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That's 866-34-TRUTH. Or check him out online at thestevenobleshow.com. And now, here's your host, Steve Noble. Well, as you may or may not know, this is the end of my teaching week on Thursday, so I have eight in-person classes that I teach each week. Registration is now open, by the way, on nobleuschool.com, so that's U.S. history, world history, which I'm adding this fall, civics and Christian ethics, and it doesn't matter whether you're here in the area or somewhere else around the country. Really, eighth through twelfth grade, that's all available. Registration is now open, seating is limited, and all those classes that I teach.
So that's nobleuschool.com, the U, just the letter U. Nobleuschool.com. So I just finished my teaching week now, and when I'm going down those roads and dealing with these high schoolers, we talk about a lot of different things and go around a lot of different places. But one of the things that helps me stay on top of that is just kind of staying in the word each day of the week. So on Monday this week, I'm going through this year, the Bible projects, one year in the Old Testament, and they do a lot of great videos that kind of explain a lot of themes of the Bible, each book of the Bible. Anyway, on Monday, I was in Numbers chapter 5, it was part of my reading for Monday, this past Monday the 20th, and in Numbers chapter 5, there's this strange little section, verses 11 through 31, which is dealing with kind of the bitter water, and if a husband thinks his wife has been unfaithful, then they mix a little water.
With the dust from the floor of the tabernacle, and then depending on what happens, then you're like, okay, either she is or she isn't. Really interesting, kind of bizarre from our 21st century Western perspectives. And so I dug into that a little bit because sometimes people will say, oh, see right there, the Bible endorses abortion.
Nice try. That's ridiculous, and your theology stinks. So setting that aside, today back in the Book of James with our good friend Dr. Sam Horn, as we continue to talk about the Book of James, and lo and behold, Sam, there you are throwing the bitter water ceremony at me twice in one week.
I don't know if that's got some kind of cosmic significance, but it is interesting. Sam, great to see you. Thanks for being back. Oh, it's awesome to be back with you, and here we are back in the Book of James. We're actually almost done with the book.
I know. And I was listening to you describe the bitter water ceremony, and I remember when I was working through this passage and that came up, I was like, what in the world? And so here's the bigger context. James is making this incredible accusation to people that he's been pastoring. He's saying to them, you're spiritual adulterers. And he's kind of put the charge out there, and he's gone at them pretty hard in the first part of the chapter.
And you can almost hear somebody coming back to James and saying, James, actually, I'm not. I know it looks that way. You think I'm a friend of the world. You think I'm doing all these things. You're making a pretty big charge. I don't think that's right.
It's not what you think. And so James is about to give them two important tests to see whether or not his charge is accurate or not. And in the Old Testament, if you were a woman, you had very little protection.
That's right. It was all weighted toward the man. And so in Israel, when God set it up, he cared about women.
He cared about their well-being. And so if you were a woman, and your husband made a charge against you, how would you answer that charge if your husband said, I think you have been committing adultery, but I don't have any proof. I don't have any proof. You aren't the same person I married. And so all of these accusations, well, when you started making a charge like adultery, that was incredibly difficult. And so God instituted for that time, this is not like something we do today, there was something God instituted for that time that a woman could defend herself by and actually say, look, if I'm innocent, here's the test that I'm going to take. And I'm going to go to the priest and God is going to vindicate me. And God is either going to show that you're right, and I have been committing adultery, I've been drawn away in my heart, or he's going to show that you have a jealous heart.
And either way, we're going to have to deal with your jealous heart, or my adulterous heart. Yeah, this is us going as God as my witness. Correct. Right. And so she can't prove anything. And it was a wonderful way for a woman to actually be protected. By the Lord himself, by the way. By the Lord himself.
And so when you look at a test like this, it's so hard to sort of envision it in our culture. But the priests officiated this. So it wasn't like the guy could just walk away and go, oh, I got it wrong. No, you made an accusation against your wife, now we're going to have to deal with that. So here's James, and he's made an accusation, a very strong accusation against the people that he loves.
He's not like somebody he hasn't loved. And he's saying your heart's been drawn away from the Lord. You've actually sided with the world. You have committed what God's people in the Old Testament committed often. You've committed spiritual adultery.
Yeah. And let me jump in right there, quick, quick. Sam, we're in James chapter four. Let me just read these, this verse for you, verse four.
