Summary: We need to realize that when we cheat on God we do a lot of damage to ourselves. James shares with us how to cheat-proof or relationship with God
• SLIDE #1
• The issue we will examine this morning is not a particularly fun one or a comfortable one to talk about. I pray it will open our eyes to the potential problem it can become in our relationship with Jesus.
• For those who are married, do you remember your wedding day? It was an exciting day; the future looked exciting and bright. You could not imagine in that day being with ANYONE else other than your new spouse.
• Do you remember the day that you gave your life to Jesus? It was an exciting day; you knew that the future was bright and that you belonged to Jesus.
• When you were immersed into Christ, you became a part of the body of Christ, the church. You joined into a union with Christ, a union that is meant to last for all eternity.
• When your journey with Jesus started, you intentioned to be faithful to Him, but then the cares of the world start to take hold.
• The rush of life, the pressures of life, the apparent pleasures the world offers can lead one to push Jesus to the backburner.
• If one is not careful, the next thing you know our relationship with Jesus becomes a shell of what it is supposed to be.
• Jesus loses first place in our life, this happens as one tries to love Jesus and at the same time the world. As one says that Jesus is my love, they court the mistress called the world as the same time.
• We know the devastating effects a mistress can have on a marriage, but many times we do not understand the devastation that happens when we claim to love Jesus while embracing the world in our arms.
• Today we are going to look at the destruction that happens when the world is our mistress and we are going to examine at the steps we need to take to Cheat-proof our relationship with God.
• I hope we will also understand that even if we stumble, Jesus will forgive those who seek forgiveness.
• SLIDE #2
I. When the world is my mistress it damages my relationships.
• When the world is our mistress, it damages the relationships we have, and it damages them on many levels. Let’s turn to James 4:1-2 to see the first are of damage.
• SLIDE #3
• James 4:1–2 (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.
• SLIDE #4
A. My relationship with myself is damaged.
• When one tries to profess a love of Jesus, yet try to maintain the mistress (the world) on the side, they become torn inside. There is a sense of guilt mixed in with the sense of “doing what I want” that will cause internal struggles.
• What is the source of conflict among Christians? James says these external fights are the result of an internal battle.
• They come from the desire for personal pleasure.
• The word we translate pleasure is the word from which we get “hedonism,” Hedonism is a philosophy of life that says that life pleasure is the chief goal of life.
• This word, from which we get “hedonism,” implies not the simple enjoyment of life but a mad dash for immediate pleasure that enslaves and separates one from God (cf. Luke 8:14; Titus 3:3; 2 Peter 2:13).
• Internally we have this battle about who we are to be faithful to, Jesus or the world. In Romans 7:14-25, Paul speaks of this battle between our spiritual desires and our fleshly desires.
• SLIDE #5
• 1 Peter 2:11 (ESV) 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
• The kind of wars and fighting just mentioned is precisely that of pleasures warring against the soul’s true interests, your said relationship with Jesus.
• You can see the signs of this battle taking place. Attendance at church starts to diminish as the battle for the soul intensifies.
• They do not want to be around God’s people, they do not want to worship Jesus because it stirs up the battle again. It is easier for the person to ignore the battle and give in.
• If you are battling inside between the world and Jesus, come to church and get some reinforcements and encouragement. Let us be there for you. Do not lose the battle!
• SLIDE #6