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EXPLANATION: As we jump back to where we finished in chapter 3, we are reminded back in v.13 as James asked that rhetorical questions, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?”
It was a question posed to the Christians in the church.
He immediately followed that up with the answer to his question, “Don’t tell me, show me!”
And as he gives v.14-16, he scratches the surface of a mindset that he is going to further delve into in chapter 4
James 3:14–16 KJV 1900
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Selfishness and contention in your heart is nothing to be proud of.
In fact it is an attitude the comes directly from the pits of hell itself.
And it’s fruit is nothing but confusion and evil results and God, as we know, is not the Author of confusion.
It is from this platform that we delve into v.1-3 of chapter 4


EXPLANATION: Once again, James asks a rhetorical question… where do wars and fightings among you come from?
He wasn’t referring to battles on a battle field, but rather contentions and disagreements.
And this was happening within the church house among Christians.
This ungodly, evil work was taking place in the very place that Christ was to reign supreme.
But instead the confusion and evil works were reigning in His stead.
James’ answer to his question is given in those first 3 verses.
V.1, You want what you want
The fighting and arguing that was taking place was because their wants were fighting for prominence in their life.
Maybe it was an argument over the color of the carpet they were installing
Maybe there was a disagreement about what color to paint the walls
Maybe there was division over a message the pastor had preached.
Maybe they were just mad because no one else was helping out.
Whatever the reason, the contention began because someone wanted what they wanted.
V.2, You fight for what you want
Things escalated because they wanted what they wanted and no one was willing to budge.
So, the heels were dug in, and the sides began to be taken.
They became direct sales employers overnight as they began to try to convince others of their position.
“That paint color would clash with the chairs.”
“Don’t you think the preacher is a little long winded?”
“Did you see what they were wearing?”
After doing there best job to pitch their position, they made there way to the ultimate pitch meeting.
V.3, You ask God for what you want
God, would you just change their heart?
They are being so mean and ugly about this whole thing and all I want is for the church to look good.
All I want is for things to be done the right way.
God if you would just change them, then we would finally be on the same page and be able to glorify You.
But no one changes… and instead their is a church split.
And both sides are pointing the finger at each other.
And there are broken pieces left all over.
APPLICATION: It is a story that can be told over and over again in the church house.
“I don’t like the way they did that.”
“I didn’t like that song.”
“I didn’t like that message.”
And I didn’t really like the way your face looked during the message either… so take that!
It can be easy to forget that this isn’t your church.
And this isn’t my church.
This is God’s church!
And what right do you or I have to decide that things have to be MY way in God’s church!
But let’s bring it closer to home… You may want to cover your toes.
“I just don’t understand why my spouse can’t see things my way.”
“I don’t understand why his family is that way.”
“I just don’t know why she always does that.”
So you call your buddy up… or ladies you call up your girlfriend, or your mom.
“I just don’t know why they are that way!”
And they love you and would never give you bad advice, so they agree with you.
And then you pull the ultimate trump card.
“God, would you just change my spouse.”
“If you would just change them, I would finally have a happy marriage.”
“I just can’t stand her parents… if they would just change...”
“I just can’t take my coworker anymore… if they would just change...”
I want what I want, So I’ll fight for what I want, And then I’ll ask God to give me what I want.
It is a confused perspective because it starts with the wrong premise… it’s all about me!
And God has nothing to do with it!


