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June 25, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Wisdom from Above,” with a message titled “The Source of All Conflict,” from James 4:1-3.
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 Senior's 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. There's a study booklet available for this series and if you'd like to follow along.
You can order printed copy from the website. The Daily Platform.com. Let's listen to today's message for Steve will guide us through the source of all conflicts from the book of James. This morning we're reading from James chapter 4 as we are working through the whole point of James and that is bringing us to maturity to become wise people. What is a wise person like and so we looked at a number of things we asked the question, who is a wise person and we talked about wisdom from above. We talked about wisdom from below and now we come to James chapter 4 and it's a continuation of the thought that actually runs to verse 10 in James force. We have about four more messages in the series this morning. As we look at James chapter 4 I wish I could tell you that it's actually pretty but it's really not.
It's almost as if James becomes a heart surgeon.
We all know we have a heart but none of us have seen what our heart really looks like it is almost as if James puts us on the operating table and almost like an autopsy.
He opens us any shows maps of our heart because in order for there to be a transformation of our life. It has to start within within our hearts, as to be a change internally and so James unfolds the human heart to show us why we do what we do and then of course that sets us on a pathway to becoming wise people. So let's begin this morning by reading in verse one down to verse three as I speak to you on the theme. The source of all conflicts, from whence come wars and findings among you, come they not hence, even of your loss. That war in your members you lost and have not you kill, and desire to have in Canada pertain you fight in war, yet you have not because you ask not.
You ask and receive. Not because you ask a mess that you may consume it upon your lusts. All of us know that wars, conflicts in findings have been a part of all of human history dating all of all the way back to the time when Cain murdered his brother Abel. In Genesis chapter 4. Historians estimate that in the 20th century alone, there were over 200 million people who die in war and by oppression in 2018 in the United States of America. There were 1.2 million violent crimes that were committed. I think ever since 9/11, which is been basically duck the span of most of your lives.
United States of America is been in a war against terror that is kill thousands of people. So the question is why. What is the reason. Oh, what is the source of all of these conflicts before the time of Christ. There was a man named Herodotus who is called the father of history. He wrote a book entitled histories and in this book. He conducted a historical investigation into the cause of any concluded that wars were caused by the relentless drive for power or imperialism. Another historian that followed Herodotus was a man named Thucydides he wrote any said while speaking of war in human suffering. He said wars will always keep a cool occur, as long as the nature of mankind remains the same. The cause of all these evils is the loss for power arising from greed and ambition. World War I was fall between 1914 and 1918. It was the cause of 17 million deaths including over hundred thousand Americans who were killed and what was the cause. On the surface, it was the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary by a terrorist organization called the black hand. However when you look deeper, you'll discover that what the war was rooted in European imperialism in the countries of Africa and in the growing desire among European nations to show their natural power and their dominant not think it the apostle James was here with us today. Everything I said thus far, he would say amen to and the reason is because this is what he writes in James chapter 4 when he really unfolds the calls or the source of all human conflict and so were not just talking about wars among nations were talking about conflicts among people. Everybody in this room is going to face conflict.
The whole of your life. You have conflicts in marriage. I've conflicts in church you have conflicts in family shall have conflicts in relationships with friends of yours and you happy asked the question why once the root of it. What is the source of it in this is what James is doing because the way we get wisdom is the fear of the Lord and we have to understand the nature of the human heart as we seek to become wise people. So what James does here in these first three verses of chapter 4 is he states two primary clauses for human conflicts.
The first one is really the main one and that is this the reason for all conflicts is rooted in man's sinful desires.
Look at what he says in verse one, from whence come wars in findings among you, where do these wars come from. This is a rhetorical question. It literally reads from where wars where the problems come from.
Or maybe we can ask it this way, what is the source of all evil that is a common question for which we need to have a clear answer and James follows up with another question which he is forcing us to deeply consider the source of conflict with a serious search of our own soul. Look at the second question. He says come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members.
The word hence means James is pointing a finger of accusation at the source of all evil in here's what he is saying that the heart of all human problems is the problem of the human heart.
Let me say it again, the heart of all human problems is the problem of the human the part the source of all conflict comes back to our own, so you cannot point the finger. This way you have the point the finger.
This way, or maybe I should CSA this way when I point the finger at you. I have three fingers pointing back at me and what he is saying is that the source of conflict is within our own heart. James is already said this we go back to chapter 1 and he makes it clear that God is not the source of evil. He is not the author of temptation. Listen to what he says in James 114 let no man save and he is tempted, I'm tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted the any man but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lost and enticed. Jesus said the same thing in Mark 721 four from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, locations, murders, theft, and so on.