Very strongly worded, I don't care what translation you use. Adulterous people, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? That's not like enmity isn't like, oh, yeah, hey, sorry, I parked too far to the right in my parking place.
Sorry about that. Now, enmity is you're at war, OK? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. So that's a strong charge.
And what we're going to do today on the show, Sam, is kind of unpack. How do we defend ourselves from a charge of, I guess, faith, faithlessness? So let's put our faithfulness on trial. And that's essentially what James is doing here, is that right?
Absolutely. And we've already met several of God's friends, right? We've met Abraham, the friend of God, and he renders unswerving obedience to God's word no matter what it costs. Then there's Rahab, who's God's friend. She's going to align herself fully with God, no matter what's going on in her culture or in her city or with her own people. She's going to line up with God. We're going to meet the prophets in Chapter five. We're going to meet Job and we're ultimately going to meet Elijah.
So there are these five friends. And James is saying, you've already met two and you're on the wrong side. You know, you're not doing what Abraham, God's friend, did, and you're not doing what Rahab, God's friend, did.
You're lined up with the wrong team. And here are two big tests you can ask yourself and you can take. One of them is going to reveal that you really have displaced the judge of heaven. You've taken his place. And the other is you've totally disregarded the will of God. Which is the will of God. That's some serious business.
You've displaced or you disregard God. This is Steve Noble with Sam Horn. We'll be right back. So to speak, you can bring the music down.
My ma is in heaven now, but I could say, hey, look, I made it. I'm doing radio with Sam Horn. Oh, man, I'm actually almost saying the same thing. Mike Drop, I'm out of here. I'm done. It's good. Anyway, it's great to see you, Sam. Thanks for being here, as always. And for those of you that might be newer to the program, whether you're listening on radio, watching on Facebook or Rumble or catch the podcast, Sam and I have been in the Book of James.
Goodness gracious. I mean, what, six months now or something? Sam's on usually at least once a month. And we've been in the Book of James just working our way through here. And Sam's been, besides teaching at seminary, they're also pastoring a local church, taking people through James. And what happens when you lead people through James? Sam, as much as you want to take the Book of James and maybe smack everybody across the face with it, you end up smacking yourself across the face. The Book of James is my favorite book. I told somebody that the other day.
I said, we may be through with James, but James isn't through with me. Yes, indeed. And that's really true.
That's right. And that's why, I mean, we often, a lot of people over the years have called it the Proverbs of the New Testament. James is very practical. James kind of speaks my love language, which is, what's the word I'm looking for? Conflict. I mean, he just, you're going to know what his deal is. And here we are. He goes at it.
He goes at it. And here we are in chapter four. And we were talking at the start of the show, referencing back to Numbers, this interesting, especially kind of strange from our perspective, bitter ceremony, bitter water ceremony. They mix some water with some, literally a dust from the tabernacle's floor and the woman to drink it has been accused of adultery by her husband. And then that was, then the Lord's going to take care of that. Okay. That's why when you look at that and go, well, that's really strange.
How do you know if she gets sick from that, that she's guilty, whatever. That's because God's in charge of all that. To Sam's point, it was taking the power out of the men's hands, which was pretty radical back then. Jesus himself, I would say, was definitely a first century feminist. That'll freak you out from a 21st century perspective, but Jesus valued everybody. And so an interesting thing back there, but that's a test of faithfulness in terms of adultery. James likes to talk about us being an adulterous generation, the church. And so you mentioned, Sam, that we've got a couple of tests here, like that one, that we're going to apply to the notion of us being faithful. You just touched on them.
So we'll dive into them. One is slanderous speaking that displaces God. We're going to talk about that.
James likes to get in the way of the things that we say. And then the second test, self-centered living that disregards God, also is going to show us something like, hey, we're going to go to this place and we're going to make some money. We're going to do this and that.
And they didn't bother to say, God willing. So let's start with the first one, slanderous speaking. Yeah. So James, again, let's just remember James is a pastor and he's writing to people that he loves. And for three chapters, he's been getting him ready for this hard speech. It's not like he just drops this bomb in chapter one. But by the time you get to the place we are in chapter four, basically you've got damaged lives, defiled relationships, destroyed reputations. And it's all happening inside these churches.
