"THE EPISTLE OF JAMES" How To End Wars (4:1-12) INTRODUCTION 1. Have you ever heard of: a. "The War of the Whiskers?" b. "The War of the Oaken Bucket?" c. "The War of Jenkin's Ear?" -- These were actual wars fought between nations, and you can read about them in many history books 2. War is too often a fact of life in spite of treaties, world peace organizations, and even the threat of nuclear weapons a. Not only wars between nations b. But there are wars of one kind or another on almost every level of life - even "gas wars" between gas stations! 3. In our text, we find James discussing this important theme of "War" a. He describes three types of wars going on in the world b. He also tells how these wars can be stopped [For example, there is...] I. WAR WITH EACH OTHER (1, 11-12) A. EVEN AMONG CHRISTIANS! (1) 1. Surely "brethren" ought to live together in love and harmony - cf. Ps 133:1 2. Yet often they do not a. Lot quarreled with Abraham b. Absalom created a war with his father David c. The disciples of Jesus argued over who would be greatest d. Paul and Barnabas had great contention over John Mark 3. Even churches in the New Testament often had problems... a. At CORINTH 1) Brethren were suing each other 2) They were competing in the public assemblies b. In GALATIA - brethren were "biting and devouring" one another c. Even at PHILIPPI - two women were having trouble getting along with each other B. IN HIS EPISTLE, JAMES IMPLIES SEVERAL DIFFERENT KINDS OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS AMONG BRETHREN: 1. Class wars - 2:1-9 2. Employment wars - 5:1-6 3. Church fights - 1:19-20; 3:13-18 4. Personal wars a. Notice 4:11-12 b. Where we are admonished not to speak evil of one another, nor to judge (condemn) one another [And so, we can easily be at war with one another. WHY? James begins to answer this question by explaining a second war that is going on...] II. WAR WITHIN OURSELVES (1-3) A. THIS IS THE REASON WE WAR WITH ONE ANOTHER! (1) 1. It is the "war in the heart" that causes the wars in the church and elsewhere! 2. Our desire for things to satisfy our pleasures (like power, possessions, etc.) is what makes us fight with others 3. Putting it simply, the key problem is "SELFISHNESS" B. SUCH SELFISH DESIRES LEAD TO... 1. Wrong Actions (2) a. "you murder...you fight and war" b. Perhaps not literally, but certainly so in God's sight
- cf. 1Jn 3:15 2. Wrong Praying (3) a. The kind of praying that goes unanswered b. Because the prayers are for selfish motives [This is why people are often at war with one another. Every war or angry disagreement has people who are first at war within themselves! Why is this so? Why are people at war within themselves? Once again, James gives us the answer when he describes another war that is going on...] III. WAR WITH GOD (4-10) A. HERE IS THE "ROOT CAUSE" OF EVERY WAR, INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL 1. Rebellion against God! 2. In some way... a. ...those at war with others... b. ...are also at war within themselves... c. ...because they are first at war with God! B. HOW DOES A BELIEVER DECLARE WAR AGAINST GOD? 1. By being friendly with God's enemies! 2. James mentions three enemies we must not fraternize with if we want to be at peace with God: a. The World (4) 1) That is, human society that is contrary to God a) Any conduct, belief, thought... b) ...which is anti-God, anti-Christ 2) To be a friend of such... a) Makes one an enemy of God! b) Makes one a spiritual adulterer or adulteress! b. The Flesh (1,5) 1) The unlawful desires that would lead us away from God 2) These desires wage war within us, but we must not give in to them - cf. 1Pe 2:11 3) Such desires are in direct conflict to what the Spirit of God would have us to be and do - cf. 4:5; Ga 5:16-26 4) To submit to these unlawful desires (works) of the flesh sets one contrary to God and His Spirit! c. The Devil (6-7) 1) Pride is Satan's greatest temptation 2) When we give into pride, we become friends of the devil and enemies of God - 4:6 C. HOW TO ENJOY PEACE WITH GOD 1. Submit To God (7) a. Literally, "get into your proper rank" b. When a buck private acts like the general, there is going to be trouble! c. Unconditional surrender to God is the only way to victory! d. Submission is saying: "Not my will, but Thine be done" 2. Resist The Devil (7) a. He is behind every war that we have b. But if we just resist, then he will flee! 3. Draw Near To God (8) a. And He will draw near to us! b. How do we do this? 1) "Cleanse your hands" - Get your sins forgiven! 2) "Purify your hearts" - Be single-minded in your devotion to God! (not double-minded, like a spiritual adulterer) 4. Humble Yourselves In The Sight Of God (9-10) a. It's possible to submit outwardly and not be humble inwardly b. True mourning for our sins (cf. 4:9) is how we can humble ourselves before God c. The end result of such humility? God will lift you up!- 4:10 CONCLUSION 1. If we obey these four instructions, then God will draw near to us, cleanse us, and forgive us! 2. ONLY THEN WILL THE "WARS" CEASE! a. For we will not be at war with God b. So we will not be at war within ourselves c. And we will not be at war with others! 3. As Solomon wrote in the Book of Proverbs: When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7) Are we diligent in making sure our ways are pleasing to the Lord? Note: Much of the material for this outline was adapted heavily from The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume 2, by Warren W. Wiersbe, pages 366-370.