Journey Through James – Friendship with God: Sermon of the Week

JOURNEY THROUGH JAMES #6: FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD

(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)

To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

Friend of God

INTRO TO TOPIC:

What are some of the most important things in your world? I am sure that most of you would say it is your friendships. Have you ever pondered what it means that we have the opportunity to become friends with God, the Creator of the Universe? We’re going to look at that today.

THE BIG IDEA: Everyone has the choice to either be friends with God or friends with the world. In this passage, James gives us seven characteristics of the person who is a friend of God.

I.  FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD OR THE WORLD?

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:1-4, NKJV).

  • Sometimes we pray and God doesn’t answer our prayers because are asking wrong.
  • How do you know if you’re a friend of the world? Lust, murder, coveting, proud.
  • Here people are looking to find pleasure in the world, and not in God.
  • However, they don’t find satisfaction because they’re not looking for it from God.
  • Adultery = when you are unfaithful to your spouse. Also, unfaithfulness to God.

“Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:5-6).

  • God resists the proud! Resist = to range in battle against. Do you want God fighting against you? But He gives His grace… to the humble.

II. SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FRIENDS OF GOD: (v.7-12).

1.  Therefore SUBMIT TO GOD. (v.7a).

  • A friend of God is someone who submits to Him and His authority: Who reads and obeys the Bible, obeys what God speaks in prayer, and follows godly leaders.
  • If God says to honour your parents, you honour your parents. If He says to love your enemies, you love your enemies. You submit to whatever He says!

2.  RESIST THE DEVIL and he will flee from you. (v.7b).

  • The devil is the enemy of God, and will try to get you to rebel against God.
  • Resist his temptations when he tries to get you to sin! See God’s Promise:
  • “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 Cor. 10:13).

3.  DRAW NEAR TO GOD and He will draw near to you. (v.8a).

  • How close to God do you want to be? You determine your friendship with Him!
  • “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13).
  • TESTIMONY: Discuss seasons of soaking and seeking – experienced powerful presence of God. But also describe recent seasons of neglecting seeking God, and how I got dry and cracked and felt distant from God and found it easier to give into temptation.
  • A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

4.  CLEANSE YOUR HANDS, you sinners; and PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, you double-minded. (v.8b).

  • “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” (Psalm 24:3-4a).
  • When we play with dirt, our hands get dirty. We need to be washed clean. How do we do that? Through prayer, repentance and confession: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
  • See King David’s prayer of repentance: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10).

5.  LAMENT AND MOURN AND WEEP! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. (v.9).

  • Translation: Repent (turn from) your sin with godly sorrow!
  • Yes, there is joy in the Kingdom of God, but there are also seasons of mourning over sin.

6.  HUMBLE YOURSELVES in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (v.10).

  • Humble defined = not proud or arrogant; to lower in condition, importance or dignity.
  • Humility = to be open, honest, vulnerable and transparent.
  • Admit you’re not perfect! Confess your sins! Ask for help when you need it!

7.  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. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? (v.11-12).

  • When you slander someone, you make yourself out to be greater than God.
  • It is said that the Sioux Indians used to make this prayer, “Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked two weeks in his moccasins.”
  • Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5).

III. THE CHALLENGE: WHAT IS YOUR LIFE?

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17).

CHALLENGE: Do you want to be friends with the world, or friends with God?

The choice is yours! To be a friend with God:

  1. Submit to God
  2. Resist the Devil
  3. Draw near to God
  4. Cleanse your hands and purify your heart
  5. Lament and mourn and weep over your sin
  6. Humble yourself
  7. And don’t speak evil of someone else.
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About Chris Jordan

Husband. Father. #Author. #Blogger. Follower of Jesus. And I enjoy a good cup of coffee!
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