And James is going, let me just tell you something. I'm looking at bombs that have been going off relationally here and it's damaged people and it's all coming out of your mouth. And so let's talk about what's coming out of your mouth. You are speaking evil of one another. You can see that in verse 11. And the way he talks about it, he says, do not speak evil against one another. It's almost like, don't do this. What he's really saying is stop doing this. This is a present tense evil that's going on in the church. It's be like you walking in a room and your kids are doing something you told them not to do. And you're like, don't do that.
And what you mean is stop doing what you're already doing. And that's what James is doing here. And the speech that's coming out of their mouth is evil. It's the idea of slander. It's the idea of gossip or false accusation or innuendo or disparagement or demeaning of another person. And this is really, it's criticism, it's complaint, it's gossip, it's slander, and it's tearing people down. This is what happened in Numbers chapter 12 and again in Numbers 21 when Miriam and Aaron got ticked that Moses was the leader. I just read that today.
We're in Numbers, right? And they were ticked because of who he married. They didn't think he should have married this Cushite woman. And they said, has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Is he the only one that has the mind of the Lord? And the Lord heard it. And then the scripture says Moses was very meek, more than any of the people on the earth. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, come here. I'm going to have speaks with you.
We're going to talk about your talk, right? And then in Numbers 21, it's not just Moses, it's not just Aaron and Miriam. Now in Numbers 21, it's the entire congregation.
The people spoke against Moses. So there's this... So I'm raising my hand. I've finished your thought, then I have a question, pastor. There's this complaining and challenging of a man who's really serving God and really doing that. And I think in my own life, how many times do I do that?
Hell, man. You know, how many times does that happen at a church? So anyway, you had your hand up.
No, it reminds me of Henry Blackaby's son, Richard Blackaby, who's actually like a stand-up comedian pastor. But he came to town once and he was obviously, given what I do and how I was raised and the environment I was raised in, I have a pretty good two-edged sword inside my mouth. And this was years ago, so our kids were still pretty young. And we went to go see him at a local church at Christ Baptist. And he was talking about the things that come out of our mouths. And he's talking about how we treat other people, how we treat our spouses, how we treat our children.
And then he just had this question. He goes, you got to ask yourself all the time, am I speaking words of life or am I speaking words of death? Echoing Ephesians 5. Are you building others up according to their needs? If what you're saying and how you're saying it is not ultimately trying to build them up out of love, then all you're doing is speaking words of death.
So back to my question. Verse 11 in James chapter 4. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers, the one who speaks against a brother or judges his brothers.
And this is my question. Speaks evil against the law and judges the law. So not only when I'm ripping into somebody unnecessarily or making an accusation, judging their heart, whatever, not only am I sinning against them, it would appear, but now I'm sinning against like the law, like I'm judging the law. That sounds like kind of a mouthful to me.
Yeah, basically that's where James is going. He said, this is not just you deciding to say whatever you want to say about another brother, however justified you think it is. Right. God actually told you not to do this. He wrote it down in the law of Moses in Leviticus, 1916. Do not go around as a slander among your people. You will not stand up against the life of your neighbor. I am the Lord.
And then Jesus himself talked about this in Matthew six, whoever insults his brother is liable to the council, right? So when you decide, I don't care what Jesus said, and I don't care what Moses said, and I don't really care what the law says, I'm doing it anyway. And it's just because it's true or it's just because it can accomplish my purposes. You've decided, I don't care what the law has to say. And you've actually displaced the law giver. You've made yourself the judge. Judge Jerry and executioner.
Exactly. God is the one who gave the law. And you've said to God, move aside on this one.
I've got a better law. No, Sam, obviously you haven't seen my resume because I'm fully qualified to judge Jerry and executioner. So we'll talk about that after the break. I have a couple more questions about that, pastor. So I'm going to ask some questions. So be ready for that as a pastor and as a seminary professor. And we're going to pick it up there. Another powerful message out of James on theology. Welcome back at Steve Noble, the Steve Noble Show Theology Thursday with our dear friends at BJU Seminary, which by the way, let me go out here with Dr. Sam Horns back in the house. Sam, I'm going to go out on a limb here.
Are you ready? Yeah. I'm going to guess that in nearly the... BJU has been around for how long? Is it 97 years? 97 years.
Coming up three years from now we'll be 100 years old. That's amazing. All right.
I'm going to guess that in the last 20 years, because that's about as old as that song is, 30 years, not one time has a professor at BJU Seminary been introduced with Rush as the background music. That's just a guess. Probably not. That's just a guess.
