Summary: James sets forth an additional seven commandments, which are mandatory for New Testatment Christians to obey, but they are not the original ten commandments.
1. Open your bibles to James 4:7-10.
2. In these four verses James gives ten commandments. He does not repeat the 10 commandments that Moses gave, but instead gives 10 of the many commandments that are given in the N. T.
3. In a previous lesson we discussed the first three of James’ 10 commandments. We discussed the importance of Commandment #1: “submitting to God”, Commandment #2: “resisting the devil”, Commandment #3: “Drawing near to God”.
4. In this lesson we will discuss the remaining seven commandments. Interestingly, all seven of these provide warnings against sin.
5. We will discuss these seven warnings and refer to them as Commandment #4, #5, & etc.
IV. COMMANDMENT #4, JAMES 4:8b DEMANDS THAT CHRISTIANS CLEAN UP ALL THEIR OUTWARD ACTS OF SIN.
1. Let’s read James 4:8b, “cleanse your hands, you sinners”.
2. “Hands” is used in a figurative way and refers to any and all sin that one is guilty of. Sin must be repented of, which means to turn away from and in the process of turning, to turn to God and obey His commands.
3. Turn to 1 Tim. 2:8. Here, Paul uses “hands” in a figurative way as he encourages those who lead in public prayer to be men who are living good clean lives. Let’s read 1 Tim. 2:8, “8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”.
4. Paul’s reference to “lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” is not to give instruction for the posture of prayer (standing and lifting up our hands), but rather Paul’s emphasis is for those who lead public prayers to be men who don’t have their lives full of sin.
5. God will not draw near those who do not draw near him. However, for those who will draw near God, He will be right by their side and a shield to protect them from Satan.
V. COMMANDMENT #5, JAMES 4:8c DEMANDS THAT CHRISTIANS NOT ONLY CLEAN UP ALL OUR OUTWARD ACTS OF SIN, BUT THAT CHRISTIANS SEE THAT THEIR HEARTS ARE PURE AND THAT THEY ARE NOT LIVING BY A DOUBLE STANDARD.
1. Let’s read James 4:8c, “and purify your hearts, you double-minded”.
2. Turn to Matt. 15:18&19. Here, Jesus teaches that our hearts must be pure because that our actions come from our hearts. The “biblical heart” is the intellect, the mental and moral makeup of man. Let’s read Matt. 15:18&19, “18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
3. Jesus is teaching Christians that if they will keep their thinking clean, then their actions will be clean.
4. “Double-minded” is only used here and in James 1:8 in the N. T.
5. Turn to Matt. 6:24. Here, we are reminded that a “double-minded” person is one who lacks integrity and who claims to be living one way and yet he is actually a hypocrite. In Matt. 6:24 Jesus declares, ““No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (or you can not serve God and material and fleshly things and please God!).”
6. Turn to Matt. 12:30. In Matt. 12:30 Jesus further drives home the point that a follower of his can not be guilty of trying to “straddle the fence”. Matt. 12:30 says, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”
7. Turn to Isaiah 55:6&7. Here God’s people are challenged to repent and get their lives and thoughts clean and prepare for the opportunity to go to heaven. Let’s read Isaiah 55:6&7, “6 Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”
8. All of these passages have demanded that we have “pure hearts” and that we live pure lives to prove that we are not “double-minded” or “two-faced” and hypocritical!
VI. COMMANDMENT #6, JAMES 4:9a COMMANDS THE HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS TO “LAMENT”.
1. “LAMENT” refers to expressing inner sorrow. There is an inner pain that others may not know about, but we personally are extremely sorrowful that we have committed sin.
2. The KJV version has the command “be afflicted”. This refers to being distressed. This is the feeling of experiencing inner torment due to guilt for our sin. Again, others may not know that we are going through this “lamenting” and “inner affliction, distress or torment” but personally our sin is a very painful thing for us.