Showing posts with label James. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James. Show all posts

19 August 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 4:1-6

B4 Chapter 4
C1 The Christian life—placing ourselves under God’s authority James 4:1-12
D1 Believers Should Know the Origin of Personal Wars and Arguing James 4:1-3
D2 Believers Should Know Being Friends with World Is Enemy of God James 4:4-6
D3 Believers Should Be Humble and Resist the devil James 4:7-10
D4 Believers Should Know Not to Slander Judge Wrongly James 4:11-12

James 4:1-6 WEL Where do arguments and strifes among you [come] from? [Don’t they come] from your lusts that are at war in your bodies. 2 You covet something and do not get [it], so you kill. You zealously desire [for things] but cannot obtain it, so you quarrel and fight. You do not get things, because you do not ask. 3 You ask, and do not receive, because you ask with wicked motives, in order to squander it on your lusts. 4 You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that to be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God? 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says for no reason, “The Spirit that lives in us yearns because of envy?” 6 But He gives greater grace. That’s why he says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Henrietta Mears writes on James 4: The world consists of all the things around us and the spirit within us that are blind and deaf to the value of spiritual things and care nothing about doing the will of God. The devil has organized this world on principles opposed to God in every way. They are principles of force, greed, ambition, selfishness and pleasure. The believer should be crucified to this world. (Source)

  • The Greek word for fights (wars, arguments, etc.) is πόλεμος pólemos. It means war, battle, fight, dispute, etc. Robertson’s Word Pictures has (polemos, old word, Mat 24:6) pictures the chronic state or campaign, while machē (also old word, 2Co 7:5) presents the separate conflicts or battles in the war. So we have a conflict that is a continuous battle that no one will stop.
  • The Greek word for strifes (quarrels, fightings, etc.) is μάχη máchē. It means contentions, fights, etc. As we see above it refers to the individual battles.
  • These are hot headed arguments that each person feels so strongly that they will fight even to the point of destroying their fellow believer.
  • We have a choice as believers. We can live our lives in the world’s lifestyle or God’s lifestyle. The world’s is results in disorder, confusion, and societal ills. God’s lifestyle results in peace, love, joy, etc.
  • Which lifestyle do we prefer?
  • How do we avoid fighting?
    • Know the truth
      • Truth is reality.
      • God’s ways are best. Isaiah 55:9 NLT For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
      • His yoke is easy. His yoke is His rules. Matthew 11:30 NLT For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
      • His ways are decent and orderly: 1 Corinthians 14:40 NET And do everything in a decent and orderly manner.
      • They are characterized by the fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23 NET But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
      • Human ways lead to death: Proverbs 16:25 NLT There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
      • God’s ways lead to life: Romans 8:6 CSB Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.
    • Know love
      • Love is a choice.
      • We can choose to do God’s will that results in peace or not do God’s will that results in death.
    • Know what God thinks about it
      • God wants the brothers and sisters to live in peace:
        • Colossians 3:15 CSB And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.
        • James 3:18 NIV Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
      • Don’t seek revenge. Let God do it, if it is needed. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
    • Know ourselves: Do we want peace?
    • Know humility: Philippians 2:3 NLT Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
    • Know forgiveness: Colossians 3:13 NIV Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
    • Know priorities: Luke 10:27 NIV He answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
    • Know God’s assistance: Luke 10:27 NIV He answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Desires
