Summary: Part 15 in a series of messages on the book of James
A Life OF Works Produced By Faith
“The War Within”
Date: November 3, 2002 P.M Service
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: James 4:1-12
I love to read and study history. It was one of the only subjects I was good at in school. I believe history offers us a great deal of wisdom and knowledge. History reminds us of the mistakes we have made in the past.
One of the discouraging things we are reminded of when we study history is of the times of war. Even though a grim reality, war is a fact of life. We are even now facing war in our country at this present hour. We should be reminded daily to pray for our President, our elected representatives, and also our men & women in the military.
Not only is there wars between nations, but also wars at what seems to be at every level of life. Some of you may remember like myself during the early 70’s we even had “gas wars”. Dad had an Exxon station and the closet retailer was about 1 mile down the street, and they got into a price war. During that time premium gasoline went to a low of 28cents per gallon.
James seems to be discussing the issue of war, and explains three wars going on within the world.
I. We Are At War With Each Other
A. Where do wars and fights come from among you?
B. It is said to say that Psalms 133:1 is the exception rather than the rule.
1. “How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
2. Genesis 13 tells us Lot caused a quarrel with his uncle Abraham.
3. 2 Samuel Absalom created a conflict and war between his father David.
4. Even the disciples disagreed amongst each other over who would be greatest in the kingdom
C. Even in the early church the members of the Corinthians were fighting and competing in the public meetings.
D. James mentions several disagreements among the saints.
1. Class Wars 2:1-9- the rivalry between the rich and the poor.
2. Employment Wars 5:1-6
3. Church Wars 1:19-20; 3:13-18- apparently the believers James wrote to were in disagreement over positions in the church, some wanting to be teachers and leaders. Selfish ambition ruled rather than spiritual submission.
Next we notice…
II. We Are At War With Ourselves
A. James ask and the answers his own question; Where do these wars come from? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
B. The wars that rage within our own heart cause the wars within the church.
1. We are like Miriam & Aaron who complained about Moses’ wife, but who were really envious of Moses.
2. Or we are like James and John who asked for special thrones in the kingdom, when what they truly desired was recognition then.
C. Selfish desires are dangerous things, and will not build or edify the body of Christ nor build the kingdom of God.
1. They lead to wrong actions; James 4:2 “you kill, you fight, and you war.”
2. And then that leads to wrong praying; 4:3 “You ask and do not have because you ask amiss” (or you ask from the wrong motive)
D. It has been said that the purpose of prayer is not to get man’s will done in heaven but to get God’s will done on earth.
III. We Are At War With God
A. The root cause of every war is rebellion against God. And my friend rebellion against God is sin against God.
B. James names three enemies that we must not be companions with if we want to be at peace with God.
1. The world- Romans 12: 2 reminds us; “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
2. The Flesh- When we are born again we are a new creation, old things have passed away. Living to please the old nature means to declare war against God. Someone said to allow the flesh to control the mind is to lose fellowship with God.
3. The Devil- I like this statement; “God wants us to depend on Him, while the devil wants us to depend on ourselves.
We have seen the problem with wars within the church and ourselves, now how do we overcome them?
Well James gives us the answers.
1. Submit to God (verse 7)- This is a military term that means, “get in proper rank”. When we desire our own pleasures, we are not putting God first. We also must submit to the authority within the church.