Friend of the World/Enemy of God

Fred R. Coulter—February 1, 1992

pdfIcon - Transcript | Audio | [Up]

or Download

James 4 really becomes very exciting because there are actually ten commandments that James gives, which are hidden right within the fourth chapter of the book of James. I'm sure that you have found—as I have found—that James really gets in there and talks about human nature and behavior and what we say and what we do in compares all of that with our Christian life and what we need to be doing.

James 3:11: "Does a fountain pour out of the same opening sweet water and bitter water? My brethren, can a fig tree produce olives, or a vine produce figs?…. (vs 11-12). The word 'produce' means to make or create.

  • What do we have here?
  • Why does he use this analogy?
  • Why does he use this example?

We know obviously, by common sense, that a fig tree is not going to produce olives. But what he's saying in this is so that we have our conduct coordinated with what we are professing. James 2 is talking about having a profession of faith, but not having works of faith. Here he's saying now your talk must equal your walk by what you are producing, because it has to come from within.

"…In the same way, no fountain can produce salt water and fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him demonstrate… [prove] …his works through good conduct in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and lie against the Truth. This wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual… [psychic] …and demonic; because where bitter envying and selfish ambition are, there is dissension and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace" (vs 12-18).

When we go back through and study every one of these things, we will see something that is really very important; that this book of James really has a lot of instruction for Christian living for us. We will show how much the same kind of thinking is right here and how similar it is, in 1-John 3. They were having similar problems at the time that these were being written. This is talking about exactly the same thing. We're talking about a profession vsbehavior in James. We're talking about the reality of the source and the reality of the product.

1-John 3:4: "Everyone who practices sin…" That's the whole emphasis, practicing as a way of doing, and this is what James is saying; that if you do have the kind of conduct that has originated from God, you're not going to be practicing sin. So, it's not that just go out and you sin and break a law, or you sin in relationship to another person, but you are practicing that as a way of life!

"…is also practicing lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness… [against law] …And you know that He appeared in order that He might take away our sins; and in Him is no sin…. [meaning there is no sin in Christ] …Everyone who dwells in Him does not practice sin…" (vs 4-6)—goes right along with the whole context.

This is where the whole doctrine of 'born again' that you cannot sin… People say that 'I'm born again, I cannot sin.' Well, you're still flesh and blood and that's very basic. This is that you're not practicing sin. That's why when you find yourself sinning, you end up with a guilty conscience, because you cannot practice and live in sin! You may be sinning for a time, but you're going to have to turn your behavior around because God's Spirit in you is going to condemn you. That's why you cannot be practicing sin.

"…anyone who practices sin has not seen Him, nor has known Him. Little children, do not allow anyone to deceive you… [let no one lead you astray] …the one who practices righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous" (vs 6-7).

That has a great deal of meaning from the point of view that one of the things that the grace of God does for us, it puts us in righteous right standing with God, by God's great gift to us! Not that we are perfect of ourselves, but any perfection there is of God.

Verse 8: "The one who practices sin is of the devil because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose… [or cause or reason] …the Son of God appeared that He might destroy… [undo, nullify and bring to nothing] …the works of the devil. Everyone who has been begotten… [the KJV says 'born' but it is 'begotten] …by God does not practice sin, because His seed of begettal is dwelling within him, and he is not able to practice sin because he has been begotten by God" (vs 8-9).

So, what James 3:12 is talking about is nearly the same thing. He's saying that this tree must bring forth the kind of fruit that it is. And this vine must bring forth fruit of the kind of vine that it is. The same way with water, it can't be 'salt and sweet' at the same time. He uses fruit and produce and he uses water. In other words, if it is from God, if the seed of God is in you by 'begettal' of the Holy Spirit, then that is, over the long run, going to produce the right fruit. We've seen at the beginning that we all constantly sin, showing the conviction of mind when we do sin, but this shows the whole direction.

James 3:13: "Who is wise and understanding among you?…." Our wisdom is not that we are smart; not that we are intelligent. After all there is not anything that we have that was not given to us by God. One way or the other, there is nothing that we have. No one can stand up and say, 'I'm smart; I'm intelligent; I know this or I know that.' We know nothing except that we have the ability given to us by God, and by God's Spirit to see and understand those things (1-Cor. 2).