  • There are fleshly desires. Not all fleshly desires are evil. They need to be in moderation. Romans 13:13-14 GW We should live decently, as people who live in the light of day. Wild parties, drunkenness, sexual immorality, promiscuity, rivalry, and jealousy cannot be part of our lives.  14 Instead, live like the Lord Jesus Christ did, and forget about satisfying the desires of your sinful nature.
  • There are godly desires.
    • Proverbs 11:23 NET What the righteous desire leads only to good, but what the wicked hope for leads to wrath.
    • Psalm 27:4 NET I have asked the LORD for one thing - this is what I desire! I want to live in the LORD's house all the days of my life, so I can gaze at the splendor of the LORD and contemplate in his temple.
    • Matthew 5:6 NET Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
  • This is God’s will for us: Galatians 5:24 NLT Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
Prayer= John 15:5 CSB I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
Enemy of God= We can resist God and willing disobey, but it comes with a penalty. We must not fight God: Acts 5:39 NIV But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.
God resists=
  • He does not answer prayer.
  • He does not bless.
  • God chastens believers, not blessing the disobedient
God jealous=
  • Adam Clarke states: Perhaps the word in this and the two succeeding verses may be well paraphrased thus: “Do ye think that concerning these things the Scripture speaks falsely, or that the Holy Spirit which dwells in us can excite us to envy others instead of being contented with the state in which the providence of God has placed us? Nay, far otherwise; for He gives us more grace to enable us to bear the ills of life, and to lie in deep humility at his feet, knowing that his Holy Spirit has said, Pro 3:34: God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Seeing these things are so, submit yourselves to God; resist the devil, who would tempt you to envy, and he will flee from you; draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.”
  • JFB commentary: “Does the (Holy) Spirit that God hath placed in us lust to (towards) envy” (namely, as ye do in your worldly “wars and fightings”)? Certainly not; ye are therefore walking in the flesh, not in the Spirit, while ye thus lust towards, that is, with envy against one another. The friendship of the world tends to breed envy; the Spirit produces very different fruit.
  • Craig Keener in his IVP Background commentary states:
    • Here James may refer to the evil impulse that, according to Jewish tradition, God made to dwell in people; on this reading, he is saying, “This human spirit jealously longs,” as in Jas 4:1-3. Less likely, he could mean that one’s spirit or soul longs and ought to long—but for God (Psa 42:1-2; Psa 63:1; Psa 84:2).
    • A third possibility is that he may be citing a proverbial maxim based on such texts as Exo 20:5, Deu 32:21 and Joe 2:18, summarizing the sense of Scripture thus: “God is jealous over the spirit he gave us” and will tolerate no competition for its affection (Jas 4:4). (Like Jewish writers, New Testament authors sometimes midrashically meshed various texts together.) This view seems to fit the context somewhat better than other views, given that Scripture did not speak this “in vain” (Jas 4:5); but the “greater grace” of Jas 4:6 could support the first view above.
  • Have a difficulty accepting God’s opinion if it differs from theirs
  • Proverbs 8:13 ESV The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
  • 1 John 2:16 NIV For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the world.
  • Proverbs 6:16-17 NIV There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
  • Luke 14:11 NIV For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
  • A warning to us: Isaiah 2:17 NIV The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
  • Philippians 2:3-8 NIV Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross!
  • We are to live in humility with God. Micah 6:8 NIV He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
  • Name some differences in words and actions that show the difference between the Christian lifestyle and worldly lifestyle.
  • What is the origin of most disagreements, wars, fights, arguments, etc.?
  • Why does God state that without Him we can do nothing?
  • State some reasons God hates pride and love humility.
  • We all need to ask, “How are we doing?”

