Summary: James encourages them not to speech or action in presumption/falsehood

SBC Philippi 8/29/05 am

Rev. Jeff Simms

Sins of Speech and Falsehood

James 4:11-17

Primary Purpose: James encourages them not to speak or act in presumption.

We can group the next seven verses under the heading “When we speak or act falsely”. There are ways in which we can act by faith and ways in which our actions can express a lack of faith or love for God. Now, James is going to tell us some things we are to avoid.

I. Speaking against one another v.11-12. I put myself in the place of God who only has the right to judge another person. The word “speak evil” of is the word katalaleo and it means to “malign” or “disparage”. The RSV uses the word “slander”. All of these words carry with it the idea of attacking a person’s character.

It is wrong because it is the opposite of loving my neighbor. Jesus told us our attitude is to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” We are not simply to love those who love you. Matthew 5:44,46. My attitudes towards others are to be Christlike.

II. Planning without seeking God vs.13-14. The idea is of a merchant who makes his plans on going to a distant coast and making a living there for a year without seeking God’s will or direction. He is assuming that he will be there for a year. This person is not acknowledging his dependence on God or that God might have other plans. James accuses this person of boasting. The word boasting is the same kind of idea of someone who in the frontier days would sell colored water to people claiming that it had healing properties. By the time people realized it didn’t do anything the traveling medicine man would be gone. All his talk was just foolishness. He’s offering a cure for something that doesn’t have a cure. Rather, we are to be aware that each day is a gift from God and what we do with it is our gift to Him

A. Jesus made a similar statement in Luke 12:15-21 about a rich man who had torn down his barns to build bigger ones. This man gave thought to only himself and his own profit. God called him a fool saying in verse 20 “this night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” Rather we are to be rich for God. Proverbs 27:1 also says, “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Only a foolish person spends all his time thinking about this life and doesn’t think about his relationship with God.

This person is doing all he can to build up a kingdom for self here. The object in verse 13 is to “get gain”. Rather Jesus told us to “seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” So, ask yourself, “How am I going about in my day seeking Him or His righteousness?” “What am I doing today of any eternal value.” Since my life is described as “a mist” vs.14. I need to make it count for something eternal. I must be willing to lay my plans before God and say as Jesus did in the garden “not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:44.

III. Sins of Omission- vs.17 James then tells us that it is wrong if a person knows what he should do and doesn’t do it. We usually think of “what we do” as sins. But, sins of omission is knowing in our hearts what is right and true and not doing it. For example, if I know I should read my Bible or pray or witness, but I don’t do it”. That is just as much rebellion against God’s authority in my life.

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