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May 15, 2020 10:00 pm
BJU President Dr. Steve Pettit concludes a series entitled “Wisdom From Above.” This series is from the book of James. Today’s scripture passage is James 4:7-10.
Welcome to the daily plan from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927. The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University Chapel platform today on the daily plan of Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series entitled wisdom from above, which is a study of the book of James. This study was preached to Bob Jones University students in chapel during the first few months of 2020.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The student body went home but students continued to take classes through online delivery to keep students connected to the school. Dr. Pettit decided to continue preaching the James series through Lifestream chapel services. Let's listen to today's message for Steve will continue the sermon about humility in action from the book of James. Today is our final message on the thing that we been studying all semester wisdom from above few years ago we were up in Niagara Falls, New York holding services in a local church.
We had a number of students with this 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 false, 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 falls.
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 are 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 been looking in James chapter 4 as we study the fact that God resists the proud but 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 seven through 10 to 7 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 learned general principle that the way up in the Christian life is always the way down in the city of Bethlehem is a famous church called the Church of the Nativity Nativity when it was originally built.
The entranceway was a set of these. She huge Gothic doors. However, a problem arose when the locals began to ride their horses into the front doors into the house of God, thinking that this was inappropriate for God's house. The priest decided to break up the large entrance and then they constructed a small narrow entranceway. I've been through it many times and that small entranceway 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.
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 to commands. Resist the devil and he will flee from you drawl.
Neither God and he will drawl night to you.
What is the command he says, resist and drawl nine is 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. 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 pastor first Timothy 36 not a novice list 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 is an exalted opinion of yourself is 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 them 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 2124 says scoffer is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride. I learned at least this in life that you should be aware of making friends of people who are critical in who mock and who are cynical and who are constant complainers because at the very heart of that is pride what is pride is a stubborn resistance to give God the glory for your life.
Have you ever considered the pride problem of Neb 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 437 now I Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven for all his works are right in 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 and 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 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 drawl, not a God and he will drawl, not a you if you go after God.
God will go after you. What 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 all, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and he smothered him with with kisses someone is said that if you inched towards God. He will step toward you. If you step towards God, he will sprint toward you. If you run to God, he will fly to you.
God will always move faster to you then you will to him. So what is it mean then the drawl denied to God by think we can say it's actually a call to prayer. Hebrews 416. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace. Hebrews 1021 since we have a great priest high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, the ants, the essence of prayer is drawing close to God. So 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 in our worries and our fears appointing is not to gain a greater assurance of his love is it not to receive his enabling grace is 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 key is to pray. Ephesians 618 praying at all times in the spirit with all prayer and sob supplication to draw near to God is to seek God in prayer resist and drawl near and what is the result of obeying these two can 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 drawl near the 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 low. These commands call us to clean up our actions and clean up our motives to clean the outer and the inner parts of our lives. So what is this involved. First of all, it involves confessing the specific acts of wrongdoings, the things we have done James earlier said in chapter 1 verse 21 that we are be 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 as weeds and I want to get rid of them.
And so James says in James 121 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 is 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 master question this morning. Do you need to clean house in your own heart. What is, what are some of the evil things sexual immorality, pornography, bitterness, anger, resentment, rebellion, discontentment, cursing, hatred, stubbornness, unbelief, cheating, lying, worldly, and at entertainment's golfing mockery, slander, gossip, ingratitude, complacency, entitlement I deserve. Neglecting God and his word dishonoring your parents living every day without a heart of patients, kindness and graciousness we could go on, what are we to do to humble ourselves. We are to come to God for cleansing, wise people put away sin and secondly were 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 to 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 the 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 with in the KGB to the KGB of Russia. The damage he caused US intelligence efforts can't really be known but conservative estimates indicate that he expose over 100 agents and was directly responsible for at least 10 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 still in prison this morning.
We need to put away a double allegiance.
We need to be singularly committed to God is interesting that James did not say clean up your act and then draw close to God. He's a draw close to God, get a better view of God, and you get a better view of yourself is that not what Isaiah did when he saw the Lord and said whoa 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 it 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 in their decisions we have to make onto cleanse my heart.
I'm to be purified on to be completely committed to God. That's the way to wisdom and if finally, the third couplet I will give you two words that are not actually found in the text, but we actually see them. So we use them as two points. That's the word lament and repent. It's almost like it's almost like the idea of of 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 is it mean to lament is an expression of passion, expression of grief and sorrow and disappointment and regret.
It's what we feel when we sin pieces be afflicted. That means to have an inner sense of distress and shame is is the guilt we feel when we do wrong. It's not wrong to feel guilty, 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 inside 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 heart breaking over sin.
Maybe some of you need to go in your room enclosure 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 in the notice.
The word repent is found in the next phrase, let your laughter be turned morning and your joy to heaviness the word be turned is the idea of repentance administered turnaround he speaking of changing your attitude and 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 it's the attitude that we have towards the world toward sinful things.
It's a careless, shallow, lighthearted attitude about the sinfulness of this world when we see the world said and it should disturb us. It should grieve us is not something we make a joke about.
I think we see here what Paul is talking about in second Corinthians 7, when he talks about two kinds of sorrow, godly sorrow and worldly sorrow so that we read in second Corinthians 7. In verse 10 for godly sorrow works with Hinton's what is godly sorrow it's seeing sin from God's point of view how God CRC.
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 shoes 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, is not that I don't feel bad that I did something wrong.
I'm just sorry because of all the things that it happened.
I'm sorry that I hurt somebody.
I'm sorry the people got upset.
I'm sorry I messed up. I'm sorry I got called. 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 look that one's God, and we confess our sins, the word confess means to say what God says when you can't say what God says until you see what God sees when you look at sin from God's perspective it should break our heart over around love 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 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 for 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 RB GU 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 series, visit our email@example.com where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled wisdom from above. The Kindle version is also available. I'd like to thank you for listening to the daily hope that you enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and encouragement to you.
We are living in very unusual times with the coded 19 virus. The changes in our daily lifestyle. Just the. The experiences that we've had that are so unique.
This is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. I'm looking forward to the day that I can get back into the local church and be a part of Christ's body. God never intended for us to be alone intended for us to be a community of fellowship were part of the body. We are members of the temple where we are to worship God. And so I'd like to encourage you to make sure that you get back in the church and be faithful to God's house and here at Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina where, like all universities we closed our campus on 13 March and our students have just completed their studies online and we are getting ready to go into our summer months. Also we have a number of things that you can look at that are available. You can go to Bob Jones University on our Facebook account or Dr. Steve Pettit and we made some very interesting videos that I think you find to be very interesting and also I would encourage you if you've not picked up on the fact that we have a podcast is entitled highest potential and you can watch it on your favorite podcast weathers Apple spot a fire anchor or others end of this week we have interviewed Sen. Tim Scott. Are you a senator from state of South Carolina just came out with a wonderful book about his life story entitled opportunity knocks so I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have with Facebook and podcast and it be GU.edu and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and does see life from God's lenses and then go out with a a in an accredited first-class education and go out in the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace is a go out and serve in local churches not only hear the United States, but our students are globally and the man Christ centered servants who were trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening to the daily encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's word.
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