Summary: TONIGHT you will be forced to answer the question, Are You Serious? – serious about life, serious about this Christianity thing, serious about your future?
Are You Serious?
Review the last few weeks of the series...
Tonight we start chapter 4 of James. James gets really in-your-face intense here! He’s calling them out on some serious issues and challenging them to make it right or they will miss out on their destiny.
Have you heard a story that makes you ask, “Are You Serious?”
Illustrations: Are You Serious
High-Rise Window Tester
TONIGHT you will be forced to answer the question, Are You Serious? – serious about life, serious about this Christianity thing, serious about your future?
Read James 4:1-17
1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
"God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
Fighting, hatred, coveting
Friendship with the world
Are you serious? Is the church really having these problems? Are God’s chosen people really struggling through these sins? Why? What’s the problem?
These various sins that James points out here all deal with one underlying condition. Just like a runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat, coughing, and sneezing are symptoms of one condition – the common cold. These sins of quarreling, slander, hatred, coveting, spiritual adultery – the all are symptoms of one condition: PRIDE.
We know that this is Satan’s #1 weapon. In fact it was exactly the condition that got him thrown out of heaven. Pride is what has sealed his fate in hell and we are not serious about our relationship with Christ it will be our fate as well.
I can hear the frustration in James’ voice as I read this passage. It’s kind of like the feeling we have toward that idiot who tested that high-rise window, or the moron that was playing with that dynamite. Or maybe it’s the feeling you get when you see one of your friends messing around with drugs, or playing around with sex. We can see the stupidity of it all and we question “are You Serious?”
Tonight I want to echo what I feel James is asking his church. Are You Serious? Are you serious about your eternity? Are you serious about your relationship w/ Christ? Are you serious about your destiny?
1. Submit to God
Submit is a military term that means “to get into your proper rank”.
Submission is not the same as obedience. Instead, it is the surrender of ones will, which leads to obedience.
In other words, James is telling us, “Look, you have all these symptoms of pride. You have positioned yourself as an enemy of God. Are you serious? You know that God opposes the proud. What are thinking? Submit yourself to God. Get back into your proper rank. Get serious and surrender you life to Him so that He can give you grace.”