Summary: God gives grace to the humble, not the haughty.

It’s Hard to Be Humble

James 4:1-12

Rev. Brian Bill

March 16-17, 2019

Mac Davis recorded a song in 1980 that became an international hit called, “It’s Hard to Be Humble.”

Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble

When you’re perfect in every way

I can’t wait to look in the mirror

Cause I get better looking each day

One of the things I like most about Edgewood is this church is filled with people who know they’re not perfect. I love how you pursue our perfect God through your commitment to gather, to grow, to give and to go with the gospel. Your deep devotion to the Word of God is incredibly encouraging. One example of this is we have received 96 questions for our upcoming “Glad You Asked” series!

Thank you for wanting to hear God’s Word, even when it hurts. Last weekend we were challenged with this truth: A worldly person breaks peace, while a wise person makes peace. I heard from several about how God used His Word to bring conviction in this area. If you’d like to have a copy of the Peacemaker’s Pledge that was read during the sermon, it’s now posted on Sermon Extras on our website and app.

Our passage today is hard-hitting and stands in stark contrast to the easy-believism and syrupy spirituality so prevalent in our culture today. Grab your Bibles and turn to James 4:1-12. These words follow the warning against worldly wisdom. Here’s what we’re going to learn: God gives grace to the humble, not the haughty.

Please stand and follow along as I read: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 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. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

I see three main truths in this passage.

• The problems among us are rooted within us (4:1-4)

• The promises to us come from above us (4:5-6)

• The prescriptions for us must be taken by us (4:7-12)

1. The problems among us are rooted within us. Instead of blaming outside factors or other people when we encounter problems, we must identify the forces at work on the inside according to verse 1: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” Specifically, when we are in conflict with another Christian, we must examine our own lives and admit there’s a war going on within us. The commentator Barclay points out the war within us is a “constant warring campaign.”

Specifically, it’s our passions and the pursuit of pleasure that put us at odds with one another. The word “passions” is the same word used by Jesus in Luke 8:14 in the parable of the soils when describing the seed that fell among the thorns: “…they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”

We must admit our main problems are rooted within us. A newspaper once sent an inquiry to several famous authors, asking this question, “What’s wrong with the world today?” One author quickly replied: “I am. Yours truly, G.K. Chesterton.”

James drills down in verses 2-4 to help us identify four battles going on inside of us.

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