Summary: To be what God has called us to be and to serve God as we must... we must reject the world and its philosophies
Date Written: November 18, 2006
Date Preached: November 19, 2006
Where Preached: OZHBC (AM)
Sermon Series: Living a Life of Service
Sermon Title: The Service of Rejecting the World
Sermon Text: James 4:1-10
No one needs to raise their hands but has anyone here ever experienced strife in the church. Now I know that probably EVERY ONE of you are thinking… yes I have, and if there are any who have said, NO I haven’t… they are either liars or new to the church or too young to know any better!
I say this because if you are part of a fellowship – ANY FELLOWSHIP – it doesn’t matter what denomination or religion… you are going to run into strife… why? Because we are all human… because we all are broken and fallen creatures… because we have all sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory and perfection!
In fact, I once read an article that revealed, “NO CHURCH IS MORE THAN 24 HOURS AWAY FROM MAJOR STRIFE BREAKING OUT. IN LESS THAN A YEAR, IT CAN DESTROY YRS OF HARD WORK AND GROWTH”
Contributed by: Michael McCartney
[Sermon illustration provided on Sermoncentral.com]
In our passage this morning we find James dealing with just such a situation… James is dealing with the all too human of a problem of strife and consternation in the fellowship of God! Now I want you to notice that I did NOT include the word ‘conflict’ here… this is because conflict in and of itself is NOT a bad thing…
But it is strife and consternation that I am talking about. We can have conflict in the church and be godly about handling that conflict and resolving that conflict…
But strife lends itself to ungodliness and a division in the body of Christ. When strife is present, peace is not seen… but God can use godly conflict to winnow and weed His church to His liking!
That is why James says in 1:2 that we are to count it all joy when trials come our way… because it is going to make us a better Christian! So understand that there is a difference between strife and conflict.
But before we get to this passage I want to give you a bit of background on James and the book of James. In the NT we find that the Apostle Paul wrote about ½ of the NT and Paul approached all things usually from a spiritual standpoint which is good, but James chose to express what the Holy Spirit revealed to him from the human standpoint…
Now understand something here, I am NOT saying that James takes a humanistic view of God or the teachings of Jesus… that is simply NOT true.
James takes the teachings of Jesus and the sovereignty of God and he puts them down on the human level so that ALL can understand HOW it applies to them and their walk with Christ!
James wrote this book to a very specific audience… it was to the believers scattered all over the world, [see 1:1] Now there are many who would suggest that James was speaking only to the Jewish community of faith because of what he says in 1:1 “…To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad…” [NASB]
But by the tone of his letter and based on what God was doing thru Peter and Paul in the book of Acts, we can know that the Gospel was NOT simply for the Jews, but for the entire world.
So we can rest easy and confident in the knowledge that James is writing to ALL believers and not just the Jewish believers. So in light of this fact, this letter is NOT simply FOR the believers of James’ day, but it is directed toward ALL believers, in all parts of the world and in all ages and times. This is a universal teaching that we need to grasp hold of and never let go.
James also had a very specific message to bring to these believers and it was a message that was straight forward and revealing in HOW we are to walk in Christ! As to how we are to reveal our salvation thru our actions and deeds in this world.
In Chapter 4 James begins the chapter by dealing with the issue of strife in the church… or strife in the body of Christ. He then reveals how that strife affects the body of Christ, and finally we find him teaching the believers how they could rid themselves and their fellowships of this strife that leads to so many problems in the body of faith.
So this morning I want us to continue in looking at Living a life of Service for God… and I want us to look at the service of rejecting the world… by looking at how James teaches us to deal with strife in the fellowship. So, this morning I want us to look at 3 things about strife in the church…