Summary: In order to live in submission to God, we must repent of those things that are an offense to Him.
James 4:7-10 September 5, 1999
Submitting to God (Part 2) - Ingredients of repentance
There was a cartoon several years ago in the Saturday Review of Literature in which little George Washington is standing with an axe in his hand. Before him lying on the ground is the famous cherry tree. He has already made his smug admission that he did it -- after all, he "cannot tell a lie." But his father is standing there exasperated saying, "All right, so you admit it! You always admit it! The question is, when are you going to stop doing it."
Last week, we began looking at what it means to walk in submission to God. In the first 6 verses of James 4, we saw that it is our own desires that prevent us from submitting to God. When we allow our desires to become the controlling force in our lives, then we create a war between God¡¦s will and our will. That war then creates battles between us and other people. It is only as we get control over our desires and refuse to allow our pride to be in control of our lives that we can find strength from God to live for Him. It is only then that we can have peace too.
This morning, we are going to look at verses 7-10. These verses contain the second lesson that we need to learn in order to live a life in submission to God. This lesson is the practice of repentance. Repentance is a word that we don¡¦t heart used very much in our society anymore. A school teacher asked her students what ¡§repentance¡¨ meant. One young boy quickly raised his hand and said, ¡§It means being sorry for your sins¡¨. After hearing that response, another student in the classroom raised her hand and corrected the young boy. She added, ¡§Repentance doesn¡¦t just mean that you are sorry for your sins. It means that you are sorry enough to quit.¡¨
Just before Jesus began his public ministry on earth, his cousin, John the Baptist, prepared the way for Jesus through his own message. His message was basically summed up in this one word: ¡§REPENT!¡¨ By that, John didn¡¦t mean for people to get sorry over their sin, seek God¡¦s forgiveness, and then go back to living in that sin all over again. He meant for them to change. Repentance is about a change of my mind about God and myself. I change my mind about God. I come to accept that He is the master of my life. I change my mind about myself. I come to accept that I am responsible to God for my past, my present and my future. And the change in my mind leads to a change in my lifestyle. I was walking in one direction. Now I turn around and start heading in the other direction.
In the verses that we will study this morning, we will see 7 commands that James gives which will lead us into a spirit of repentance. But along with each command, we will find that God has provided a promise or a reward. When you submit to God, you will find that the rewards that God provides make any self-sacrifice well worth the price. Let¡¦s read verses 7-10 of James 4. If you have your own Bible, please follow along there. If you don¡¦t have a Bible, the verses are listed on the back of your note sheet. NOTE: all the references to the Bible passages that I will read this morning are listed in your notes. This is so that you will be able to read these passages for yourself sometime this week. I don¡¦t want anyone to accept something as truth simply because I say it. I want you to check these things out for yourself in the Bible.