War is a fact of life regardless of treaties, world peace organization and that of atomic bombs. There are three wars that can be stopped. At war with each other (4:1, 11-12) “What causes fights and quarrels among you” (4:1 NIV) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Ps. 133:1
3 Unfortunately, they do not. Examples: Lot (Gen. 13), Absalom (II Sam. 13-18), and disciples who argued who’s the greatest (Luke 9:46-48) Early churches had problems Members of Corinthian church were competing with each other and suing in the court. (I Cor. 6:1-8) Galatians were “biting and devouring one another (Gal. 5:15)
4 Ephesus: They were encouraged to keep unity (Eph. 4:1-6) Phillipi: Two women were encouraged to get along (Phil. 4:1-3) Class wars (2:1-9) Rivalry between rich and poor. Rich gets attention while the poor is ignored. Employment wars (5:1-6) Rich and the poor.
5 Church wars (1:19-20; 3:13-18) Believers were at war over the positions. The church wanting to be teachers and leaders. When they studied God’s Word, the result wasn’t edification, but strife and argument. Selfish ambitions rather than spiritual submission. Personal wars (4:11-12) The believers were speaking evil of one another and judging one another.
6 Proper way for Christians: “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15); “not to peak evil in a spirit of rivalry and criticism” (I Peter 4:8) Christian must examine themselves before helping others (Matt. 7:15) We sin against a brother and God if we speak evil of him and judge him on a basis of partial evidence and unkind motives. Only God is the Judge. God is patient and understanding, therefore, leave the situation to Him.
Jesus prayed in John 17:21 - That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. At War with ourselves (4:11-13) The war in heart is causing the wars in the church. “For where is envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (3:16)
8 The Essence of sins is selfishness Examples: Eve Abraham Achan Disguise of spirituality – Miriam and Aaron (Num. 12) The result of selfish desires are chastening and division among God’s people. Selfish desires are dangerous for the lead to wrong action. “Ye kill, ye fight and war” (James 4:2)
9 They also lead to wrong praying “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (4:3) The purpose of prayer: God’s will, not man’s will “Thou shalt not covet” You break this, you break the whole law (9 other commandments)
10 If there is war on the inside, there will be war on the outside. People who are at war with themselves are unthankful and complain about the blessings they do not have. Instead of seeking God’s will, we tell what God is supposed to do and get angry at Him. In turn, we get angry at God’s people.
11 At war with God (4:4-10) The root cause of every war, internal and external, is rebellion against God. How we make war with God? By being friendly with God’s enemies. World (4:4) World means the human society without God Christians get involved with the world gradually
12 The results of the friendship of the world is being spotted by the world (1:27) to get approval from the world. This friendship leads to “loving the world” (1 John 2:15- 17) The unfortunate result is being condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:32) Yet our souls are saved “yet as by fire” (1 Cor 3: 11-15) The flesh (4:1, 5) – The flesh means the old nature inherited from Adam, which is prone to sin. Flesh is not a body. (Gal 5:17)
If you live for the flesh, you grieve the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the flesh is the enemy of the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believer. Living to please the flesh you declare a war against God. (Rom 8:7) The devil ( 4:6-7) The world vs. the Father The flesh vs. the Holy Spirit The devil vs. the Son How? The sin of pride
14 God’s grace to remain humble vs. pride Satan is the founder of do-it-yourself spiritual enterprises Example – Peter In churches too many celebrities and few servants How can we overcome the world, flesh, and the devil? Submit to God Unconditional surrender as the only way to victory “Neither give place to the devil (Eph 4:27)
15 Draw nigh to God (4:8) How? By confessing sins and ask for cleansing Proof: “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners and purify your hearts, ye double-minded” Purify means to be chaste in Greek Double-minded Christians is never close to God and commit an adultery Humble yourselves before God (4:9-10) The mark of true humility is facing the seriousness of sin and dealing with disobedience Broken and contrite heart - Ps 51:17 Ps 34: 18 – “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”