding that his own conditions for acceptance be met.
King Saul, rather than celebrating that God had brought deliverance and victory through David found himself unable to find joy in David. He would only have joy if it could have been himself that had slayed the giant, and so it brought him to hate and destroy.
David’s son Absalom, rather than joy in the kingship of his father, and place himself under him, and under God sought to have his fathers kingdom by force. What was his by rite upon the passing of his father he attempted to take by force.
points out that the seed of heresy is envy that see godliness as a means of gaining importance and stature in the kingdom. And so we battle and fight over theology, not to find God, not to have our hearts pierced by truth, not to see what a wretch we are without Jesus, but to prove my superior understanding ,and my better mind. It’s no wonder that these arguments only prove to divide and muddy all who participate. Envy doesn’t bring about humble contentment, but it brings about depraved minds, deprived of the truth. The one who reads scripture, and theology and the great writers to enrich his own weapons of theological war will never find the truth. In fact, God will hide it from him.
James here lays that out as the primary reason why there is quarrels and fighting
You desire and you do not you you fight and quarrel
I believe the friendship with the world that he speaks of here, is an aligning of myself with the values of the world so I can find meaning, joy and purpose in myself. that is the primary mantra for meaning. look inward, follow your heart, you can be anything you want. In other words, you can get what you want by following your desires.
James gives us a very different idea, meaning and purpose are not found internally, but externally in submission to God, in drawing near to God, and in humbling ourselves before God.
Secondly, what are the identities of envy, what do I look at in my life to find envy?
Am I discontent? Is there always something else that will make me happy. Does someone else always have it better than me?
Do the accomplishments of others drive me to dislike them, or wish them ill?
Does the calamity of others cause me to say - that’s what you deserve?
Do I find myself causing quarrels, and seeking to put people to right?
Is it easy for me to speak evil against a brother, or to see evil in him.
How does the gospel confront envy?
Envy exists on the horizontal plane of relationship.
The gospel reminds us that our primary joy and worth is in Christ, or in our vertical relationship
We will never find horizontally what we are meant to find vertically
Jesus resisted the offerings of the devil that we intended to make him envy after the values of the world, food, money and power
Jesus “made himself of no reputation and submitted himself to the cross”
No one brings anything to the cross except their sin. We are all equally empty, and so our horizontal ranking are futile.
The riches of the cross are not bound by our horizontal rankings...
What does envy turned right look like?
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world”
Contentment is not based on a white-knuckled effort to like the life I have, it is based on the glorious reality of eternity purchased for us by the blood of Christ.
If I realize that both my poor circumstance or my rich circumstance will be overcome by the glory that is the presence of Christ. The vertical reality will always trump the horizontal reality
Recognizing that my horizontal reality gains me no status, I can then rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Envy lies to us and demands that we find joy and fulfillment in ourselves. Humility regards the successes of others to be celebrated, and the calamity of others to be mourned.
Envy says I must be satisfied now, contentment finds joy in the success of others, and knows it’s ultimate joy will be found when the father says well done, enter into the joy of my kingdom.
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