This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Tuesday, 17 May 2016
James 4:1-10 How to Get What You Really Want and Need
passage from James 4:1-10 attacks worldliness. In particular, it attacks those
who have divided
Christianity because of selfish ambition. These people are enemies of God.
Quarrels and fights are caused by selfish ambition.
scholars have translated the phrase “among you” as “in you.” They insist that
this verse describes not a struggle between people but a struggle within
people. These two ideas; however, can be seen as connected because external
conflict is often a symptom of internal conflict. People who are not at peace
with themselves are not likely to be at peace with others.
of fighting each other, Christians must ask God for what they are looking for.
Without prayer, we won’t receive God’s blessing. Bringing our requests to God
purifies them, and in the process our sinful desires are removed. James points
out two problems in prayer life; a lack of prayer and praying with the wrong
motives. Believers do not receive when they do not ask of if they ask with
uses marital language to rebuke those who have let their love for the world
replace their love for Christ. Their unfaithful behavior has placed their
relationship with God in such jeopardy that they are called adulterers and
adulteresses. Friendship with the world destroys a person’s fellowship with
can’t please God and man at the same time. If we are friends with the world, we
are enemies of God. The expectations of people who don’t believe in Jesus can’t
be satisfied as long as their hearts are set on the things of the world instead
of the things of God. God is a jealous God because he wants us to serve him and
him alone. God will extend his grace to those who are humble before him. He
will judge everyone else.
our prayers aren’t answered because we are praying the wrong prayer. For
example, when we ask God to deliver us from a problem we see, the problem we
see is often a symptom of a deeper problem or the cause of the problem. We have
to learn to pray the right prayer. That is, we have to pray for truth, because
as John 8:32 says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…”
we don’t pray until we have nowhere else to go. The reason is because admitting
to God that we have nowhere else to turn is humiliating. It goes against the
idea that we can solve our problems by ourselves. There are some things that we
can’t fix, but God can fix anything.
when we want something, we take the initiative to get it. Often that involves
scheming, stealing or even killing. James describes this as the human solution
to the problem of wanting, which in turn leads to more and more fighting. For
example, it is difficult to understand how murder was taking place within the
church when James wrote. One possibility is that the rich were taking the poor
to court and basically stripping them of all they owned. With no resources for
food and other necessities, death was the inevitable result.
destroys us. It prevents us from seeing others as God sees them. It holds us back
from laying down our rights in order to reach out to those who cross our paths.
It erodes the humble spirit God wants to see in us and in our relationships.
God’s biggest goal is to destroy our pride. He calls us to live lives that are
humble, confident and sacrificial. When we realize that we need God, he will
pour out his graced on us. He will forgive us, help us and change our inner
lives. Christ’s transformation within us frees us from living for ourselves.
Asking for things in Christ’s name means two things. First, our requests must
match God’s will. Second, God wants us to glorify him instead of ourselves.
we face a problem, we must remember that Jesus left footprints in the sand for
us to follow. Whatever Satan tempts us with isn’t really what we’re looking
for. Whatever he offers may appear to
meet a need or solve a problem at the time, but he will just take us further
away from God. Following Christ keeps us close to God’s heart.
consistent message of the New Testament is that God’s grace is available for
his people’s deepest needs. The same grace that brings a believer into
fellowship with God can sustain that fellowship in spite of the pressures of
the world. The only way for us to receive this grace is to walk humbly with
God. There are three ways for us to walk humbly with God. First, we must resist
the devil through our conduct, pure heart and nature, repentance and pure joy.
Second, we must empty ourselves of self and sin and fill ourselves with the
Holy Spirit. Third, we must speak the written Word of God. Before we can speak
the word of God, we must spend time with God and read the Bible. As we spend
time with God, we will gain wisdom and strength and understanding. More
important, our ability to use the resources God has given us will increase.
cure for conflict is the grace of God. The good news is that God gives even
more grace when the pressure increases, especially to the humble. God is
especially responsive to the prayers of those who humbly request the right
things for the right reasons.
David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood,
TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; pp. 1776-1777)
Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.