Summary: A sermon from James dealing with the lost people people in the church who are continually creating conflict.
Foolproof – A Study of James February 4, 2007
CONFLICTING Faith – James 4:1-10
Recap: We’re in a study in James about having a foolproof faith so we won’t be fooled into embracing anything not of God if we’re saved, and so we won’t continue to fool ourselves into thinking we’re saved when we’re religious.
Setting: Through the first (3) chapters, James has approached his reader on the assumption they were believers. He is affirming their relationship w/ God based on the way they handle trials, temptation, God’s Word, and people who are different. This behavior serves to validate the reality of salvation. But in chapter 4, things change. James goes on the offensive to abruptly confront any person who is the source of conflict among the body. He confronts them b/c he says they’re lost despite the fact they regularly attend church and profess salvation. (describe setting)
Trans: You might ask, “How can you be so sure they’re lost?” Look at v. 8.
Word: sinner (harmartolos) used exclusively to in the Bible define an unbeliever.
Word: double-minded (dipsuchos) double-souled or divided in heart. It refers to a person who is hypocritical and lacks integrity by claiming to be one thing but living opposite of what they profess to believe – in this case, it is a lost man proclaiming to be saved.
Note: Don’t miss the point. These are people who think they’re saved, but aren’t. They can be pastors, deacons, S.S. teachers, and long time members, but they’re only religious. They’re generally nice people who often say and do the right things, but when things don’t go their way, they ignite conflict. James says b/c of this inclination, they’re lost b/c they’re willing to compromise God’s mission for their own will to be done.
Note: James is able to identify these unbelievers b/c of their need to create conflict w/in the church. No matter how crafty these people are at spiritualizing their actions and attitudes, they’re still a lightening rod for controversy and a match for a firestorm.
Insert: In every church I’ve served I have met people who want to control things at all cost. They’re not interested in God’s will being accomplished by solely in they’re will being protected. One of my best friends in ministry is currently undergoing such a stressful situation in his church that he might throw in the towel b/c he is tired of fighting church people to accomplish God’s mission. He’s in a firestorm b/c a few influential, religious lost people have challenged his God-centered leadership.
When I lived in Richmond, the church was governed by 5 laymen, 4 of which who couldn’t pick Jesus out of a line up. They were faithful churchgoers, but they could care less about God’s mission. Yet they had influence and power over the staff and congregation. One man took me to lunch and threatened to have me fired if I didn’t betray the staff and give him dirt on my senior pastor and worship pastor. He was an instigator of conflict empowered by the local church. They’re in every church.
Note: James says the reason these people create conflict is b/c they have conflict w/in; and the reason they have conflict w/in is b/c they are in conflict w/ God. This sermon isn’t focused on you who are genuinely saved, but on those who think they are.
Note: Here’s the point, this portion of the letter isn’t written to prove faith, but to reprove faithlessness. James has officially turned his attention to those unsaved individuals in the church, and in love, he’s going to shoot a spiritual missile across the bow of their lives. If this includes you today, don’t miss out should the H.S. knock on the door of your life. Be honest, drop your pride, and turn to God.
Trans: By the way, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a lesson to be learned by believers. In fact, there is a critical message on how to identify and address people who are lost in the church who proclaim and think they’re saved when they’re lost.
Trans: Let’s see what James says so we might understand the source of conflict.
I The SOURCE of Conflict v. 4:1-6
Text: What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the desire for pleasure that battles w/in you? 1You want something but don’t get it so you kill. 2You covet, but you can’t have what you want so you quarrel and fight. 3You don’t have b/c you don’t ask God. When you ask, you don’t receive b/c you ask w/ 4wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship w/ the world is 1hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend w/ the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think the 2Scripture says w/out reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 3God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.