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1025. Humility in Action pt. 2

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
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July 2, 2021 7:00 pm

1025. Humility in Action pt. 2

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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July 2, 2021 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit concludes a series entitled “Wisdom from Above,” with a message titled “Humility in Action pt. 2,” from James 4:7-10.

The post 1025. Humility in Action pt. 2 appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Sr. His intent was to make a school where the focus would be on Christ, so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from The University Chapel Platform.

Today on The Daily Platform, Dr. Steve Pettit, President of Bob Jones University, is continuing a study series entitled Wisdom from Above, which is a study of the book of James. Today is our final message on the theme that we've been studying all semester, Wisdom from Above. A few years ago, we were up in Niagara Falls, New York, holding services in a local church.

We had a number of students with us, and so after the service, we had a few minutes to, before we left, to run over to the American side of Niagara Falls, because some of our students had never seen the falls, and it's always stunning. Just the sheer amount of water plummeting over 150,000 gallons per second, down 176 feet to the rocks below, the incredible amount of mist that perpetually rises up from the bottom, the gripping fear that you instantly feel when you consider jumping into the water and plunging over the walls. All of those things flood through your thoughts, and one of the most obvious things that you recognize without even thinking about it is that water always flows downward. It instantly pursues the lowest place, and this is also true of those who seek God's grace. R. Kent Hughes describes it this way, the gravity of grace works like the earth's water system that always flows from the highest place to the lowest place. We've been looking in James chapter 4 as we've studied the fact that God resists the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. Those who need grace in their life have to be humble. Last week we looked at how James explains in verses 7 through 10, 10 different commands that lead us to humble actions, and we saw last week the first and the last that were like bookends when he says to submit yourselves to God and humble yourselves before the Lord.

This week I would like us to finish out this passage of Scripture, and in this we see these commands that he gives us to be humble, and we learn a general principle that the way up in the Christian life is always the way down. In the city of Bethlehem, there's a famous church called the Church of the Nativity. When it was originally built, the entrance way was a set of these huge Gothic doors. However, a problem arose when the locals began to ride their horse into the front doors into the house of God. Thinking that this was inappropriate for God's house, the priest decided to brick up the large entrance, and then they constructed a small narrow entrance way. I've been through it many times, and that small entrance way required everyone to stoop down in order to get in, and what they were trying to say to the people of their day is that when you come to God, you have to get off your high horse. James is telling us that the way that we come to God is we always come through the pathway of humility, and as we look at this passage of Scripture this morning, I'd like us to look at it in three different couplets. The first couplet is found here in verses seven and eight. Let me read them to you this morning. Submit yourselves therefore to God.

That's what we saw last week. Now here come two commands. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

What is the command? He says resist and draw nigh. It's very interesting that the term submission means to enlist in the army. The moment you join the army, you suddenly become the enemy of another, and James tells us that that enemy is the devil. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. When we are commanded to resist the devil, we are to do the exact same thing God does when he says he resists the proud. I think it's accurate to say that when we are proud, we are most like the devil. Therefore, resisting the devil involves resisting our own temptation to pride.

For example, Paul warns against making a new Christian a pastor. First Timothy 3, 6, not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil. When we are proud, we are most like the devil. What is pride? Well, it's an exalted opinion of yourself. It's an excessive self-esteem. Or maybe to put it in simple terms, my mother used to say when a boy was proud, he's just too big for his britches.

It's a swelling up. What is pride? It's a sense of supremacy in one's abilities.

And if you've ever played sports, you understand that because it is harder to maintain a humble attitude when you are winning than when you are losing. Pride is a sense of supremacy in one's appearance, one's knowledge, one's standing in life, one's race. What is pride? It is verbally bragging, boasting, and mocking others. Proverbs 21, 24 says, scoffer is the name of the arrogant haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.

I've learned at least this in life that you should beware of making friends of people who are critical and who mock and who are cynical and who are constant complainers. Because at the very heart of that is pride. What is pride? It is a stubborn resistance to give God the glory for your life. Have you ever considered the pride problem of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon?

What was his problem? He took the glory for his great kingdom unto himself. Pride is the ultimate desire to take glory unto yourself. And when Nebuchadnezzar did that, what happened to him?

He went temporarily insane. Pride messes people up. And he was not delivered from that mental condition until he humbled himself and started to give God the glory. Daniel 4 37, now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the king of heaven for all his works are right and his ways are just and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. My glory, God says, I will not give to another.

What is pride? It is a self-sufficient attitude in your own self-righteousness. It's a can-do-it attitude in obeying God without anyone's help.

