James 4

Lusts of the World

James warns the worldly Christians to not serve the world, but we are to serve God. It seems that the world has so many attractions, but most things appeal to the flesh. The Spirit is eternal.

James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

lusts, hedone, a hedonist, desires for pleasure

James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

ye have not, because ye ask not.

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

You do not receive, because you do not ask in Jesus' name and according to his commandments. You miss the mark of God's will; this is sin.

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Speaking to the Church, James speaks to those who are still living in the sinful flesh nature. Wars and fightings come from the lusts that war within. What are lusts? These are of the flesh nature, sensual, demonic. You lust and have not, you want something another has, wealth or position. You kill, you can kill anothers soul with bitter words, The world puts down another for their own gain. This is not the way of Jesus. You fight and war, you have an unforgiving spirit, striving and gossiping.

You feel empty and needy, because you ask for selfish things and not what you need, you ask amiss. You want wealth so you can consume it on toys and pleasure. You have not, because you ask with a selfish sinful heart. If you want to receive of God, you will want what he wants for you and you will seek his will for you in the Bible and by prayer. He promises to meet our needs.

James 4:4 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.

enmity, echthra, hatred

The world, meaning the thoughts and values, the desires of unsaved people. The devil is god of this world's lost people. He would keep you in bondage in the physical, through lusts of the flesh and pride of life. The devil tempted Jesus with the power of the world, if he would worship him. Jesus answered with God's word.

Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Luke 12:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
Luke 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Luke 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.

Be Humble Before God

James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

lusteth to envy, epipotheo, this is not sensual hedonistic lust, this a great desire, earnest desire, a longing after. The Spirit longs after our hearts, envying the desire that you place on the things of the world. God is envious and jealous in a good way, loving you, seeking you and wanting his love for you to be returned to him, not on selfish pleasures. The Holy Spirit within you has a great desire for the things of God. The spirit wants all of your heart, and has a good jealousy, for your affection. You will want to fellowship and be with that which you love most. We are commanded to love God with all of your heart.

Deu 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

grace, charis, favour

His grace he gives, once we are his he keeps us. We must keep our love strong for God. Selfish pride will not please God. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. God's spirit is meek and humble, holy and pure.

2 Chr 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Our land needs protection and God's grace. It begins with our getting our individual lives in line with God's loving will for us. Our nations people have turned from God and are seeking every evil lust. The people of God must be the light of the world. The darkness cannot put out the light of God.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

submit, hupotasso, put yourself under, be in subjection to God

We are to submit ourselves, totally, to God. If we do not give him all for his cleansing, then darkness gives a hiding place for the devil. If we resist the devil and seek God's truth in all of our lives, then the old lying devil will have to flee.

John 8:44 (Speaking of the devil)...He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Seek the things of God, his love, his truth, and serve him. Our life must show that we are of God, new creations, children of God, the beloved of God. We are a blessed people. Jesus has removed the curses, the devil has no part of us.

Come Closer

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Draw nigh, eggizo, come near

Deu 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. Jesus is calling you.

Mat 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Cleanse your hands, ye sinners;

Psa 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
Psa 24:4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up
his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. Psa 24:5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Luke 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Luke 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

James 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

Be afflicted, talaiporeo, work hard, endure labors and hardships for the cause of Christ Jesus. The faith is not just wealth and pleasure. Seek the things that are above, mortify the flesh. Be serious in your witness for Jesus. Do not seek worldly pleasures to satisfy you. Why the mourning and heavy heart? Because we are convicted of sin and are humbling ourselves before God, seeking his love and giving him our hearts.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

The result of forsaking worldly pleasures and humbling ourselves before God, is that he will lift us up and put us in a place of joyful service.

Psa 34:2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
Psa 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
Psa 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psa 34:5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
Psa 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
Psa 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Psa 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Psa 34:9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

No Judging

James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

a judge, krites {kree-tace'} one who passes or arrogates to himself, judgment on anything

Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Mat 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

We are commanded to not judge another, if we do judge, we make ourselves in contempt of God's law. But what of those who are in need of correction? Correct them in love, but you may not judge them. The final punishment belongs to God.

Rom 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Rom 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
Rom 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Rom 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Rom 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Rom 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Are we not to judge right from wrong? Yes, we are to know people by their fruits or actions. But we cannot sentence them, punishment is of God. We can prevent false teachers from teaching in our church. Discernment is important.

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Mat 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

But what about those who oppose us and teach others wrong things? Warn them, and then withdraw from them.

Mat 15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
Mat 15:13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
Mat 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

I think we spend too much time listening to those who oppose the gospel truth. We should never debate or argue with them. Speak the truth in love with a gentle spirit. If they will not hear, move on, but if they hear you have saved a soul from God's judgement.

James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

We are in the life saving business, we are not to condemn. Satan does that to us every chance he finds. In the end it is he that shall be condemned by our God. Do not be foolish falling for satan's lies and coming under God's judgment and condemnation. God sent his son to save you, choose Jesus and receive everlasting life.

James 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Do not boast in our plans

James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

We are not to boast in our plans, but we follow the Lords direction. Often what we plan, does not come about, but if we trust the Lord he will lead us in his purpose. There is nothing wrong with goals and plans, if we but God first and his will. If the Lord wills, I will do such and such, but always we put God ahead of our own desires. Jesus shows us this in the garden as he suffered looking at the torture and the cross that was before him. The natural man would run from this, but Jesus had the Spirit of God.

Mat 26:39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Always God is first in all things. We do his will.

James 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

We are to submit our will to the will of God, and not act apart from him. We are to be sure that our plans fit in with his purpose for us. What does this mean to you about setting goals?

James 4:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

We do not boast of our desires and our abundance. Jesus gave us a parable, a story with a spiritual meaning, about a rich man;

Luke 12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
Luke 12:17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
Luke 12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Luke 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Luke 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Is Jesus Lord and master of our lives? Or do we treasure things and pleasures, boasting in them to others? God is our master and all we receive is from his hand. We are not to live unto ourselves, but to the service of others too.

Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Not doing Good

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

A simple statement with much to consider. I think of the most important decision we can make, to allow Jesus to come into our lives. When we do not, we remain outside of his will and this is sin. Let us look at various types of sinning, then perhaps we will know what sin is and what to avoid as we live our lives for God.

Sin is transgression, an overstepping of the law, the divine boundary between good and evil. Iniquity, an act inherently wrong, whether expressly forbidden or not; error, a departure from right ; missing the mark, a failure to meet the divine standard; trespass, the intrusion of self-will into the sphere of divine authority; lawlessness, or spiritual anarchy; unbelief. (Scofield, Romans 3:23 notes)

How do we know to do good? Everyone has been given a conscience from God to know right from God.

Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

conscience, suneidesis, the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, Perhaps we are not convicted of doing certain things, yet, by doing them you may cause a weaker brother to sin. We are to be concerned for our brother as ourselves.

1 Cor 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

We who are saved through Jesus, have the Holy Spirit. He will guide us and speak truth. If we obey the Spirit we will not sin.

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

There is an unpardonable sin, to sin against the Holy Spirit, and deny yourself the salvation in Jesus. If we are not saved we perish in our sins.

Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

We are to avoid worldly lusts and seek God with all of our hearts. Our affections are to be on Him and submission to His will. Our plans are to be his plans. Our life is to obey him, not to be judges, but in His love doing his will. It is possible to sin if we cause others to fall, even if it is not sin to us. Follow your conscience and be led by the spirit. We can sin by not doing what we should do. Submit all to God and he will lift you up and give you joy and meaning in your life. It will be hardships to endure, but it is worth it all to be with Jesus.


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