"…Let him demonstrate his works through good conduct in the meekness of wisdom" (v 13).

Let's understand something about Jesus: Though He was the Son of God, had to be the meekest person that ever existed. What James is saying here, when we put it together with Matt. 11, this is what he wants us to understand. Sometimes it does not appear this way, and sometimes when Jesus was talking to them, it did not appear this way.

What does it say about the meek? Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth! This kind of meekness that we are talking about here is not necessarily that you are humble and meek to everyone you meet, because there are times that you may have to stand up for what you believe and you may have to correct something that is not right. So therefore, to people you may not seem meek. So, this meekness is the meekness that comes from God and is directed to God, just like Jesus' meekness.

Right after Jesus got done excoriating different cities for their sins, telling them, 'Woe to you because you've sinned.'

Then He says, Matthew 11:28: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are overly burdened, and I will give you rest."

We're going to see something about the grace of God that's very important. Human beings are the only ones of all of God's creation that were made to receive God's grace in their minds.

Verse 29: "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart…" Not proud, not vain, not uplifted, not braggadocio, none of those things of human nature.

The only way then is to come to Christ, "…and you shall find rest for your souls" (v 29). When you're living in sin you're not restful; you're not peaceful. You're driven (James 1) just like the wind drives water and you're going here, there and everywhere, no stability.

Verse 30: "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Who is it that lay grievous burdens to be born on people? Men do! Who turn around and take the Truth of God and make it into a religion of man, however modified and make it a burden and put a guilt trip and put all of these things on people that God never intended to be? That says something about some of the experiences that we've all gone through.

He's also talking about two kinds of wisdom: the wisdom from above that results in the right conduct.

James 3:14: "But if you have bitter envy…" There are two things with this word: it can mean zealous; it can mean here the attitude of bitterness.

"…and selfish ambition in your heart…" (v 14). This is the heart and core of what happens so much in the ministry. That's why you go along and all of a sudden you hear of this minister and you say, 'Why, I can't believe that!'

Because, v 15: "This wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual and demonic." That's how Satan works within churches and ministers to get them, to lead them astray.

Whenever you have so much psychology preached, beware! The book The Lies We Believe has some psychology in it; beware when all that psychology comes along. What is psychology and psychiatry anyway, when you really get down to it? What is the Bible for? Instruction on how to live! The standards of life! Today you can't say there ought to be standards of life, because who are you to judge someone? You can't call 'perversion' a perversion anymore, because after all then you're discriminating against that person.

Verse 15: "This wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual [psychic] and demonic." There is a right psychology, which the Bible teaches—the books of Proverbs and Psalms, the Word of God—but what we're talking about is psychology on how to live without God. That's the whole basis of psychology and psychiatry.

I saw the other day that they were arguing about how you tell in a court of law how you tell whether a person is insane or sane or when are they not responsible for their actions. It's all this psychology bit. They all have to admit that they really do not know. You can take this fellow, back in Minnesota, Jeffery Dahmer—cannibal! deliberately! I was reading this morning about the one man who escaped to tell what was going on. I don't know how he ever got into the apartment with Dahmer anyway, because there were body parts, and he opened the freezer and there was a head staring out at him. Nice friendly neighbor[factiously] and they were sitting there watching this horror movie and Dahmer puts his ear up against the guy's heart and says, 'I'm going to eat this soon.'

Nowhere does the Bible give the distinction of insanity. If they've done a crime worthy of death, the Bible says they should be put to death! But we have psychologists and psychiatrists getting up there and say, 'Well now, we need to explain this behavior.' Listen to any talk show psychologist and you will see what they try and do is explain to people how they can overcome their guilt without repenting to God. This kind of wisdom, based on psychology, based on this 'earthy wisdom'—the wisdom of this world—can never, never lead you to God! In fact, this is the kind of wisdom that can come in and tear a church apart, tear doctrine apart. Then what happens when that occurs?

Verse 16: "Because where bitter envying and selfish ambition are… [to try and get ahead] …there is dissension and every evil thing."

  • What has our experience been when that sort of 'wisdom' came into the Church leadership?
  • Did we not have fights?
  • Did we not have dissention?
  • Did we not have people trying to get up over one another?

