Summary: Surrender, Unity, Fighting, The Church
LIFE APP – Applying Surrender
James 4:1-12 (p. 848) October 5, 2014
In my ministry life I’ve spent a great deal of time talking to people who couldn’t or wouldn’t see any reason to be a part of God’s family, the Church.
Almost always there’s a hurt from the past...and some are truly heartbreaking...but these individuals feel like the church has let them down in one way or another, or didn’t come through in the way they were supposed to.
It’s my opinion that there’s usually another issue or two that goes into that decision to reject the church...maybe after being hurt or leaving...they accumulate some “habits” or “baggage” that they are convinced they can’t do without...and they know eventually God will ask them about it.
Most of these folks want to convince me that they’re “saved” (usually they mention a baptism when they were 8 or 9 or a time when they confessed Jesus as Savior) but there is only anger and distain for His bride.
[Let me tell you...If you told me...”Rick, I love you...I enjoy your messages and you’re a pretty good guy...but I hate your wife...I can’t stand Kari!” I wouldn’t take it as a compliment, nor would I really believe you cared about me since you just attacked the one I love the most.]
Let me ask each of you, “Have you ever been hurt by someone in the church? Has another person who claims to be a Christ follower ever done something or said something that you don’t agree with?” Have you ever had an argument or a quarrel with another Christian?”
Those are really rhetorical questions because I know the answers before I asked the questions – Absolutely!!! All of us have been hurt...all of us have argued and been angry at another Christian.
Why? My dad used to say, “You can choose your friends, but you’re stuck with your family.”
Churches are made up of imperfect people who have different personalities, and who are at different levels of maturity...there are people in every church, including the New Testament examples where individuals have selfish motives for being there....Jesus uses a parable about a field being full of weeds & wheat. I think it is a perfect example of the Kingdom of God.
But think about your family...it’s filled with Godly Grannys and idiot uncles...but most of us don’t reject our blood families (some do) because of the idiot weeds.
James has spent a lot of time challenging us to apply our faith in the real world...and especially in our conversations...He’s taught us it takes perseverance and godly wisdom to do this with any degree of success...and no one does it perfectly.
James ends Chapter 3 by saying “Here’s what the wisdom that comes from God looks like: Pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, and good fruit, impartial and sincere (and then he says)
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”