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Lesson 07

JAMES 4:1-17
Lesson #07

  • Memory verse: Jam 4:8
    • James returns to directing his comments to pastors and teachers as he did at the beginning of chapter 3 and then ended the chapter with, “Who is wise among you?” (3:13) In this chapter he will discuss the wisdom that comes from the world.
    • The Christian life consists of fighting the spiritual battle in three areas:
      • The flesh
        • From Paul’s writings we understand the struggle against the flesh nature (Rom 7:18-19, 25 Rom 8:8-10).
      • The devil
        • From Peter’s writings we understand the struggle with the devil, Satan (1Pet 5:8-9).
      • The world.
        • From this book of James we come to understand the struggle with the world.

          • The Thorn #7 Worldliness
          • What is worldliness?
            • Discussion:
            • James would not give you a good grade on the test if your answer consisted of any of the following:
              • A list of entertainment and amusements. (X rated movies, bars, etc.)
              • The kind of people with whom you spend time. (Those who like to go to Las Vegas, etc.)
              • The kind of words that are used in daily conversation. (Profanity, etc.)
              • The kind of clothes worn. (Provocative exposure of the flesh.)
              • An emphasis on money. (As a top priority)
              • A lack of church attendance.
            • Why do these things not identify worldliness?
              • These are not sins of the world. Instead they are sins of the flesh that are evidence of a deeper problem.
            • Read Jam 3:13-16
              • Envy and strife, confusion and evil work. This is James’ definition of worldliness.
                • Worldliness consists of the unseen forces that drive this world system.

    • Read Jam 4:1-10 Worldliness
      • Strife among nations = War.
      • Fighting among individuals = Envy and strife.
      • These negative things come from man’s lust or selfish desires that the world system promotes as admirable. It is not that wanting things is necessarily wrong. It is that we want them too soon, too much, at any expense, and for the wrong reasons.
        • Discussion
        • :

          • What are the characteristics of worldliness, those unseen forces that drive the world system, that we see around us?
            • James mentions them in verse 2: lust, kill (hatred…1Joh 3:15), desire, fighting.
              • In other words man has a natural affinity to conflict and to pleasure. These 2 natural tendencies work themselves outwardly in the following characteristics:
                • Selfishness, jealousy, and greed which the world calls ambition.
                • Hatred,mean-spiritedness, and deception which the world calls shrewdness.
                • Pride and revenge which the world calls competitive salesmanship.
                • Divisions and control which the world calls individuality and leadership.
    • James tells us there are two reasons why believers sometimes do not receive an answer to their prayers. (3)
      • =1= They do not ask God for what they want. Instead they try to get these things on their own using the world’s way of obtaining them.
      • =2= They ask God with the wrong motive. The wrong motive is lust of the world.