Probably not. I'm just testing. We're talking about testing your faith today. Now I'm testing everybody's sense of humor.
And I'm probably the one professor that you could do that with because I actually know that song. Oh, see, we just recorded that, Sam, so be careful. All right. So we're talking about this first test of our faithfulness, talking about slander speaking. Now here's my question, pastor and seminary professor. Who are you to judge another?
All right. So we are... the culture is bad at this. The church, I think we all struggle a little bit, whether we admit it or not, to understand what kind of judging is righteous judging, which is what Jesus talked about. Hey, don't judge yet. Judge righteously.
So help us just real quick. Help us understand who are you to judge another? When are we judging a friend, a churchgoer, a neighbor? When are we judging them in a sinful way? Versus, OK, I see my neighbor.
They do this. I can judge that action based on the word of God. And I said that was wrong. That was immoral.
OK, that's fine. But what kind of judging gets us into trouble? The judging that condemns.
Right. So here you have the word judge is being used throughout this passage. There's a judge. There's a law.
There's a lawgiver. There are judgments, like you just said, that have to be made righteously. James is making a righteous judgment.
We do it all the time. He's calling these people out. So it's not like we're not supposed to call out sin and we're not supposed to make righteous judgments.
What's going on here is people are using their mouths to slander other people and to malign other people and to condemn other people that they don't agree with or that they don't like. And they're setting aside what Moses said and they're setting aside what Jesus said. And they're doing their own thing. And so because they are judging the law, they're saying, I'm over the law. The law doesn't count here. They're actually not doing it. And back in Chapter one, James said it is the doers of the word that are going to be blessed in their deed. Yeah, that's good.
Not just to hear. So here are people who are not doing the law. They've set themselves above the law. And James says, here's what you've really done. You've displaced the lawgiver.
So back to my original charge, you're adulteresses. You know, you've lined up on the wrong team. You didn't just like miss the ball and not carry out the play. You said to the quarterback, I'm not taking I'm not going to catch your passes anymore. I'm going to the other team on this set of downs because I got a different thing I'm doing. And you don't seem to be willing to do any of the things I need you to do about these pesky people that are bothering me.
Yeah. And that's on that judge thing. And listen, nobody's more guilty on this one than me. My wife and I talk about this often, how quickly, how easily it is that slipping when you have disagreements with people or people are doing things that really tick you off and you know that what they're doing is wrong. But then when we start talking about the individual, and this is one of my struggles, then I speak in a way that's definitely it's just verbal, right? It's just words. But my words are cutting and very much if I had a gun in my hands, if my speech actually turned into a gun, I would be filling that person with lead. And I'm doing it out of my anger, my disgust for that person. And it's like I have a voodoo doll and I'm just punching it and sticking things in it. And I think that's when you sit there and go, hey, am I doing that out of love?
First Corinthians 13. No. Then you're just making a really nasty noise. You're placing your I'm going to let God judge that person because it's not my place to do it.
I can acknowledge that what they did or what they said was wrong based on the Bible. But once I start leaving, sometimes I have to do that, right? Sometimes I actually have to call out there.
Sure. But if I start leaning into that person and they're so this, they're so that I can't believe that now you're now you're you've got your hatchet and you're going at it. And that's when we know you're okay. Now you're into what James is talking about, about slanderous speech and hateful speech and judging one another. And we got to be careful that the next one that you go to the second test, self-centered living that disregards God. We jump to verse 13.
Most people know this one. Come now, you who say today or tomorrow, we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit. Yet you don't know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life for your amiss that appears for a little time and then vanishes instead?
Verse 15, you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or do that. Like you hear me at the end of the show, God willing, I'll talk to you guys again tomorrow. So what's going on with this one? Test number two. So here they're being exposed for the kind of heart they have. In the first test, their tongue is being exposed, right? James has spent a whole lot of time talking about how you use your tongue. Be swift to hear, right?
Be slow to speak. The wrath of man doesn't produce the righteousness of God. We just saw a test about how they're using their tongue. And instead of being righteous in it, they've actually broken the law and displaced the lawgiver. Now he's going to talk to them about having a unified heart, a wholehearted, single-minded, unified heart, not double-minded. And so he's going to talk to them about self-centered living that disregards God's agenda, God's kingdom, and God's will.
