Summary: Authentic faith desires to follow God’s will, but artficial faith seeks only to accomplish its own will.
Foolproof – WILLING Faith
Recap: We’ve been studying in James about how to have a foolproof faith – a faith that can’t be fooled into embracing anything not of God if you’re saved, and a faith that can’t fool you into thinking you’re saved when you’re not.
Setting: Through the first part of the letter, James offered verifiable evidence to approve authentic faith. But starting in ch. 4, he turns to a 2nd group of people in church who think their saved, but aren’t, and he begins to address them to reprove their faithlessness. These well-meaning unregenerated people can be identified by (4) actions: they create conflict, they’re judgmental, they’re defiant, and they’re greedy.
Text: Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. Jm. 4:13-17
Trans: When it comes to God’s will, I tend to see (1) of (3) responses: (1) People follow God’s will trusting His leading; (2) people avoid it living lives w/out ever consulting God’s will; and (3) people use and manipulate it to live the way they want under the idea that God is blessing them.
Video: God’s Will and the Basketball – www.sermonspice.com
Trans: You laugh, but many people operate this way. They have this Russian-roulette bartering system w/ God where they figure out a way to excuse the choices they make while thinking they have God’s seal of approval.
Insert: Everyone repeat after me – God is holy and sovereign. He does as He wills and He will not be manipulated by me.
Verse: There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end leads to death. Pr. 14:12
Insert: Three (3) Fallacies Men have Concerning God’s Will
• If good things are happening, then I must be in good standing w/ God
• If I am saved, I can live as I want w/out much fear of repercussion.
• God doesn’t care about the details of my life if I make the best of it.
Note: God has a keen interest in every facet of your life beginning w/ your salvation and continuing in who you marry, where you work, how you parent, where you go to church – and how you live! He cares for you.
Note: This text is about having a faith that’s readily willing to follow God’s will. It is about addressing the delicate issue of who is in charge of your life. James says such an issue is intricately united w/ authenticating your faith.
Poem: Invictus by William Ernest Hensley
Out o the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears, looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, how charged w/ punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
Trans: The struggle of man to be his own god and to be the master of his destiny is a very real struggle we all must face, only James makes it clear – those who trust in the all-mighty, all-knowing, sovereign God, trust in the Lord.
Note: James’ point is simple – a person w/ genuine faith lives under the authority and in the will of God, while a person w/ pseudo-faith lives under the premise that he has to make his own way in life. That he is the master of his own destiny.
Trans: To help us to understand God’s point, we need to see the pattern and problem of man’s will in comparison to the principle of God.
I The PATTERN
Text: Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."
Word: say (legontes) to speak out after careful and thoughtful planning. This is a person who sits down and carefully maps out their life based on their own reasoning and ambition w/out taking God or His will into consideration.