Summary: Fights are unfortuantely common, even in the church. Is there something we can do about them?
Passage: James 4:1-12
Intro: Find a story about a good church fight
1) we like to think the church is beyond this type of behavior, but it is, after all, full of people.
2) and where there are at least 2 people, there is going to be trouble.
Il) seminary student went out to candidate, came back with the report that a fight had broken out on church lawn after service, between adults!
3. we are going to see the why of this tendency, and what we can do about it.
4. the passage has a very harsh ring to it, but the problem is huge because each of us bear it in our flesh.
5. the problem is real, the need for correction is real, the consequences of ignoring this problem are eternal.
6. so let’s start where James does. What is the problem?
I. The Problem is My Master…Me!
1. v1, outward fights and battles, words=war and the battles that make up the war.
2. James asking a very basic and important question.
3. where do these wars comes from?
Il) hear our children squabbling, we come up and say, “What’s this about?” In other words, what has transpired that led to hair-pulling, name-calling, wrestling match.
4. this “acting out” is the manifestation of something deep inside a person that cries out for expression.
Il) Pinewood Derby years ago, Paul Taylors reaction to winning.
5. we fist pump, rise arms over head, dance in the end zone.
6. our “desires” have been met; we have won! And if we lose, we pout!
7. it feels good to win! Satisfies need to be recognized, to succeed, even to dominate others.
8. of course, when I need to win, that typically means someone else has to lose.
Il) 2 friends went camping the woods, and over first cup of morning coffee, saw a grizzly coming at full speed. One guy starts to put on tennies, other guy wondered if he thought he could outrun the bear. “No, and I don’t need to. I just have to outrun you!”
9. each of us have this “me first” flesh demanding to be served.
10. if left unchecked, it will do the strangest things that in retrospect are incredibly stupid.
Il) Oct 14, 2003, games six of NLCS, Cubs and Marlins, Cubs leading 3-0, 1 out in top of the 8th. Foul pop to left field, near the stands, Moises Alou is under it, but Steve Bartman grabs for the ball, and ends up with it. Marlins go on to score 7 runs in the inning,
PP Bartman fielding the ball
11. why would he do it? V2Flesh says, “Me want ball”, and reason goes out the window.
12. maybe we even pray for something?
13. v3, the asking is with wrong motives, (a correct rendering by NIV because of the “iva” clause.)
14. we sanctify by asking God for it, but the ultimate purpose is satisfying our own needs and desires.
Il) I am like most pastors, I want to please people. But “people pleasing” is really pleasing my self’s need to be liked and recognized as a “great guy”
15. and James calls this behavior adulterous, a love affair with the way the world does things.
16. we laugh it off, believe the universality of the problem means it must be all right.
Il) Tom Sine quote, “World Christian magazine. Don’t believe it? Listen to how many sermons on TV are about “being a champion” or “success”
17. the problem, my friends, it that we are at the beck and call of our master, who is me. What can we do?
II. The Solution: Switching Masters
1. saw last week, we are called to embrace the servant role.
2. more than just “be a servant,” because that can be faked.
3. it is a turning away from the demands of the flesh, the tyranny of self-interests.
4. to let go of the pride that requires recognition and appreciation, the self-pity that wonders why I’m doing this job and no one else is.
Il) I wonder if Chuck Swindoll is doing this today?
5. the need to be needed, to be compensated in some way other than the promised “well-done” of our Master.
6. to not have to win, to give up the need even to be respected, to be listened to!
7. to embrace the servant heart means to do what God calls me to do, what God calls me to suffer, even when that task or job or is done in a quiet corner without the fanfare that self requires.
8. and the insatiable self, if serving quietly without demand for recognition, will wonder if my lack of need for recognition is being recognized for the sterling Christian characteristic that it is!!