So in James chapter 4 James not only confirms what he says in verse one, but what he skews me in chapter 1, but what he does here in verse one, two and three is he expounds the idea of the depths of man's sinful desires in greater detail. He takes us down into his surgical process. He looks into our human heart. Any points out what's there and what does he say about man's desires.
Number one he says that our desires are thoroughly or I can almost say we are radically corrupted. James uses three words to describe the depravity of our own desires and I'd like us to notice those three words. I'm going to give them to you in the Greek because when you read them in the English it really doesn't grasp what James was writing when he uses key Greek words that like to read these verses in the ESV because I think it's clearer.
Let me read to you the first of these 33 evil desires. Verse one. He says from he says what causes quarrels and what causes fights among you, is it not this, that your passions are at war within you drop down to the end of verse three, he says. You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your own passions. So in verse one, verse three he uses the exact same word twice. The word passion King James says lots what's the Greek word well is one that you probably recognize is the word he Don you know any English equivalent to that. What is hedonism, so he's talking about the fact that every body is actually hedonistic, where all that way.
So what is the word mean hedonism is a philosophy about life is what I expect my life to be like and essentially it is the belief that life's purpose is found in the presence of pleasure and in the absence of pain. In other words, living should be pleasure filled and pain-free hedonism includes the idea of the indulgence and the satisfaction of your own sexual desires, especially in contrast to what Jesus said if anybody would come after me, let him deny himself, so this is not just the condition it's a philosophy of life, and I would say that this philosophy is deeply ingrained in all of us is deeply ingrained in in American culture, especially in the material secular culture of our world especially in the concept of the American dream and I'm not here to criticize the right to property or well that is not wrong, but it's just the idea that it is deeply ingrained within all of us that we live for our own pleasures and at the core of what James is teaching us is this are we going to live for God. Are we going to live for self and there's a second word this mention in verse two and let me read it to you in the ESV he says you desire and do not have, so you murder the second word is the word desire, but in the Greek is the word apathetic. Mia and I emphasize this because this is the most common word in the New Testament for lost Up for me it means a strong desire is not generally a word that refers to something evil. It's just simply a strong desire to be good or bad, but in this case, it obviously flows out of your fallen nature and so therefore it's always viewed as wrong desire. It's the same word misuse in James 114 when he says every man is tempted of his own laws is the same word used in Galatians 516 when he says walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the loss of the flesh is the sinful desires that flow out of us, just like a fish is drawn to a worm in the water that's on a hook that catches him so there are things within the human heart to which we are all draw. John writes about. He talks about the world. He stopped about the lust of the flesh was the eyes, the pride of life, all those things are in the human heart were all drawn to those things and so James is saying where do all these conflicts come from.
They come from. He Don they come from apathy Mia and then there's 1/3 word, like I'd like you to take note of in verse two he says you lusting have not you kill let me read in the ESV you desire and do not have, so you murder you, that and cannot obtain the third word is that word covet in the Greek word is the word zealous and a party mentioned this word T because it's in James 314 and 16 that talks about envy or jealousy.
The word is been the meaning of it is the desire to attach yourself to something you want but you cannot get it it's it's frustrated desires is the person who lives with certain expectations and you're not getting them. And so you find yourself unhappy you find yourself discontent you find yourself complaining. My pastor used to say, Blessed is the man that expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed. And so what James does is he unfolds these desires you could call them a Trinity of evil residing in every human heart.
All of us have. He Don all of us have apathy. Mia all of us have the desire, the business allies for things that we cannot get so question how did man become like this when the Bible says were all created in the image of God. How do we become like this. How do you explain the nature of the human heart and the apostle Paul answers that question in Romans 512, when he says these words. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world.
Adam, the head of the human race. Sin is sin affected Adam personally.
In other words, he changed but is sin also infected the whole human race corporately, as if a spiritual coronavirus infected the entire human race, and the results of Adam's fall are deadly. All of us are like this within our own nature, Westminster shorter confession of faith asked this question very important question, wherein because consists the sinfulness of that estate wherein two man fell in other words, how do you explain man sinfulness and here's the answer. The sinfulness of that estate. That's where we are wherein two man fell consist in number one the guilt of Adam's first sin number to the want of original righteousness. Another words he saying when Adam fell all the righteousness we would've had. We completely lost the corruption of our whole nature which is commonly called original sin, together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it. In other words, when Adam fell, we fell with him and in him, so that our whole human heart was corrupted and all of our sinful actions proceed out of these sinful desires. So let's consider then what James estate number one.
