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Summary: James asks his readers where their continual desire to fight amongst themselves comes from. And his answer is surprising. Rather than point his finger at an outward cause of their strife, he tells them it is because of each of their individual selfishne

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1. What are the Prevailing Symptoms of selfish pride (4:2-5)

2. What is the Primary Source of selfish pride (4:6)

3. What are some Practical Solutions for selfish pride (4:7-12)

JAMES 4:1

Two old friends were sitting on the front porch one Sunday afternoon when one of them began to confess to the other one. He said, “Bob, I’ve got something to tell you. I’ve never told this to a soul. You know that my wife and I have been married for 30 years. This is tough to say, but we have fought every day of those 30 years.” Well, Bob couldn’t believe it. He never suspected that they had been going through that in their marriage. He knew that couples have their occasional spats—but everyday? He didn’t know what to say, so he asked him, “Everyday? Even today before church?” His friend shook his head, yes. Bob was at a complete lack of words, and the only thing he could come up with was to ask him how it turned out. Bob said, “That woman came crawling up to me on her hands and knees.” “Wow, what did she say then?” “Come out from under that bed and fight like a man!” It wouldn’t be very much fun to be in a marriage like that would it? But the sad thing is, there are many marriages like that. Sometimes it just seems like people like to fight. They fight at home. They fight at work. They fight with relatives. They fight with neighbors. And they fight at church. I bet that if you locked some people in a room all by themselves, they’d fight with themselves. But most people don’t like to fight all the time—just sometimes. There are Landmark Baptists who go through some serious historical gyrations to try and prove that Baptists have been around since New Testament times. I don’t know why they have to twist history like that to try and make their point. All you have to do is look at the church at Jerusalem. It had to be a Baptist church. It had to be, because James says they were fighting. And we all know that Baptists love to fight. We joke about that, but the sad thing is, it’s true. But it’s not true just because we’re Baptists. It’s true because we’re people. Now, the church at Jerusalem where James pastored wasn’t really a Baptist church—Baptist churches didn’t really come around until about 1500 years later. But it was a church that was made up of people. And because it was made up of people, there was conflict. If you ever find a church that is completely without conflict, please don’t join it. Because you’re human and they must not be. If you join it, you’ll just ruin it for them. The passage we’re looking at this morning is part of a larger section that runs all the way through 5:6. That whole section contains James’ sixth test of faith—the pride test. As you recall, he is in the middle of giving us 9 tests to determine whether or not our faith is real. He has already given us the Bible Test, the Preference Test, the Works Test, the Tongue Test and the Wisdom Test. Now it’s time for him to test us at the very core of our sinful nature—at our pride. The test of pride is such a big issue for James, that he divides it into three sections—selfish pride, presumptive pride, and greedy pride. We’ll cover each of those over the next three weeks. In today’s passage, James asks his readers where their continual desire to fight amongst themselves comes from. And his answer is surprising. Rather than point his finger at an outward cause of their strife, he tells them it is because of each of their individual selfishness. Selfishness that is rooted in their pride. He doesn’t address it as a problem with the church body as a whole. It’s not a problem with the group. It’s not a problem with other people. He tells them it’s a problem with each of them. And that problem with each of them is causing problems for the body as a whole. I attended a conference at Ridgecrest this week called Building Bridges. It was designed to call for cooperation and understanding in our convention between Calvinists and Non-Calvinists. I left there with a great deal of hope for our SBC. At least among most of the presenters, there was a tremendous spirit of humility and cooperation. Even among folks with very different theological opinions, there was a common bond of passionate desire for evangelism and a commitment to the inerrancy, infallibility and sufficiency of Scripture. There were many people there who had passed this first part of James’ Pride Test. This morning, I want people to be able to say that about us. I want each of us to identify and recognize the areas in our lives where we harbor selfish pride. And when the Holy Spirit shows us those areas, I want us to turn from them and turn to the better way of selflessness that Christ offers. In order to do that, we’re going to answer three questions concerning selfish pride. The first question is: what are the prevailing symptoms of selfish pride? Look with me at verses 2-5:


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