It's interesting to me that even when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he did not rely on his self-strength, but he humbly and simply depended upon and obeyed the word of God. So when we resist pride, we resist the devil. So we see here that the devil is an aggressive attacker. But we also see that God is aggressive, is an aggressive responder.

Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you. If you go after God, God will go after you. What do we see in the response of the prodigal son's father?

Do you see a difference? Listen to what it says in Luke 15. And he, the prodigal son, arose and came to his father. But when he was a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and he smothered him with kisses. Someone has said that if you will inch towards God, he will step towards you. If you step towards God, he will sprint towards you. If you run to God, he will fly to you.

God will always move faster to you than you will to him. So what does it mean then to draw nigh to God? Well, I think we could say it's actually a call to prayer. Hebrews 4 16, let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace.

Hebrews 10 21, since we have a great priest, high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith. The essence of prayer is drawing close to God. So when we come close to God, what is it that we desire? Is it not a sense of his nearness? Do we not want to feel his power and strength? Is it not to cast our anxieties and our worries and our fears upon him? Is it not to gain a greater assurance of his love? Is it not to receive his enabling grace? It's interesting that in Ephesians 6, when fighting the devil, we are told to put on the whole armor of God.

All of these actions are decisive decisions that take place at a point in time. Put on the helmet of salvation. Put on the breastplate of righteousness and so forth. However, there is one thing that the soldier is to do continually, and that is he is to pray. Ephesians 6 18, praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication. To draw near to God is to seek God in prayer. Resist and draw near. And what is the result of obeying these two commands?

Two things. We will see the face of God and we will see the backside of the devil. So the first couplet is to resist and draw near.

Then notice the second couplet. And he tells us in the next verse when he says, cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Reminding you that this is a way that we humble ourselves before God.

Here we are going low. These commands call us to clean up our actions and clean up our motives. The clean, the outer, and the inner parts of our lives. So what does this involve?

First of all, it involves confessing the specific acts of wrongdoings. The things we have done. James earlier said in chapter 1 and verse 21 that we are to be like a gardener who hoses garden for weeds. We have a company here in Greenville that comes to my house called Weed Man. Why?

Because my yard has weeds and I want to get rid of them. And so James says in James 1 21, he says, wherefore we are to get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word that has been planted in you which can save you. The King James says, lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness.

I mean it just sounds bad. The things that are in our life that need to be cleaned out. May I ask you a question this morning? Do you need to clean house in your own heart? What are some of the evil things? Sexual immorality, pornography, bitterness, anger, resentment, rebellion, discontentment, cursing, hatred, stubbornness, unbelief, cheating, lying, worldly entertainment, scoffing, mockery, slander, gossip, ingratitude, complacency, entitlement I deserve, neglecting God and his word, dishonoring your parents, living every day without a heart of patience, kindness, and graciousness.

We could go on. What are we to do to humble ourselves? We're to come to God for cleansing. Wise people put away sin. Then secondly, we're to confess the sin of being two-faced with God. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. To be double-minded means you haven't made up your mind to follow God. There's a double allegiance, two souls, one for God and one for this world.

And he is saying, make up your mind, decide, put God first. Have you ever heard of a name, Aldrich Ames? He started working for the CIA during high school and he did so until he was discovered to be a Soviet double agent in 1994. He specialized in selling the identities of CIA agents placed within the KGB to the KGB of Russia. The damage he caused U.S. intelligence efforts can't really be known, but conservative estimates indicate that he exposed over a hundred agents and was directly responsible for at least ten deaths.

A thorough accounting of his finances revealed that he and his wife made over $4.6 million over the course of their espionage career. And Ames was sentenced to life in prison and he's still in prison this morning. We need to put away a double allegiance. We need to be singly committed to God. It's interesting that James did not say, clean up your act and then draw close to God. He said, draw close to God, get a better view of God and you'll get a better view of yourself. Is that not what Isaiah did when he saw the Lord and said woe is me? We see the depths of our own sinfulness when we see the glory of God's holiness.

Is that not what Peter did when he was fishing in the boat and the Lord told him to let down his net over the side of the boat and suddenly the net was filled with fish and what did Peter do? He fell on his knees and he said, depart from me for I am a sinful man. A greater vision of God precedes a greater confession of sin.

And there are decisions we have to make. I'm to cleanse my heart. I'm to be purified. I'm to be completely committed to God.

