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May 13, 2020 10:00 pm
BJU President Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Wisdom From Above.” This series is from the book of James. Today’s scripture passage is James 4:5-6
Welcome to the daily 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 Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent little preaching from the University Chapel platform today on the daily 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.
Today's message is entitled how God responds to worldly Christians. This was the second week of online chapel messages that Dr. Pettit preached to Bob Jones students while they were taking online classes from home. As always, you are invited to follow along in the study booklet. The doctor Pettit has written for this series, you can get one on Kindle or you can order a printed copy from the website. The Daily Platform.com. Let's now listen to Dr. Pettit as he continues the series wisdom from above, from the book of James. This morning I'm reading out of the book of James chapter 4 verses five and six. As we are continuing our series here on the truth of wisdom from above and I'd like us to look at these very unusual verses this morning as we as I speak to you on the theme how God responds to Christians when they are worldly. Let's look at what the Scripture says in verse five. Do you think that the Scripture saith conveying the spirit that dwells within us lusted the envy but he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resists the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.
One of the greatest love stories in history is that of Nicholas and I and Alexandra of Russia Nicholas inherited the Russian throne at the end of the 19th century. During his teenage years. His parents started looking for suitable mate for him the age of 16 years old. Contrary to his parents wishes he became obsessed with Alexandra, a beautiful princes then living in England with her grandmother, Queen Victoria. Despite parental objections cultural differences in the separation spanning thousands of miles Nicholas was determined to capture Alexandra's love Alexandra however found Nicholas a bit dull and did not enjoy the thought of moving to the hearts climate of Moscow, so she rejected his advances in 1892 Nicholas turned 24 and having love digs Alexandra for nearly 8 years. He resolved to make one final effort to win her heart.
However, he was devastated when she wrote saying that she had definitely decided not to marry him. She asked him not to contact her again and all seemed lost for for Nicholas but he decided to leave Moscow immediately.
He traveled across Europe through difficult terrain and treacherous weather in his journey to London. Although exhausted from travel. Nicholas immediately began to pursue Alexandra with great passion.
After two months she finally relented and agreed to marry him and the young couple became husband-and-wife and the rulers of the Russian Empire and their marriage became an example of passionate love up until the day they even died, yes very interesting that the Bible says that God has a passionate pursuing love for his own people. The reason we love him is because he first loved us. And no wonder then that when God's people are worldly. God responds in the way James describes it here in verses five and six just a little background or to remember what we study as we came to James chapter 4 beginning in verse one, James describes the source of all human conflicts. His point is the problems are not external. The problems are always internal in the human heart, and he describes the sinfulness, the depravity of the human heart. When he uses three different words and explain what those were.
In the Greek the word heed on from which we get the word hedonism the word apathy me out, which means a strong, passionate desire and the words cell loss from which we get the word in the or jealousy those three emotions rage within the sinful human heart. When we come to James chapter 4 and verse four what James does is he shockingly describes those who are being seduced by these desires these affections.
He describes them as adulterers and adulteresses, you see, God is never in different and God is never apathetic to our unrequited love. When we love himself more than we love God. God does not sit there in different but he does something and that's what he's doing here in James four because he first of all, exposes our hearts and then in James chapter 4 verses five and six.
He exposes his heart and it is here that we see the heart of God as he responds to us as believers when we are worldly when we are drifting away from God and what we see about the heart of God. Number one, we see that God is a jealous God, look at what he says in verse five. Do you think that the Scripture saith conveying the spirit that dwell within us lusted to envy. We go back in the Old Testament, God declares that he is a jealous God. When the Jewish people turned away from the true worship of Jehovah to the worship of idols.
What did God do God relentlessly pursued his people by calling them terrific to repent, to come back to turn back to him with a broken heart and a submissive will God is jealous for our hearts. And I believe verse five is communicating that to us. He is saying here that God is a jealous God. However, when you read this verse we have to face some real interpretive challenges. Fact is, this verse has been considered to be one of the most difficult verses in the Bible to interpret in their two primary difficulties number one in the opening phrase when it says do you think that the Scripture saith now. Normally that is uses a direct quote from the Old Testament.
