FAITH WORKS CONTENTEDLY
FAITH WORKS #12
We live in one of the wealthiest societies of all time.
We have freedoms of religion, of travel, of employment, and of family living which can be envied by most other people in the world.
Yet there is one thing that is lacking in our society, our churches, and our families. What we lack is contentment.
As we continue our study of James, we learn that Faith Works Contentedly. And actually faith works contentedly only when discontent is handled properly. So we are actually looking at discontentment this evening.
THE FRUSTRATIONS OF DISCONTENTMENT – Vss. 1-2a
You will notice in this passage an absence of the softening phrase which James uses in other portions of this epistle, “My Brethren”.
Although he is talking to believers, he speaks to them in no uncertain terms. Their discontent was definitely sinful and dishonoring to the cause of Christ.
Vs. 1 – James asks the question, “What is the cause of wars and fightings among you?”
The word “wars” here refers to a state of war.
The word “fightings refers to individual disputes or battles.
James is saying that there is discontent in the church.
And this discontent is evident through the “state of war” and “battles”.
Entirely too many churches, Christian organizations, and Christian homes have become places of war, instead of testimonies for our Lord Jesus Christ. They are not the places of love, security and growth that they should be.
These are places of war because of the frustrations caused by selfishness.
Vs. 2 describes the frustration that this selfishness causes. There is conflict within.
James also says that we “kill”. We kill in the sense that in our desire to please ourselves we will hurt and assassinate the character and happiness of other people in order to try to please ourselves.
Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:15
We as Christians kill when we have undo hatred and anger against others.
And we get frustrated because we want to obtain and can’t do it.
We have an inner conflict going on within us.
Part of us wants to please God.
Part of us wants to please ourselves. Galatians 3:17
THE FAILURES OF PRAYER – Vss. 2b-3
Because of our own selfishness, we fail in our prayer lives.
Vs. 2b – “Ye have not because ye ask not”.
When we are wound up in our own little world, following our own selfish interests, we do not come to God for His opinion.
Much of what we want to see accomplished in our churches and our families and our jobs would be accomplished if we went about it in the proper way. Philippians 4:6-7
When we obey these verses we will bring everything that bugs us to God.
This gives God the chance to help us sort out our requests and shows us what is right, and what should be forgotten or prayed about differently.
Vs. 3 shows us another way to fail in prayer.
When we do pray we often ask for the wrong reasons.
We ask for things so that our pleasures or lusts will be satisfied.
THE FLIRTATION WITH THE WORLD – Vss. 4-5
Notice the strong words here.
There is no more devastating sin in marriage than adultery!
The hardest thing, especially for a wife to bear is an unfaithful husband.
However, we, as Christians commit Spiritual adultery.
The church is “the bride of Christ”.
As part of the church we are married to Him, to live a holy and godly life.
But when we live life for ourselves…
When we allow our pleasures to control us…
We are then living contrary to what God has saved us for.
Anything which is more important to me than living for God can be considered friendship with the world.
Anything which satisfies my own selfish pleasures can be considered friendship with the world.”
God is opposed to the selfish, humanistic way the world operates.
Anytime a Christian flirts with the world, whether he realizes it or not, he is demonstrating hatred towards the God that has saved Him.
Vs. 5 – This flirtation with the world produces more discontent in our lives. The Spirit of God within us is moved toward a Godly jealousy. He is grieved! He is quenched! He will not allow us to be at peace! Exodus 34:14
THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD – Vs. 6a
James 4:6 - But he giveth more grace.
We are saved by grace, but God’s grace does not stop at salvation. This is the beginning of God’s grace at work in our lives. 2 Corinthians 12:9, John 1:16, Hebrews 4:15-16
Here is how we will have contentment.
It is when the grace of God is being poured out to our lives without measure.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF CHANGE – Vss. 6b-10
For most of us, to have contentment is going to mean change.
James now shows us how to have the contentment that we are supposed to have.
· HUMBLE YOURSELF BEFORE GOD – Vs. 6b
James 4:6 - …Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
God is opposed to the proud
It you try to tell yourself that there is nothing wrong when indeed there is something wrong, you are being proud.
When you refuse to admit it when you are worldly, that is pride.
When you live for yourself and not for God, that is pride. Live in pride and you will be discontented.
Grace is for the humble.
The one who will admit worldliness
The one who will they have been fighting and warring within and without.
The one who agrees with God concerning sin
· SUBMIT TO GOD – Vs. 7
Allow Him to be the boss in your life.
Allow Him to call the shots.
Allow Him to lead you.
· RESIST THE DEVIL – Vs. 7
As I submit to God, saying “no” to the devil will be easier.
Although he is more powerful than I am, He is not more powerful than God. My submission to God makes resisting the devil easier.
And when we resist the devil, he will flee!
It’s time to send him packing.
· DRAW NEAR TO GOD – Vss. 8-10
Vs. 8 - The nearer I draw to God, the nearer He will draw to me.
The closer I live to God, the more difficult it is for the devil to touch me.
How do I draw near?
Through confession of sin
I am to cleanse my hands and my heart of all known sin.
That would cover outward and inward sin.
Vs. 9 – Confession is not to be done lightly.
There is to be sincere sorrow for sin.
Laughter is out. Mourning is temporarily in.
Joy is also to be temporarily replaced with heaviness.
True revival and true change are a result of true repentance, a turning around and a turning away from sin.
Vs. 10 – The end result is the Lord will lift us up.
Then we will have contentment!