That's the way to wisdom. And then finally the third couplet. And I'm going to give you two words that are not actually found in the text, but we actually see them so we'll use them as two points. That's the word lament and repent. It's almost like, it's almost like the idea of confessing is an action, but now we get much deeper into the heart.

We find this in the next few commands. He said, be afflicted and mourn and weep. You could sum that up in one word, the word lament.

What does it mean to lament? It's an expression, a passion expression of grief and sorrow and disappointment and regret. That's what we feel when we sin.

He says, be afflicted. That means to have an inner sense of distress and shame. It's the guilt we feel when we do wrong.

It's not wrong to feel guilty if we have things that we should feel guilty for. The word mourn means to be sad and depressed over the circumstance. To weep means to cry and sob because your heart has been broken. Can you think of anyone whose heart was broken and went out and wept bitterly?

It was Peter when he denied the Lord three times. You know, when revival comes, usually it is preceded with a great heartbreaking over sin. Maybe some of you need to go in your room and close your door and get on your knees and just begin to confess all of your sins and humbly before God, lament. This is the pathway to actually joy and forgiveness because the Bible says, blessed are they that mourn. And then notice the word repent is found in the next phrase. Let your laughter be turned to morning and your joy to heaviness. The word be turned is the idea of repentance.

It means to turn around. He's speaking of changing your attitude. An attitude here where he says, laughter and joy, and of course he's not saying laughter and joy are wrong or bad in themselves, but here in this case, it's the attitude that we have towards the world, towards sinful things. It's a careless, shallow, lighthearted attitude about the sinfulness of this world. When we see the world sin, it should disturb us. It should grieve us.

It's not something we make a joke about. I think we see here what Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 7 when he talks about two kinds of sorrow, godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. So that we read in 2 Corinthians 7 and verse 10, for godly sorrow works repentance.

What is godly sorrow? It's seeing sin from God's point of view. How does God see our sin? He sees it as a choice we make, a willful choice, a rebellious choice against God's command.

It's really God sees the fact that we are making a decision that choose that we love ourselves more than we love him because he says, if you love me, keep my commandments. What is worldly sorrow? Worldly sorrow means I see sin from my perspective. It's not that I don't feel bad that I did something wrong. I'm just sorry because of all the things that have happened. I'm sorry that I hurt somebody. I'm sorry that people got upset. I'm sorry I messed up. I'm sorry I got caught.

I'm sorry because I want to be a better person. In other words, it's the kind of sorrow that looks at oneself instead of looks at one's God. And when we confess our sins, the word confess means to say what God says. Well, you can't say what God says until you see what God sees. And when you look at sin from God's perspective, it should break our heart over our own love of ourselves so that when we confess it, we are not only seeing it, but we are beginning to feel what God feels. James is showing us that the true way to wisdom is through grace. And God gives grace to the humble, one of the greatest virtues of the Christian life. And as we conclude this morning, think with me about the words that Jesus said when he gave us the great Beatitudes.

And the very first Beatitudes, the first four, really describe for us what James has already talked about. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

What Jesus said is essentially what James, his half brother, was telling us in a way that was almost like an interpretation. And when we live this way, we are wise people. It is a wisdom that is coming down from above. May God bless you as you seek to walk in his wisdom. Heavenly Father, thank you for your word and your mercy and love to us. I pray you'll strengthen our student body and our BJU family, that we will walk with wisdom from above. In Jesus' name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon from the book of James by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University.

For more information on Dr. Pettit's series, visit our website at, where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled Wisdom from Above. I'd like to thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. I hope that you've enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and an encouragement to you.

We're living in very unusual times with the COVID-19 virus. And this is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. So I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have at and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2,500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and see life from God's lenses and then go out with an accredited first-class education and go out into the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace as they go out and serve in local churches, not only here in the United States, but our students are globally in-demand Christ-centered servants who are trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening. Encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's word.

God bless you. These daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and his radio ministry. If you appreciate these programs and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's word, would you consider sending us a special financial gift today? You can easily do that through the website and then click on the give button on the home page. We'd also love to hear about how this program is helping your Christian walk. Please send us your feedback using the contact button at the bottom of the website or you can call us at 800-252-6363. I'm Steve Pettit, President of Bob Jones University. Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. The Bob Jones University School for Continuing Online and Professional Education offers convenient and affordable online programs. Whether you're seeking to expand your skills, pursue a passion or develop a ministry on your own time, qualified and engaged instructors will help you reach your goals. For more information, visit or call 888-253-9833. Thanks for listening and join us again next week as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-25 04:39:13 / 2023-09-25 04:47:52 / 9

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