And you can see the appeal. It's like he sort of tones down a little bit, and he turns Isaiah on. He gets some of Isaiah's language.
Come now, let us reason together. Remember how Isaiah said that? Well, here he is saying, come now, you who say.
So now he's going to people who are again using their mouth, but they're using their mouth a different way. They're saying, tomorrow, we're going to go into such and such a town. We're going to spend a year there. We're going to trade, and we're going to make a profit. And so he says, wait a minute, before you just talk that way, think about what you're talking.
The word for trade there is the word emporium. It's a legitimate business. So James is not saying it's wrong to go to town. He's not saying it's wrong to make a profit. He's not saying those things. They're doing all of this without any consideration for God's wills, for God's purposes, or for God's kingdom.
And this is unbelievably foolish. I mean, James says in verse 14, you presume to know and control what only God knows and controls. You don't have a clue what tomorrow will bring.
What is your life? You're like a mist that appears for just a little bit of time, right? So you don't even control what your life is like. You don't control the circumstances of it. You don't control what comes into it.
You don't control the length of it. But you've embraced a wisdom that marks people who live in the world that think they can just control their whole world. And if I just do this, I'm going to be wealthy and healthy. And if I just go to the gym enough, and if I just do these things, I'll live forever.
If I just make this investment, I'll be happy. You've bought into that. And that's where James is going with this.
Yeah, which is really interesting. How do we tie that then back into when we started earlier on the show, we were talking about numbers five in the test there when the husband's accusing his wife of adultery, but doesn't have any evidence. How do we kind of tie that back in there in terms of the spurned husband and the righteous judge with respect to boasting? And that's what he talks about. You're boasting. Instead, you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we will live and do this and do that as it is you boast in your arrogance, which is a pretty strong statement, all such boasting is evil.
How do we kind of tie that back into that test that we've learned about from numbers? And that's a great question. And the answer to that is sort of at the end, what you just brought up in verse 16, all such boasting is evil, because what he's going to do is say, now, these two things are going to reveal your heart out of the heart, the mouth speaks, right? So here are these things that are coming out of your heart.
When you use your tongue to tear down your brother, your heart's being revealed. You don't care about the law. You don't care about what Moses said.
You don't care what Jesus said. All you care about is what you want. And your mouth is revealing that. And so here's the test of your mouth, right?
Now you're using your mouth a different way, but it's still revealing something about your heart. Hey, when you talk about tomorrow, here's what I'm doing. I'm going here. I'm going there. I'm going to do this.
I'm going to do that. I'm going to make a profit. And there's no thought for God. There's no thought for what God wills. And so again, your mouth is revealing something about your heart. Your heart is not, in that mouth, that's what's coming out of your mouth, reveals that your heart is aligned with the wrong kingdom.
And that's how we know you're an adulterer, spiritually, because you're aligned up with the wrong kingdom. I go to church on Sunday and I'm done with that. I did my church bid on Sunday. I gave God his due. Here's the 10% for the tithe. We're all good there.
Now I can go do whatever I want with the rest of my life and the rest of my money. Okay, I have another question, Pastor. Go ahead. I'm passionate about this. Pastor, I have a question, Professor. I'm that stupid kid in the back of the class that keeps interrupting. All right, so should we make a regular practice, Sam, of saying God willing?
So I had a board meeting at my house last night. We're talking about Noble U. And, you know, I'm like, well, God willing, we'll have 250, 300 students this fall. And God willing, I try to say that regularly. I say it now because I've studied James enough.
But should that be a regular part of vernacular? Let's talk about that. And then I want to get into we'll get past the whipping boy stage here and we'll get into kind of the sweet cure, which in the blog post today, you put God's gracious two part invitation. I definitely want to get to that.
We're talking to Dr. Sam Horne today on Theology Thursday, BJU Seminary. We'll be right back. What I just did there is I gave you permission to snap your fingers when you hear my really cool intro music. That's fine. You're not going to. Oh, cool.
So it's good if you want to do that. Welcome back. It's Theology Thursday here today on The Steve Noble Show, as it is every week with our dear friends at BJU Seminary.
And Dr. Horne is back in the house today, Dr. Sam Horne. And we've been working our way for for a while now through the Book of James. And today, well, since we're both teachers, kind of a little pop quiz, a little test here of our faithfulness. And we started with test number one was just slander speaking that displaces God. That's when we're just kind of speaking words of death into people.