'I'm the greatest this; I'm the greatest that'? Yes, we did!

Let's see how that affected the Church in Corinth. If you want to know how bad a church can get, to the point of disintegration, just read all 1-Cor. and you're understand it.

1-Corinthians 1:10: "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… [he's calling on the authority of Christ; he's invoking Christ's name to get this point across]: …that you all speak the same thing…"

That does mean then that by fiat you legislate everything the same. Why were they not speaking the same thing? Because they were being taught different things by Peter or by Paul or by Apollos? No! They were not speaking the same thing because everyone was trying to give their own interpretation of the Scriptures. They were having the selfish ambition taking place there, this vaunting of the self, the misplaced zeal of envy. There can be some people who are so zealous, but a lot of that is just self-enthusiasm.

"…and that there be no divisions among you; rather, that you be knit together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For my brethren, it has been declared to me concerning you, by those of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you" (vs 10-11). That's what James is talking about, those kind of contentions which come from 'earthly, psychic and demonic' wisdom.

Verse 12: "Now this I say, since everyone among you says, 'I am of Paul'; or, 'I am of Apollos'; or, 'I am of Cephas'; or 'I am of Christ.' Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?" (vs 12-13).

1-Corinthians 3:3: "For you are still carnal…. [the devil's feeding ground] …For since envy and contention and divisions are among you, are you not carnal? And are you not walking according to human ways?"

James was explaining the same difficulty and problem in the book of James, in referring to what was going on there in the Church. This causes all kinds of problems and difficulties.

Galatians 5:19 "Now, the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery…" I just know how all these programs can get on now. Have you noticed how, as a nation, all of these—starting with Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, this woman in Florida and Kennedy Smith, and Mike Tyson and this Dahmer thing that's going on—we are being so programmed to the bazaar that it's going to be difficult for people to really have proper emotions the way that they ought to. It's not that it's just being discussed; it's being shown! It's right here, there it is, just listed right out here:

Verse 19: "Now, the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery. fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred…" (vs 19-20).

I just read an article on what some of those tribes in South Africa could do. They are into witchcraft and cutting up people just like this Dahmer up in Minnesota. My wife and I figured out the best judgment for Dahmer: send him on a trip to New Guinea so that he may be the meal of the cannibals over there. He can enjoy the 'fruit of his works.' I say that in jest, but isn't that bazaar! Even as Christians to even say that would be a proper judgment for him. Do these things affect us? Sure they do! But here it is, written in God's Word how long ago? All of these things, the works of the flesh:

"…strifes, jealousies, indignations, contentions, divisions, sects, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such things as these… [just read you the major headlines of your paper today] …concerning which I am telling you beforehand, even as I have also said in the past… [he's told them many times about this] …that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God" (vs 20-21).

So, James is saying exactly the same thing in a little different way back here in the book of James. And from a church point of view, from a ministerial point of view you're not going to be preaching the Gospel of Christ when you have division, heresy, dissention, selfish ambition and climbing to get ahead within the ranks of a ministry.

That's why I think we have learned that the Bible talks about being the overseer, not the overlord, and he is to constantly point people to Christ! Not himself, not some other man, but to Christ. Now I can understand more why the New Testament was written in such a short, quick, compressed period of time. So that we would have a lot of other people making writings and accrediting them to Christ, which never came from Christ or the apostles. That's how God was able to basically preserve the purity of the Word, by having it written so quickly and then having John doing the finalizing of the New Testament.

James 3:17: "But the wisdom from above is first pure…" It's not mixed in with all this nonsense of the world. It's not mixed in with all kinds of psychology. It's not mixed in with all kinds of pagan religious formula.

By the way, in working on The Christian Passover I've discovered that there was a 15th Niacin supper that goes back to worshipping Baal. That's what's the matter with so many people, they come back with all these 'religious' arguments and it's not from God and it's not from His Word and it's not pure.

Verse 17: "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable… [equitable] …full of mercy and good fruits, impartial… [not a respecter of persons] …and without hypocrisy."

Let's see how closely this follows along with the fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22: "But the fruit of the Spirit…"

These are the things we need to work at, brethren. I read these things, and I say, 'Oh, I've got a long way to go.' I know you do, too. That means we keep going toward that.
"…is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (vs 22-23).

