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Draw Near To God

James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:34
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APRIL 8, 2020 STUDY NOTES JAMES 4:8 BIBLE TEACHER: CLIFTON JONES DRAW NEAR TO GOD INTRODUCTION Some Bible scholars believe that James is speaking to those who are lost Others believe that he continues to speak to those who are saved I believe that throughout the book James is speaking to those who are saved The main point is not a “sinner who is saved,” though that is true James wants us to understand that he is speaking to a “saint who has sinned” He is still speaking to the Christian who has become a friend with the world, Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. They are committing spiritual adultery and standing against God instead of living for God They are to turn from a world of worldliness to a state of humility before God, Jas 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. God’s grace will allow them to humbly submit to God, Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you Notice where the words, “resist the devil” is found, between “submit yourselves to God,” and verse 8 Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James is not giving an evangelistic invitation, this is not a call for those who are lost, to be saved James is speaking to believers when he says, “draw near to God,” they need to come closer to God For some reason they are not as close to God as they once were, what caused the separation? He is speaking to Christians who failed to “resist the devil,” and they have stepped away from God He speaks to those who took Satan by the hand and walked with him Walking with Satan will separate you from “fellowship” with God Compare the commandment of verse 7 with the commandment of verse 8: Verse 7, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” Verse 8 “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you” If you draw near to the Devil you will be walking away from God Christians must “resist the devil” because he wants to draw us away from God “Draw near to God” indicates a separation which has resulted because of friendship with the world God is omniscient, He is always there, but sin does not allow you to “sense” His presence Steps of sin will separate you from the “awareness” of His presence, sin walks away from God Walking in grace “assures” us of His presence, listen to David who had sinned against God, Psa 73:28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. You know for sure that you are in the presence of God when you want to “declare His works” John said, you cannot be in fellowship with God while walking in the darkness of the world, 1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: Just like James, John has a lot to say about “say so,” a lot of talk without the walk When you are out of fellowship with God, He is calling for you to “come home” God is telling you that He wants to renew your fellowship with Him, that is “Amazing Grace” To draw near does not have the thought of an occasional visit such as once a week, on Sunday morning “Drawing near” is to be a daily walk with God, step by step, day by day, day after day To “draw nigh to God” means to come as close to God as you possibly can When you have a desire in your heart to daily be in His presence and to worship Him You want to be “near God” and you don’t want anything to come between you and God Picture the baby who just wants to be in mother's lap, so that mother can wrap her arms around them That is what James is talking about, get in God's lap, lay your head in His bosom He will wrap His arms around you and you will be filled with His love God has made the way possible for us to “Draw near to God” The writer of Hebrews reveals that through Jesus, we can now draw near to God, Heb 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. Jesus is that “better hope,” Jesus is the “New and Living Way” for us to draw near to God, Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, The “new way” is the cross of Calvary, the “living way” is the resurrection of Christ from the dead, Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh In the OT temple a veil separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies, the special presence of God On one side of the veil was the need of man, on the other side was the Glory of God Jesus went to the cross and gave His body in order to take away sins and allow us direct access to God Something happened at the very moment of the death of Jesus, Mat 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. At that very moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom, Mat 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; The death of Jesus opened the way into the special presence of God, He became our “High Priest,” Heb 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God; Christ now sits at the right hand of God the Father and stands before the Father “for us” He allows us to come into the presence of the Father, He presents us to the Father According to Hebrews we can now approach God, Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Four conditions are given concerning our “drawing near to God” Those four conditions are no different from what James is telling us: (1) Draw near with a true heart (2) Come in full assurance of faith (3) We are to come with a clean heart and a clear conscience (4) We are to come with a clean body, bodies washed with pure water The way to come closer to God is to learn more about Him, through prayer and Bible Study You learn more about God when you come to worship Him with God’s Family To draw near to God, confess sin, trust God to forgive you, love God and His Word, desire to obey God David is an example, you know the story of David and his sin Listen to a Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah, Psa 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; David had a deep longing for God, he used the figure of “thirst” Not being near to God was like being in a dry land without water Only in the sanctuary with God could he see the power and glory of God, Psa 63:2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. The reason his thirst for God was so great, was he knew of the “loving-kindness” of God, Psa 63:3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. There is no better life to live than near the “loving-kindness” of God Spiritual blessings are far greater than material blessings Spiritual comfort is far greater than physical comfort Life doesn’t get any better than to “lift up your hand” and take hold of God’s hand, Psa 63:4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. It is okay to lift-up your hands toward heaven with the desire for God’s touch upon your life Don’t lift them with the desire for others to see you, but that your soul shall be satisfied David said, “my soul shall be satisfied,” “my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips,” Psa 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: Day and night, he wanted to be near God, Psa 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. (What is on your mind when you lay your head down at night?) For David it was like being in the shadow of God’s wings, Psa 63:7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. Have you ever been closer to God than you are now? It is time to come back to where God wants you to be, Psa 63:8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. David said, my soul wants to cling to thee, so that your hand will hold me up and support me Like the prodigal son, it is time to come home, Luk 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! He came to his senses and said, I must go back to my father, Luk 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, He said I will be honest with my father, Luk 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. If you draw near to God, you are going to have to turn loose of Satan and sin If you will “Draw near to God” James has a promise for you--and he will draw nigh to you. Look again at the “Prodigal Son” and you will find the proof of this verse The