Summary: There is a war raging between our self-indulgent nature and God. That war sets us at enmity with our brother, shuts the window of heaven and makes us Friends of the world .... and enemies of God. What can we do to avoid this and be friends of God?
Friends of God
James refers to Abraham as, "a friend of God."
What a title, what an epitaph. Wouldn't you like to have that said of you? I
How do we become a friend of God? We will learn that in today's sermon.
But first we will look at James's discussion in 4:1-10
He begins by describing a very bad situation... fighting, quarreling,
scheming and even murder.
Who is he talking to and about? THE CHURCH, the believers, the saints! ! ! !
How can this be?
The answer is found in verse 1 where James says, Isn't it the whole army of
evil desires at war within you?
There is a war raging inside all of us .... to different degrees.
The war is between the will of God and the will of self.
He asks a question, "Where do wars come from?"
The answer is clear. Every war was started by lust, desire or greed to have
something. It may be land. It may be taxes. It may be freedom. But every
war is a struggle between one who wants to have and one who refuses to
In each of us there is a war to determine who is in control, who will win.
On one side there is God with His will. It is for our own good. It is a desire
to bless us that moves Him to see His will done in us.
On the other side is us ... with our will to be happy, to have pleasure, to be in
Paul wrote about it in Galatians 5:17, Our sinful selves want what is against
the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. These two
forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free
from this conflict.
The source of the conflict is the two natures in us.
YOU CAN NOT HAVE BOTH ... period.
Jesus said, You cannot have two masters. You will love one and hate the
All of us would say, "I want Jesus and his will." But do you?
We would like to have the benefits of Jesus Christ in our lives, but we want to maintain control. We want Him to come in, but only in a comfortable, quiet corner of our lives - not taking over everything. We want God in our lives, but we want Him in a very small private, corner. We want Jesus to be our friend, a friend we can talk to, a friend who will listen, a friend who will give us whatever we need, but not a friend who will challenge us and call us to the highest form of commitment,
surrendering our lives to Him.
We want to maintain control of certain aspects of our lives.
We do not war with Satan for this.
We battle with Satan for our mind, for our thoughts.
But we battle with God for control, for our will.
We were created BY God and FOR God.
He is jealous of our love and honor.
When we give our allegiance and love to any other... there is a war.
James says, THE CAUSE OF THE WAR IS OUR SELF-INDULGENT
He uses the word, desires, or lusts, or selfish desires.
The Greek word for "pleasures" is the source of the English word "hedonism." Hedonism is the philosophy that views pleasure as the chief goal of life.
But hedonism is not just the desire to enjoy life, we all want that, but it is a
self-indulgent lifestyle that we walk all over others in order to please themselves.
So ... we want to have our pleasures, or lusts, our desires AND HA VE GOD!
James is saying YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!
To try to have it both ways is the cause of the struggle within us.
In his book, The Sacred Romance, Brent Curtis talks about how our divided hearts try to meet our spiritual void by filling them with other, more readily available pleasures. He says, "Once we allow our heart to drink water from these less-than-eternal wells with the goal of fmding the life we were made for, it overpowers our will, and becomes, as Jonathan Edwards said, 'like a viper, hissing and spitting at God. "
The conflict is the disease and it shows up in different symptoms.
1. It sets men at each others throats.
Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn't it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body? 2 You want something you don't have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won't get it by fighting and arguing.
Men trample each other down, cut each other down, destroy reputations, trash friendships JUST TO HAVE THEIR WAY.