He says we are thoroughly corrupted with in our own nature. All of us. Sin has come to radically corrupt us. This is the way that we think our thoughts are not like God's. This is the way we feel our emotions and these this has to do with the choices that we make. No one is left uncorrupted and no one has any part of them that is righteous. There's no part of us that has maybe a little island of good over here and then the rest of us are are bad. It is our intent entire nature has been thoroughly corrupted through the fall. Paul writes in Ephesians 2, three, among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, and the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh in the mind and we are by nature children of wrath.
Consider these terms. He, Don, our way of thinking, apathy me. Our way of feeling sad loss. The choices that we make the inclinations of the human heart are completely given over to self centeredness. In other words, were not God centered were self-centered. The second thing I want you to consider is that we are thoroughly incapable of changing our natures. There is nothing about us that can change ourselves. We can try to change our desires, we can try to become a better person. We can try to turn over a new leaf.
Jeremiah says it this way can the Ethiopian change his skin. Can the leopard changes spot can the Leopard go down to Walmart and buy spot remover and change his spots. Then he asked the question, how may you also do good, that are accustomed to doing evil. You cannot change what you are by nature without a change within your nature you cannot see.
If you are blind you cannot hear if you're deaf you cannot live if you are dead you are in darkness in you cannot produce light but you have to have light provided for you and this is what God is, to do. He is commonly change our hearts. He is come to give aside his come to give us the ears, he has come to give us life and the way he does. That is his own grace by his own power, illuminating our site and quickening, and our hearts and making us new creations and rights is what we call being born again, but we have to understand that that nature within us has to be transformed, but the sinful aspects of our nature, are with us until we get a new and redeemed body.
So number one man's desires are thoroughly corrupted within. Secondly man's desires are thoroughly controlling and I want to go back and look at what he says here in verse one, and I want you to notice something this very interesting. He says he says what causes quarrels and what causes fights among you, is it not this, that your passions are at war within you are right. So what is he saying here. He's actually saying this the reason why we have an an external battle reason why we have conflicts on the outside is actually have a war going on in the inside and everybody here is a Christian understand you have a struggle within your own heart and what is the war it says even your passions that are at war in your members is like he's given us an image to understand what's happening in our heart and that is these internal desires are right he Don Epp of the Mia zealots those things if you could look at them as if their soldiers okay.
So imagine your mind. He Don becomes a sojourn, apathy, Mia and zealots all become soldiers and they are actually soldiers who were fighting in a war and what is it they are fighting for. They are fighting for your body. They are wanting to use your body as weapons of gratification. So let's take your eyes let's take your mind, let's take your ears.
Let's take your hands.
Let's take your feet.
Let's take your mouth those desires are wall are fighting for the right to use your body parts for their own gratification. That's what he talking about.
There is an internal war that is going alone so that sinful desires are fighting to fulfill their desires through your human body and what is going to inevitably happen is that if these desires control our actions.
What's gonna happen were going to have conflict were going to have internal conflict struggles mentally but were also going to have external conflicts with people so listen to what Jane says that these desire went what happens when these desires are frustrated. He says what causes these quarrels in these fights is this you desire. You don't have. So what you do. You murder you, and you cannot attain so you fight and quarrel. Peace is the result of these restricted desires or findings, wars, and murder.
Relational disruption relational destruction are all calls by these sinful desires and it's only when we come to recognize that God will first talk comes when we recognize that really is the way I am. By the way, when you understand this about your heart, it should make you really scared.
It should. And the reason in the result of that is that when we become fearful of our own heart and fearful of our own God.
It's actually where all wisdom begins because the fear of the Lord is the starting point for wisdom. Wisdom is seeing life from God's perspective, stop right here because I had to have a second point and I have one minute left in your desires change at 1137 very quickly. But what I would like to do is really just real down deeply over this this week and next week with these conflicts within our heart, because what is Paul tell us to do. He tells us.
Don't yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness is to sin but yield yourselves to God hears what is happened on the cross, the power of he Don the power of Epp of the Mia and the power of Zell loss is not removed from your heart when you get saved, but the power of it is actually broken through the cross of Jesus Christ, and through that crawls with one another.
If we are no longer controlled by these desires, we actually can have peace with people. The key to peace is not external. The key to peace is an internal relationship you have with Jesus Christ who is the Lord over all the desires of your life do you have conflict with somebody are you frustrated you find yourself constantly in discontentment are you blaming everything on the outside or have your eyes been open to see.
As James says the condition of our own hearts.
Father, we thank you for your word and Lord help us to really see this illuminate our understanding dear to the nature of our heart and to the power of the gospel when it is applied to our hearts condition.
In Jesus name, amen.
You 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 series, visit our email@example.com where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled wisdom from above. Thanks for listening and join us again next week as we study God's word together on the daily flow for