Everyone needs friends, and I believe everyone has them. The little girl who is shunned by her schoolmates knows that she will always be accepted by her dolls. The little boy who is left out by everyone else will find a friend in his dog who is always glad to see him. One way or another all of us need and enjoy our friends. Does it really matter who our friends are as long as they are our friends? Watching children teaches you a lot about human nature. Many struggle with friendship. Often the battle is over who will be the "best friend". My first encounter with a fist fight was brought on over a friend. Someone has said, "Any friend of yours is a friend of mine." But what if my friend is your enemy? Does that make me your enemy? That is what the Word of God tells us in James 4:4. God tells us that we cannot be His friend and a friend to the world as well. Being friends with the world will mean that we become enemies toward God.
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
I. The World is the Enemy of God.
A. The meaning of the world.
1. The physical earth: the flowers, trees, mountains and rivers.
Acts 17:24, "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;"
2. The people who live in the world.
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
3. The customs, habits, and attitude of the world.
1 John 2:16, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
B. The makeup of the world.
1. There is a preoccupation with pleasure.
a. "...the lust of the flesh..."
b. What is in it for me?
c. If it isn’t fun, then it is of no value.
d. Consider the advertisements for alcohol and cigarettes:
e. Consider the projection of what is cool and what is the good life!
2. There is a preoccupation with possessions.
a. "...the lust of the eyes..."
b. It is as basic as our very fallen nature.
c. We see that which belongs to another and lust to possess it ourselves.
d. Fill in the blanks...God said, "Thou shalt not covet..." cf Ex. 20:17
3. There is a preoccupation with power.
a. "...the pride of life..."
b. George Washington wanted to be addressed as "His Mightiness, the President of the United States".
c. Christopher Columbus begged for the title, "Admiral of the Ocean and Viceroy of India".
d. Catherine the Great refused to open letters that were not addressed to "Her Imperial Majesty".
e. In the White House Abraham Lincoln’s wife once shouted at Mrs. Grant, the vice-president’s wife, ‘How dare you be seated in my presence until I invite you!’.
f. But the struggle with the temptation to seize power is not limited to the famous or the historical.
g. All of us are faced with this daily...we want to assert ourselves and claim our rights!
4. The craftiness of worldliness, whether it be the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life, is that it first takes place in our hearts where no one else can see it.
II. The Enmity Toward God.
A. It is inevitable.
1. There are no excuses which will prevent this enmity.
2. It does not mean that we must turn on God and wage war against Him...all it takes is for us to become friendly with the world.
3. Note: Mt. 6:24
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
4. A master is someone who demands total obedience and love.
5. That is exactly what the world is trying to do in the life of believers: to usurp the authority of Christ.
6. It is as impossible to be friends with the world and be in love with God as it is to be in Europe and the United States at the same time!
B. The injury of this enmity.
1. Worldliness promises to bring joy and fulfillment.
2. But in the end all you have left are the scars and a broken heart.
3. Chasing after the world is like trying to catch snowflakes...when you think you’ve gotten a handful you realize that you have nothing!
4. There is no problem with being in the world, but the problems come when the world gets into us!
5. Note that our text says, "...whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world..."
a. It involves our will...it is our decision.
b. We choose our friends!
c. It is not our environment that makes us worldly, it is our desires.
C. The injustice of enmity.
1. "Ye adulterers and adulteresses..."
2. Pretty strong choice of words, huh?
3. Strong, but accurate!
4. When we become friendly with the world it means that we become unfaithful to Christ.
5. We are His bride...our relationship with God is not a distant one like:
a. A king and his subjects.
b. A master and his slaves.
c. But it is an intimate relationship as a Groom and His bride.
6. When we sin against God it breaks His heart...does God deserve that kind of treatment?
Matthew 12:30, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." Are you a friend of Jesus? Do you know Him as your personal Savior? He proved His love for you by going to the cross in your place...have you accepted His expression of love towards you?
Christian, have you been unfaithful to Him? Have you broken His heart by running after this world instead of following Him? Won’t you return to Him this morning...He will forgive and gladly receive you back into full fellowship with Him.
Whatever the need this morning, I invite you to come.