Last week we looked at the first ten verses of this chapter where James addresses three types of warfare in which all of us must do battle. We considered: Sensual warfare; Spiritual warfare; and Satanic warfare. All of these are very real in the lives of every believer, and often we become casualties. James also showed us the way to be victorious … by drawing nigh to God. James continues in the rest of this chapter to deal with the topic of warfare. Are we winning or losing? Just because James gives us the way to win the war, doesn't mean that we will do so. Remember, we must be doers of the Word and not hearers only. What happens if we lose the war? It isn't always easy to tell whether we are winning or losing. I believe that James gives us some evidences to clue us in to the fact that we are losing the war.
(James 4:1) "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?"
I. The Development of a Judgmental Spirit. v11-12
A. This is the opposite of what we are supposed to be.
(Eph 4:32) "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
B. A judgmental spirit brings condemnation on the law (the law of liberty).
1. God has allowed us each to be different.
2. He made us that way.
3. When we allow a critical or judgmental spirit to enter into our lives we will not serve God very long or very well.
C. God is the only One who can judge the motive of the heart.
1. We are to judge or discern in spiritual matters.
2. We are also able to judge results or fruit.
3. But we are never to judge another's heart or motive.
4. To do so is 'evil speaking'… regardless of the supposed reason, it is wrong to do so and is considered evil by God.
II. Evidence of a Presumptuous Spirit. v13-15
A. Presuming means overstepping the proper bounds.
1. When a believer begins to make decisions … without the help of God…
2. Or when a believer chooses a certain direction to go … and never bother to consult with God.
3. There are boundaries in the Christian life…and we can go too far!
B. Three areas of presuming on the will of God.
1. In business (13)
a. It is presumptuous of us to believe that God will just automatically bless our endeavors.
b. We must abide by the principles of His Word if wish to enjoy His blessings.
c. We cannot and should not assume that since we are Christians, God will bless anything we choose to do.
2. In the future. (14)
a. This applies to decisions made today that assume certain things from the future.
b. The old adage 'Never put off to tomorrow what can be done today' may not be Scripture…but it is biblical in principle.
c. What God commands us to do, we are to do now…not later.
(Eccl 9:10) "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
3. In longevity of life. (14)
a. Death is a reality…
b. We presume that we will have another day … another opportunity, but James reminds us that one day the vapor will disappear.
c. 'One of these days…'
d. We use that phrase often, but we use it as an excuse for not taking advantage of the opportunity God has given to us today.
e. The question we will be required to answer will not be what did we plan to do, but what did we do with the time that we had.
C. The will of God must be first. (15)
1. Paul speaks of what our service to the Lord should be.
(Eph 6:6)"Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;"
2. Too many Christians try to manipulate the will of God for their lives.
3. Illustration of woman throwing a stick in the air.
4. It is a presumptuous spirit that causes a person to think they can decide what the will of God is for their lives.
III. Evidence of a Boastful Spirit. v16
A. The issue of pride is again addressed.
1. Remember, God resisteth the proud.
2. As a matter of fact, Pride is one of the things noted in Scripture that God literally hates! Cf Prov. 6:17
3. These believers who were at war with one another were rejoicing in their boastings.
4. The word 'boastings' means self-confidence.
5. As Christians, we are not to be self-confident or self-reliant. 6. We are to rely upon Christ.
B. Jesus said, 'Without me ye can do nothing.' Cf John 15:5
1. That is by design…God wants us to rely upon Him.
2. Remember from last week, 'Draw nigh to God' that is the way of victory.
3. Paul reminded us that we can do all things through Christ.
C. A concluding verse. (17)
(James 4:17) "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
1. Now that we know what is right.
2. If we do not do it…it is sin!
Are we winning the war? The sensual war, the spiritual war, and the satanic war? If these spirits or attitudes exist in our lives, we are not winning…we are losing miserably! What can we do? Draw nearer to God through His Word! Obey Him…do right.