However, the problem is you can't find that quote or that statement anywhere in the Old Testament, so how can James say the Scripture says we don't have a direct quote from the Scripture saying this is the first difficult. The second difficulty is in the phrase the spirit that dwell within us lusted to envy the issue with this phrase is in understanding its meaning because it can be interpreted in a number of different ways. So let's try to resolve these two difficult first of all, the first difficulty since we know that this verse is not specifically quoted in the Old Testament then either. James made a mistake.
The Scripture doesn't say this, or maybe there's another way to look at the phrase the Scripture saith that is this phrase does not refer to a specific quote, but rather to a general principle that is found in the Bible and in James is writing this in a unique way to summarize the truth. Perhaps you could say that James in a Jewish way mid rash, the Old Testament and by minarets were talking about Jewish interpretation in Jewish exposition, so he's drawing this out from the Old Testament. So what would be the general truth. Well, it appears that James is referring to the jealousy of God. So listen to some Old Testament statements. Exodus 20 verse five. Thou shalt not bow out bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.
Exodus 3414 for thou shalt worship no other God for the Lord's name is jealous is a jealous God. Zachariah 82 thus saith the Lord of host.
I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy. I was jealous for her with great fury so the Old Testament had statements about God's jealousy and the Old Testament has stories about God's jealousy in one of those convoluted stories is the story where God commanded an Old Testament prophet named Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, and the main purpose for the marriage was to illustrate the way that God responds to Israel when they turn away from God and worship false idols.
God wants his people to know that he loves them like a like a husband loves his adulterous wife in his jealous for her affections. So it looks like James takes his overall truth of God's jealousy and describes God's passion for his people in this summary statement. Do you think the Scripture saith conveying the spirit that dwell within us lusted to envy so that leads to this question and that is how do we interpret this phrase, the spirit that dwell within us lusted to envy as a reference to the jealousy of God was based on how to determine the subject of the sentence. There are two primary ways to look at it number one. The subject is the spirit of man. So, in the King James it reads this way, the spirit that dwell within us lusted the envy so the verse would mean that the human spirit lots those desires within the this loss. This is the calls for all the conflicts that are mentioned in the earlier verses so verses five and six would be interpreted this way. Our human spirit lots with envy. But God's grace is sufficient to overcome this loss that we humble ourselves so we know that that's a true statement that we do lost in God's grace is more powerful to overcome that, then there's a second way to look at and that is the subject is not the spirit of man, but the subject is actually God himself and we see this in the way the Greek text reads it reads this way to desire jealousy, the spirit that dwells in us to desire jealousy the spirit jealously the spirit that dwells in us in interpreting this phrase thereto. Questions who made the spirit to dwell in us and the answer is obviously God who then desires jealousy, the spirit that jealously the spirit that dwells in us. Obviously it's God's will in this case, God is the subject and that's the way the ESV reads, let me read it to you or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says he yearns jealousy over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us, so it is this God puts in us, our human spirit, and he jealously desires that are spirits be passionately committed to him and not to the world. You understand this, that in relationships.
There has to be a part and if there is not the heart that's there. You can't have the relationship. So when a couple begins the date each other, what are you wanting you wanting their hearts. I think that's what the Bible is saying here. I believe this interpretation is consistent with James's idea of God's passion for his people because he wants us not to be double minded. But to be single-minded and wholeheartedly committed to him. Think about this when you and I are worldly. That is our heart is drifting from God, is there not the tendency to think that maybe God is against us.
But what does God's jealously jealousy say it says he is not against us, but actually he wants us. How do you think the father of the prodigal son fall when he knew his son was wasting his life own worldly prep pleasures. Do you think he was against him. How did the father respond when the son came home. Do you think he was against him when he ran out to him and fell on his neck and kissed him and wrote him and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet and had a great banquet in his honor. Do you think he was against him know he loved him.
He was jealous for him so when our desires misdirect us away from God and we begin to seek the idols of this world. God is not indifferent, but God's heart is filled with a passionate jealousy for us.
God is jealous for his people. While that says something to you and I in these days when is easy for us to drift and yet God wants our heart. God loves us, but then there's something else that we see here in the way that God responds to us when we're worldly not only is he jealous, but second we find in verse six that God is gracious, but he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisted the proud but he gives grace to the humble.
