Summary: There is a lot of activity going on in our churches. And by James’ recollection the activity inside our churches is neither positive nor helpful to the overall ministry of the church. More importantly is that these conflicts do not come from the outside
WINNING THE WARS IN THE CHURCH
James 4:1-10 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
INTRODUCTION: This passage of James brings us to the rapid conclusion that the inside of a church is a place of war. There is a lot of activity going on in our churches. And by James’ recollection the activity inside our churches is neither positive nor helpful to the overall ministry of the church. More importantly is that these conflicts do not come from the outside, they are not brought in by us, BUT they are contained within our own desires. For the church to thrive, inner turmoil must be treated at the root, not just the symptom.
1. THE FORMS OF HAVOC IN THE CHURCH – 4:1
i. Literally, “states of war”
ii. Includes every part of the battle
i. Disputes or fight
ii. More of a random unintentional event
James is dealing with two types of havoc – the spontaneous one and the well planned one.
James is saying that both are present with believers and are to be dealt with biblically as believers. This we will see later in the text. Sufficient for now is the thought that Christians have aggressive acts against each other.
2. THE LOCATION OF HAVOC IN THE CHURCH – 4:1
a. “ Among You”
i. Believers are having acts of havoc in their lives, in their relationship, and in their churches.
1. Believers have individual acts of havoc
2. Believers have relational acts of havoc
3. Believers have corporate acts of havoc.
b. “They come from your desires to battle within you”
i. There are only two things that battle within us
1. Our Old Nature
2. Our New Nature
CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH COMES FROM CONFLICT IN MY PERSONAL LIFE. WHEN MY PERSONAL LIFE IS NOT LIVED BIBLICALLY, THEN MY CHURCH LIFE IS NOT LIVED BIBLICALLY.
3. THE REASON FOR HAVOC IN THE CHURCH – 4:2-3
a. We don’t get what we want
b. We do not get what we want because we covet
c. We do not get what we want because we put our desires above God
d. We do not get what we want because we ask with wrong motives (literally, we ask for ourselves)
4. THE RESULT OF HAVOC IN THE CHURCH – 4:4-6
a. We commit adultery against God – we are unfaithful
b. We have no concern for God
c. Our jealous spirit must be kept in check
i. We cannot be a friend to both God and the world around us
ii. James says we can only have it one way
iii. Our own sin nature tells us we can be loyal to God and to our desires
1. God opposes that kind of duplicity
2. God offers His grace to follow Him singularly
If you and I look down at verse 9 we read a condemning statement from James regarding our state as believers: The things that bring us pleasure are the very things that should bring us mourning and gloom.
This attitude of coveting, setting our desires above God, and asking for my own pleasure should make us GRIEVE (acknowledge and attack the sinfulness of my heart)
This attitude of coveting, setting our desires above God, and asking for my own pleasure should make us MOURN (realize the destructive nature of my sin)
This attitude of coveting, setting our desires above God, and asking for my own pleasure should make us WAIL (fully express my sorrow over these things – ie: confession)
5. THE RELIEF FROM HAVOC IN THE CHURCH – 4:7