These are the things that we need to be concentrating on. It's enough just living in this world. There's a difference between living in the world and being affected by it and living in the world and being a part of it. That's what James 4 is all about. Too many times we're beat up by the world, beat up by the things that are there, and too many times we end up more irritated than we ought to be, because we are not—even with the Spirit of God in us—leading in this world, living in what we could say Biblically would be a 'normal' environment. We are a living in a strange, hi-tech environment that creates more problems for us.

We say we're going to run off to a monastery. It won't work, because you still carry human nature. That's not the solution; the solution is continually overcoming, continually having the grace of God to let that overcoming be in the way that God wants it to be. So there it is!

Verse 24: "But those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, we should also be walking by the Spirit. We should not become vain-glorious, provoking one another and envying one another" (vs 24-26). You would think it was written from the same pen. It was the pen of God!

James 3:18: "Now the fruit of righteousness… [the fruits of the Spirit] …is sown in peace for those who make peace."

He's talking to those within the Church—that's what he's talking about, and our conduct together as brethren. When we shift into James 4, we're going to see that he no longer says, 'brethren'—including himself in those things as he did in James 1-3.

  • Matt. 6—about hypocrites:
  • Do not be as the hypocrites, sounding the trumpet
  • Do not be as the hypocrites, making your face all contorted when you fast
  • Do not be as the hypocrites do and the heathen, which repeat prayers and stand in the corners and all this sort of thing
  • Matt. 23—then where He lays the heavy burdens—'Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees; hypocrites!'

A good translation of hypocrisy for religious people is sanctimonious pretenders! Remember that when you watch the religious channel and you see some of these wild people on there. Are they not sanctimonious pretenders?

JAMES 4:

It shifts gears quite decisively into the situation to where you could almost entitle this the world in the Church, where the Church becomes so worldly that they are a part of the world. Let's see some of the things that the Apostle Paul was teaching about in relationship to the world. That's why I mentioned your meekness has to be toward God. You get out here in the world, and if you are not strong, they will steamroll over you. Just like in some of these cartoons, lay you out absolutely flat!

Galatians 1:6: "I am astonished that you are so quickly being turned away from Him Who called you into the grace of Christ, to a different gospel." We've been in the Church long enough that we have seen that happen how many times? Where does this come from? Comes from within the ministry! It doesn't come from the members as such.

Verse 7: "Which in reality is not another gospel…" In other words, there is only one Gospel; can't have another.

"…but there are some who are troubling you and are desiring to pervert the Gospel of Christ" (v 7). That's how it starts.

  • you change a little here
  • you change a little there
  • you get an interpretation that sounds reasonable
  • you get an interpretation that sounds psychologically fitting

The wisdom of this world!

Verse 8: "But if we, or even an angel from heaven…" These are the strongest words that the Apostle Paul wrote anywhere in the whole Bible. These are really strong!

"…should preach a gospel to you that is contrary to what we have preached, LET HIM BE ACCURSED!"…. [then he says it again]: …As we have said before, I also now say again. If anyone is preaching a gospel contrary to what you have received, LET HIM BE ACCURSED! Now then, am I striving to please men, or God? Or am I motivated to please men? For if I am yet pleasing men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (vs 8-10).

That's where all of these changes in doctrines come. It's one thing to come to real knowledge and understanding of the Truth and improve your doctrine in relationship to the Bible. It's another thing to change your doctrine because you've got to please men; because you have to please the world; because you want to be accepted by the world. That is how worldliness comes into the Church.

James 4:1: "What is the cause of quarrels and fightings among you? Is it not mainly from your own lusts that are warring within your members? You lust, and have not; you kill, and are jealous, and are not able to obtain; you fight and quarrel, but still you do not have, because you do not ask. Then you ask, and you do not receive, because you ask with evil motives, that you may consume it on your own lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever desires to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ' The spirit that dwells in us lusts with envy'?" (vs 1-5).

(go to the next track)

Let's go back and go through each one of these verses and coordinate it with some other Scriptures in the New Testament.

  • James 4:1-3—the sixth commandment, 'you shall do no murder.'
  • James 4:4-5—the seventh commandment, 'you shall not commit adultery.