And James talks about this in Chapter four and then self-centered living, which is what the guys that are like, hey, let's go to the hey, let's go to New York and we'll make some money and blah, blah, blah. And James comes back and says, yeah, you might want to check that idea against the will of God. And I asked the question before we hit the break and I want to finish that up real quick, Sam, and then we'll go into the the uplift here at the end, the sweet cure to all of this. But I asked that question, can we really say God willing enough? Is it would it be would it be obnoxious if I'm saying God willing every time I make a proclamation about something I assume is going to happen in the future, should I stop myself and say, well, God willing, we're going to get to San Francisco just fine. And God willing, we're going to have a great wedding next Saturday in San Francisco with our son. And God willing, they're going to have a wonderful marriage. And God willing, we'll be back safely.
And God willing, I'll get to go back to class the next day. I mean, at some point it gets obnoxious. But generally, is that a good idea?
You know, it's what I said earlier, we were talking offline. In my case, I need to say it more. And I think I probably represent about 99.9% of your ears. It's not that we say it too much and are trite with it, we just don't say it enough. And if we are saying it a lot, the bigger question is, do you actually think about it in your heart as you say it? This is not like a magic charm that sort of protects us from evil. This is a heartfelt thing. God, I really want your will. I really want what I'm doing in that town to advance your kingdom and not just fill up my barns.
You know, we were using the illustration kind of joking. You know, you have a tremendous mission God has given you. When I'm going to New York to make money, God, is that really what you want me to do? Or do you want me to give some of this money to Steve Noble and help with that Noble University or whatever else that's going on, that Noble U and the kids?
I mean, that's my point. What does God want us to do? And what happened is I just took the test, I stood before the great high priest, and I swole up. You know, like, you remember that woman, she took the test, and if she's guilty, she swells up. Well, here, James gave me a test two times and I failed both of them.
So now what do I do? And the answer is in James chapter two, mercy triumphs over judgment. I get mercy. But how do I get mercy?
Well, James says there are two big ideas. You got to resist the devil, right? James chapter four, verse seven, submit to God.
What does that look like? I humble myself. I get off the wrong team. I come back over to the quarterback. I come back over to the coach. And I say, Listen, I'm sorry, I sinned. I was playing on the wrong team. And I need forgiveness. I humbled myself. And then I resist the devil.
You know, he's calling me going, Hey, I got this play. I want you to run. No, no, no, I'm not going back over there. I resist the devil. And then secondly, I cleanse my hands. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, verse eight, repent of your wicked speech. Repent of what you've done against your brothers. Repent of your independent spirit, your self arrogance that thinks you can run your own life apart from God. Purify your heart.
James says you double minded how by purging your life of ungodly counsel by by stopping and don't embrace the way of sinners and the values of those who mock God. You know, we're so eager and I'm this way. I mean, I'm on your page here. I hate 90% of what I hear on the evening news. It just so counter to my value. Yeah, drives you nuts. Yep. But I end up embracing a lot of those same behaviors and strategies to get my values across.
And that's just as bad. We fight fire with fire. And there's an appropriate way to do that. But not many times my ways are not appropriate. And then finally, return to the unadulterated, unmixed wisdom of God. Draw near to God. And the scripture says he will draw near to you when when we humble ourselves before God. God will give us grace.
God gives grace to the humble and he will exalt us in due time. There's a tremendous way back. There's a wonderful way back when we fail the test because the penalties already been paid. Right. That's right.
Right. The penalty for our spiritual adultery has already been paid. Romans five says there is, or Romans eight rather, there is now no more condemnation. So as a believer, even when I commit these kinds of sins, the condemnation has already been dealt with.
The penalty has already been paid. But if I want God's blessing instead of God's opposition, I need to draw near to God and I need to cleanse my hands. Sometimes I need to go to a brother and say, you know what, I actually blew it here and I've hurt you. And you don't even know I've hurt you. But I've hurt you with somebody else. And I've gone and made it right with that person.
There's absolute cleansing in that. And sometimes you're, you know, and there's now I have to be careful with this one. You know, and say, well, you know, sometimes I sin, I'm not aware of it. OK, the more mature you get as a Christian, the less I'm going to field that one.