Perhaps at this moment with sin in your life you feel reluctant to come back to God. You may be overwhelmed with the worldliness of your own heart and I've seen it happen. Many many times when God does open heart surgery spiritually on people's hearts and people see their sin and their overwhelmed and broken and humbled. Often times they respond in fear God wouldn't want me.
Why would God love me. How can I change. How can I be different. I'm afraid of falling back into sin and it is TU that James says these words, but he giveth more grace, where sin abounds. Grace abounds more God's grace is completely adequate to meet the requirements imposed on us by that jealousy, he is jealous, but he is also gracious, so just like James quotes the Old Testament when he speaks of God's jealousy. He does the same thing when he speaks of God's grace for here, in this case James is directly quoting Proverbs 3 in verse 34 when he says, surely he scored a for scorners, but he giveth grace unto the lowly James is showing us how God responds to us. He resists the product the proud John Stott said pride is your greatest enemy and humility is your greatest friend is very interesting that Proverbs uses the word scorner.
Scorners somebody who talks big.
Their words basically show no respect they ridicule. They mock they discredit they are cynical they make fun of an object, God resisted the big talkers just like an army arranges itself in battle formation to fight against his enemy for like a running back in a football game whose stiff arms, his would-be tackler. In either case, God says if you're a big talker then you are fighting a battle that you cannot win and you are playing a game that you will always lose big talkers are big losers.
God resisted the proud but notice he says he gives grace to the humble. And he says it twice what is grace grace is God's favor.
It's God's blessing on those that truly don't deserve it. The worldly grace is not something to be abused or misused.
But it is something that can be used God's grace is his superabundant strength to live a life that overcomes the incredibly strong desires of one's evil nature. God has the power for you to overcome you is the supernatural ability to do that which I cannot naturally do by myself by myself. God says God is saying to you and I you can't but he can. We can overcome when we humble ourselves and surrender and weigh and put up and wave the white flag of surrender to God. I experience this between my freshman and sophomore year of college. God used an incident in my life where I broke my left ankle playing indoor soccer and I realize that at that time of my life I was a Christian, but I had 1 foot in the church and 1 foot in the world. I was definitely worldly because I had not surrendered my heart to God and so I was semi-passionate for God that I was not completely dedicated and devoted to God and over the process of about three or four months. I put up the white flag of surrender to God, I yielded my life to God. I gave God everything in my life. Everything I surrendered and him I put everything on the altar and I discovered something that the passion of of of of of a love for God begins to flame up and grow as you surrendered to him and God's grace begins to work as you humble yourself as you become single-mindedly focused on God's desires and not your desires what is God do God gives you greater power greater strength greater desire so that his grace is greater. His desires are greater than your own sinful heart desires. So here in James four verses five and six we see these two qualities of God at work in restoring believers from the world. His jealousy convicts us of our wandering in his grace enables us to return back to God and it's all based on being humble next week and the following week were going to look at verses seven through 10 where James gives 10 specific commands that shows us how to humble ourselves, but let me ask you this question as we finish today where you and your heart.
There are so many ways today to have your heart drift away from God and live for your own desires, but what God is calling out in these days to all of us is to a broken heart a humble heart, a surrendered heart, a heart that is that is single-mindedly committed to God. Would you give your heart to the Lord today. Let me pray father, thank you for your goodness and grace and I pray for all that if listen that you will speak to their hearts help our hearts Lord, not to be filled with the world, but to be filled with your love and thank you that you are jealous and that you are gracious 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 is 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're getting ready to go in our summer months.
But on this coming Friday, 8 May at 2 PM.
I'll be speaking from the platform at Bob Jones University of the state of our university will be talking about the future Bob Jones University where were going in Christian higher education, so I'd love for you to join email@example.com and you can go to the webcasting. You can watch online. 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, and 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. In it BJ you.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 here in the United States, but our students are globally and demand 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.
God bless you, if you appreciate this program and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's word would you consider sending us a special financial gift. You can easily do that to the website the daily.com. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. I'd like to invite you to attend one of our summer camps for both middle and high schoolers.
BJ you has over 50 camps to choose from. So there is one for you. Here's just a few aviation astronomy cinema computers, culinary criminal justice media music nursing theater robotics soccer, basketball, volleyball, golf, and there's many more come explore your future. During the week what we call education. For more information about our campus visit our website go to educate up. That's EDU cAMP.BJ you.thanks for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on the daily