Summary: Why is there so much fighting and quarreling in the church; war in the heart.
SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO GOD
Jas 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? Jas 4:2 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.
Jas 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Jas 4:4 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. Jas 4:5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? Jas 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Jas 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Jas 4:9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Jas 4:11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
Jas 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Listen to how the NLT translation puts it:
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong-you want only what will give you pleasure.
PT 1: WAR IN THE HEART
What causes fights among us? What causes quarrels among us? James says they come from our desires that battle within us. What are your desires? What is it you want in the church? There’s a battle going on within us at times. There’s war going on in our hearts. Behind the smiles, in the heart there is war. What if God seeking to show us the real state of the church revealed our hearts. What would we see? He already sees it. What would we see? War in many hearts.
We smile but there’s war. We say nice things but there’s war. Ps 55:21 His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
Let’s look at a couple of guys who came across as if nothing was wrong but they had war in their hearts. Joab and Judas.
2Sa 20:6 David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bicri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master’s men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us.”
2Sa 20:7 So Joab’s men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bicri.
2Sa 20:8 While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.
2Sa 20:9 Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 2Sa 20:10 Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bicri.
Joab came across like nothing was wrong but then killed a man.
Do you have war in your heart like Joab?
Judas came across like there was nothing wrong and then betrayed Jesus.
Lk 22:47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, Lk 22:48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”