BE CAREFUL WHO YOU MAKE FRIENDS WITH? That’s a tough one to answer isn’t it? We live in a society that tries so hard…… wanting to fit in! But the sad reality to that idea is like trying to put a square in a round hole. It won’t fit no matter how hard you try to make it fit. The only way a person can make it fit is shaving off the corners…….which is no different than compromising for the sake of others and this world. That could mean possibly compromising certain passages of scripture, or not speaking about the truth of the gospel to people for the sake of losing a friendship or employment. Let’s get a little closer to home….our so-called evangelical churches! Has the church allowed the world into our fellowship? YES. Has the church changed in order to adapt to this fallen world? YES. There are churches around the globe that have done it, or doing it right now! A church in the States rein acted the kissing scene from Spiderman, to illustrate our Hero’s in the Bible. Another church did “I’m sexy and I know it” as special during the service. New Springs Church in South Carolina….Opened the service with “I Wanna Rock & Roll All Night” by rock band KISS. A few years back The Church of England is getting help from the Simpsons to provide a more relevant way of teaching children about theology and to give a boost to dwindling congregations. We have everything from the “Shark Dance” to “Circus” in our churches. We even had a church 2 hours from here put on a Batman Play to represent the resurrection on Easter Sunday last year. That's disgusting! As Paul Washer said “the church today in America looks like a six flags over Jesus, because if you draw people using carnal means, you will have to keep people by using carnal means.”It comes dow to this one question! Do we even care anymore that we have allowed the world to dictate the way we act and live in our homes, or churches?
This even goes back to what we looked at last week! Whose counsel are we to be seeking out? This fallen and depraved world or the all- knowing, self- sufficient Creator of the Universe? It’s no wonder why…..so many so-called Christian homes are falling apart. It’s no wonder why….. the church is in the state it’s in. It’s no wonder why…. the unsaved world doesn't embrace the gospel…..we look different than them. It’s no wonder why……. that we are following in the footsteps of our father Adam. This is a sad state of affairs in the realm of Christianity……..and the number one problem is that we have chosen to make friends with this world over Jesus. The church has left the back door open wider than the front door and our churches are filled with partial truth to no truth, to fun and excitement! Why? The church has embraced this world’s philosophy and fallen ideals. The word of God says “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed [adapt, fashioned, resemble] to this world”. John wrote 1 John 3:13 “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”. John also wrote “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” 1 John 2:15. This present age will drag you down! Paul said “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted [forsaken, left] me and gone to Thessalonica.” 2 Tim 4:10. A friendship with the world only brings death. Paul wrote “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Rom 8:13. AND JAMES HAS SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THAT ISSUE AS WELL THIS MORNING! So we come to chapter 4 and James summarizes this portion of his letter in (v4) “friend with the world is hostility towards God”
Let me ask you! In what direction do you steer your Christina life towards? Is it more inclined to be swayed by the world with all it has to offer which is temporary and destructive in the end?Or is it more inclined to be swayed by things in Heaven which have eternal implications where Jesus is?Because we see a bring problem if you are more concerned and swayed by this present evil system! What do I mean?
FIRST THING IS IT RESULTS IN PERSONAL CONFLICT WITH OTHERS (V1A)
“quarrels” This statement gives us an indication that there is something wrong in the church. This word means “serious disputing or combat” this word often renders “war” as you would see in the KJV. It’s not a universal battle for the church! James says “fights among you” this was a specific issue, or discord among the church. Obviously there were some unwelcomed guests who were trying to disrupt the fellowship of these people!
- John talks about this in his letters
- Peter warned the church about this.
- Jude said there here among us
And we see the clearest example given by the Apostle Paul in his last letter. In 2 Tim 4:3-4 Paul said “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”John said “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” 1 John2;18-19. No church is perfect and never will be on this side of glory……but the more we allow the world into our homes, families, marriages and the church the more wars we’re going to see go on.
SECOND THING IS IT RESULTS IN PERSONAL CONFLICT WITH ONESELF (V1B-V3)
It brings conflict to the individual……you or me! And we see 2 internal conflicts in this portion of James letter.
