a Test Series – James 4:7-12
Intro: It happens often, a storm, a flood, a devastating situation and it is in all the local news reports. Someone was in need of a rescue; they were stuck in a tree, entrapped in a vehicle, their house was destroyed while they were still in it. Report after report someone was in need of being rescued and they knew it, they accepted that condition. Is it possible that there are some people in this church, they need rescuing and they don’t even know it, their ignoring their condition? Imagine not even knowing (The need of being rescued). Are you struggling with the ways of the world and the desires of the flesh? The Book of James is throwing out a life jacket! Do you need rescuing? You can be delivered if you submit, draw near, accept discipline and humble yourself before God! The decision is yours, it always has been yours. If you’re chosen you cannot afford to be frozen, it is time to thaw out and live for Christ!
Remember the model prayer? “Don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13 (NLT)
Text: James 4:7-12
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”
Application: “To conquer sin you must first conquer the temptation.”
The test for this week deals with conquering sin; the answer to conquering sin is to conquer the temptation. Deal with the cause, not the result. How can we overcome and conquer temptation? We must complete these four steps.
Step 1: Submit to God: Vs. 7
"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
The word "submit" means to put yourself under God, to yield to God, to His will, command, instructions, and Word. The word "resist" means to take a stand against the devil; to exert the energy and effort to oppose and defeat the devil and his temptation; to keep your mind and energy focused upon counteracting and conquering the temptation of the devil.
Both of these words are military words; submit yourself to God and His Word of command. What this means is to focus your mind upon God and His Word immediately when temptation strikes. Turn away from the temptation, push it out of your mind and begin to think about God and go over and over His Word in your mind. The believer must remember something: he is now in the army of God. He is now a soldier under the command of God. Therefore, every time the enemy attacks, the believer is to submit himself to God and His Word, and he is to resist the devil. ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Step 2: Draw near to God: Vs. 8
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
How can we overcome temptation? Step two—draw near to God and repent. The idea is more than just submitting to God, much more. Drawing near means to draw ever so near, to get as close as possible to God. Get right next to Him. Begin to talk and share with Him. How do we do this? By reading the Word of God, By prayer—by asking God for strength and power, mercy and grace. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
The person must clean his hands. Some had unclean, sinful hands and James pulled no punches. He called them just what they were: sinners. If any of us have unclean hands—if we have touched what God forbids us to touch—we have not only sinned, but we are sinners. Our hands must be cleansed of sin before we can approach and draw near God. God will not respond—He will not draw near a person unless his hands are cleansed of sin. The person must purify his heart and quit wavering between God and temptation. “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
Step 3: Be Disciplined by God: Vs. 9
“Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”
How can we overcome temptation? Step three—be enduring, and deeply and mournfully concerned. The (KJV) says: “Be afflicted” the word for be afflicted means to endure toils, to discipline and to voluntarily abstain. Temptation is affliction; it is time to be disciplined and to control the comforts and joys of life. Temptation is a time for rigorous warfare—for battle and the discipline and endurance of battle. This is the way to overcome temptation, the third step to victory. As soon as we are tempted we must immediately drop whatever we are doing, the activity or comfort, the joy or laughter, and we must discipline ourselves. We must focus our hearts and minds upon God and draw near Him. We must, get serious, mourn, weep, ask God, beg God. When we take the temptation this seriously, God will hear our cry and rescue us.
Step 4: Humble Yourself to God: Vs. 10
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
How can we overcome temptation? Step four—humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord. God sees us at all times, even when we are tempted. God must not see a self-sufficient spirit, a spirit that overlooks calling upon Him. God must not see a spirit that ignores His Word, a spirit that faces the temptation on its own, ignoring and not even thinking about God and His Word and strength. God must see us humbly coming into His presence, calling and depending upon Him for strength and wisdom to overcome the temptation. “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Just think what this does to so much television, reading, and loose moments of wandering thoughts and undisciplined day-dreaming. We must always remember that the spiritual warfare is fought in the spirit and mind, at the very core of the heart and mind. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
When a person is tempted, if he humbles himself in the sight of God, God will lift him up. God will meet his need, give him whatever he needs, and rescue him from the onslaught of temptation. "Only when a man realizes his own ignorance can he ask the guidance of God. Only when a man realizes his own poverty in the things that matter will he pray for the riches of God's grace. Only when a man realizes his weakness in necessary things will he come to draw upon his strength of God. Only when a man realizes that he cannot cope with life by himself will he kneel before the Lord of all good life. Only when a man realizes his own sin will he realize his need of a Saviour and of the forgiveness of God." William Barclay
Conclusion: The believer is to resist the devil, he is to overcome the evil one. But how? By asking God and praying, "Deliver us from the evil one." By quoting Scripture, fasting and praying. By ministering in Jesus' name." By special sessions of prayer. By invoking, that is, claiming, the name and power of the God of peace. By forgiving others. By not giving place to the devil. By putting on the whole armor of God. By repenting and acknowledging the truth. By resisting the devil. By being born again. By not fearing and by being faithful.
This is a test that can be passed! DO YOU NEED RESCUING?
In : Sermon
Tags: "life is a test series" "book of james"
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