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3-27-22 “We Have His Word on It”

“We Have His Word on It” (James 4:7-10)

David Peterson / General

Jas 4:7–10

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: God invites us to intimacy with him. This intimacy comes as we turn from things opposed to him and embrace the things he embraces. In so doing, our lives are lifted up.

Introduction

1. We live by the word of God (we trust his promise)

2. The promise here is God will draw near to us if we draw near to him

3. Infinite reality—unlimited

I. What does NEAR mean? (James 4:8)

1. The temple background (James 4:8)

2. There is a nearness to God that we even as Christians can miss out on

II. How do we COME near? (James 4:9, 7)

1. Recognizing what sin does (James 4:9)

2. Submitting and Resisting (James 4:7)

But “drawing near” to God is not just a mental or emotional activity for James. Instead, it is a practical response to God: controlling one’s tongue (1:19, 26; 3:2), caring for the poor (1:27; 2:16–17), growing in wisdom and peace (1:5; 3:16–18), and communing with him in prayer (4:2–3, 15; 5:13–18). The more we seek to live according to God’s wisdom, the closer we will grow to his purity and holiness. As we cultivate his heart in ourselves, we will automatically begin to see the world through God’s eyes and be humble. As James has already shown, God gives grace to the humble; therefore, he will give strength and “be near” to those who live thus.

Blomberg, C. L., & Kamell, M. J. (2008). James (Vol. 16, p. 194). Zondervan.

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Dr. A.W. Tozer has a profound essay in one of his books, entitled, “Nearness Is Likeness.” The more we are like God, the nearer we are to God. I may be sitting in my living room with my Siamese cat on my lap, and my wife may be twenty feet away in the kitchen; yet I am nearer to my wife than to the cat because the cat is unlike me. We have very little in common.

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 369–370). Victor Books.

Battle of Two Natures

The cuckoo is a common bird in England. The first sign of spring is that bird’s call. The cuckoo never builds its own nest. When it feels an egg coming on, it finds another nest with eggs and no parent bird. The cuckoo lands, hurriedly lays its egg, and takes off again. That’s all the cuckoo does in terms of parenting. (We have a lot of cuckoos in our society today!)

The thrush, whose nest has now been invaded, comes back, circles, and comes into the wind to land. Not being very good at arithmetic, it can’t imagine why it immediately begins to list to starboard. It gets to work hatching the eggs. Four little thrushes and one large cuckoo eventually hatch. The cuckoo is two or three times the size of the thrushes.

Mrs. Thrush, having hatched the five little birds, goes off early in the morning to get the worm. She comes back, circles the nest to see four petite thrush mouths and one cavernous cuckoo mouth. Who gets the worm? The cuckoo.

Guess what happens. The cuckoo gets bigger and bigger; the little thrushes get smaller and smaller.

To find a baby cuckoo in a nest, simply walk along a hedge row until you find little dead thrushes. The cuckoo throws them out one at a time. Here’s an adult thrush feeding a baby cuckoo that is three times as big as the thrush.

And the moral of the story is this: you have two natures in one nest and the nature you go on feeding will grow, and the nature you go on starving will diminish. If there’s going to be anything resembling that which God has in mind for us, it is going to come not through an annual attempt at the spirit of Christmas but a perpetual recognition of the Spirit of Christ.

Source: Stuart Briscoe, “Christmas 365 Days a Year,” Preaching Today, Tape 135.

Lifetime Surrender

One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.

Source: Jim Elliot, Leadership, Vol. 7, no. 2.

        1st sentence of Protestant movement: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be            one of repentance.” (1st of 95 theses)

III. What is the RESULT of coming near? (James 4:10)

1. Those who become like Jesus will be lifted up. It is Wisdom (James 1:5; 3:13 show by good life)

Proverbs 3:19 “By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place” (NIV).

If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? (Genesis 4:7 NASB)

2. They sought being exalted (to be teachers, James 3:1, they quarreled, James 4:1, they favored worldly success, James 2:1, to be considered religious, James 1:26

Conclusion

1. The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household. (2 Sam. 6:11)

2. Blessed

I find it significant that Socrates’s name for the paradise beyond the grave, Makarios, is the same word Jesus employs in the Sermon on the Mount, which we translate, “blessed.” Of course, Jesus spoke Aramaic and the text here is in Greek; nonetheless, it’s noteworthy that the writer of the Gospel of Matthew selected this word. Matthew 5:6-9: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” To Greek language readers of Matthew, Jesus’ Beatitudes connote life on Plato’s island of paradise. That’s what it means to be blessed.

Peters, Ted. Sin Boldly! (p. 80). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.

 

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