See how all of this fits in? How the mind of God has inspired the Word of God so that it fits? He's talking to people who were in the Church. Again, they let too much of the world in. Notice in v 1 he doesn't start out by saying, 'My brethren, why are we fighting among each other?' So, he's not including himself in this warring faction within the Church.

He's saying, v 1: "What is the cause of quarrels and fightings among you?…." And where does it come from? It comes from the wisdom that is 'earthy and psychic and demonic!' (James 3).

"…Is it not mainly from your own lusts that are warring within your members?" (v 1). Here was a church that was in such a condition that they accepted as normal and natural within the church congregation fighting and warring and politicking among each other, even to the point of:

Verse 2: "You lust, and have not; you kill, and are jealous…" That could have reference to the Jews who are joining in the renegade armies. They may have been Jews who were in the synagogues who profess Christianity, who then join these Jewish armies that were being raised up in smaller groups, but increasing all the time, to fight and revolt against the Romans. They would fight and war and kill and still didn't have.

1-John 2—concerning lusts, and this the whole epitome of it all. Lust comes upon as desires; the desires of pleasure, wealth, recognition.

1-John 2:15: "Do not love the world… [whereas in James they were bringing it in] …nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

What happens then when you begin to love the world and you might have it in your heart to really do world good? What happens? Like all the churches today, they try and make the world a better place and bring the Kingdom of God on earth now! That's the whole exercise of human nature: To show the futility that you cannot reform the world the way that it is and bring in the Kingdom of God!

Verse 16: "Because everything that is in the world…" How could you reform television, movies, the printed word, political parties, the educational system or health system—all of these? You think about how you might go and change that.

"…the lust of the flesh… [you may stop it for a while, but you're not going to get rid of it]…and the lust of the eyes, and the pretentious pride of physical life—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world and its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God abides forever" (vs 16-17).

Let's see how then Paul was instructing Timothy to not let this kind of behavior become a thing within the Church.

2-Timothy 2:19: "Nevertheless, the foundation of God stands firm… [he's saying this in spite of all the heresy that's going on] …having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who calls upon the name of Christ depart from unrighteousness.'" There's the standard of what we are to be doing. I see myself falling short on that, and I'm sure you do, just as we found in the book of James.

Verse 21: "Therefore, if anyone has purged himself from these, he will be a vessel for honor, having been sanctified and made serviceable to the Master, and having been prepared for every good work. But flee youthful lusts; and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who are calling on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and ignorant speculations reject, knowing that they engender arguments. Now it is obligatory that a servant of the Lord not be argumentative…" (vs 21-24). So, there comes a point when a minister has to say enough is enough and be gone from it.

"…but gentle toward all, competent to teach, forbearing, in meekness correcting those who set themselves in opposition; if perhaps God may grant them repentance unto acknowledging of the Truth, and that they may wake up and escape from the devil's snare, who have been taken captive by him to do his will" (vs 21-26).
We're going to see that these things come right on down till, James 4:7: "…Resist the devil…" We're ending up with the same thing. Notice the pattern in every one of these other Scriptures that we're studying, how we end up coming to the same source. Who is the source of sin, pride and vanity? Satan the devil!

Titus 3:8: "This is a faithful saying, and I desire you to strongly affirm all these things… [these are things a minister must do constantly] …so that those who have believed God may apply themselves to doing good works…." Paul agrees with James; these good works are the same as the works of faith that James is talking about—exactly the same!

"…These things are good and profitable for men. But avoid foolish questions and genealogies, and debates and quarrels about law, for they are unprofitable and vain. After the first and second admonition, reject a man who is teaching heresy, knowing that such a person has been subverted, and is sinning, being condemned by his own words" (vs 8-11).

Now, that's quite a bit of Scripture in there. This is showing what happens: People become subverted by Satan's activity in doctrine, in Truth, and in the Word of God. That's how you end up with congregations that are fighting, quarrelling and warring and striving; who's going to be your minister today or tomorrow or the next day?

James 4:2: "You lust… [present tense] …and have not…" Isn't it always true, the more that a person desires to have, the more that they realize that that is not satisfying. Lusting can be any desire. It can be pleasurable. What do we see here? You are lusting, desiring to have and have not! Not successful!

