Who Is Your Best Friend? James 4:1-17 Aug. 23, 2009
Do you have a best friend? For many years I never thought of a spouse as a friend. Today I know my wife is my best friend on this earth. In addition I have men friends through my Christian associations. I have a friend who is free to suggest corrections in my lifestyle as he uses scripture to guide him. I am willing to listen to this friend and even to request advice, He, at times, does the same in requests from me. Of course all Christians can give the name of Jesus when asked, Who Is Your Best Friend?
1. A Friend Advises When . . Separation Is Needed. 4:1-5
A. Separation From . . Inconsistent Living. 4:1-2a
1 What is the source of the wars and the fights among you? Don't they come from the cravings that are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.”
B. Separation From . . Ineffective Prayer Lives. 4:2b-3
2b “. . . You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and don't receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.
C. Separation From . . Incompatible Associations. 4:4-5
4 Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world's friend becomes God's enemy. 5 Or do you think it's without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit He has caused to live in us yearns jealously?
A friend is needed to guide us in the separated Christian life. Too many live in an inconsistent lifestyle. We all need an older more mature Christian to guide us. They can also direct us to have a effective rather than and ineffective prayer life. A mature Christian friend can direct us not to associate with those who will try to lead us astray. James indicates six unchristian acts that can be included in hindrances to prayer. They are
lust, murder, covetousness, fighting and wars, adulteries, and friendship with the world. The reference to
murders, and adultery probably refer to spiritual activities rather than actual physical acts.
2. A Friend Advises When . . Submission Is Needed. 4:6-10
A. Submission That . . Resists The Devil. 4:6–7
6 But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
7 Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
B. Submission That . . Receives Instructions From The Lord. 4:8-10
8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
We must be careful to correctly read the instructions about the devil fleeing from us. Some say resist the devil and he will flee. This verse says first of all submit to God. This submission calls for resistence and then it receives the following instruction as James gives ten verbs that are all commands. The tense of these verbs indicate the need for a decisive action. When a Christian humbly submits; the Lord exalts His child.
3. A Friend Advises When . . Shrewdness Is Needed. 4:11-12
A. Shrewdness That . . Resists being A Judge. 4:11
11 Don't criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
B. Shrewdness That . . Recognizes The One Who Is The Judge. 4:12
12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
It must be a human trait to think we can judge other people. James tells us to resist being a judge or judgmental. Additionally he instructs us to recognize the Lord and His position of being the Judge. He will judge correctly in a fair manner. We need to submit to the Lord concerning His judgement. As we confess our sin to Him we need to also recognize if He determines a judgement for us it will be just what we deserve.
4. A Friend Advises When . . Supervision Is Needed. 4:13-17
A. Supervision Helping Us To . . Seek God In Our Planning. 4:13-14
13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit." 14 You don't even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.
B. Supervision Helping Us To . . Submit To God In Our Planning. 4:15-16
15 Instead, you should say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
C. Supervision Helping Us To . . State The Truth About Sinning. 4:17
17 So, for the person who knows to do good and doesn't do it, it is a sin. HCSB
Do we ever need supervision? One pastor friend told me as we talked about an undisciplined person;
he does not have a supervisor and everyone needs supervision. We need supervision as we seek God in our planning, submit to Him as He reveals His plan, and states the truth about any sin we might have committed.
Our sin may be out and out rebellion, or simple failure to do the good we know to do. Let me ask you a question, Who Is Your Best Friend? I certainly hope you said Jesus! Amen? Amen!