    • The Test of Faith #18 is this:
    • Do you admire the characteristics of the world system? Do you indulge in them?
      • These characteristics or spiritual forces that drive the world system are in full exposure on the TV reality shows.
      • You can determine whether or not these characteristics are present in your life by the evidence of conflict and strife.
      • James speaks very boldly when he says that friendship or a love relationship with the world system is hatred against God. (4)
        • He even calls those who compromise their faith with worldliness”adulterers”, spiritually speaking.
          • The illustration here is God’s jealousy of his people. The Old Testament frequently points out that God is a a jealous God. (The whole book of Hosea has this theme.)
    • What is the answer for worldliness in the individual, in the individual home, or in the church?
      • The answer is prayer where you lay your petitions before God and let Him decide if those things are good for you. Then you accept His answer with joy.
      • Read 1Joh 5:4
        • The answer is faith. After you pray and ask God for what you want, you use your faith to trust that God will give you only what is His very best for you.
      • The answer is God’s grace. (6)
        • God’s grace is unmerited favor or love in action.
          • If you do not presume upon God’s grace and ask him to help you with these characteristics of envy, jealousy, control, hatred, and pride, God will resist you.
            • What does resist mean?
              • Resist means = to stand against, to act in opposition to, to strive against, to frustrate, to hinder, to restrain, or hold back, to baffle, or to disappoint.
      • The answer is humility. (6)
      • The answer is cleanse your hands. (8)
        • James uses an Old Testament illustration where the priest washed his hands before he made offerings to God. (Exo 30:21-21 Mar 7:3-4)
          • As you walk away from temptations to sin and walk toward God, you are being cleansed and defeating worldliness.
    • What are the results of winning the battle against worldliness?
      • If you allow God to defeat the worldliness in you, you will have spiritual power because the devil will flee from you. Why? What is the relationship between worldliness and spiritual power?
        • Remember James said that worldliness means hatred against God. (4) Remember James said we were not to be double minded. (Jam 1:8)
          • The true Christian has the Holy Spirit living in him. If he compromises his faith with the characteristics of the world system, he has no internal unity between his spirit and the Holy Spirit. Power, for good or for evil, is achieved only by a unity of spirit.
            • Unity is a kingdom principle throughout the Bible. When man acts in unity, great things are accomplished:
              • Jesus prayed that his believers would be one even as He and God, the Father are one. (Joh 17:11, 21-23)
              • The day of Pentecost brought power to the church because they were gathered in one accord. (Act 2:1)
          • Submission to God unites your spirit with the Holy Spirit to produce this unity. And of course, submission to God requires that we go back to humility. (above) (6)
        • The closer you get to God, the more unified you will be in the Spirit and the more you will be submitted to God.
          • Satan does not like to be around that kind of company. He will flee.
    • Drawing near to God (8)
      • God will be as close to you as you want Him to be. He is a gentleman and does not go where He is not wanted. How can we draw nearer to God?
        • Recognize sin in your self. James says to “be afflicted, mourn, and weep”. (9)
          • In other words, we are to consider certain characteristics and actions as sin because God considers them sin. We are to take sin seriously and see it from God’s perspective.
        • Be serious about repenting of your sins, because sin separates man from God.
        • Drawing near to God requires humility again.
          • We have seen that humility is required to defeat worldliness, to submit to God, and to draw near to God.
      • The results of drawing near to God:
        • He will lift you up! (10)
          • He will give you grace in your life.
          • He will give you power to defeat the world, the flesh, and the devil.
      • Read Jam 4:11-17 The key effect of living according to Godly wisdom
        • What is the key thought in this passage? (Luk 12:16-20 Psa 25:4-5)
          • The key thought is to avoid a judgmental attitude which puts you into the position of God.
            • If you have a critical attitude of others, it leads you to judging other people and condemning them, which means you are playing God with other people’s lives.
          • Wisdom has two sources, either heavenly or earthly. You base your life on the belief system in your heart.
            • If your basic belief system is based on worldly wisdom, you will live your life without God’s guidance and involvement, and that makes you the god of your life.
              • If you live your life as though God has nothing to do with it, is it a sin?
                • The answer is, yes! (16-17) Why?
                  • It is sin because you are living as though you are in control of your life, and that is pride. This is a sin of comission. (things you knew were wrong but you determined to do them anyway.)
                  • It is sin because you are not fulfilling God’s plan for your life, but are missing opportunities that are God ordained. These are sins of omission. (things you failed to do whether you knew you were supposed to do them or not.)
            • If your basic belief system is based on heavenly wisdom, you will live your life as though God guides you and is involved in every aspect of your life. You are letting Him be the God of your life. (If the Lord will vs. 15).
              • Basing your life on Godly wisdom affects:
                • The decisions that you make and the way you make them.
                • Your attitudes toward your life and your health in general.

          • Test of faith #19 is this:
            • Who is the God of your life? (do not be too quick to answer this one!)
              • Remember James discussed the double-minded man who was unstable in his faith in chapter 1?
              • Remember James discussed the importance of unity of spirit in order not to be double minded.
              • Therefore, here is the heart of the matter! If God and his wisdom are the inner source of your life, and if your spirit is united with His Spirit inside of you, then you will produce only good attitudes which work out into good actions that prove your stable faith and bear witness of the fact that God is in control of your life.
      • HOMEWORK
        James 5:1-20
        This is a self-study. Please do not send homework answers to the teacher forcorrection.

        • Application of Jam 4:1-17
          • How stable is your faith under the influence of the value system of the world?


          • What will you do this week to make your faith more stable?

            • Preparation for Jam 5:1-20
              • Read Jam 5:1-10
                • Make a list of sins that James mentions in this chapter.

                • Make a list of commands that James makes.

                    • For background on the “early and latter rains”, read the following scriptures and answer the question, What does the former and latter rains represent symbolically?
                      • Hos 6:3
                      • Joe 2:23
                      • Zec 10:1-4

                      • Memory verse: Jam 5:8
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        About Joyce

        I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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