"…you kill…" (v 2). This can be figuratively or it can be literally. How do you kill a person without killing them physically? You destroy

  • their person
  • their being
  • their name

through:

  • gossip!
  • innuendos
  • lies
  • slander

All of those things we're all going to have experienced sometime in our lives. This is the kind of killing that he's talking about. That's why the Bible says that if you have anything against your brother, you're to go to him. What does Jesus say about prayers? Your prayers are not heard if you're fighting, arguing and killing your brother!

As we see that James ties in so much with Matthew that it's really quite phenomenal. It's not surprising from the point of view that the mind of God is the mind of God. This shows the kind of spiritual killing that we are dealing with here.

Matthew 5:21: "You have heard that it was said to those in ancient times, 'You shall not commit murder… [sixth commandment] …but whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.'"

Jesus is coming and saying 'I'm going to give you a new standard. I'm going to give you a standard that begins in your mind, rather than a standard which is: Did he have the gun in his hand at the time that it went off, and was it determined that he did it?

Verse 22: "But I say to you, everyone who is angry… [angry unto hate with bitter envy and jealousy] …with his brother without cause…"

It says in Eph. 5, 'be angry and sin not.' So, there's a proper anger. This is talking about an improper anger.

"…shall be subject to judgment. Now you have heard it said, 'Whoever shall say to his brother, "Raca," shall be subject to the judgment of the council.' But I say to you, whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be subject to the fire of Gehenna. For this reason, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (vs 22-24).

That is the perfect and ideal standard. We need to realize that this is what the Bible is saying we need to do. With human nature, it then becomes difficult. What was one of the things that James said? The wrath of man does not bring the righteousness of God!Same thing here; ties right in with Matthew. So, that's how you 'kill' someone.

James 4:2: "…and are jealous…" This whole world today is set on jealousy. It's called fairness! I want you to think about that! That's the new 'catch word' for communism!—fairness! It isn't fair! So, the government now is going to bring fairness! And fairness is communism! There's equal treatment before the law, but what is trying to be perpetrated under the name of fairness is communism! That is based on lust. What gives you the right to have what you have? Well, maybe you worked for it! In the name of fairness, the government is going to tax you and give it to someone else. You can say, there's the whole thing with the socialist state is all wrapped up in this.

"…and are not able to obtain; you gift and quarrel, but still you do not have, because you do not ask" (v 2). It's all pride and vanity! You can say right here that v 2 handles every political movement and march that you would ever want to have anywhere. What do they always end up doing?

  • fighting
  • arguing
  • quarrelling
  • great contention here and there

Just think of what it is like within a church. We've gone through that within a church. Let's see the source of every one of these things.

  • Who is envious of God?
  • Who wanted to be like God?
  • Who wanted to have the power of God?
  • Satan the devil!
  • How then did he seek to go about getting it?

John 8:44: "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you desire to practice…." What are we talking about here in James 4? The lust that caused death, killing, contention, strife and subterfuge and all of this! That's exactly what the devil has done.

"…He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the Truth because there is no Truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he is speaking from his own self; for he is a liar, and the father of it" (v 44). Where do lies come from? Pride! Vanity! Jealousy!

Then, as human beings, we do like it says here, and you say, 'Ah! What I need to do is pray.' Then you pray, and as James said, James 4:3: "Then you ask, and you do not receive… [Why are they not receiving?] …because you ask with evil motives…" 'Lord, let me win the lotto! Lord…' whatever it may be. 'Oh, Lord, can I have this and can I have that.' Your shopping list runs so long, but what are you going to use it for? For yourself!]

"…that you may consume it on your own lusts" (v 3). Especially in this age, we have so many gadgets and things that it is incredible!

In writing on the Passover about the children of Israel when they left Egypt, I was thinking: What, as a slave, would a person have of your own? As a slave? You don't have very much! You have to work for the rich that have everything! When they left Egypt, God specifically said, 'Take jewels of silver and jewels of gold and raiment.' They cooked their unleavened bread ahead of time and they packed it in their packs and were marching out. It says a very interesting thing: 'They prepared for themselves no vittles.' They didn't walk out with pots of food.

