Faithlife Sermons

Sermon Tone Analysis

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*WORLDLINESS:*
*THE SYMPTOMS…THE DIAGNOSIS…THE CURE*
*/What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?
Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? /**/2/**/ 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.
/**/3/**/ You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
/**/4/**/  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.
/**/5/**/ 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"? /**/6/**/ But he gives more grace.
Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
/*James 4:1-6 (ESV)
 
It wouldn’t seem too much of a stretch to imagine a Christian church to be filled with members who actually FOLLOW the teachings of Jesus Christ.
James—the half-brother of Jesus—wrote this epistle to believers scattered abroad (James 1:1).
There is no specific church in mind here as James presents his teachings, unlike Paul’s books which were written for specific churches.
James uses the term “brethren” many times throughout his book.
When we get to James 4, however, it appears as though at least SOME of the professing Christians James is writing to aren’t acting Christ-like.
As we examine the first three verses, one might draw the conclusion that the people James is writing to are true Christians who are living carnal lives, but verse 4 presents with absolute clarity the REAL problem in these churches.
First we’ll look at what’s “wrong” with the behavior of these church members…
*I.                    **THE WRONG BEHAVIOR*
 
The people James was writing to were apparently professing the name of Christ with their lips but their behavior is anything BUT Christian.
There were “quarrels” and “conflicts” among them that James had heard about.
Fights and quarrels are NEVER what God desires for His church…
 
-          NOT FIGHTING BUT LOVE…
 
*/A new commandment/**/ I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
/**/35/**/  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
/*John 13:34-35 (ESV)
 
-          NOT DIVISIONS BUT UNITY…
 
*/Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, /* Phil 1:27 (ESV)
 
God desires LOVE.
The Greek word for “love” in John 13:35 is “agape,” which is the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that is a crucial part of God’s character.
TRUE believers are to reflect this type of love onto other believers.
That wasn’t happening here.
EXAMPLES of “FIGHTING~/QUARRELLING”…
 
Fighting over “who gets the most attention”….”who’s
the most popular…”who looks better,” etc.
These are WORLDLY matters.
Fighting over “doctrine.”
Of course, none of this doctrine is ESSENTIAL doctrine, but rather NON-ESSENTIAL matters of no eternal consequence.
In these cases, the arguments really aren’t about DOCTRINE at all…but rather about who is “right” and who is “wrong.”
Again…SELF is the true motive here.
*II.
**THE WRONG DESIRE*
 
What is causing these “fights” and “quarrels” among church members?
What ALWAYS causes fights and quarrels among people?
Our own SELFISH DESIRES, which James calls “pleasures.”
*/Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? /* James 4:1 (ESV)
 
The Greek word for “pleasures” is where we get the term “hedonism,” which is an extreme form of self-love.
The dictionary defines “hedonism” as *“the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good.”
*The thirst for sensual pleasure is so strong that every other concern is neglected.
Ever heard of a “Christian hedonist?”
IS there such a thing?
It gets worse…
*/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./*
James 4:2 (ESV)
 
Apparently, these “fights” and quarrels” were such to the degree that people were committing murder.
Not just the “murder” of HATRED…
*/Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him./*  1 John 3:15 (ESV)
 
…but also the PHYSICAL act of murdering was also taking place.
*/You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous person.
He does not resist you.
/*
James 5:6 (ESV)
 
LUST was what was driving these people to both extreme emotions (hatred) and extreme actions (murder).
God has made provisions for EVERYTHING we could ever need.
LUST (or GREED, or COVETOUSNESS) has NO place among the children of God.
*/But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints./*
Eph 5:3 (ESV)
 
*/Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
/* Col 3:5 (ESV)
 
*/So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart./*  2 Tim 2:22 (ESV)
 
The TRAP of envy is that an envious person will NEVER have enough to be satisfied.
*/You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel./*
James 4:2 (ESV)
 
Those who are continually envious of the possessions of others “cannot obtain” because they’re not satisfied with what the LORD has allowed them to have.
The man obsessed with accumulating wealth will never “have enough” money.
The celebrity athlete who is obsessed with trophies and statistics will NEVER have enough accomplishments to satisfy him.
The envious person isn’t GRATEFUL or APPRECIATIVE for what they DO have…if they were grateful, appreciative, and content, then they wouldn’t be envious.
*/You do not have, because you do not ask./*
James 4:2 (ESV)
 
Why would an envious person ask ANYTHING of the LORD in faith?
1.)
Envy shows no contentment
2.)    Envy shows no gratitude
 
*/And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him./*
Heb 11:6 (ESV)
 
The “fights~/arguments” that James is referring to was being caused by these envious, greedy people.
*/A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.
/*
Prov 28:25 (ESV)
 
*III.
**THE WRONG MOTIVE*
 
The “wrong motive” of verse 3 seems obvious…SELF-GRATIFICATION…a.k.a.
SELFISHNESS.
*/ /*
*/You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
/*
James 4:3 (ESV)
 
God isn’t some sort of celestial “Santa Claus”-type figure to whom one goes to when they want “STUFF.”
Our “passions” should not be our concern when we ask God for anything.
We have our own desires…and there is nothing inherently wrong with having desires (unless, of course, these desires are for something that violates the commands of God).
However, it is a WRONG motive to pray for what makes US happy.
Why?
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