Summary: Everyone has the choice to either be friends with God or friends with the world. In this passage, James gives us seven characteristics of the person who is a friend of God.
JOURNEY THROUGH JAMES #6: FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD
INTRO TO TOPIC:
What are some of the most important things in your world? I am sure that most of you would say it is your friendships. Have you ever pondered what it means that we have the opportunity to become friends with God, the Creator of the Universe? We’re going to look at that today.
David said: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3-4, NKJV).
THE BIG IDEA: Everyone has the choice to either be friends with God or friends with the world. In this passage, James gives us seven characteristics of the person who is a friend of God.
I. FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD OR THE WORLD?
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:1-4, NKJV).
• Sometimes we pray and God doesn’t answer our prayers because are asking wrong.
• How do you know if you’re a friend of the world? Lust, murder, coveting, proud.
• Here people are looking to find pleasure in the world, and not in God.
• However, they don’t find satisfaction because they’re not looking for it from God.
• Adultery = when you are unfaithful to your spouse. Also, unfaithfulness to God.
“Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:5-6).
• God resists the proud! Resist = to range in battle against. Do you want God fighting against you? But He gives His grace… to the humble.
II. SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FRIENDS OF GOD: (v.7-12).
1. Therefore SUBMIT TO GOD. (v.7a).
• A friend of God is someone who submits to Him and His authority: Who reads and obeys the Bible, obeys what God speaks in prayer, and follows godly leaders.
• If God says to honour your parents, you honour your parents. If He says to love your enemies, you love your enemies. You submit to whatever He says!
2. RESIST THE DEVIL and he will flee from you. (v.7b).
• The devil is the enemy of God, and will try to get you to rebel against God.
• Resist his temptations when he tries to get you to sin! See God’s Promise:
• “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13).
3. DRAW NEAR TO GOD and He will draw near to you. (v.8a).
• How close to God do you want to be? You determine your friendship with Him!
• “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13).
• TESTIMONY: Discuss seasons of soaking and seeking – experienced powerful presence of God. But also describe recent seasons of neglecting seeking God, and how I got dry and cracked and felt distant from God and found it easier to give into temptation.
• “A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
4. CLEANSE YOUR HANDS, you sinners; and PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, you double-minded. (v.8b).
• “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” (Psalm 24:3-4a).
• When we play with dirt, our hands get dirty. We need to be washed clean. How do we do that? Through prayer, repentance and confession: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
• See King David’s prayer of repentance: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10).