UNCONTROLLED and UNFULFILLED DESIRES “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” (v1b-2a). We don’t know what he specific desire is but whatever it is makes a person aggressive and in the end the only thing it brings is sin.” “Murder” in in this verse could also include: murderous hatred, extremely destructive behaviour, and even suicide. As John MacArthur said “when the lusting person cannot achieve his desired goals …whether for reputation, prestige, sexual gratification, money, power, escape through drugs or aclchol, success, possessions, the affections of another person, or whatever….the result is often catastrophic to others and always destructive of oneself.” Example:
- Cain first murderer over worship and jealousy
- Absalom was willing to kill his father David to rule Israel
- David himself after his encounter with Bathsheba
Seeking this world is like saying “God you don’t and can’t satisfy my wants and needs, so I’m going to do it myself”
SELFISH DESIRES “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (v2b-v3). Seeking this world and having uncontrolled and unfilled desires is also selfish…..I’m self-sufficient, I don’t need God and I’m fully capable of taking care of myself thank you! So they seek the world to meet their needs instead of going to the one that James described earlier as pure and good. (1:v17) or the passage we looked at last week (3:v17) James says when they do ask…. they ask with wrong motives! “you ask wrongly” has the basic meaning of bad, evil or wicked. You could compare this portion of James letter with the prodigal son who wanted his best life now! [Luke 15:13]
THIRDLY IT RESULTS IN PERSONAL CONFLICT WITH GOD (V4-V6)
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” (v4). “Adulterous” this word is used metaphorically [figurative, symbolically] in a way the people would understand how they were treating their relationship with the God. We need to understand that James isn’t talking about their sexuality but there spiritual infidelity. I think one of the greatest examples of that is found in the Prophet Hosea…..powerful book about God’s never ending mercy as He seeks out His people even when they are ugly and filthy because of their spiritual idolatry. That’s the gospel when he found you and me hiding underneath a rock because of our shame and adulterous behaviour. What James was saying and still is to the church….. ….You unfaithful people do you not realize that to be a friend with the world makes you an ………enemy of God. “Enemy” gives the idea that it’s fleshly and by definition devoid of the Holy Spirit. You can do a study on the word enemy in how it relates to God and every one of them comes back to the simple truth God will prevail over His enemies. 1 Cor 15:25-26 “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
I GUESS IT BOILS DOWN TO THIS OWN QUESTION! Who are you going to depend on in order to get to Heaven? This world that is still under judgement and wrath? Or the selfless and unconditional love found in the finishing work of Christ for your life as He bore your sin? As the hymn song “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face…..and the things on earth will go [WHAT?] strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”We serve a Jealous God who takes great pride and care for His bride….and He doesn't like His bride falling for another man [meaning: the things of this world]. We wouldn't expect it our relationships so what makes you think He would? There is a song by a wonderful man of God! His name Shai Linne, it’s called “Jealous One” Listen to a portion from that song!
God's jealousy is frightful, yet it's delightful and good, too
I couldn't think of much worse if I tried
Than a dude who smirks if you flirt with His bride
So tell me, what kind of God would He be
If He wasn't bothered to see idolatry?
Is God just supposed to laugh and withhold His wrath
When He's replaced by a golden calf?
You say, I don't worship a golden calf!
Well for us, it’s self and sex and loads of cash
Atrocious paths, we still don't know the half
Of how these things provoke His holy wrath
So we stand in awe and wonder how come
God took His jealous anger out on His Son
So all those trust Him can see like we're supposed to see
And be forgiven for our spiritual adultery!
The chorus says…….
How quickly we are to break the vows we made
As our unbelief leads our hearts astray
How long before He turns His face away?
We belong to the Jealous One
We belong to the Jealous One
Whose blood bought us back, whose victory won
Our worship and praise to Him belong
The Jealous One
Who are you going to depend on in order to get to Heaven? A world that wants you to commit spiritual adultery....Or a God who wants to present you blameless at His coming? As Jude said in his letter “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy (v24). It’s His joy to give you joy......not what this world offers but the joy that flows through the gospel of eternity in His Son…..Jesus Christ.