16 August 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 3:13-18

C2 The Christian life—wisdom James 3:13-18
D1 Believers Should Know the Difference in Types of Wisdom James 3:13-16 
D2 Believers Should Know the Definition of Godly Wisdom James 3:17-18

James 3:13-18 WEL Who is wise and understanding among you? By good behavior let him show his works with humility and wisdom. 14 If you have bitter envying and self-ambition in your heart, do not brag and lie against the truth. 15 This [kind of] wisdom does not come down from above but is earthly, sensual, [and] devilish. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there [is] disorder and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and without hypocrisy. 18 Moreover, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace 
Wise and understanding= 
  • The Greek word for wise is σοφός (sophós). It means wise in the sense of skilled, an expert in something, learned and cultured (as Greek philosophers were).  
  • Matthew 11:25 NLT At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 
  • Romans 1:22 NLT Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 
  • 1 Corinthians 1:19 NLT As the Scriptures say, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent." 
  • 1 Corinthians 3:19-20 NLT For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, "He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness." And again, "The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless." 
  • Other Greek words are 
  • μάγος mágos (the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc. (Thayer)) 
  • συνίημι syníēmi (to put (as it were) the perception with the thing perceived, to set or join together in the mind (Thayer)) 
  • Understanding is the Greek word ἐπιστήμων epistḗmōn. It means intelligent, experienced, one having the knowledge of an expert (Source). 
  • There were, and still are, those who are wise and understanding. 
  • The idea here is: it is human to think we are wise and understanding, but are all wise and understanding? If we think so, let us act so. Words are not enough to be considered wise and understanding. Actions must be seen as wise and understanding also. 
  • Note the word gentleness used with wisdom. Too people, teachers, leaders, pastors, spouses, etc. are controlling, thus, not wise or gentle. 
  • The life of the Lord Jesus is our example: Matthew 11:29 NLT Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
  • Some wise advice about gentleness with wisdom: Proverbs 15:1, 4 NLT A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. ... Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. 
  • The Greek word is δεικνύω deiknýō. It has the idea of proving what you say you are by what you do.  
  • What we do in public and private reflects what we really believe and who we are. 
  • As Christians, we are called to be consistent in what we say and what we do. 
  • World society is getting more evil. Many of our brothers and sisters are dying, suffering abuse, etc. We must pray for them. We must also not shrink from living what the Lord Jesus has taught us. God will give us the grace necessary. (Come, Lord Jesus). 
Humility and wisdom= 
  • These must be a part of our livesalways. What we say. What we do.  
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
Two kinds of wisdom (which is understanding and knowing of stuff, skill, ingenuity, stratagems, learning, teaching, insight, and is practical). 
  • Earthly, sensual, and devilish= 
  • Comments 
  • It is applying the above definition with the components listed below. 
  • 2 Samuel 13:3 CSB Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, a son of David's brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very shrewd man, 
  • Jeremiah 4:22 CSB For my people are fools; they do not know me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good.  
  • Components 
  • Bitter envy= This is with evil intentions and oppose good: Acts 5:17 CSB Then the high priest rose up. He and all who were with him, who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 
  • Selfish ambition= doing and saying anything that would bring personal fame, power, money, influence, etc. This is a type of wisdom. 
  • Financial gain has the idea of mining for money: 1 Timothy 6:3-5 WEL If any man teaches otherwise and doesn’t consent with the wholesome sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching on godliness, 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, and having a sick interest in questioning and trifles, which result in envy, discord, abusive verbal attacks, [and] evil suspicions, [and] 5 Contentious arguing from people of corrupt minds and deprived of truth, who suppose that financial gain is godliness. Withdraw yourself from this kind. 
  • Vine writes of this word (ἐριθεία eritheía): denotes "ambition, self-seeking, rivalry," self-will being an underlying idea in the word; hence it denotes "party-making." It is derived, not from eris, "strife," but from erithos, "a hireling;" hence the meaning of "seeking to win followers," "factions," so rendered in the RV of 2Co 12:20  
  • Boosting (arrogance, glory) = The idea here is some think of themselves as having superior knowledge, privilege, position, etc. and treat others scornfully. These types do not listen to other’s opinions or wisdom, since they are much better than them.  
  • What is rooted in pride is offensive to God. Proverbs 8:13 CSB To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech 
  • Example: Luke 18:9-14 CSB He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. "The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: 'God, I thank you that I'm not like other people ​-- ​greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. "I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.'  "But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner! ' "I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. 
  • Romans 12:16 NLT Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!  
  • Lying against truth 
  • Truth is reality. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). God doesn’t change (1 Samuel 15:29 and Malachi 3:6). What He says is true. When searching for Bible verses with the word truth, one notes reality is always implied. 
  • Jesus is truth. Everything He says, does, thinks, commands, etc. is truth. John 14:6 CSB Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 
  • Truth came into the world when Jesus was born and ministered. John 1:17 CSB for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 
  • Some know truth but suppress it, ignore it, reject it, substitute it, harden themselves against it, and teach lies. 
  • In Robertson’s Word Pictures, it is written: By your conduct do not belie the truth which you teach; a solemn and needed lesson. Cf. Romans 1:18., Romans 2:18, Romans 2:20. 
  • Disorder= the opposite practice and life of God. 1 Corinthians 14:40 NET And do everything in a decent and orderly manner. A topical study on orderliness is here. 
  • Every evil practice= Read Mark 7:20-23 and Galatians 5:19-21. 
  • From above= 
  • Pure 
  • Peaceful 
  • Gentle 
  • Obedient 
  • Full of mercy 
  • Full of good fruits 
  • Without partiality 
  • Without hypocrisy 
  • Earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom often sees murder as the solution to a problem. The wisdom from above wants life, consider Ezekiel 18:23 NIV Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?  
Fruit of righteousness= fruit is a product from a plant. Jesus is the vine; we are the branches.  
  • God doesn’t want us to have the so-called deeper life which frequently results in some type of mysticism or a rules-based Christianity. Personally, I want to go higher, not deeper. “Just do these things,” they say, “and you will be closer to God.” Revelation 2:24 NLT But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching ('deeper truths,' as they call themdepths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 
  • Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. 
  • What God requires is spiritual growth that produces fruit.  
  • John 15:5 CSB I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me 
  • The means of spiritual growth can be found at this topic. 
Peace= God’s peace is often different than worldly or human peace. 
  • Isaiah 9:6 NLT For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
  • Isaiah 52:7 NLT How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! 
  • Isaiah 57:21 NLT There is no peace for the wicked," says my God. 
  • 1 Corinthians 14:33 NLT For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God's holy people 
  • What are the 2 types of wisdom that James writes about? 
  • How can we tell the difference? 
  • How do we utilize God’s wisdom instead of fleshly wisdom?