EXPLANATION: You are an adulterer and adulteress.
Ouch… James became the pastor at Jerusalem and his church ran over 20k
Maybe I should start speaking to you guys that way!
The Jewish believers understood what he was saying.
The OT is a cycle of the children of Israel getting right with God, then leaving God to go and serve other gods, God bringing judgement to get their attention, them repenting, and then the cycle would repeat.
James says, “Church, you’ve forgotten that you are the bride of Christ!”
And as the bride of Christ, it is no longer about you and your wants!
It’s no longer about all the little idols in you life.
It’s no longer about you living your life your way.
Your fighting amongst the bride of Christ is an ugly thing.
And what right do you think you have to get in the way of Christ and the relationships in His church?
Galatians 2:20 KJV 1900
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
A crucified man doesn’t have his own ambitions.
A crucified man doesn’t have his own plans.
He is held to that cross as a sacrifice and example.
APPLICATION: As a believer and the bride of Christ, that is the life you and I are called to live in Christ.
Romans 12:1–2 KJV 1900
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
That life is one that is in direct opposition to the life lived in the world, in the flesh, and under the control of the devil!
That is what He is saying in v.4b
1 John 2:15 KJV 1900
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
James isn’t telling the believers here to be rude to the world.
I have met some people that hated the sinner about as much as they hated the sin.
Jesus was straightforward about sin but He loved the sinner.
No, James is saying here that when a Christian wants what they want, and fights for what they want, and asks God for what they want… they are acting like the world!
And as Chapter 3:15 says, that thinking is “Earthly, sensual, and devilish.”
It isn’t the mind that the bride of Christ should have.
But here is the problem... according to v.5, that is the natural bend of our flesh.
ILLUSTRATION: It may surprise some of you this morning, but marriage is hard.
Before I married Tressa, the only person I had to think about what myself.
The only person I really had to concern myself with was myself.
I ate when I felt like it.
I watched movies I liked
I spent a lot of time watching ESPN, and Basketball and football games.
But when I got married, there were changes that had to happen.
I had to think of someone besides myself.
You begin to find just how selfish you are.
If I started acting like a did before we were married… stopped being concerned with her needs and only thought of my wants.
If I left my family
If I started going on dates with other women
If I began searching to fill desires outside of my marriage
First of all I wouldn’t be alive for very long...
But you would have some names for me.
APPLICATION: God takes this matter of giving ourselves over to the natural desires of our flesh very seriously.
When we have fighting and warring in our life, and we remain selfish, God says you are choosing to love your flesh over me.
You are an adulterer!
Your pride has gotten in the way of God’s desire for your life.
Proverbs 13:10 KJV 1900
10 Only by pride cometh contention: But with the well advised is wisdom.
It’s a scary place to be, because in our human nature we will naturally choose pride.
We will naturally choose to love the world
Like a bug attracted to that bug zapper, we are drawn to it and we will get burned.
Romans 3:10 KJV 1900
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
But James doesn’t leave us hopeless… we have a wonderful promise in that next verse.


EXPLANATION: James says your natural tendency is going to be to follow your flesh… to love the world… to become an adulterer as the bride of Christ.
“But God giveth more grace!”
God will give more grace than the enticement of the world.
God will give more grace than your selfish flesh can offer.
The grace of God can overpower the pride that desires to control your life!
God will give you grace to stay faithful to Him when you are tempted to act like the world!
Hebrews 4:16 KJV 1900
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
2 Corinthians 9:8 KJV 1900
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
And our loving God is ready to give grace when we fail Him
ILLUSTRATION: In Luke 15, there was a father that had two sons.
And the younger came to his father and said, “dad, I wish you were dead...”
Luke 12:15 KJV 1900
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
He went to a far country and wasted his life living it up.
Luke 15:14–19 KJV 1900
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
v.17-19 is the key of the whole story.
Because James 4:6
James 4:6 KJV 1900
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
When that young man came back to his home he found the father waiting for him.
Luke 15:20–24 KJV 1900
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.


APPLICATION: Church, is there conflict in your life?
One of the hardest things to do is let go of what we want because, “What if someone else messing everything up.”
We can be so good at justifying our position in our pride.
To point the finger at everyone else and declare they are the problem and the ones that need to change
But God gives more grace and when we choose to humble ourselves, we can experience that grace.
When you choose in humility to lay aside what you want, and stop fighting for your desires and lusts, and stop asking God just to work according to your plans, it is then that you can see God work in your relationships!
Choose today to experience more grace in your life.
Lay aside your selfish desires
Find a Heavenly Father with open arms desiring to receive you and give you a life beyond what you could imagine.
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