They had gold and silver and raiment and unleavened bread and some few possessions. The reason they had to take the clothing was because, as slaves, they were virtually naked. They were in a destitute condition. You look at this world today with every gadget and everything that we have here. I was thinking: What if someone said, 'Pack up you're going to leave forever. I want you to take the bare minimum.' We're lost! I tell you, it's something!

That's how we end up. We start asking God for things that we can burn it up on our own desires. When you really get down to the nitty-gritty and you're talking about your life is threatened, there's really not very much left that you would want to keep—is there? It isn't that God doesn't want us to have.

But I can understand more why this world is in a whole Laodicean condition as a world. I would be hard pressed to say that we are not living in a Laodicean age and that we are not affected by Laodicean attitudes ourselves. I mean, let's not be marching up to God and saying, 'I'm a Philadelphian.' Who knows? I've done this, I work and work and nothing happens, and finally I say, 'Oh, yeah, that's right, I need to pray.' So then I pray about it and I work and work and finally it dawns on me that it is totally and completely wrong, my whole attitude and approach. So, it's very common to human beings and human nature.

They get so much into the world, v 4: "You adulterers and adulteresses…" Let me give you some things you can put in there that you can study:

  • Luke 12:17-28—the farmer. He had all these great crops and he said, 'What am I going to do? I tell you what I'm going to do: I consider myself, soul, you've got all these things that you can store them up. I know what I'm going to do, I'm going to tear down my old barns and build bigger barns and fill it up. I'm going to say to my soul, sit back and relax and enjoy it and have a great time.' What was the message?

God said, 'Tonight, your life is required!' So you end up like Solomon said in the book of Ecclesiastes where he's saying it's all 'vanity and misery and rottenness. I hate to die and leave all of this'—of course, he was the richest man in the world—'and leave it to these idiot sons of mine.' What did they do with it? Squandered it! And sure enough, when he died, what happened? He left every penny!

  • Luke 18—asking with the wrong motives. The Pharisee that came down and said, 'Lord, I thank you that I'm not like other people; that I'm not an adulterer, an extortioner, I'm surely not like this publican down over here; that miserable crud of a human being. I tithe of all that I have…'

Here's the Publican down there: 'Oh, God, I'm a miserable, wretch of a man.' And Jesus said, 'I tell you that the Publican went away justified, rather than the one who prayed saying how good he was.' That's how people ask amiss!

  • Eph. 2:1-3—lust
  • 1-Cor. 10—how the children of Israel lusted. God would have provided for them. What was the thing, after they lusted for it and they asked amiss and God gave it to them? They choked on it and nearly died? They didn't believe God and they said, 'Let's have this big sex party, we sure don't know where Moses is. Since we're out here in the desert, we might as well play games and bow down to this calf!' It's almost the same as television today!

James 4:4: "You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?…." You make yourself an enemy of God.

  • here's God Who wants to bless you
  • here's God Who has called you
  • here's God Who has given His grace
  • here's God Who says love Me first with all your heart, mind, soul and being

and you say, 'But, I'd really rather like to have these things in the world, God.' Then you end up making yourself an enemy of God! Hopefully, none of us are in that position. But you think about all of these movements that people get themselves into with their churches.

  • Oh, let's not have the death penalty. You make yourself an enemy of God, because you fill the land full of crime!
  • Oh, let's not judge these homosexuals and perverts. You make yourself an enemy of God, because you're a friend of the world!
  • Oh, the Sabbath is not that important. I don't need to keep that. I can earn double- time on Saturday. You make yourself an enemy of God!

"…Therefore, whoever desires to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (v 4). Now, I've spoken a little bit about the middle-voice verb. You can identify that where I translate it as himself, herself or themselves, which means then the one who is desirous to be a friend of the world is making himself—by choice—an enemy of God! That's pretty strong words there. What he's talking about here you don't just sort of slip into it. This is a matter of willfully choosing those things of the world over the things of God.

Then he get down here and talks about what is the source of it, v 5: "Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, 'The spirit that dwells in us lusts with envy'?" That is the spirit of man; that's not the Spirit of God. Try to explain it that the Spirit of God is over us. No! This is the spirit of man within him, lusting to envy.