But sometimes you're doing things not realizing that you're sinning against somebody else until they tell you. So I had a friend and I'm going to be careful not to give too many details here. I had a friend that and I had given him kind of a nickname and I would just call him that nickname when I'd see him.
And literally, Sam, for a few years, he never said anything. And I, you know, and I'm a nickname kind of guy. I'm a goofball and I'm a I'm a I'm a bit of a tornado sometimes. But but then we're having lunch one day. And I said that maybe when I greeted him before we sat down for lunch or whatever. And then with the very broken look on his face, he said, Steve, you know, when you when you call me that, it really hurts my feelings. Oh, man, I was stabbed to the heart. I was like. I was like. Oh, I'm I'm literally I'm so sorry.
I took liberty because he never said anything. And I josh around a lot with most people. I do it with you that everything was fine. And so I wasn't aware that every time literally every time I saw him and said this, I'm stabbing him.
And then finally, he tells me. And so that does happen. But when it does happen, back to James and in that particular verse, you're talking about drawn near to God and he would draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts. You double minded, be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to morning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. And that's that broken and contrite heart that if you feel condemned, that's either your flesh lying to you or the devil lying to you. That's not God. But if it's conviction. All right.
That's the Holy Spirit. But in this case, and this is if you if you've wronged somebody and you're and you're asking for their forgiveness and you're apologizing, you better show up. You better be repentant.
You better be broken. And that's the only thing that's helped me with my wife and all the times that I've wronged her is that she she's a good judge of when I'm actually repentant. And it's not pretty when you do it right. And that's exactly right. But there's grace for that.
Yes. You know, what if that friend had said that to you and you looked at him and you said, hey, pal, get over it, get over it. You got, you know, you know, I don't suck it up, buttercup, you know, that kind of thing. You're like, whoa, wait a second. That all of a sudden you're in you're in James four on the wrong side of this equation. Yeah. But what you did was I never I'm sorry.
It doesn't want it wasn't my antenna. You know, here's what was going on. Would you forgive me? That is exactly what James is going after. That's a that's a heart that's sensitive to the Lord. That's a mouth that that is being used by the spirit of God to bring healing, where at one time it brought hurt even unintentionally. Well, what if God did that in all of our lives? Wow. You know, what would our churches be like?
What would our relationships be like? You know, all of these things come back. And I think this is where James is going. He starts off really strong in chapter four. But at the end, he's like, you know what, there's a ton of mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Don't ever forget that. That's kind of James is to us. Don't ever forget God made a boatload of mercy available when he paid for it. And you're an idiot if you don't go after that mercy. That's not James. That's me.
You're an idiot if you don't go after that mercy. Yep. Yeah. We operate from victory, not towards it. Exactly. You actually said it way better. I'm going to steal that line. Please do that. Well, not steal.
I'm going to borrow it. That's it. We operate from victory, not to victory.
And even in those moments where it looks like we're down and we drop the ball and we're behind and we just got creamed by the opposition, we're still operating from victory. Yeah. And we got to remember, you go back to the gospel.
J.D. Greer at Summit Church up here in this neck of the woods, he says, hey, a lot of people think the gospel is like the diving board to get into the pool. The gospel is the pool is the pool.
And so, you know, you're in there and I'm reading a book right now that he wrote. Actually, I'm on the show in a couple of weeks and it talks about you got to go back to the gospel. You go back to that reality that Jesus said it is finished. And that's what then even when you mess up willfully, unwillfully, unknowingly, whatever, you always end up back at the cross. You always end up back at the gospel. You do in grace.
And like you said, mercy triumphs over judgment. So one final thing is we wrap up. So by the time we get to the end of Chapter four, James has finally got us ready for the big assignment he's going to reveal in Chapter five, which is where we go the next time we're together.
But there's an amazing assignment that's coming and we would never be ready for that assignment if we were messing around with spiritual adultery. Yeah. So he's sort of cleaning out the, you know, he's cleaning us up. He's getting us tuned up.
He's he's working out the kinks in our life. I have whatever metaphors you want to use there so that when when we had Chapter five, we are ready to go. Yeah. Which is going to be awesome. And we'll talk about what comes in Chapter five. Awesome. We'll talk about next time. Sam is on theology Thursday and Sam's on once a month. So we'll get to that in the next four weeks. Sam, as always, God bless you, my friend. Thank you so much.
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