son was coming home in repentance of sin, he wanted to be near the “Father” Pay attention to the Father who was waiting for the son to come home, Luk 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. The Father saw him when he was still a long way off and was filled with compassion He ran to meet him, he threw his arms around him and kissed him Look at the son’s response, Luk 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. The same words he had planned to say when he made up his mind to go home (see verse 20) Words of true repentance, which are more than being sorry you got caught and paid the price of sin Repentance is turning from sin and coming to God with the desire to be “near God” What is it like when you finally come home to God? The Father said, “Let's have a feast and celebrate,” Luk 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: Luk 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: Luk 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. The older brother was angry and complained, listen to what the Father said to the older brother, Luk 15:31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. We must hear the Father, when you are near to me, when you are with me, everything I have is yours Wayward sinner, what more do you want? It doesn’t get any better than being near to God It is time to come home, God is waiting to celebrate your home coming James is going to tell us how we can “Draw near to God” Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; Unclean hands that have been soiled with worldly ways God does not hold “dirty hands” David had a question, Psa 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? David had an answer, Psa 24:4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. “Clean hands” represent the outward life, they represent the deeds of our daily life, righteous conduct David and James agree, God will bless clean hands, Psa 24:5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. God’s hand will lead us in the path of righteousness, Psa 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Paul calls the path of righteousness our ''walk,” referring to our daily behavior, Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: Your daily life cannot be lived in sin and draw near to God James is telling us to get our hands out of sin and to come walk hand in hand with God If you come to God with sinful hands seeking fellowship, you are showing disrespect for God You fail to recognize that God is holy, and God does not fellowship with sin It is God’s nearness to us that makes us aware of unclean hands and a sense of our sinfulness Isaiah is an example, he had a vision of the Lord, Isa 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Isaiah saw the holiness of God and recognized his sinful state, Isa 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Isaiah pleads with the people of Judah, Isa 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; There are four commands in this verse, the first is spiritual cleansing of the hands from the filth of sin Exactly what James says, Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; James is not speaking to lost, hell-bound sinners, he is speaking to the same ones he has called “brethren” Sin is a serious matter with God, sin should be a serious matter with the Christian Sinners are missing the mark, sinners are not in the right path, sinners have walked away from God Sinners are not living up to the standard of God, sinners are not walking near to God James speaks in a “spiritual sense,” we are to be free from the pollution of sin There can be no cleansing of sin apart from the “Blood of Jesus,” Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. The cleansing blood of Jesus allows us to be cleansed by the “Word of God,” Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, Sanctification is God cleansing us and setting us apart for His service, for the scared use of God “Cleansing” is how the sanctification takes place The cleansing that takes place when you hear and obey the Word of God, Joh 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Jesus prayed that we be cleansed through the Father’s word of truth, Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. The truth of God’s Word will change your mind about sin and purify your heart and purify your hearts, Today there are many Christians who need to come near to God because of a spiritual heart problem James does not refer to that physical organ in our chest known as the heart The spiritual heart refers to the center of our personality, that which controls our emotions and will The “heart” represents the whole inner person, your mind, thinking, and your desires To “purify your hearts” means to make a total commitment of your life to Christ When the “heart” is clean, the outward actions of life will also be clean There can be no struggle between the heart, the lips, or the hands, Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. When there is a struggle going on in your heart there is also a struggle going on in your mind Which James identifies as a “double mind” ye double minded. “Double minded” describes the person who is undecided, someone with divided affections Double minded describes a person with two minds and two wills, which is also two-faced with God It means someone who cannot make up their mind, a person who claims one thing and desires another A double minded person is one who attempts to divide their interest between God and the world A two-soul person, one who wants to live two lives which is commonly called a hypocrite The person who is torn between two opinions, they want to go to heaven when they die Everybody wants to spend eternity with God, but how many want to be “near Him” now Too many want to live in a world of sin until they die, James has already described them, Jas 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. “Double minded” describes a most miserable life Not the most miserable death, not death at it's worse, being lost is death at it's worse But being saved and living like you are lost is life at its “worst” Double minded Christians do not enjoy salvation, they endure it James says, Stop trying to be two people, stop living two lives Christian stop thinking sin, stop desiring the ways of the world Stop wishing it was you in some sinful affair, a sinful heart is disloyalty to God and the church It is time to turn loose of Satan and reach out to God Quit hiding desires that you don't want anyone else to know about Quit acting out deeds that you don’t want God to know about Sin blinds you to the truth, God sees and knows and soon others will see and know Wavering loyalty is no loyalty at all, indecision for God is no decision for God If your interest is divided, then you are really-not interested Serving God is not doing what we want to do and then asking God to let it be His will Prayer is not telling God what we are going to do and asking Him to bless it You can’t walk holding on to God with one hand and the devil with the other hand, Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Walking in the love of God is a pure heart and clean hands at work Our inner life must be pure for the deeds of our life to be righteous A pure heart is the opposite of what James calls spiritual adultery CONCLUSION How can you be sure that you are obeying James 4:8? Let me give you a check list: Daily prayer time Yes_______ No_______ Daily Bible study Yes_______ No_______ Meditation time (a quiet time with God) Yes_______ No________ Faithful to attend church Yes_______ No_______ Regular fellowship with Christians Yes_______ No_______ Concerned about those who are lost Yes_______ No_______ Sharing Christ with those who are lost Yes_______ No_______ Concerned about Christians who are not faithful to God Yes_______ No_______ Ministering to those who are backslidden Yes_______ No_______ If there is one “No” checked, you need to hear and obey James, Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Draw near to God and find out what God can do, listen to the song Pray that you will let God do it for you
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