  • Rev. 17—adulterers and adulteresses, friendship with the world; the woman who commits fornication and all the kings of the world have drunk of her cup
  • 2-Cor. 11:3—we're to be the chaste bride of Christ

To show the spiritual application of this. This is not talking about being an adulterer or an adulteress in physically committing the act. This is talking about the spiritual fornication of the wrong application of God's way, creating a false religion.

Revelation 2:14: "But I have a few things against you because you have there those who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication."

God has one way to stop that today. Man is trying to figure out every way around it. That is the little teeny-weeny virus called HIV-3, AIDS! Remember that you can also get spiritual AIDS as it were, which leads to spiritual death, which is what this is talking about here.

Verse 20: "But I have a few things against you, because you allow the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants into committing fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols."

There it is! This is what James is talking about. Instead of seeking the friendship of the world, what are we to seek? Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness! Then the things you need will be added to you.

To show that we are not be of this worldwe live in the world—I would like to draw your attention to something that is true. Living in the world we obviously cannot stop the sins of the people around us. And it's not our responsibility to do so. For example: if you worked at a bank and people brought in money to deposit, and as far as you knew it was a legitimate business. Working in the bank, you are working in the world, but you are not of the world. However, if one of the customers who would come in was organized crime or operating a house of ill-repute and brought in that money, you would still have to deposit it, because it's not your responsibility to correct them on the source of their money. But that person is obviously in the world; of the world; sinning with the world. You are in the world, but you are not of the world. There's a vast difference.

John 17:14—the prayer that Jesus gave: "I have given them Your words, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world…" What happened here in the book of James, James is writing to these Jewish Christians who are in the synagogue; they were bringing in the world into their way of life and into their church and were becoming part and parcel of the lusts of this world.

Another example: What if you took a job as the campaign manager for Bill Clinton, and it was your duty to do everything in your power to make sure he won the Presidency. You would have to become part and parcel with this world to lie, to cheat, to undermine, to be envious against other people, to put them down to vaunt him up. If you were that then you would be inthe world and ofthe world. Jesus says, 'We are not of the world' even though we're in it.

"…just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You would take them out of the world, but that You would keep them from the evil one" (vs 14-15). I know there are times when we wish that He would take us out of this world. But in order to do that He must put us in the grave.

Verse 16: "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in Your Truth; Your Word is the Truth" (vs 16-17). That then is how you can overcome and not be an enemy of God by being a friend of this world.

  • What happens when you become so much a part of the world?
  • What happens when you have so much of the world in your life?
  • So much of the world in your church?
  • What do you have to do?
  • What does the world have to do?
  • It has to accommodate sin!

When you accommodate sin, then sin loses its sinfulness!

Hebrews 3:12: "Beware, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in apostatizing from the living God." Going out into the world, making yourself an enemy of God.

Verse 13: "Rather, be encouraging one another each day, while it is called 'today,' so that none of you become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."—and sin is no longer is sinful, that's what can happen.

Verse 14: "For we are companions of Christ, if we truly hold the confidence that we had at the beginning steadfast until the end. As it is being said, 'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion'" (vs 14-15).

Once the world is so far into our lives, or into a church, then you must accommodate sin! When that sin is accommodated, then sin loses its sinfulness!

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version

Scriptural References:

  • James 3:11-18
  • 1 John 3:4-9
  • James 3:13
  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • James 3:14-16
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10-13
  • 1 Corinthians 3:3
  • Galatians 5:19-21
  • James 3:17
  • Galatians 5:22-26
  • James 3:18
  • Galatians 1:6-10
  • James 4:1-5, 1-2
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • 2 Timothy 2:19, 21-26
  • James 4:7
  • Titus 3:8-11
  • James 4:2
  • Matthew 5:21-24
  • James 4:2
  • John 8:44
  • James 4:3-5
  • Revelation 2:14, 20
  • John 17:14-17
  • Hebrews 3:12-15

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • 1 Corinthians 2
  • James 1
  • Matthew 6; 23
  • Ephesians 5
  • Luke 12:17-28; 18
  • Ephesians 2:1-3
  • 1 Corinthians 10
  • Revelation 17
  • 2 Corinthians 11:3

Also referenced: Books:

  • The Lies We Believe by Chris Thurman
  • The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 2-6-11
Corrected: 7/2016

BOOKS