Summary: There are some steps to be followed where there is true repentance.
Text: James 4:7-10 (NLT)
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners;
purify your hearts, you hypocrites.
Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep
grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.
When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him,
he will lift you up and give you honor.
Introduction: Do you remember, as a child, getting caught doing something
wrong? Probably, if caught by an authority figure, your first
words were, "I am sorry." You were sorry for what? Sorry for
getting caught rather than sorry for the wrong action.
We have seen the so-called penitent at the church altars crying,
even weeping, with tears streaming down their faces. Later they
are found continuing in their sins. Was it true remorse and repentance
previously at the altar or just "sorry" in an attempt to deal with the
Holy Spirit’s conviction upon the heart?
James, in our text, has been crying out to the saints. His words fall
like thunder: they penetrate hearts like arrows of conviction. For
example consider James 4:17 (NLT), "Remember, it is sin to know
what you ought to do and then not do it."
This message will attempt to deal with the following:
*What shall we do?
*Resist the Devil.
*Draw near to God.
*Cleanse the hands and purify the hearts.
*Humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord.
Theme: There are some steps to be followed where there is true repentance.
I. What Shall We Do?
A. Be subject to Christ.
1. illustration: In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea
off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they
were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was
further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the
accident. It wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction--or
even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness.
Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence nearby.
Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports,
neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too
proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses,
it was too late. Closer Walk, December 1991.
2. Yield quickly to the Lord on every occasion of His dealing with you.
B. Be tender and contrite not proud and stiffnecked.
1. some examples of listeners who obeyed God
a. Moses, Joshua, Caleb
b. David, Joseph, Philippian Jailer
2. some examples of the rebellious
c. rich young ruler ( Matthew 19:16-22 )
II. Resist The Devil
A. Two 6 year olds struggled with the problem of the existence of the devil.
One boy said, "Oh, there isn’t any devil." The other, rather upset, said,
"What do you mean, there isn’t any devil? It talks about him all the way
through the Bible!" the first replied, "Oh that’s not true, you know.
It’s just like Santa Clause, the devil turns out to be your dad."
G. Lewis, Demon Possession, ed. J. Montgomery.
B. Turn a deaf ear to his suggestions and temptations.
1. The Devil never tempts us with more success than when he tempts us
with a sight of our own good actions. -Bishop Wilson
2. When the Devil finds the door is shut, he goes away. -Proverb (French)
C. Use Scripture as the sword of the Spirit to repel him.
D. illustration: On a recent trip to Haiti, I heard a Haitian pastor illustrate
to his congregation the need for total commitment to Christ.
His parable: A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000.
Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor,
he couldn’t afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner
agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one
stipulation: He would retain ownership of one small nail protruding
from just over the door. After several years, the original owner
wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell.
So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and
hung it from the single nail he still owned.
Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell
the house to the owner of the nail.
The Haitian pastor’s conclusion: "If we leave the Devil with even one
small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it,
making it unfit for Christ’s habitation."
Dale A. Hays, Leadership, Vol X, #3 (Summer, 1989), p. 35.
III. Draw Near To God