From Pastor Johnny

Our Dependence Day - James 4:7-10 Part 4

Picture 9:      Humbling (4:10a). Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord”

           The call to humble oneself is not a call to belittle self, but a call to see God as preeminent in one’s life and others in service.  Magnify God first, then seek to serve others.  Finally, self does not have a place first in primary.  This is humility.

         Humble people are humble because they have given themselves to God.  They have placed themselves in absolute service of Christ first. Finding a dependence on Christ – and thus real power – is humbling myself to Him.

 PICTURE 10:   Rising (4:10b). “He will lift you up.”

         Finding our Dependence Day means that Jesus Christ will ultimately then lift us up.  Depending on our Savior involves submitting, resisting, drawing, cleansing, purifying, lamenting, mourning, weeping, and humbling.  When those have happened, it may seem that we have given away everything.  Yet, the reality is that we will have gained everything as our Savior “will lift” us up.

 FINAL THOUGHTS

          If the church will rise up, then it must first and definitely yield and be TOTALLY dependent on God.

          The founder of Summit Expeditions and author, Tim Hansel, once shared a story about the great Samuel Morse, who invented the telegraph and the subsequent Morse Code.

            “Samuel Morse was once asked if he ever encountered situations where he didn’t know what to do.  Morse responded, ‘More than once, and whenever I could not see my way clearly, I knelt down and prayed to God for light and understanding.’

            Morse received many honors from his invention of the telegraph but felt undeserving:  ‘I have made a valuable application of electricity not because I was superior to other men but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone and He was pleased to reveal it to me.’

            Dependence on God is the only avenue to greatness in His kingdom. Have you become completely dependent on Him?

 

 

Our Dependence Day - James 4:7-10 Part 3

Picture 4:     Cleansing (4:8b). Cleanse your hands, you sinners”

         Simply, this is a call to be justified and cleansed. This speaks to the need to be born-again. Justification is the cleansing. When Jesus washed the disciples feet, and Peter resisted, Peter was told that he would have no part with Him if he did not allow it.  So, Peter declared Jesus should wash his entire body.

            Christ replied in John 13:10, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”  Peter was redeemed, so his cleaning only needed to be “maintenance.” The lost person is the one in need of a complete cleansing. Without Jesus Christ, a person has no hope of cleansing.

 Picture 5:      Purifying (4:8c). purify your hearts, you double-minded”

          This imperative speaks specifically to the lost, but is also a reminder message to the saved.  It is a reminder of Phil. 4:8-9 “Whatsoever things are good, holy, to be of any virtue or praise, think on these things.”

          If I have a cup of unclean water, but I pour clean water in a cup long enough, then the cup will have nothing but clean water. Pouring that which is good and holy into our spiritual system through prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and praise, will continue to purify.

 Picture 6:      Lamenting (4:9a)

 Picture 7:      Mourning (4:9b)

 Picture 8:      Weeping (4:9c)  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”

          While each of these three imperatives is distinct, they are also intricately linked together.  They are similar in tone, and even similar in idea and definition.  All of them speak to the idea of grief.  James calls this grief but about what?

         The answer can be found in Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

          The lamenting, mourning, and weeping actions are not to be a permanent state, but they are to be our view of sin. When we celebrate sin, it will grow and most likely destroy us.  When we mourn sin, we will most likely have a greater capacity to overcome it.

          Part of the call to dependence on Christ is to see sin as He does. When we see sin as God does, it may create sadness in the present but great joy and freedom in the future!

 

Our Dependence Day - James 4:7-10 Part 2

Picture One: Submitting (4:7a)   submit to God”

            The first step in walking dependent on Christ is submission to Christ.  Submission is the way down and the way up to salvation.

            When I was in college, I took a lifeguard certification course.  We were taught that, if someone were drowning and fought against us as we tried to rescue them, then we should move away.  If the lifeguard attempts to save the drowning swimmer, as he kicks, flails, and tries to save himself, then both will drown.  As that drowning person becomes exhausted, he/she will give up.  It is at this point of yielding (submitting) that the swimmer can be saved.

            This is true with us. If you are going to continue to do things your own way, God will allow you.  Once you are tired and submit to Him, it is then that he will save you.

 Picture Two:  Resisting (4:7b)  Resist the devil and he will flee from you”

          To Submit and resist, for the born-again believer, seem to be two sides of the same coin.  Resisting will not happen, if submitting to God has not already taken place.  The resisting depends on the submitting. Submission to Christ puts a person in place to resist the enemy.

         You may desire to provide pest control at your house.  The pest control company comes out, lets you know the prices and plans, and you submit to the contract for the pest control people.  Once you have signed (submitted) to their contract, then they partner with you to resist the bugs.

       In a submissive position in Christ, we stand able to resist the enemy. Resisting the enemy is really the impact of Christ in us as we submit to Him.

 Picture Three: Drawing (4:8a)  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”

          According to Jesus in John 6:44, God draws us first before we can come to him.  If that is the case, then how can James call us to draw first? Remember, James is a man of action.  From the human side, he calls us to draw near to God through His Word, through repentance, through obedience.  This is all with the understanding that God has already made a way to Himself for us.

          When a piece of metal is put near a magnet, the energy pull of the magnetic draws it.  The magnet was already drawing before the metal arrived close by.  It is the nature of the magnet to draw.  It is the nature of God to save and redeem, and while the magnet illustration may not be perfect, it is true that God does the drawing while we are responsible for moving toward Him.

ARE YOU?

           

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